5 Unique Valentine's Gifts & Experiences

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, roses and candy are positively passé (unless they’re artisan-made, that is). Instead, treat your significant others, mothers, and galentines to unique gifts and experiences. Here are a few fresh ideas with a local angle.

Make a wish list at Flirt Boutique

Not sure of what to get her? If she’s the girly type, you can’t go wrong with high-end European lingerie. St. Paul’s Flirt Boutique is known for its luxe selection of lingerie and loungewear as well as for its personal shopping services. Giftees can come in to get sized and choose from the store’s offerings to put together their own wish list. For those who prefer the element of surprise, significant others can sleuthily find out the correct sizes and pick out the gift themselves, with Flirt’s assistance. The gift will come packaged in Flirt’s signature pink box, tied with a black satin ribbon. Plus, customers can enjoy pink bubbly every Saturday while they shop. Look for the boutique’s newest line, Diane Houston, which features cheeky prints of pin-up girls and vintage fans. @ 177 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-6988-3692, flirt-boutique.com

courtesy claire ward

Get sketched together by Claire Ward

What better way to tell your boo thang you love them than with a cute illustration of the two of you? Local fashion illustrator, Claire Ward, is offering special couple sketches as a unique Valentine’s Day gift that’s as stylish as it is sentimental (and perfect for framing). The artist, who’s known for doing live portrait illustrations at Twin Cities fashion events, is also offering a free random sketch from her personal collection with each purchase. Send an email through her website, clairewardillustration.com, to set up a commission.

courtesy lab mpls

Create your own DIY beauty gifts with LAB

Local workshop series, LAB, is hosting a special DIY open studio event for Valentine’s Day to help you give the gift of handmade, even if you aren’t the crafty type. Grab your girlfriends (or go solo) and head to the LAB headquarters anytime between noon and 3 p.m. this Sunday to create DIY beauty products to give to your galentine, Valentine, or yourself. They’ll have gift tags and packaging to adorn your custom products—including rose coconut bath salt, soothing lavender oatmeal bath soak, citrus room spray, and rosemary lavender room spray—plus sweet treats and refreshments. Tickets to the event ($48 via labmpls.com) includes all materials for your take-home creation(s). Sunday from noon–3 p.m. @ LAB, 1629 Hennepin Ave., Suite 300A, Minneapolis

blkk hand

Get an old-timey photo taken together from Blkk Hand

In an increasingly digital world, there’s nothing quite like a real, old-fashioned photograph. Local photography Carla Alexandra Rodriguez’s studio, Blkk Hand, specializes in tintypes—a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion, which was popular from the 1850s to the 1940s. Grab your special someone and get your own tintype made at the Blkk Hand studio this Thursday or Friday when you book a 20-minute session, which includes one pose and one tintype. (If time permit, you may be able to add an additional tintype.) Valentine’s sessions start at $80 for a four-by-five-inch print and $140 for an eight-by-ten. Email blkkhand@gmail.com to book a time. It’s truly #couplegoals.

bruce silcox, courtesy walker art center

Hit the sauna together at a mobile sauna pop-up

When Nordic immigrants first came to Minnesota, they brought their sauna culture with them. But in recent years, the sauna has all but disappeared from area homes. Fortunately, a small group of sauna enthusiasts are bringing the Scandinavian pastime back to the forefront. Two mobile saunas are popping up this month, just in time for you to get cozy (and sweaty) with your Valentine. Little Box Sauna arrives at the Walker Art Center this weekend for a month-long pop-up outside of the Esker Grove patio as part of the Winter #AtTheWalker series, along with moonlight snowshoe tours and art-making activities. Reserve a couple of spots for a 90-minute session. Also beginning this weekend, the Norway House museum hosts a residency from 612 Sauna Society’s community-owned mobile sauna, The Forge. A reservation is good for up to two hours of bench time. Little Box Sauna: Thursday–Sunday plus Feb. 15–18, Feb. 22–25 & March 1–4 @ Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis; $20 for individuals, $300 for groups; free Thursdays through Feb. 22 from 5 p.m.–9 p.m. plus this Saturday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. @ walkerart.org. The Forge: Thursday–Sunday plus Feb. 15–18 & Feb. 22–25 @ Norway House 913 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; $20 @ 612saunasociety.com

For a list of Valentine’s shopping events this week, visit the MNMO Style Blog.