Whether you’re looking to hunker down or stay active this winter, these scenic destinations across the West will surely bring you closer together while delighting the senses.
Explore wine country in Livermore, California.
In the rolling hills of California’s Tri-Valley region, grapes flourish. The valley is one of the oldest wine regions in the country and home to 55 wineries, from trendy new spots to elegant institutions. A romantic and scenic place to start is Wente Vineyards, the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned winery in the country. Flirt in the chic tasting lounge over a full-bodied bordeaux, then head to the beautiful castle-like grounds of Concannon Vineyard for the special Reserve flight of six wines. Consider booking a driver for the day to indulge responsibly.
Wander around The Getty in Los Angeles, California.
If it’s possible for architecture to be sexy, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s soft curves, warm colors, and dramatic travertine pillars are certainly alluring. Nestled high in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, huge picture windows offer sweeping views of the city and galleries display art from the Middle Ages to today. Meander outside to hold hands while wandering around the fountains and gardens. On a second date, head to the Getty’s Villa Museum along the coast for a tour through Greek and Roman antiquities. Admission is free, but timed-entry reservations are required.
Go hot air ballooning in Phoenix, Arizona.
With warm weather year-round, the Sonoran Desert is a perfect spot to reignite love, especially in a hot air balloon, the oldest form of aviation. Tours typically last 45 minutes to an hour, and you’ll float between 1,000 feet and 5,000 in the air. Book a sunrise or sunset flight (available November through March) with Rainbow Ryders for views of the vibrant sky. Hot Air Expeditions offers a Balloons & Tunes package, which includes a post-flight champagne toast and gourmet breakfast. The ride then drops you off at the Musical Instrument Museum. Or keep it classic and book a simple private tour with Destination Balloon Rides to have the whole basket to yourself (in addition to the pilot, of course).
Take a gondola ride in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Don’t wait for a trip to Europe to take a romantic ride on a gondola. The Venetian Resort Las Vegas offers daily cruises down the sparkling blue Grand Canal, beneath bridges and beside cafes. Twice a day, at 9:45 a.m. and 4:20 p.m., the team of gondoliers clad in straw hats and striped shirts sing in unison as they march along the indoor canal for an entertaining experience. The outdoor ride operates on a seasonal and weather-permitting basis, but the indoor rides run all year long. Once you disembark from the boat, grab a bite in the adjacent shopping center.
Cozy up together in Park City, Utah.
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the glamor of a mountain town during its snowy season. In Park City, pick from several choices of cozy resorts with wintertime amenities. Book a 30-minute private horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy hills around Deer Valley Ski Resort. Warm up with hot chocolate or cocktails fireside at Stein Eriksen Lodge’s outdoor Champion Club Plaza. Unwind and indulge in a spa day for two at the Snowpine Lodge, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon. And duck into one of the city’s fine dining establishments in town, such as Riverhorse on Main that has a live music lineup or Chimayo for upscale Southwestern fare.
Dine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Wyoming’s most popular mountain hamlet is better known for its skiing than its food scene, but don’t be fooled: Jackson Hole has plenty of options for foodies. Several local farms provide fresh produce to the restaurants in town, such as Char’s white tablecloth service and Bravo!’s comforting atmosphere. Don’t miss dancing on disco night at the Stagecoach Bar, and sweet confections at Persephone Bakery. For an immersion into the area’s culinary community, plan your trip around the Food & Wine Winter Fest in Teton Village from March 2 to 4, featuring guest chefs and renowned winemakers.
Soak in hot springs in Bozeman, Montana.
Warm your bones in geothermal water, naturally heated by hot springs under the earth’s surface. Bozeman Hot Springs has 12 different pools ranging from 57 to 106 degrees for cold and hot plunges. Soaking in mineral-rich water is known to boost your blood circulation, reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease other ailments. The location also has a full fitness facility, wet and dry saunas, and an on-site campground. Every Thursday and Sunday, the hot springs turn into a concert venue for live musical events on an outdoor stage among the rock formations and lights.