It may not compare to Paris, but if you know where to look, Metro Phoenix can be just as romantic. Whether you and your partner want to be laidback or lavish, here are 9 places around the Valley that provide a more adventurous alternative to “Netflix and chill.”
Love Sculpture, Scottsdale
Whether you want to a make your first move by giving your date a quick peck on the cheek or snap a selfie smooching your longtime sweetheart, this is one of the best places in the Valley to feel the love.
Located at the Civic Center Mall by the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Love sculpture is an iconic pop art image that regularly appears on everything from stamps to tennis courts. Originally designed in 1970 by Robert Indiana, it has been recreated and displayed in cities around the world.
After you get the perfect photo, spend the day with your sweetie strolling through the picturesque mall and scoping out the nearby museums and galleries.
Where: 3808 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale
‘A’ Mountain, Tempe
During the day, the ASU-adjacent “A” Mountain, also known as Tempe Butte, hosts families and tourists. At night, however, the 1,400-foot summit and the large, gold “A” becomes a much more secluded and romantic setting.
Pack a picnic and take a mile-long hike to the top at dusk to glimpse panoramic views of ASU and downtown Tempe backlit by the sunset.
Where: The corner of Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Dr., Tempe.
South Mountain Park, Phoenix
Encompassed within South Mountain Preserve, the 16,000 acre South Mountain Park remains one of the largest city parks in the country. Touting nearly 50 miles of trails, the park enables boundless exploration by foot, bike or horseback.
Take your date on a romantic hike to Dobbins Lookout, South Mountain’s highest peak, for expansive views of the city. South Mountain also hosts unique rock formations, ancient ruins and postcard-worthy wildlife.
Where: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix
ASU Planetarium, Tempe
You don’t have to drive deep into the desert for a romantic bit of stargazing. Take your significant other to ASU’s astronomy headquarters, located in the Bateman Physical Sciences Building.
The planetarium opens for public shows on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and projects awe-inspiring images of stars and planets on the ceiling. Patrons can also peep at constellations and celestial bodies through a telescope and partake in guided tours.
If you can’t throw a lasso around the moon for your beau, you might as well marvel at it together through a telescope.
Where: 547 E University Dr, Tempe,
The Clarendon Sky Deck, Phoenix
If sipping cocktails and admiring sweeping views of the skyline is your style, the SkyDeck at the Clarendon Hotel makes the perfect place to take your partner. Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the rooftop deck and lounge provides a relaxed, romantic atmosphere. Regarded as one of Phoenix’s premier date spots, it allows couples to simultaneously enjoy each other’s company and the beauty of the Valley.
Where: 401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix
Encanto Park, Phoenix
Walking through the 222-acre Encanto Park with your significant other will feel like you’ve teleported to the set of a ‘90s rom com. Rent a canoe or paddle boat and spend the day on the lagoon, then take a stroll at sunset and feed the ducks. Opt to ride the carousel at nearby Enchanted Island Amusement Park or go on a skate date at Desert West Skateboard Plaza. You might even want to play a round of golf.
Where: 2605 N 15th Ave, Phoenix
McDowell Mountains Regional Park, Scottsdale
Watching the sun set among the McDowell Mountains with the one you love will surely make sparks fly, however trekking through the park’s trails at any time of day will make for a romantic excursion. Sunrise Trail and Lost Dog Wash Trail are two of the more popular hikes that this vast desert destination has to offer.
Where: 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr, Scottsdale
Tempe Beach Park, Tempe
Picnic and people-watch at Tempe Beach Park during the day or rent a bike, boat or paddle board to explore Tempe Town Lake. At night, the Mill Avenue Bridges light up and give way to a romantic atmosphere that is low-key but breathtaking. Also, the romantic “A” Mountain we mentioned at the beginning sits just across the street.
Where: 80 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe
Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix
Though this 3.5-acre park stands as a symbol of friendship, that doesn’t mean that walking through it’s well-manicured walkways with that special someone won’t lead to something more. Stop and smell the flowers in this tranquil setting that boasts over 50 different types of flora. Find your inner Zen by the Koi pond, tea house, 12-foot waterfall, sculptures and greenery.
Where: 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix
– Madison Rutherford, College Times / Edited for Phoenix.org