Valentine's Day is approaching, which means your chances of dodging pink and red hearts, cuddly stuffed animals, and PDA from couples on every street corner are slim. And while there’s nothing wrong with spreading a little love every February 14, we’re here to back the roughly 45 percent of Americans over the age of 18 who are currently single. So, if you wish to escape the onslaught of this Hallmark holiday, pack your bags for an impromptu trip. From eating at restaurants that cater to solo diners to visiting a museum dedicated to broken relationships, the domestic and international itineraries we've compiled below make for an awesome anti-Valentine’s Day break.
1. Hide Away in a London Pub
What to Do: While Valentine's Day happens to be huge in London, there are also events to rescue the city's singles from coupledom hell. If you wish to focus on men -- just from a distance -- we suggest stopping by the Singles' Night at Boondocks Cinema Club for an evening screening of "Magic Mike," starring the hunky Channing Tatum.
Alternatively, forget Valentine’s Day entirely and combine an evening of solitude with some impressive London history at one of the city’s few remaining Victorian gin palaces. Pubs like the Princess Louise in Holborn feature wooden booths built into the bar to keep drinkers in total privacy -- though you will have to talk to the bar staff. Originally built to shelter people from judgement, back when pubs were regarded as nothing more than dens of ill repute, the booths now make a great place to be alone in London.
Where to Stay: Situated close to the old Dickensian neighborhood of Bermondsey, the well-located Bermondsey Square Hotel puts you within a short distance of Borough Market, Tate Modern, and the South Bank. There is a cool Britannia theme to the rooms and bathrooms are equipped with luxurious rain showerheads. If traveling alone, the independent Shortwave Cinema provides further entertainment on the other side of Bermondsey Square.
2. Hang Out a Furry Friend in Portland
What to Do: In a move that's definitely in harmony with the slogan 'Keep Portland Weird,' Oregon’s largest city is home to one of the finest cat cafes in the U.S. -- and the first to open in the Pacific Northwest. Purrington’s Cat Lounge, a Portland cafe and rescue center, provides refuge for strays and unwanted felines and puts them up for adoption. This brings us to Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re interested in adopting a new cat or just visiting for some animal affection, the Relaxation Station at Purrington’s Cat Lounge is the perfect way to shun humans on Valentine’s Day. Book in advance to drink beer and coffee, eat homemade food, and hang out with uncomplicated feline friends.
Where to Stay: The Ace Hotel in Portland emphasizes style over space or luxury, featuring touches such as reclaimed school chairs, nightstands made out of books or suitcases, turntables, and stacks of vinyl records. Hotel highlights include a local, organic breakfast in the breakfast room, a lively happy hour scene at the Clyde Common lobby bar, and a great central location for exploring Portland on foot. Oh, and it's pet-friendly, too, which means you can bring along your newly-adopted feline friend.
3. Eat Ramen Solo in New York City
What to Do: Venues across New York City host their usual anti-Valentine’s Day parties for singles, but why should you be forced to avoid eating at a restaurant just because you’re not currently attached? Here’s where Brooklyn-based Japanese transplant Ichiran comes to the rescue. With over 60 outlets in Japan, the one-dish, ramen-only restaurant found its success partly from its famous ramen isolation booths, which allow diners to go through an entire meal without any human interaction (food is ordered via a notepad and delivered by a set of hands through a curtained partition). Located in Bushwick, this Ichiran restaurant isn’t quite as strict about its no-human-contact approach as its Japanese counterpart. Guests will be greeted by a server, but orders can be made silently using laminated cards. Plus, the same isolation booth keeps out prying eyes and makes eating alone a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
If you’d prefer some interaction, join the Boycott Valentine’s Day Pub Run on February 14. The event, which is organized by the Brooklyn Running Company, allows you to enjoy a bit of exercise with likeminded holiday haters, plus beers at two different Brooklyn pubs.
Where to Stay: Keeping with the Japanese theme, stay at Pod 39 in Murray Hill. Inspired by Japanese pod hotels, the rooms here feature a slick, futuristic design. The idea behind the property is to offer very small rooms (even by New York City standards) for low prices (again, by New York City standards). Rooms range from 55 to 140 square feet. The smallest rooms, or pods, only fit one person, making it perfect for a solo trip. However, all have private bathrooms and smart design touches, like storage under the bed, train-inspired coat hooks, and double flat-screen TVs for guests in bunk beds.
4. Embrace the Dead in Paris
What to Do: Whether you’re traveling solo or taking a palentine's trip with friends, Paris has the ultimate anti-Valentine's Day itinerary waiting. Sure, it’s called the City of Love, but there’s plenty to see and do that avoids romance, too. First, head to the world’s most-visited cemetery, Pere Lachaise. Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are both buried here. Next, embrace more of the macabre with a tour of the Paris Catacombs followed by dinner. You’ll have no trouble walking in and getting a spot at one of the outlets of Le Relais de l’Entrecote, the Paris chain that has always served just one dish -- steak and fries. (Think of it as the restaurant equivalent to your loved-up friends, who are tied to one 'dish' forever.)
Where to Stay: His writing inspired countless romantics, so where better to stay and pay your respects to the death of romance than the place where it all ended for Oscar Wilde. The writer echoed the words “I am dying beyond my means” in his residence at L’Hotel, which remains a popular historic Parisian hotel in the 6th arrondissement, close to many of the city’s main tourist attractions.
5. Visit the Saddest Museum Ever in Los Angeles
What to Do: The Museum of Broken Relationships is Los Angeles’ ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day attraction. Whether you’re fresh from a breakup or curious to learn more about broken love, the museum on Hollywood Boulevard has everything you need for some personal introspection on the subject of relationships. The objects exhibited were donated anonymously from members of the public all over the world and each come with a story recalling the breakdown of a relationship.
If this museum is too maudlin for you -- and let’s face it, it’s pretty glum -- then visit The Moth L.A. Story Slam, an open mic storytelling jam at Los Globos in Silver Lake. The theme for the event on Valentine’s Day is Love Hurts, which means more tales about love gone wrong.
Where to Stay: After a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships and a Love Hurts-themed open mic, a stay at the fun Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles might be in order. The rooftop bar holds nightly events, Tokyobikes are free to ride, and the pool has great views of the city. And if you’re still in the mood for more anti-Valentine's Day activities, you can have a go at writing your own anti-love song with one of the Martin Guitars that come with the rooms.
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