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Making the Most of Your Valentine’s Day in San Diego

a group of people in a small boat in a body of water

Making the Most of Your Valentine’s Day in San Diego

From the luxurious Hotel Del Coronado to live music in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, California, is full of fun and romantic things for this Valentine’s Day.

We love celebrating Valentine’s Day. At the Gondola Company, we specialize in creating luxurious, romantic, and fun experiences for every guest. As date-night specialists, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our hard-earned Valentine’s wisdom with you.

Insider Tips

One of the benefits of rowing the most romantic boats in San Diego Bay is that we get a front-row seat to countless romantic celebrations. After years of working to create the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience, we have compiled this list of our favorite insider tips. We think these are essential to keep in mind for your romantic Valentine’s rendezvous.

Plan ahead 

Valentine’s day is popular, and romance shouldn’t be stressful. If you want to create a memorable experience for your loved one, start planning early. If you are hoping for that perfect champagne brunch at the La Valencia Hotel, or to plan a Galentine’s Day Caorlina Cruise adventure, don’t wait till February to make your reservations. Waiting almost always results in a last-minute scramble to find something to do that isn’t already sold out. Here at the Gondola Company, our sunset cruises tend to book three or four weeks early. So, if you have your heart set on doing an activity at a specific time, book your reservations in mid-January, or earlier. 

If planning early isn’t an option, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give the business a call. You may get lucky and find some last-minute reservations if you are flexible with your schedule.

Simple is beautiful

Don’t overcomplicate things. Scheduling a planting party in Liberty Station, and then enjoying a gondola cruise in Coronado, followed by a nice dinner in Del Mar sounds like a lot of fun. However, that is just too much driving for Valentine’s day. If February 14th falls on a weekday, you’ll likely encounter some typical weekday traffic. If you pack in too many activities or add too much driving, you will create unwanted stress. We’ve seen too many of our guests have to limit themselves to one glass of wine with their chocolate truffles so they would be able to hop in the car immediately after the cruise to get to dinner 45 minutes away. Gondola cruises should be relaxing, so plan accordingly. Pick activities that don’t require much travel, plan extra driving time, and give yourself an additional 45 min for your meals. Even if the restaurant seats you on time, you should never rush a Valentine’s meal. Finishing dinner in the car because you can’t be late for your next activity is never romantic.

You can celebrate more than once

A couple on a gondola toasting to romance on the romantic gondola cruise in San Diego

This is our favorite tip. After years of trying to help customers find the right activity for the right price, we realized you don’t have to choose between celebrating and breaking the bank. If you play your cards right, you can save a little money and extend your celebration over a few weeks. Why settle for one Valentine’s day when you can have a whole Romance Month?

No matter how unique your Valentine’s Day date idea is, there’s a good chance the activity will be more expensive on the day itself. Demand for couple’s activities peaks on February 14th, so the savvy customer often attempts to celebrate Valentine’s a week before or after the holiday. Don’t be that person! 

We think you should do something special on the 14th, but pick something affordable. Take your special someone for a private picnic lunch at the lily pond in Balboa Park, or park on the roof of the Aladdin Airport Parking structure and watch the planes land. 

Then, when the moment is right, surprise your date with a gift certificate for a luxurious event. Wine tasting while listening to live music at the Bernardo Winery, whale watching, or a romantic night time gondola cruise! The memories of the intimate Valentine’s date for two, mixed with the anticipation of more romance to come, is an unbeatable combination! You’ll get credit for remembering Valentine’s Day and bonus points for a second, more romantic, (and more affordable) night out after the holiday rush.

San Diego as a Romantic Getaway

For those visiting San Diego as your Valentine’s vacation destination, let us take a moment to help get you oriented so you know where to look to create your perfect getaway. We think of San Diego County as four distinct regions: The City of San Diego, North County, South Bay, and East County.

The City of San Diego

If you are looking for fun, exciting, and trendy locations, the City should be your destination. If active nightlife is your thing, look for hotels and restaurants in Little Italy or the Gaslamp Quarter. You can find delicious Tacos in Old Town and Barrio Logan. If surf culture is what you are craving, some of California’s best beaches are in La Jolla, Mission Beach, and Coronado Island.

North County

For those looking for a more laid-back Valentine’s vacation, consider staying in Oceanside, Encinitas, or Carlsbad. These relaxing beach towns offer a slower pace with beautiful ocean views. In addition, you can spend your day hiking at Torrey Pines State Park or take the 90-minute drive up to Temecula and visit some of the region’s wineries.

South Bay

For a more affordable stay, consider the South Bay. If you want to head across the border into Baja, California, consider staying near Chula Vista Harbor or Imperial Beach. Between your trips to Tijuana, you can try a kayak tour right there in the harbor or Surf Lessons at the IB School of Surf.


East County

East County San Diego offers mountain and desert getaways. If your idea of romance is a quiet cabin in the woods or dirt biking in the desert, you should visit the town of Julian or book a camping spot at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

not a gondola ride but still romantic

A Romantic Staycation in San Diego

If you’re a San Diego local, there’s no city better suited for a romantic staycation than San Diego. The travel time you save can be spent on all of the fine dining and experiences you may find yourself driving past but never seem to try for yourself. Along with the world-famous tourist attractions, San Diego has more hidden gems than most visitors to America’s Finest City could find in a dozen weekend trips. 

San Diego County has 90 museums, 8,100 restaurants, 80 community gardens, 133 scenic trails, over 100 wineries, 340 parks, and 25 miles of shoreline from Sunset Cliffs to La Jolla. You can go from the beach to the mountains to the desert in a single day. Fortunately, no matter how long you’ve lived in San Diego, there is something you haven’t done yet.

Valentine’s day is an ideal time to experience something new, but don’t underestimate the value of spending your staycation revisiting places you and your partner love. Every relationship can benefit from a little rekindling now and then!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Style with the Gondola Company

A couple celebrating Valentine's Day at The Gondola Company on a gondola ride in San DiegoThe Gondola Company is your passport to Italy. Indulge in all the magic and tradition of Venice right here in San Diego as you gently cruise in a private gondola through the enchanting canals of the Coronado Cays. Whether a relaxing journey or a romantic adventure, each cruise is a truly memorable experience.

Gondola cruises are 50 minutes long, with each gondola accommodating up to six passengers, so you can even celebrate Valentine’s Day with other couples or as a family. Each gondola cruise is private for you and your guests. Select wines, non-alcoholic beverages, and chocolate truffles are available for purchase.

Our Saint Valentino Cruise also includes a single red rose and a heart shaped box of chocolates from See’s Candies.

Lastly, remember that reservations are always required. Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of the year for us, so book today! Or, if you want to avoid the rush, gift certificates for Cruises are available year-round. 

A presto! (see you soon!)

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