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As much as your parents probably wish you'd only focus on academia during college, let's face it, you may just find your soulmate too. (Ever hear of Paolo and Paulina?) That said, should you become a Siena College student in the coming years, you should know that there are some pretty great spots around the 518 to go on a first date. In honor of Valentine's Day, we rounded up a few of our favorites. 

1. Ice skating at the Empire State Plaza

Make sure you wear gloves, not mittens, so you can comfortably hold hands (and help each other up) while skating around the picturesque outdoor rink in downtown Albany. The beautiful city view is perfect for a selfie, too, and skating is free if you bring your own skates. Don’t have a pair? You'll be able to rent some for you and your beau for just $4 each. Once you’re off the ice, warm up at Stacks Espresso Bar for a hot chocolate or latté. 

2. Spectrum 8 Theatre

Spectrum 8 isn’t your typical place for a movie date, but if you're bound to be an upstate New Yorker, you gotta know about this gem. It's an independent theatre that has an old school, art deco vibe and showcases under-the-radar Indie films, Oscar nominated pictures and local productions. Once you step inside, you’re greeted with reasonable ticket prices, a spread of local baked goods and super cool artwork to admire throughout the halls. Romance and culture.

3. Lucky Strike Social

If you’re looking to learn more about your date through a little friendly competition, play a quick game of bowling, ping pong or billiards at Lucky Strike Social. You can transition to a meal at their in-house gastro pub, or walk Crossgates Mall after the final buzzer. PS: This is a great double date spot, too, if you want to break the ice in a more social setting. (And not to mention, it's also just a fun spot for you and your future best friends to hang out any day of the year.)

 4. Poetry Open Mic at the Troy Kitchen

Got an artistic side you can't wait to explore in college? Every Monday night, the Troy Kitchen, a hip, downtown food court, turns into a platform for local poets and artists to take the stage at “Poetic Vibe,” AKA poetry open mic. You can sign up yourself and get in front of the crowd, or sit back on some comfy couches and listen. Not into poetry? There’s live jazz every Thursday night on the same stage.

5. The Grotto at Siena

Honestly, you won't even have to leave campus to have a romantic time with your S.O. Plan a walk to The Grotto and enjoy the peace and quiet together, talking about life, the future or whatever comes to mind. It's a beautiful little spot on campus to get cozy and soak in your surroundings. And if your relationship is starting to blossom right here at school, it’s a great go-to site to create memories and enjoy downtime together. 

A FEW HONORABLE MENTIONS

While we're on campus here, a few other ideas to tuck into your "future" file: head to Casey's Cafe for a hot cup of coffee and split a heart-shaped donut. Do a little stargazing on the turf field under the lights. Or, if the weather is freakishly warm in February, plan a picnic on Padua Beach. (Hey, it reached the 70s on Christmas Eve just a couple years ago.)

Happy Valentine's Day!