With Obama's historical inclusion of us in this year's inaugural address, gay couples have yet another reason to celebrate their love this Valentine's Day. Whether you prefer intimate romance or pulse-pounding adventure, here are the best date spots and activities to make your holiday perfect.
1. Dinner for Two
Dinner and drinks are always a great way to celebrate the romantic holiday. Laurel Hardware, West Hollywood's newest hot spot, is an ideal restaurant to not only share your special night, but to be seen doing it. 7984 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, laurelhardware.com
2. Heart-Stirring Helicopter Tour
Some Angelenos not only have a beloved partner but also money to burn. These lucky lovers should raise the dinner date ante with a champagne helicopter tour. The 55-minute flight covers Long Beach, the Queen Mary, the port, Palos Verde Peninsula and up the coast over the beach cities to Pacific Palisades, then inland over Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Dodger Stadium and Downtown L.A. alllosangelestours.com
3. Double the Pleasure
Kinky couples looking to spend a more intimate evening together should plan a field trip to The Pleasure Chest. With over four decades of experience under its studded belt, the iconic adult merchandise bazaar is sure to provide the perfect item to help make your Valentine's Day memorable. 7733 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo. thepleasurechest.com
4. Art & Amour
Fill your day of love with a little beauty and hit up one of L.A.'s myriad museums. A prime destination is Mapplethorpe: XYZ at LACMA. The exhibit showcases the photographer's favorite subjects—floral still lifes, nude African-American men and homosexual sadomasochism. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. lacma.org
5. Laugh at the Lonely
If you and your lover are up for a laugh, then mosey over to iO West to see Ex(It) Wounds. Phil Lamarr headlines this comedic reinterpretation of actual break-up letters. This Valentine's Day, give the gift of shadenfreude. $5. 7:30 p.m. 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd. ioimprov.com/west
6. Couple's Club Crawl
Nightlife maestro Wayne Castro offers two Thursday parties ideal for flaunting your hot date. TigerHeat, Avalon's weekly twink fest, and the new frat-themed Thirsty Thursdays College Night at Bayou are sure to be packed with boys jealously eyeing that gorgeous man on your arm.
7. Threshold of Pain
Some couples are less into romance and more into restraints. These folks should check out the My Kinky Valentine Party at Threshold, the Valley's premier BDSM/leather society. This community of kinksters provides a welcoming environment for you and your partner to spice up the holiday. Membership required. threshold.org
This year, Valentine's Day happens to coincide with DTLA's monthly Art Walk. Take your partner by the hand and soak in the diverse paintings, sculptures, jewelry, live performances and more that L.A.'s Downtown gallery scene has to offer. Noon-10 p.m. DTLA. downtownartwalk.org
9. Keep It Sweet
Give your sugar some sugar at one of L.A.'s many bakeries and sweet shops. Doughboys is a great place to nab an affordable and generously portioned meal, but be sure to leave room for one of their many mouth-watering desserts. In honor of the holiday, all their signature red velvet cakes are adorably heart-shaped. 8136 W. 3rd St., L.A. doughboysbakeryla.com
10. Do You Believe in Magic?
Looking to add a bit of magic to your Valentine's Day? Then be sure to reserve tickets for world-renowned illusionist Ivan Amodei's critically acclaimed Intimate Illusions show at the famed Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The show combines world-class magic, storytelling, audience participation, mind games and dangerous stunts. Perfect for getting your lover's heart racing. 7-8:30 p.m. $65-75. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Bev. Hills. ivanamodei.com
11. Kingdom of Hearts
Where better to spend the most romantic day of the year than the happiest place on Earth? Disneyland is the ideal destination to make your man feel like a prince. Anaheim. disneyland.disney.go.com
12. A Pampered Pair
Living in L.A. is stressful enough without the added pressures of a Hallmark holiday. Treat yourself and your partner to a spa day. Le Petite Retreat Day Spa offers indoor and outdoor spaces for two-person therapies, including a couple’s champagne bath, detoxifying foot bath, relaxation room and sauna. 331 N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A. lprdayspa.com