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February 14, 2012

Five Valentine's Day dates that are OKCupid

Top five places to have some fine Valentine’s times

5. The Museum of Innocence

Every couple likes to think it’s too cool for a traditional Valentine’s Day, and what better way to say, “Hey, we’re a quirky couple that does cute, non-cliché stuff together because we’re just so cute!” like spending an afternoon at Shedd Aquarium or the Field Museum? You can talk about how much you love each other while staring into the eyes of the lions of Tsavo, or think about how sad that Australian lungfish must be because he doesn’t have a mate like you do. Admission to the Aquarium is free today and next Sunday, and entrance to the Field Museum is $12 with a student ID.

4. The Non-Fancy Fancy Restaurant

Chicago is known the world over as a food capital, so there’s no reason to limit yourself to your usual staples (please, let Chipotle rest). Incredibly good food doesn’t have to come with an incredibly uncomfortable or stiff atmosphere. Chicago Diner (3411 North Halsted), La Creperie (2845 North Clark), and The Publican (837 West Fulton Market), among so many others, are nice enough to be special without making you feel like an awkward college student eating at an expensive restaurant where you clearly don’t belong (which is what you are). That said, don’t be afraid to go out of your way for actual good food; it makes all the difference in the world.

3. The Winter of Our Discontent

Short of renting out a private ice-skating rink or taking a freezing boat cruise, winter entertainment options are mostly relegated to indoor activities that require little movement or effort. The Music Box Theatre (3733 North Southport) has a special screening of The Princess Bride tonight, and the Chicago Reader’s Third Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Party, a mixture of theater and live music, is at Logan Square Auditorium (2539 North Kedzie). If you need something with a little more bite, Chances Dances (1951 West Dickens) is having a queer dance party complete with free food, mixtapes, and the promise of a Valentine’s Day that isn’t boring.

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Drinking

Spend some time revisiting distant (or not-so-distant) drunk dreams with your honey-bunny at some place besides your old dorm or the back room of Jimmy’s. The Violet Hour (1520 North Damen), though pretty stuffy, has an impressive array of cocktails. You and your tastycakes can practice your good posture and looking-good skills while sipping on drinks with names like “Oldest Living Confederate Widow” and “League of Nations.” Or, if you want to go cheap on dinner and splurge on drinks, kill two birds with one stone at Blackbird (619 West Randolph); resident mixologist Lynn House is known for her culinary twist on cocktails, which have been known to include blueberries, rosemary, or sweet potatoes.

1. Your Bed

We all know you’re a little too lazy for this Valentine’s shit, so combine some perfunctory romance with whatever you’d be doing normally and call it cute. Staying in bed when you should be doing something fancy and romantic is only lazy if you let it be. Act all fancy and get some macarons ahead of time from Alliance Bakery (1736 West Division), or act all “I’m hungry for real food,” and order some Harold’s from down the street. Or, if you’re single (God-forbid), listen to some Adele and then watch every Jane Austen novel-cum-TV-drama you can find. If nothing else, use this holiday as an excuse to do something this week besides study and cry about how cold it is, even if it’s only out of love for yourself.

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