Valentine’s Day can be a hassle. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favorite holidays, but whether you’re single or in a relationship, celebrating, at least in a traditional way (dinner, flowers, etc.), becomes complicated if you don’t plan ahead—way ahead—and even a tad cliché. So here’s what I propose: pick something from this list—there are options for singles, couples and families—and celebrate the day in a less conventional, but equally as fun or romantic way.
Walker Art Center (Feb. 14, 9 p.m.-midnight): See the museum’s latest exhibit, Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, the night it opens, while also enjoying music by Sisyphus (Serengeti, Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens), sampling bites and cocktails from D’Amico and dancing away to DJ sets. Tickets: $30, $20 for members, free for new members
Stella’s Fish Café (Feb. 13, 6 p.m.): Have a date night with Stella, at Stella’s. We’re sponsoring an intimate four-course dinner at the popular Uptown eatery, paired with Stella Artois beers. Tickets: $30
Stillwater (Feb. 14-16): Main Street is hosting its annual Paint the Town Red event, with more than 30 shops, restaurants and lodging properties offering specials all weekend, including free carriage rides along the St. Croix (Friday & Saturday, 4-8 p.m.).
The Bakken Museum (Feb. 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.): Celebrate the holiday early with your kids at the museum’s free second Saturday learning about all things heart. Create anatomically correct heart valentines, play operation games and see a showing of Shocking News About Your Heart, among other activities.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Feb. 8, 9-11 a.m.): Enjoy a guided chocolate tasting with an expert from Chocolate Bonavita, learning about the fruit of the cocoa plant, the genetics of cacao and how its growing location influences its flavor. Tickets: $49, $39 for members
The Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts (Feb. 14, 6-11 p.m.): Enjoy appetizers and wine in the lobby before watching a performance by James Sewell Ballet. Then, after, feast on a Brazilian-themed dinner, bid in a auction, listen to live music and dance yourself. Tickets: $200
Brave New Workshop: See the theater’s newest sketch comedy revue, A Snowplow Named Desire: Love in Minnesota (opens Feb. 13). And if you attend on Feb. 15 you can also choose to dine from a pre-show buffet of appetizers, flatbread and sweets. Tickets: $10-36, $21.97 for dinner add-on
The Pourhouse (Feb. 13, 10-11:55 p.m.): There’s a dress code for this pre-Valentine’s Day party: red if you’re taken, pink if it’s complicated, and white if you’re single. Tickets: free with registration
James J. Hill House (Feb. 14, 7 p.m.): Listen to 19th century poetry performed by costumed actors, including the works of Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow and Browning. A tour of the house and refreshments follow. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 students, $8 children