First things first: Valentine's Day 2016 is on a Sunday so you have an entire weekend to celebrate. That means if you have plans to go to the Wichita State University men's basketball game on Saturday with your buddies, you'll still be able to fit in quality time with your partner.
Secondly, if you're in charge of making the plans for this year's celebration of love you won't need to worry about finding something to do. There are plenty of things to do in Wichita that weekend; your toughest job will be choosing. To help, we've put together a list of suggestions based on the type of couple you are.
Finally, and most importantly, plan ahead. It's a weekend, which means restaurants and venues will have their regular crowds plus the holiday celebrators. Wait, are you reading this post at the last minute? Don't worry, make a few calls from the list below - Wichita has 8,000 hotel rooms, 1,000 restaurants, 33 museums, 22 attractions, 22 live theaters and much more to offer locals and visitors.
The jersey-wearing couple
Want to score some points with your significant other? Get your hands on a pair of tickets to the aforementioned Wichita State basketball game. The Shockers play host to Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. at Koch Arena. Your best bet is to try a reputable third-party ticket broker like StubHub. Another sporting option: the Wichita Thunder hockey team plays at INTRUST Bank Arena Friday and Saturday night.
The adventurous couple
Want to be a part of the action instead of sitting on the sidelines? Drive indoor electric go-karts or bowl at The Alley Indoor Entertainment. Climb the indoor rock wall at Bliss Bouldering & Climbing Complex. Have some high-flying fun at one of our indoor trampoline and adventure parks: Aviate Extreme Air Sports, Get Air Wichita and Urban Air Trampoline Park.
The couple who likes to laugh
If you like to laugh alongside your love, there are three shows you'll want to check out Valentine's weekend. Each of these downtown venues has show-only or dinner-and-show ticket options. Live at 215 Performance Theater is home to the Loony Bin Comedy Club, which is featuring comedian Kristin Key, a Last Comic Standing finalist, Thursday through Sunday. Laugh until it hurts with the rowdy melodrama Little Miss Moonshine followed by a musical comedy revue at Mosley Street Melodrama, which has shows Thursday through Saturday. Feb. 12-13 is also the opening weekend of The Golden Girls, a theatrical parody at Roxy's Downtown.
The musical couple
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra has two February events that will set the mood for Valentine's Day. Dancing and Romancing on Feb. 6 is an evening of music from the Great American Songbook and the moves of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The American Romantic on Feb. 20 and 21 will allow you to indulge in the lavish music of Tchaikovsky, let your heart skip a beat with Mozart and let your dreams take flight in the sweeping melodies of American composer Howard Hanson's "Romantic" Symphony.
For more live music options during Valentine's weekend, check out Visit Wichita's calendar of events.
The hands-on couple
Want to spend time together and have something to show for it when you're done? Try your hand at one of our popular painting experiences like Pinot's Palette or Paint The Towne. Local artists guide you step-by-step through a featured painting that you get to take home, and you can sip your favorite BYOB while getting creative. Paint as singles or paint as a couple and produce two pieces that go together to create a romantic masterpiece.
The practical couple
It might not be romantic, but if you and your beloved are homeowners or thinking of owning a home you won't want to miss the Wichita Area Builders Association Home Show, Feb. 11-14 at Century II. With 300 exhibitors, it's the ultimate window-shopping experience for anything home-related. Plus, it gets you downtown - home to some of the city's best restaurants (pssst, see ‘The hungry couple').
The hungry couple
Livability.com called Wichita a "Top 10 Surprising Foodie City" and we've got something for every taste and every budget: from fine dining for couples to sticky barbecue feasts for the entire family and everything in between. Many of our restaurants will have price-fixed, multiple-course menus throughout the weekend or offer special entrees, desserts and drinks. The new Fireside Grille at the Wichita Marriott, for example, is offering a Valentine's Dinner on Feb. 13 for $55 per person that includes choice of soup or salad, Atlantic salmon or filet medallions as an entrée and chocolate cheesecake or blood orange sorbet for dessert. Reservations can be made at 316-462-3128. In addition to a traditional dinner, you can also take advantage of Sunday brunch options this Valentine's Day. Start by perusing the restaurant options in Wichita, then visit individual websites for specials and reservation details.
Why stop at just one restaurant when you can try a handful? Wichita Food Tours offers a leisurely walking tour that covers about eight city blocks in the Old Town District and stops for bites to eat at 4-6 locally owned and operated restaurants. For $50 per person, you'll hear the history of the district and get full. There's a tour scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The overnight couple
If a night away from the house is what you're planning, Wichita has many great hotel options to meet any budget. A few of our romantic favorites include Hotel at WaterWalk, where you can enjoy cozy nights by a beautiful fireplace in your spacious suite; the all-suite accommodations at the Homewood Suites Hilton at the Waterfront; the luxury boutique Ambassador Hotel Autograph Collection, where you'll enjoy elegant custom-designed furnishings and linens and can dine at the Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Restaurant; Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, where you can catch views of downtown and sunsets over the Arkansas River and enjoy on-property dining at the AVI Seabar & Chophouse; and the sophisticated décor and two-poster beds at Hotel at Old Town, which puts you in walking distance to Old Town attractions. Check out the hotels' websites for romance packages, some of which include wine, chocolates, flowers and more. Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview is offering discounted rates for its king deluxe ($109) and two-room king suite ($149) from Feb. 12-15 using group code 2267307, reservations must be made by Feb. 5. Stays include free Wi-Fi, free hot breakfast, free evening drinks and snacks from 5:30-7 p.m. and free popcorn and soft drinks from 3-10 p.m.
The wine-loving couple
Make the short drive to Grace Hill Winery and Vineyards, located about 25 minutes northeast of Wichita. The winery has a food and wine pairing scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13 and also offers free tastings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 5 p.m. with no appointment necessary for groups less than eight. Free tours of the family vineyards are available at 1, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. during open hours as well. To create your own mini-wine tour, add Wyldewood Cellars to your itinerary. The family-owned business offers free tastings every day of the week of 32 varieties of fruit, berry and grape wines at their main operation at the Mulvane exit on I-35 and their store in west Wichita.
Some of our favorite Wichita restaurants with notable wine lists include Chester's Chophouse and Wine Bar, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Harvest Kitchen/Bar at the Hyatt, Il Vicino, Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, Taste & See and Wine Dive.
The beer-loving couple
Are one or both of you craft beer lovers? Then you can't go wrong with this tour that features flavorful brews along with tasty food menus. Start downtown at River City Brewing Co., open since 1993 and Wichita's oldest brewery, where you can enjoy six different styles of microbrews and 16 beers on tap. The Hungry Heart Gastro Pub and Brewery has 16 taps of craft beer and at least two are currently their own. Central Standard Brewing produces a wide range of styles including seasonal, Belgian, IPA, Barrel Aged, Sour and Wild/Brett beers. Hopping Gnome Brewing is a taproom (no restaurant) that opened in 2015 with an ICT IPA, Douglas Ave. Pale Ale, Sepia Amber Ale, Frank's Oatmeal Stout and The Earl of ESB. Then move east or west, where you can experience Wichita Brewing Company and up to 17 of their own brews. Bricktown Brewery, also with east and west locations, offers seven beers brewed in downtown Oklahoma City and delivered fresh to their Wichita outlets.
For non-breweries but great places to find a strong menu of craft beers - including several from Wichita and across the state - try Public at the Brickyard, The Hill Bar & Grill, Monarch, The Anchor, Granite City and Old Chicago.
The sweet-toothed couple
Chocolates and other sweet treats are a no-brainer when it comes to Valentine's Day, and Wichita has unique stops for these goodies. Cero's Candies has more than a century of artistry in hand-dipped chocolates. Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates creates exquisite handcrafted confections and has a chocolate lounge where you can enjoy coffee, a glass of wine, gelato or your chocolate purchase. The Farris Wheel is an old-fashioned candy store with sweet and savory treats to tantalize nostalgic and gourmet appetites. The shelves at Nifty Nut House are filled with 4,500 items featuring classic and modern candies, nuts and snacks. Choose from yummy items in the display case at Cravings Gluten Free Bakery or place your custom order. Smallcakes bakes 17 core flavors of cupcakes fresh every day and rotates six special flavors every other day.