The ten best places for a Valentine’s Day date in Blo-No

Liz Stein, Staff Writer

Whether you’re looking for something to do with a special someone or a group of friends this Valentine’s Day, Bloomington-Normal has many options to get off campus and have a good time. While you may have a decent idea of where you want to eat, sometimes, it’s always harder to find something new and exciting to try.


  1. Miller Park Zoo – 1020 S Morris Ave., Bloomington. The zoo is open daily 9:30-4:30 p.m. An added bonus of the Miller Park Zoo is that every Friday in February admission is free. While it may be small, Miller Park Zoo is an underappreciated gem. Be on the lookout for Big Bird the turkey.
  2. Ice Skating at the Bloomington Ice Center – 201 S Roosevelt Ave, Bloomington. Instead of escaping the cold, try to embrace it. There is no better place than the Bloomington Ice Center to strap some razor blades to your feet and pretend you’re going to the Winter Olympics. Skate circles around  Find the open skate schedule at 
  3. Catch a film at Normal Theatre – 209 W North St Normal. It doesn’t get any more vintage than The Normal Theatre. On the marquee this month, you can catch “My Bloody Valentine,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Decision to Leave” and “The Princess Bride.” Check showtimes at 
  4. Merlot (or Mocktails!) & A Masterpiece – 412 N Main St, Bloomington. Check out their website for planned classes or to book a private class for you and your favorites at
  5. Catch a show at The Castle Theatre – 209 E Washington St Bloomington. Check out for the current lineup and ticket prices for some epic live shows
  6. Get your game on at Red Raccoon Games – 309 N Main St, Bloomington. By far one of the most inclusive, welcoming spaces in all of BloNo, with a wildly awesome variety of tabletop games, puzzles and trading card games. They have more information about special events and hours on their website, 
  7. BOOK DATE AT BOBZBAY BOOKS – 419 N Main St, Bloomington. They are open from 10:00-6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Nothing is more romantic or friend-point-gaining than showing that you care about your bookworm by taking them to an indie book shop and buying each other a book or 10.
  8. Challenge Time at Iron Coyote – 4113 Oakland Ave Bloomington. Calling this place an amusement park is accurate, but you won’t find a rollercoaster here. Think more American Ninja Warrior. Check the website for hours and pricing. 
  9. Get Bowled over at Pheasant Lanes – 804 N Hershey Ln Bloomington. There is a lot more here to offer than bowling. Check out daily specials at 
  10. Thrift Shop Dinner Party – Hear me out, you and your group go to a thrift shop of your choice and choose outfits for each other. Then, you go out for dinner in your potentially hilarious outfits. Don’t forget to accessorize.