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THE 10 BEST DATE DESTINATIONS IN THE MAHONING VALLEY

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Dinner and a movie. That's the typical date night suggestion, but you were never meant to be typical. Instead, why not explore what the Mahoning Valley has to offer? You don't have to go far to find some out-of-the-ordinary date ideas in the Mahoning Valley. Choosing something different shows your date you're creative, connected to the community and ready to have fun.

When you're considering date night destinations, keep your date's personality and preferences in mind. You'll score some major points for being thoughtful if you choose an activity she loves.

Not sure where to go? We've got you covered. Here are some of our favorite ideas for where to go on a date in Warren, Ohio and the greater Mahoning Valley area.

  1. Kick Things off at a Romantic Restaurant

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Just because dining out is a typical date night activity doesn't mean you should skip it and make your date starve. Start with a romantic meal before doing something a little more creative.

Your choice in restaurants tells your date a lot about you. As great as the Whopper with cheese tastes, you need to step up your culinary game for date night. With several romantic restaurants in the Mahoning Valley, you're sure to find one to please your palette. You may even find a gourmet burger on the menu if you just can't part with your beef.

Here are a few romantic restaurant options in the Valley:

  • Alberini's Restaurant and Wine Shop in Boardman, Ohio is anything but one dimensional. Local produce and meats are given the international treatment from talented chefs who are skilled in Latin American, Asian and French cuisines. Low lighting, fireplace, tall leather booths provide a romantic and private setting. Uncork one of 600 wines or choose your favorite craft beer or cocktail.
  • Leo’s Ristorante:At Leo's, food is Love ... When your appetite calls for the taste of Italy, head for Leo's Ristorante and indulge yourself in the finest and freshest Italian cuisine in the Trumbull County area, prepared with the greatest of care and attention to taste and presentation.
  • Vernon’s Café: an Italian restaurant and lounge, is located in Niles Ohio. They specialize in Italian cuisine, but also offer an array of American specialties.
  • Selah Restaurant: Venture to Struthers for a one-of-a-kind dining experience for your next date night. Selah Restaurant occupies an old bank building still equipped with brass teller cages and walk-in vault -- making the dècor exceedingly unique.

Additional art and photography enhance the character of this restaurant, and the upscale menu is sure to please your date. Selah sometimes hosts special events, such as dessert theater, cooking classes and culinary events with chef-owner Brian Palumbo. Check the event calendar before your next date to see if you can turn a stop at Selah into a complete date experience.

  1. Go for Old-School Romance Under the Stars at the Drive-In

Dinner and a movie may be clichè, but this date night activity is the exception. A drive-in movie offers a completely different vibe than the air conditioned, stadium-style seating of modern theaters. When you drive through the gates of a drive-in, it's like you're driving through a time portal. You can almost see your parents and grandparents enjoying movies at the drive-in. Plus, you have the romantic backdrop of twinkling stars as you cuddle up next to your date.

The Mahoning Valley is lucky enough to have not one, but two drive-in movie theaters: Skyway Twin Drive-In Theatre and Elm Road Drive-In Theatre. Both play double features for one admission price, so you'll score a deal with the cost in addition to the one-of-a-kind ambiance. Grab dinner before you head to the movie, or take advantage of the concession stands offered at both drive-in options in Warren.

You can up the romance, too, by snuggling in with lots of pillows and blankets in the back of a pick-up truck or SUV. And you'll get bonus points if you choose a romantic comedy over the latest action movie -- unless your date shares your affinity for explosions and car chases.

While romantic, this date night option is only seasonal. Save this idea for late spring, summer and early fall.

  1. Take in a Rock Concert at the Amp

Every summer, the Warren Community Amphitheatre heats up as rock bands take the stage for the River Rock at the Amp series. Live music is always a hit, and the outdoor venue makes it that much better. Show your date you really care by taking her to see her favorite band, or introduce her to your favorite when they take the stage at the amphitheater.

If you want to increase the romance factor, move away from the crowd and go for a stroll along the Mahoning River, which runs right by the amphitheater.

  1. Opt for an Indoor Music Venue

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If you'd rather not deal with bugs, sunburns and soaring temps (or if you're planning your date during the cooler months of the year), don't overlook Warren's own W.D. Packard Music Hall.

While the venue hosts plenty of concerts, it also hosts Broadway touring productions, ballets and numerous other entertainment events. Do a little research to figure out what type of event would sweep your date off her feet.

  1. Enjoy an Afternoon of Art and Gardens

You don't have to go far to experience art. The Trumbull Art Gallery on North Park Avenue in Warren gives you a chance to show off your knowledge of art and culture on your next date. The gallery has a local focus and features a variety of artists and art mediums.

Check out the artist of the month, and take in all the gallery has to offer while holding your date's hand. This date option is best for an afternoon date, as the gallery is normally only open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

In addition to seeing art, you can make your own art with the classes offered at Trumbull Art Gallery. It's the perfect way to show your creative side and have a memento of the date. The class offerings vary and may include alcohol inks, drawing, clay and mixed media. The gallery also hosts special events throughout the year that could also give you an option for an ideal date. Some of the events take place in the evening, expanding the options if you prefer date nights over date days.

If you don't mind venturing away from Warren for the afternoon, Youngstown offers two art options: The Butler Institute of American Art and the McDonough Museum of Art.

The art displayed at The Butler Institute of American Art spans four centuries, with work appearing in a chronological order to show an artistic history of the country. The McDonough Museum of Art is on the Youngstown State University campus and focuses on contemporary art. Even the building itself takes on a contemporary flair. No matter what type of art you and your date prefer, the local art scene has you covered.

Fellows Riverside Gardens will transport you to 12 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. A free public garden located at the northern end of Millcreek Park, the grounds are planted with roses of all classes, seasonal annuals, perennials, flowering bulbs and scenic vistas. Benches, fountains, gazebos are waiting to help you relax, hold hands, or simply meditate. The Andrew and Carol Weller Gallery located in the main building holds art exhibitions in all media and the gift shop offers many items for that “green thumb” in your life. Hungry? Grab lunch at the Café overlooking Lake Glacier. Feeling like Romeo and Juliet? Climb the stairs to the top of Arseny Melnick Observation Tower overlooking the lake and gardens and maybe steal a kiss or two.

  1. Sip Vino at a Vineyard

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Located in Fowler, The Hartford Hill Winery was constructed from two 19th century barns to create a 5500 square foot winery offering several different red and white varietals and blends of wine. The historical details of the building creates a romantic, rustic atmosphere and the green pastures and crystal clear lake offer a perfect background for sipping wine and gazing into each other’s eyes. A delicious menu of wood fired pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers and desserts are offered indoors and outdoors along with live music.

When you are ready to say “I do”, Hartford Winery hosts weddings, receptions, showers and all types of special events. And remember, Thom Duma Jewelers can help you find the perfect engagement ring!

  1. Explore History With Romantic Views

A trek outdoors sounds like work, but the views you can find in the Mahoning Valley are worth it even for the most dedicated couch potato. Lanterman's Mill in Youngstown offers magnificent views with the charm of the historic mill in the background.

The wood and stone building is surrounded by lush trees along the beautiful Mill Creek. You can also check out the interior of this historic gem on one of the seasonal tours. The overlook deck gives you a closer look at the creek and makes a perfect spot for a date night selfie to document the occasion. Pick up some stone-ground cornmeal or whole wheat flour in the gift shop, and head home to bake something with your sweetie.

If you're up for more exercise, head upstream a bit to the covered bridge for more photo ops and the chance to sneak in a romantic kiss. Continue your hike for additional natural views of the area.

The Gorge Trail offers a two-mile loop that follows Mill Creek with sandstone walls on the other side. If you opt for the trail, don't forget your deodorant. Being active with your date can be romantic, but no one wants to smell like they just worked out when it's time to cuddle up at the end of the evening. 

  1. Go Bowling

If bowling makes you think of those cheesy bowling league shirts your dad wore when you were a kid, that's exactly what we're going for. Dates don't always have to be flowers and romance. Having fun with each other is always recommended, even if it involves questionable borrowed bowling shoes.

This Mahoning Valley date option idea is best for those with a sense of humor and a love of all things cheesy. It also works for the super competitive who want to cream everyone in every frame. We'll let you decide where you fall on the bowling night date spectrum.

Two bowling alleys in Warren stand out for their classic bowling style. Echo Lanes and Champion Lanes both have that old-school bowling alley feel. If your date is up for it, head to the thrift store to score your own bowling shirts before bowling a few frames.

However, if you want another date after this one, it may be a good idea to let her win. The thrill of your victory will wear off quickly if you're sitting at home alone for weeks after. For a little extra fun, and maybe a little less pressure, invite a few other couples along to make it a group date.

  1. Check out Classic Cars

Warren boasts bragging rights as the birthplace of the Packard automobile. There's even a museum to commemorate this luxury vehicle of the past. If your date can appreciate an automobile or is willing to learn a little about Warren's history, consider a date night stop at the National Packard Museum. You can't get much more Warren than that.

As you wander through the National Packard Museum, you'll see classic vehicles beautifully preserved. The earlier cars on display are the 1900 Model B and the 1903 Model F, which is the last known Warren Packard vehicle. The later cars include several 1956 Packard models.

You'll also see photographs, artifacts and documents from original Packard vehicles, and you'll learn how Packard contributed to modern day cars. Another option is to simply drool over the classic automobiles. Just don't drool too much -- your date won't find it attractive.

  1. Embrace Mahoning Valley History With a Tour of Monuments

What do Dave Grohl and Neil Armstrong have in common? They may not have shared the same career path, but they both have ties to the Mahoning Valley -- and they both have monuments in their honor in Warren.

Dave Grohl Alley features art by local artists in honor of Dave Grohl, who names Warren as his hometown. Located just off Main Street SW, the brick walls in the alley feature some amazing artwork. Take a stroll down the alley if your date is a fan of Dave Grohl, Nirvana or music in general.

The First Flight Lunar Module stands at the site where Neil Armstrong took his first airplane flight. The replica of the Apollo Lunar Landing Module commemorates the July 20, 1969 moon landing. The half-scale model is a replica of the original 17.9-foot lunar module. It stands near a memorial rock with Armstrong's famous line, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

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Swing by the Trumbull County Veterans' Memorial at the corner of High Street and Mahoning Avenue to round out your tour of Warren memorials. The monument honors all veterans with engraved bricks surrounding the monument.

Your tour of Warren monuments helps you connect to the city. Plus, the monuments give you a wide range of discussion topics. Between wars, music and moon landings, you shouldn't experience any awkward silences on this date.

Get out There and Date

You now know all of the best date destinations in Warren, Ohio, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and wow your date with a unique experience. And when the time is right, visit us at Thom Duma Fine Jewelers for that piece of jewelry that's just right for your significant other.

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