Valentine's Day was established in the fifth century to honor the saint of the same name, who legend claims was executed for performing marriages at a time when they were illegal.
But somewhere along the line, it became a day of chocolate and roses.
If you're looking for an alternative way to celebrate, check out this sampling of Valentine's-themed events:
Top of the World Observation Level --Today, admission to the Observation Level in the World Trade Center is two for the price of one. On the 27th floor, the level offers a view of the city and Inner Harbor, and is host to a Black History Month art exhibition. The center is at 401 E. Pratt St. Admission is $3-$5. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 410-837-8439 or go to viewbaltimore.org.
My Funny Valentine --A humorous cabaret story of love featuring the works of Arlen, Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin and others. The performance features vocalist Jennifer Blades and pianist Eileen Cornett and takes place at 8 p.m. today at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St., second floor. $10-$20. Call 410-385-2638 or go to andie musiklive.com.
A Night of Passion --The Baltimore Museum of Art celebrates today with twilight tours, card-making and champagne. The tour highlights pieces depicting love, including Rinaldo and Armida and The Kiss. Tickets are $15-$20 per couple, including materials. The event is 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Tours are at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The BMA is at 10 Art Museum Drive. Call 443-573-1832 or go to artbma.org.
AFI Silver Valentine's Day Movies --In honor of today's holiday, the American Film Institute is running three offbeat romances: Smiles of a Summer Night at 4:45 p.m., Raising Arizona at 7 p.m. and Intolerable Cruelty at 9:10 p.m. The AFI Silver Center is at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $7.50-$9.50. Call 301-495-6720 or go to afi.com/silver.
'PostSecret' Signing at AVAM --Today, the American Visionary Art Museum hosts a book-signing with PostSecret creator Frank Warren and offers two-for-one admission. Warren's group art project receives thousands of anonymous postcards proclaiming secrets, which are published in his books. Three hundred of these postcards are on display at AVAM, 800 Key Highway. Admission to the signing, 3 p.m.-6 p.m., is free. Admission to the museum is $8-$12 and free for children 6 and younger from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Call 410-244-1900 or go to avam.org.
The Ultimate Catch --Red Maple restaurant and nightclub is having a singles- and couples-friendly party at 10 tonight. The event features DJ Impulse and half-price drinks. Red Maple is at 930 N. Charles St. Entrance is $8-$10. Call 410-547-0149 or go to 930redmaple.com.
Anti-Valentine's Day Party --Howl at the Moon strikes back tonight with its anti-party. Special events include contests, games and prizes. There is a cover charge, but a defaced picture of your ex gets you free admission. 7 p.m. Howl at the Moon is at 22 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Call 410-783-5111 or go to howlatthe moon.com.
Boy-lesque Night --The Baltimore BOYlesque Team performs with DJ Amand Otto in its first show, Heartbreak Motel, at the Sidebar Tavern, 218 E. Lexington St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Call 410-659-4130 or go to sidebartavern.com.
A Morrissey and Smiths Valentine's --Have a melancholy English Valentine's tonight at the Ottobar. Sing your blues away with live backing band Dreaded Sunday. Shuffle to Johnny Love as he covers the Smiths and Morrissey. DJ Heartbreak Beat wraps up the evening with a Smiths dance party. The Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Tickets are $6. Doors open at 8 p.m. Call 410-662-0069 or go to theottobar.com.
Valentine's Super '80s Dance Party --Dance your heart out tomorrow at the Black Cat. This Valentine's celebration will feature '80s sets by DJs Steve EP and Missguided with the company of Killa K and Krasty McNasty. $10 at 9 p.m. on the main stage. The Black Cat is at 1811 14th St. N.W., Washington. Call 202-667-7960 or go to blackcatdc.com.
BIG Cupid's Valentine's Show --Tomorrow, the Baltimore Improv Group features B.I.G troupes Gus and Plan B, with guest troupe One-Sixty-One. The show is presented at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. Tickets are $10-$12. Showtime is 8 p.m. Call 410-276-1651 or go to creative alliance.org.
For the Love of Wine --"Don't Drink, Taste!" wine this Saturday to benefit St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. Hosted at the Belvedere, the event will include wine tasting, food, live music and a silent auction. Seminars include sommelier Laurie Forster. The event is 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Tickets are $80. The Belvedere is at 1 E. Chase St. Call 410-547-5548 or go to vincentbaltimore.org/newsandevents .cfm.