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An Illini Valentine’s: for the Dating and the Dateless

So we’ve all seen, heard of or been on one of those cliché Valentine’s Day dates where we are presented with red roses or chocolate and then ushered into a nice restaurant while wearing a pink or red dress, right? Cute? Romantic? Sweet? Maybe. Dated, traditional and a tad boring – I think so. This traditional Valentine’s Day date has been done over so many times. Where is the excitement in it anymore? Champaign and Urbana offer us so much for Valentine’s Day, why stick with the old when the new could be a much better experience? Whether spending the night with your valentine or like me, with a great group of friends, do something different!
Alternative Date Options:

For Both Valentines & Friends
1. A great idea for a night out to celebrate Valentine’s Day would be to salsa at Radio Maria on Saturday, Feb. 12.  It may not be Valentine’s Day, but a steamy salsa may be way more appreciated than a nice dinner on the 14th. If you don’t have a valentine, grab a guy-friend or even your girlfriends and just have fun learning a new dance with great music.
2. The Boltini Lounge is hosting a tarot card reader on the 14th. You and your friends should get all glammed up, go downtown and get your cards read. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a cute stranger that night. If you’re with your valentine, the tarot reader may give you more insight to the future of your relationship than you could! Put down your cosmo relationship quiz, pick up your guy and go!
3. Ice Skating: Why not have an early date at the ice skating rink instead of a late dinner on Valentine’s Day? Although 11:00 a.m. may be too early and either one of you might have a class, it might be worth skipping just to spend an afternoon skating on ice (instead of slipping on it). The Ice Irena on Armory Avenue offers really cheap deals for skates to UIUC students, letting you rent skates for just $1. You can follow that up with a cute lunch date to recuperate with your valentine or friends.
4. A spa date could be a great idea for friends or for a valentine. Go out and get a relaxing and romantic couple’s massage at Health in Hand in Champaign, or go all out with the girls with facials, hair and nails at BJ’s Grand Salon and Spa.

For Just Valentines:

1. If you want to get in dinner, cocktails, the orchestra and a night of swing dancing at the Valentine’s Day Dance, think about going to the Hickory Point Golf Course Banquet Center on Feb. 12. Tickets are $15 for just dancing and $50 for the whole package per couple. It’s a little heftier than the cover at Joe’s, but a greater deal than a simple dinner for two. If you’re interested, call 217-422-5911 by Feb. 9 to reserve a spot on the list.

2. Cakes on Walnut is offering a Valentine’s Day cupcake making kit for $75, which includes 12 unfrosted cupcakes, 2 pints of exotic flavored ice cream, sprinkles, frosting bag and one bottle of dry, sparkling wine. It may seem a little much for cupcakes, but it could be very cute and cozy.
3. Valentine Hike: The Homer Lake Forest Preserve is hosting a
“Be My Valentine” event, where couples can take a romantic hike, followed by creating antique Valentine’s Day cards for each other at $10 per couple. You can click on this link if you’re interested in registering for it.

Going Out with Just Friends:
1. Karaoke is a great and potentially embarrassing thing to do with friends and you wouldn’t have to worry about your date judging your horrible rendition of “Wannabe” by the Spice
Girls. Go to Mike and Molly’s for Rockstarz Karaoke night on the 14th for no cover and a whole new humiliating facebook photo album.
2. Canopy Club is a great option for a night out with your friends on One Dollar Wild Mondays, with $1 drinks, no cover and live music. Not a bad deal for a Monday night out with friends.
3. Feeling Bitter About Being Single? (Even though you shouldn’t!): Get together a group of other single friends and rent some Valentine’s Horror movies like My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Valentine. Maybe you’ll be convinced that you’re better off not celebrating Valentine’s Day.

My point is, whether you’re single or in a relationship, spend Valentine’s Day doing something new and fun! You can have dinner at a nice restaurant any other night of the year.

Like this article? Check out Leah’s past articles:
Heat Up with the Brazilian Blowout

Campus Celebrity: Tia Ress
Winter Fashion—The easiest to dress for?

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