Let’s face it – Valentine’s Day is one of the most challenging holidays to shop for. Not only is the pressure on to wow your loved one with something unique and special, but Christmas just spoiled them with gifts. And all those holiday treats most likely turned into New Year’s resolutions that will hiss at even the finest box of chocolates. So how do we make this year’s Valentine’s Day special and memorable? 

Many people have embraced the idea that experiences can be more valuable than things. While a material gift is always appreciated, how long does the excitement really last? Eventually, most gifts will break, get lost, become outdated, or be outgrown. An experience-based gift gives the recipient that initial moment of sparkly excitement followed by anticipation. Then, days to months later when the experience is cashed in, along comes another wave of joy. 

Here are a few ideas for memorable experience-based gifts to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

Cooking class This is the perfect gift if your partner feels guilty about eating out 24-7. You can both learn a thing or two from a pro, meet some new friends, and enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by you! A quick Google search will reward you with a wide range of local classes, so if you’d like to up your dinner game or persuade someone to take over as your personal chef at home, this is your chance!

Dinner at a fancy restaurant – If putting in the work isn’t their style, surely they’ll enjoy a little wine and dine! Everyone has that one restaurant that they’ve always wanted to go to, but it’s just a little too fancy for their usual rotation. You have two options here: a gift card or a hand-drawn coupon involving conditions like “I’ll be the designated driver and dress to the nines for you.” Who wouldn’t smile at that offer? 

Concert tickets – What’s better than being surprised by concert tickets? And with Portland boasting so many unique venues, you have a multitude of options. Don’t forget about local music festivals. You can check multiple bucket list artists off their list with one ticket. Bonus points if you find a concert that is significant to your relationship, like that band you rocked out to together on that road trip you took a while back.

Boat Rental – Admit it: you have always wanted to rent a boat. Now is your chance! You can give the future gift of cooling off on the hottest day of summer, all while giving strangers at Waterfront Park the Miss America wave. Can it get any better? Why yes, it can! Pack a picnic and a bottle of rosé, and they’ll love you forever.

Wine tasting – Aren’t we lucky to live in a city surrounded by talented wine makers? Take advantage of your proximity! Drive out to a few vineyards in the Willamette Valley, or stay in town and visit one of Portland’s many wine bars for a few flights. Bonus points for buying bottles to take home and drink next Valentine’s Day.

Snowshoe adventure – Although this time of year can be a bit miserable weather wise, it sure can be beautiful. Plan your trip around a sunny (or at least dry) day, and get into the snowy forests of Mount Hood. Beautiful sights, great conversation, and some good old-fashioned exercise does the weary winter soul good.

Blazer tickets – If your partner is a Blazer fan, this is a no brainer. Watching a game on TV at home is fun, but going to the game is next level. Throw in a Blazer shirt or hat for them to wear to the game. Go team! 

Dance classes for two – Fun, romantic, and probably a bit funny, dance classes are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill. And there’s no better way to prep for this summer’s wedding season than taking a dance class. You’ll be the life of the party in no time! 

Architectural Home Styles of Portland – The number one thing to consider for your Valentine is a ticket to the hottest event in town! We’re hosting an Architectural Styles of Portland workshop for passionate people interested in learning more about the city we love.  Discover why ARCIFORM is committed to preserving the historic neighborhoods of Portland.  Restore, remodel, renovate, it’s the ARCIFORM way.

February 27, 5:30-8pm at the Architectural Heritage Center 


For more info, visit our blog:

A Century of Style: Portland’s Architecture from the 1850s to Today.

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