Finding cupid’s arrow around San Diego

Navigating Valentine’s Day is like running a proverbial gauntlet. With dating expectations at their highest, and new dates just a swipe away, it’s time to put on a game face and get into the ring — so to speak. Whether single and looking, happily solo, or smitten in a relationship, here’s a primer on Valentine’s Day in San Diego.

Single and looking

It sounds cliché, but put yourself out there. Go where you have interests, whether it’s a coffee bar, brewery, urban winery or the dive bar down the street. Don’t go somewhere you can’t relate, because it’s likely the person you meet there won’t have anything in common with you either. Stick to your instincts, and Cupid’s arrow might just find its way.

Ready throw caution to the wind? Meet more than 200 fellow singles at the San Diego Cloud9 Valentine’s Locks, Keys, and Singles Masquerade Party at the DoubleTree in downtown San Diego. Have fun looking for the perfect lock-and-key match, with the first 150 guests receiving a free masquerade mask to take home. ($20-25)

1646 Front St., downtown, 619.239.6800, eventbrite.com

Happily single

Grab your gal pals and head to the Galentine’s event at Katherine Cosmetics in Flower Hill Promenade. Celebrate the love of friendship over wine, cheese and refreshments, while basking in a complimentary makeup session from on-site makeup artists. Want to treat your friends? Ladies can purchase one makeup application for $60 and get one free for a soul sister.

2690 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, katherinecosmetics.com

Coupled

The thought does count — a lot. A box of chocolates and bottle of Cook’s from CVS isn’t even remotely a good idea. Ditto for roses wrapped in plastic with the price tag still affixed. Unless this is some cheeky tradition in your relationship, it shows zero thought. It’s easy to put forth a modicum of effort for maximum reward: Get locally grown flowers from roadside vendors, Target, or yes, CVS, or an interesting bunch from Trader Joe’s. Take off the plastic and spring for a keeper vase (hello, HomeGoods) to put them in. Go local with incredible chocolate selections from Chuao, Dallmann Confections, Eclipse, Chi Chocolat, Andrea’s Truffles and others. And lastly, head to a locally run wine shop like San Diego Wine Co. or The Wine Connection, for an upgrade on that bottom-shelf selection. Better yet, grab a bottle from one of the local wineries for a full-on San Diego V-Day. And don’t forget to check out the Valentine’s Gift Guide for more ideas to woo your boo.

Think outside of the box: Head to the San Diego Museum of Art for Sonnets and Sips and an all-inclusive evening of art, verse and eats. Begin with a museum tour of romantic art, followed by a picnic basket meal at Panama 66, and top it all off with a poetry showcase from the San Diego Shakespeare Society in the adjacent sculpture garden. sdmart.org

Want to stay in or picnic privately on the beach? Pick up a Valentine’s dinner picnic basket for two from Provisional Kitchen at the Pendry Hotel, which comes complete with candles and a blanket.

425 Fifth Ave., 619.738.7300, pendryhotels.com/san-diego

While you’re at it, take dinner out of the box too: You aren’t your grandparents and this isn’t 1965. Or 1995. Chateaubriand for two and a bottle of red wine isn’t the only option. Go on an international Valentine’s Day tour with one of the following options:

Tajima “Valentine’s Dinner for Ramen-tics” for two is a knockout deal for two bowls of ramen (Tonkotsu, Tajima, Spicy Sesame, Creamy Chicken, Vegan), a bottle of Nigori Sake Sayuri, and two mochi ice creams. ($30)

Various locations, tajimasandiego.com

At Del Sur Mexican Cantina, the “Tú es mi Corazón” is perfect for lovers, including a three-course dinner for two with two house margaritas or sangrias, a street corn or queso fondido, choice of two specialty plates, and a churro to share.

2310 30th St., South Park, 619.501.0643, delsurmexicancantina.com

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