This Valentine’s Day, don’t try to recreate a Hallmark movie with candlelit dinners, a dozen roses and heart-shaped chocolates. And don’t sit around pretending like it’s just another Thursday night. Instead, whether spending the night alone, with friends or with a significant other, try changing things up and celebrate Valentine’s Day with one of The Phoenix’s non-stereotypical recommendations.
Visit the Leather Museum
The Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) is dedicated to “making leather, kink, BDSM and fetish accessible through research, preservation, education and community engagement,” according to the mission statement on its website. A 10 minute walk away from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, this unique and educational destination is bound to leave couples with new ideas to bring home for Valentine’s Day night. Plus, student admission is only $5 with a valid ID.
LA&M is open to anyone 18 years and older on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as Thursday and Friday until 7 p.m. The museum is located at 6418 N. Greenview Ave.
Take a trip to the Polish Museum
Nothing says romance like immersion into a new culture. The Polish Museum of America is the premiere destination to learn about all things Polish. Explore Poland’s history and art and plunge into the Polish-American culture at one of the largest ethnic museums in the U.S.
In 1935, the museum was established as the “Museum and Archives of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America.” Since the opening day of its first display on Jan. 12, 1937, the museum has rapidly grown in both content and importance, according to the museum’s website. The museum houses art exhibits, historic material and a library.
The Polish Museum of America is open Friday-Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesday’s with extended hours until 7 p.m. Students can get discounted tickets for $8.50 with a student ID. The museum is located at 984 N. Milwaukee Ave and students can travel there by CTA.
Attend a cooking class
Instead of going out for a fancy dinner, learn to make your own. Read It & Eat (2142 N. Halsted St.) is offering a Valentine’s Day cooking class which will include appetizers, an entree and a dessert. The menu includes bruschetta, scallops, ravioli and a lava cake. With the guidance of an experienced instructor, students will learn knife skills, make pasta dough and work with shellfish. Tickets can be purchased on their website.
Sur La Table (900 N. Michigan Ave.) also offers cooking classes daily, and has multiple options for Feb. 14. At 10 a.m., students can immerse themselves into Spanish culture with a menu featuring classic Spanish foods such as romesco sauce, chorizo and churros. At 4 p.m., dive into Tuscan flavors and learn to cook items such as strip steak and potato gnocchi. Prices vary for each class and tickets can be purchased online. Learn new skills and impress your loved one next Valentine’s Day with a homemade meal.
For those who are 21 and older, if spending Valentine’s Day bar-hopping seems too mainstream, consider attending a wine tasting. Augusta Food and Wine in Lincoln Square (2312 W. Leland Ave.) offers wine tastings every Thursday night from 6-8 p.m.
If beer sounds more appealing, visit the Moody Tongue Brewing Company (2136 S. Peoria St.). Its tasting room offers barrel-aged, specialty and year-round selections of beers, which are accompanied by a small culinary menu that includes cheeses, oysters, sausages and German chocolate cake for dessert.
No matter your relationship status, attending a tasting is a casual and unique way to spend Valentine’s Day, and it sure is more interesting than drinking at home.
Buying expensive Valentine’s Day gifts isn’t always an option that fits in the budget of a broke college student. Instead, take this Valentine’s Day to try something new and go thrifting through Rogers Park and surrounding areas. Whether shopping for yourself or a significant other, thrifting is fun, budget-friendly and can be a new way to get out of the dorm and explore surrounding neighborhoods.
One local shop to check out is Green Element Resale (6241 N. Broadway St.) which is located just down the street from the Lake Shore Campus or The Brown Elephant in West Edgewater (5404 N. Clark St.). Bookworms may want to visit Bookman’s Corner (2959 N. Clark St.), a used bookstore in Lakeview that’s a short walk from the Red Line. Music lovers can venture a bit further south to drop by Reckless Records (3126 N. Broadway St.) for new and used vinyls and CDs, as well as DVDs and video games.
Stay in, do nothing and buy half-priced chocolate on the 15th
If none of the previous suggestions appeal to you, forget Valentine’s Day. Really, it’s just an excuse for couples to post photos on Instagram declaring their love for each other. Instead of worrying about how to ideally spend this Thursday night, stay in, relax, watch a movie and the next day, drop by Walgreens or CVS to buy heart-shaped candy for half the price.