Loving the Community

Valentine’s Day is sure to bring hearts, candy and flowers to the forefront. Show love to all the people in your life this month: your significant other, family, pet and community.

Best Date Spots

Although celebrating on Valentine’s Day itself is fun, the love can extend beyond one day. Try doing a little something special for your loved one in the days leading up to and after the big day, such as small notes of encouragement, a special dinner out at their favorite place or an unexpected treat delivery in the middle of the day.

For the special day itself, visit a favorite restaurant or try somewhere new. The Peter Kern Library at the Oliver Hotel has literary cocktails in a speakeasy setting for the literary history buff, while Sweet P’s offers two locations full of delicious barbecue for the future pitmaster. Knox Mason produces a diverse menu for the farm-to-table fan, while Cru Bistro and Wine Bar provides delicious appetizers and entrees.

Family

The traditions you create for your children become the memories they cherish as adults. From giving them a little something to make them feel special to taking the whole family out for a day of fun, break the winter dreariness cycle and get some quality family time in.

If the weather isn’t cooperating, head indoors for fun. Main Event offers something for every member of your family, including laser tag, bowling, an arcade, restaurant, suspended obstacle course and a full bar. If you’re looking for a fun, educational experience, try The Muse, Knoxville’s children’s museum. With an indoor play area for little ones and science experiments for big kids, there’s something interesting for every age. If an outing isn’t in the budget, consider some of your favorite activities as a kid. Build a pillow fort, play hide and seek or snuggle up with popcorn and hot chocolate to watch a childhood classic.

Pets

Valentine’s Day is just an excuse to love on your furry friend. While buying sweet treats or a new toy is fun, what they really want is your time. 

You can take your furry friend with you into some stores; Union Avenue Books, Mast General Store and pet stores are open to well-behaved furry friends. Restaurants with patios often allow pets as well; Knoxville maintains a list of dog-friendly patio dining at KnoxvilleTN.gov

If our weather veers toward temperate instead of icy, head to your favorite dog park. Victor Ashe offers a dog area with an obstacle course. Knoxville’s greenways and Ijams Nature Center are pet-friendly. PetSafe Village Dog Park is located downtown, the perfect setup for a doggy day of fun.

If you’re looking for someone to love, adopt a pet from Knoxville’s animal shelter or humane society. If you aren’t ready to commit, try volunteering at the animal shelter.

Community

West Knoxville provides many wonderful activities and opportunities; how can we give back in this season of love?

Give blood: You can make a big impact in your community by donating blood. Visit MedicBlood.com to make an appointment or find a blood drive.

Volunteer: Giving your time can change someone’s life. You can volunteer at a church, school, food bank, etc. Think about what interests you, and you’ll easily find an organization that would appreciate your time and knowledge.

Donate: Find a cause you believe in, and support it. Whether you donate financially or with new or gently used items, visit your cause’s website to find their specific needs.

Start a kindness trend: Try paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop or send notes of kindness to a neighbor. Smile at everyone you see, say please and thank you to those in the service industry and have a goal of spreading kindness everywhere you go.

Pick up litter: On your next hike or adventure down the greenways, take a plastic bag and gloves and pick up litter as you go. Every little bit helps to keep our city green and beautiful.

Frequent locally owned businesses: Support the local economy by shopping locally. You’ll meet new people doing business in person while getting what you need and support your community at the same time.

This Valentine’s Day, take the time to think of the meaning behind the candy hearts and red carnations: actively demonstrating love to your family, friends, pets and community.