Valentine’s Day is thought of in generally two ways: it’s either a long awaited night of flowers and romance or, for many, it can be a painfully annoying and expensive holiday with no true meaning. We’re expected to pull out all the stops---and empty our wallets---for the people we love for this one night out of the year.

The whole concept of Valentine’s Day is easy to picture. You buy the roses, ask for help at the store picking out the best wine, pick out his or her favorite chocolates, and schedule the reservations. But this is just the standard, expected package when it comes to a date night of this magnitude. And this concept hasn’t changed in a long, long time.

If the run-of-the-mill February 14th is something that’s getting a little boring for you and your significant other, there are some other options to try that could spice things up a bit. If you’re staying in Michiana for the big day, here’s a list of some options that are off the beaten path.

Keep in mind that this year, the holiday falls on a Sunday, so some of the events below will fall on the Friday and Saturday before the big day.


Wonderland Cinema

402 N Front Street

Niles, Michigan

(269) 683-1112

At first, a movie theatre might seem like a really cliché idea. But what if beer was involved?  That’s right. Watch a movie and catch a buzz, all in one place. The Wonderland Cinema started serving up alcohol during the summer of 2015. There are several beers on tap, with craft beer options. Concessions and ticket prices are super cheap, too. The most you’ll pay for any ticket before 6 p.m. is $4. Evening tickets will run you $5. According to the theater’s website, two new movies will start playing the Friday before Valentine’s Day: “Zoolander No. 2” and, for all you single folks, “How to Be Single.”


Jay’s Lounge Sports Bar & Grill

3025 S 11th Street

Niles, Michigan

(269) 684-8353

If hitting the bar is more your style, there’s a Valentine’s Day party going on at Jay’s Lounge February 12th. There will be plenty of drink specials (including $3 Barcardi, Captain Morgan and Smirnoff) to get you going for the nearly five-hour long party. It kicks off at 10 p.m. and lasts through 2:30 a.m. The bar is throwing some free giveaways. Music will be provided by DJ Mia and DJ Fury. There’s no cover, so this would be a great low-cost option to check out after dinner or other evening plans.

Four Winds Casino

11111 Wilson Rd

New Buffalo, Michigan

(866) 494-6371

Because nothing says “I love you” quite like throwing your money in a machine and hoping more comes flying out at you. The cool thing about our local Four Winds Casinos is that there’s usually bands playing multiple times a week, and the weekend of Valentine’s Day is no exception. Friday, the 12th, DJ Nikki X will be in control of the dance floor. She appeared on 50 Cent’s MTV reality series, “The Money and the Power,” a few years back. Local favorites PS Dump Your Boyfriend is also slated to play Friday night’s show is free, and there’s always the hotel next door if you want to make your night extra fancy.

Blue Chip Casino

777 Blue Chip Drive

Michigan City, Indiana

(219) 879-7711

While we’re on the topic of casinos, the Libido Funk Circus is playing at Blue Chip the 13th. You might as well watch a band with “libido” in its name—it is Valentine’s Day, after all. The show’s going on inside It’s Vegas Baby! at the casino. LFC’s shows are notoriously energetic, so bring your party pants.


Sky Zone

5604 Grape Road

Mishawaka, Indiana

(574) 208-5005

For a literally off-the-wall idea, Sky Zone is worth a try. Turn the holiday on its head by taking your loved one to a giant warehouse full of trampolines, foam blocks and ultimate dodgeball. If you’ve never been there, there’s a lot to see and plenty of activities to choose from. Prices vary depending on what you want to do—you’ll want to check out the website before heading out. Sky Zone will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that weekend.


Smith’s Downtown Tap & Grill

110 Lincolnway E

Mishawaka, Indiana

(574) 255-2227

A Michiana favorite will be taking over Smith’s Friday, February 12th. Wally West is hosting a huge concert. So far, performances include Heyzeus, Swisher Jones, Billy East, Sam London, Jae Von with room for even more music. Local hip-hop mainstay Wally West says he’ll be performing a ton of new and unreleased music, plus those old favorites. Doors open at 8 p.m. Friday. There’s a $5 cover. Come early to eat a quick dinner and have a drink downstairs before the show.


Indigo Vapor Enterprises

439 S Michigan Street

South Bend, Indiana

(574) 31-4971

For the eclectic among you, there’s going to be an exciting art mashup of sorts going on at Indigo Vapor in South Bend on February 12th. It’s all to celebrate the business’s one-year collaboration anniversary with JenniJain Progressive Art. Friday night, you can check out tons of local art and listen to acoustic jams from Lucid Lions.


See? Not every Valentine’s Day has to be full of red paper hearts and candle-lit dinners. And for those of you who are living the sad reality of not having someone special to spend the weekend with, a lot of these options would work fine with a group of friends, too. If that’s the case for you, don’t be weird about it: just skip the flowers and chocolate. 

About The Author
Author: Mandi Steffey


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