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Opinion: Valentine’s Day date destinations in Albuquerque

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, but don’t panic just yet. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, there’s no reason to treat the upcoming holiday like it's any other day. There are many  great ways to spend it, and some ideas cost as little as nothing.

For those living on campus, getting around Albuquerque can be challenging, so nearby spots are a great option for date-night. Sueños Coffee Co., located near Lobo Rainforest, is a classy cafe and a great option for a low-key date.

Micah Harris, a University of New Mexico student, gave Sueños Coffee Co. credit for its catering to the student body.

“They have really good Valentine’s (themed) drinks and a student discount,” Harris said.

Other small shops that reside near campus include Snapdragon Cafe (which offers booking for afternoon tea parties), beautifully decorated Duggan’s Coffee and cozy Limonata Cafe – any of which would serve as a perfect setting for a simple but tasteful date.

If a breakfast or brunch date isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there are other great options around town that won’t break the bank. The Albuquerque BioPark offers New Mexico resident discounts on already reasonably priced tickets. The NM residents admission is set at $10, and $3 for residents with SNAP. These prices stay the same regardless of whether you are attending the Aquarium & Botanical Gardens or the Zoo.

These are all great mid-week options. Slower days at the BioPark make for a much more relaxed, enjoyable experience. Plus, the weather on Valentine’s Day is reported to be clear and cool – perfect for an outdoor date.

The Natural History Museum is offering free admission for the month of February for residents of Valencia County, thanks to a donation from Meta & the Los Lunas Data Center. For those in Bernalillo county, UNM included, admission is $8 for adults and goes towards maintaining and updating the museum. Museum dates provide the opportunity to learn what your date finds interesting, and to step outside of typical date ideas.

Other students around UNM have discovered fun niches that could be great ideas for an atypical Valentine’s Day date.

“If people in Albuquerque don’t mind a little drive, the Starlight Cinema in Los Lunas is about $8 per person, which isn’t bad at all,” UNM student Luca Thompson said.

This is a far cry from movie theater prices in Albuquerque, which can cost about $14 per person. This way, you can combine your movie date with a mini road trip – maybe even complete with snacks from the dollar store and specially made playlists.

Art Attack, a pottery and painting shop located on San Mateo, has late night events for adults only. If you’d rather avoid the dinner date, try connecting with your creative side for Valentine’s Day and curate a work of art with your date.

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“I always recommend picnic dates at parks, or Art Attack. (It’s) only as expensive as the item you choose to paint,” Thompson said.

If what you really want is a cost-free date, it might be time to head outdoors.

Aiden Burns, a UNM environmental science student, said they have visited some great spots around town for outdoor dates.

“Anywhere in the mountains or over near the volcanoes (are great places to go stargazing),” Burns said.

It’s hard to find places in Albuquerque that are far from streetlights, but getting outside of the city will offer scenic views and peaceful, quiet spots for your date. Combining this with, potentially, a picnic would be a nice, casual date night.

Making your date feel appreciated isn’t something that should cost a fortune. It’s also not the only thing you can do this Valentine’s Day. Going on a date with your friends, spending time with family or going out alone are also valid options. There’s plenty to do around here, you just have to find it.

​​Sadie Hopkins is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at

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