Written by Kingsli Kraft | February 4, 2021
Valentine’s Day is traditionally another day in the year when people celebrate their love for each other. With the main focus being romantic relationships. Some call Valentine’s Day a “Hallmark Holiday,” but Valentine’s Day was founded in 496 A.D. so it didn’t start as a commercial holiday. In the bit of research I did to write this introduction, there’s quite a bit of history associated with this holiday and the major theme running through it all is love. I find it interesting that a holiday meant to celebrate love can generate such polarized opinions. Most people celebrate the holiday, and yet so many people wrinkle their noses or roll their eyes at the mention of the holiday. (I used to be an eye-roller.)
At its core, this holiday is meant to celebrate love. If Valentine’s Day is a sore spot for you, I get it. I’ve been there. And after the year we’ve all had, I think now more than ever we could use a celebration to recognize the way that love surrounds us all in so many different forms. We could use the same kind of pure joy and uncomplicated love that kids celebrate when they exchange valentines at school with everyone in the class.
So this year, I’d like to encourage you all to use February 14th as a day to honor all the love in your life–the love between friends and the love you have for your family, the love you feel for your pets, the love you feel for yourself, the love you feel for a hobby or passion, wherever your love lies, lean into that a bit more this year.
Here are some ideas of things you can do downtown to celebrate all types of love!
- Pick out the perfect gift for your loved one at their favorite downtown shop. From comic books to jewelry to records to a sassy tea towel to vintage clothing to books to homewares to gift certificates for a massage to a new Carhartt hat–the variety of shops downtown means you are sure to find the perfect gift for your partner, friend, family, cat, pen pal… whoever you’re buying for, you can probably find it downtown.
- Make a reservation at a downtown restaurant or order take out to enjoy at home. Restaurants officially reopened this week to allow 25% capacity for indoor dining. We now have twelve different restaurants downtown, so make a reservation for a nice dinner out with your loved ones, or order take out for an outdoor Galentine’s Day bonfire complete with some margaritas to go!
- Grab a coffee together and watch the sunrise from the breakwall. This is the perfect time of year to catch the sunrise together because the sun is still rising around 7:30am rather than before 6:00am like it does during the summer months. So it’s still manageable if you’re not a super early riser.
- Grab your person (romantic or not) and take the Walking Tour Through Historic Downtown Alpena. Are you and/or your loved ones history or architecture buffs? Take this self-guided walking tour through Historic Downtown Alpena that talks about the history of downtown’s landmarks and buildings.
- Take a photo in front of one of our downtown murals–we’d recommend “Together Again” by Britt Flood painted this past summer on the side of Thunder Bay Theatre’s Warehouse on Fletcher Street across from the post office since the mural’s theme revolves around love and unity.
- Get artsy together! Reserve a table at Cobbygoose to paint your own pottery or put together a pottery to go kit with your loved one! Art in the Loft also has smART culinary and visual arts kits to do with your kiddos if you’re looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family.
- Get moving together at a group fitness class. Bella Rose Yoga and Fitness studio is open and hosting group fitness classes again, reserve your spot with friends or a partner and take an in-person or virtual class together.
- Treat yourself. Celebrate self-love and schedule yourself a blow-out, a massage, a manicure, pedicure–take the day to pamper and show yourself a little love.
These are a few ideas to get you started! We’ve had to get creative with our celebrations in the past year, and shaking things up with a new tradition can be a great way to refresh joy and excitement for a holiday. So let’s celebrate all kinds of love this year for Valentine’s Day! Show us how you celebrate downtown this year by tagging @downtownalpena on Facebook or Instagram!
Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for her numerous house plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.