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Looking for love in the Emerald City: V-Day dates for the Gays, the Theys, & all the LGBTQIAs

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Volunteer Park Conservatory — Photo by Jill
Volunteer Park Conservatory — Photo by Jill

Dating in Seattle isn't the easiest. Be it rain, sprawl, general social coldness, or the looming presence of tech monotony, the city does not quite lend itself to meet-cutes.

Add the pandemic to the mix and it seems the only reliable way to meet others right now is on the apps. Then you have to deal with users predominantly boredom-swiping with no intention of actually reaching out, conflicting preferences for online versus in-person interaction, and the inevitable graveyard of dating-app matches because of it all.

Then, if you do decide to reach out or respond, so often the only ideas that come to mind are grabbing coffee, getting drinks, or going for a walk. Not that any of these are bad options! But if you're searching for some plans to shake things up, look no further than this personally biased and incredibly random list of (probably, hopefully) relatively low-cost and free activities to suggest to a new flame.

Photo courtesy of Southgate Roller Rink  

Southgate Roller Rink
At 9646 17th Ave. SW lies an inconspicuous building with a shockingly shiny interior and the promise of fun, regardless of experience level.

The Southgate Roller Rink feels like a relic of the past — reminiscent of sharing a milkshake with two straws or coyly twirling the cord of a landline. Plus, roller skating feels like a queerer version of a rom-com ice skating date. Or maybe I'm just Gay and like to roller skate.

Either way, the space is perfect for embarrassing yourself at just the right level in front of a new person. Also, Southgate has a skate-in bar at the back, which is novel (and also seems like a liability!).

The rink has different events every night of the week, with varying prices for rentals and entry. I would recommend the Wednesday "21+ LGBTQIA+ Pride Skate Night," obviously because this is the SGN, but also because there are fewer kids zigzagging around and the rink is easier to navigate.

Photo by Jill  

Volunteer Park Conservatory
Having finally reopened its doors after a long pandemic-induced closure, the Conservatory boasts cheap admission ($4) and an incredible variety of gorgeous plants. There are more orchids than I have seen together in one place elsewhere.

The building itself is beautiful, as it was modeled after Crystal Palace in London. Teeming with chlorophyll, its five houses display palm, cactus, fern, bromeliad, and seasonal plants in close, cared-for beds. It is also heated to temperatures suited to tropical and subtropical plants, so it is more pleasant than the rest of Seattle this time of year.

Of note: two plants in the Conservatory are over one hundred years old!

If you're messaging a Plant Gay or a Cottagecore Bisexual, take them here.

Raiders of the Lost Ark playing at the Regal Meridian in 4DX on Feb. 14 — Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures  

Not your average movie theaters
I have two suggestions here, depending on your preference for high- or lowbrow entertainment.

You could suggest a film screening at one of SIFF's three venues if you feel like going somewhere a bit different and seeing something not being shown at your neighborhood AMC. SIFF frequently screens indie films, award winners, and international films that do not typically travel to mainstream theaters. Occasionally, oldies are shown as well — it's always fun to see something old return to the big screen.

If you're feeling less intellectual and skew more toward the ridiculous, you could take a date to see whichever movie is showing in "4DX" at Regal Meridian downtown. 4DX is about as uncanny and shocking of a movie experience as you could hope for. It feels like a relic of the "Real-D" 3-D films of the aughts, but the technology actually debuted under the radar in 2018.

If you can believe it, 4DX movies feature moving chairs that thrash you around during action sequences, industrial fans that blow wind when characters are in peril, "butt-kicker" components that physically hit your back when characters fight, and even a water-spraying feature.
It'll definitely break the ice.

Photo courtesy of Lifelong Thrift Store  

Thrift on Broadway
With a plethora of unique thrift and antique stores, Broadway never disappoints.

Lifelong Thrift has art, books, clothing, and oddities galore that rotate daily in discount rates. Shop by tag color — you won't be disappointed!

Out of the Closet features an incredible $1 rack, and you'll always leave with some cool clothes.

Revival has cool vintage items, Crossroads is always fun to browse, and you could even switch things up and stroll through Twice Sold Tales, the classic used bookstore that is full of cats.

Thrifting with a date introduces you both to each other's style and interests. It is also so easy to browse a store if conversation is lulling. If it's good, you learned about the other person and maybe got some cool used stuff. If it's bad, you hopefully got some cool used stuff. Talk about low risk, high reward!