Valentine’s Day is among the most loathed holiday for some, while it is a celebratory time for others. Even without a romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day calls for festivities, especially with all the options around Madison. Whether you are looking for a lavish candlelit evening with a significant other, a solo-celebration or a modest Galentine’s gathering with friends, Madison has something to offer for everyone. Close the dating apps, set aside your hopes of love from Datamatch, and check out these fun, inclusive and guaranteed mood-boosting activities to consider.
At home fondue night
Craving a night in? Forget the dining scene and (possibly) overcrowded restaurants — host a cozy night-in with your greatest friends, your favorite food, a romantic-comedy and at-home chocolate fondue. Head to Trader Joe’s on Monroe Street, grab an abundance of fresh fruit, melting chocolate, ingredients for your favorite dessert or other sweets — try the Sweet Cannoli Dip and thank me later. You cannot forget to peruse TJ’s lovely Valentine’s themed goodies — can you really go wrong with Belgian Chocolate Hearts or Gummy Xs & Os? Of course, you will need beverages to compliment this festive night-in. Perhaps a bubbly mocktail option for those of you continuing your dry January era? While you’re on Monroe, it’s the perfect time to head across the street to Bloom Bake Shop and pick your pre-order of any of their Valentine’s dessert specials for your cozy night in!
If you have not made your way downtown to Comedy on State, what are you doing? It is a fantastic, entertaining two-and-a-half hours of hilarity, Britney Spears’ cover performances and prize winning Bingo games. Bianca, a Drag Queen since 2012, has most recently won Miss Gay Wisconsin in Oct. 2022. Special guest Ginger, her most recent title as Miss Gay Southeastern Wisconsin 2023-2024, focuses on spreading LGBTQ+ pride in her hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Drag Bingo with Bianca Lynn Breeze and special guest Ginger Van Allen falls on Feb. 13, the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day this year. Take your bestie, significant other or yourself! Ticket prices are $13, and the show begins at 6:30 p.m. These Drag queens love to spend as much time with their audience as possible, so I recommend grabbing a bite to eat beforehand.
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Henry Vilas Zoo Valentine’s Trivia Night
Do you just absolutely adore animals and miss them during the Madison winter? This adult-only trivia night at Henry Vilas Zoo is perfect for you! Show your incredible animal knowledge to your date — or the random person next to you. Be sure to pre-register and purchase your $25 ticket before the event on Saturday, Feb. 10. Also important to note, this is a non-alcoholic event. Maybe also check the weather before heading out the door.
Wine & Design
Perhaps Valentine’s slipped your mind, and you do not have plans for your significant other or friend. In comes a painting date night by Wine & Design on Madison’s East Side! This is the perfect intimate, creative and relaxing environment for Valentine’s Day. Choose from channeling your inner Picasso with a guided painting lesson or Date Night Love in The Moon — you may see me at the Picasso painting event. Tickets must be purchased at least two hours before the event, making a great option for those last minute plans. One ticket is priced at $100 including two seats. Additional add-ons include a charcuterie box, macarons and/or adult beverages (for you twenty-one year olds). Just think, relationships may not last forever, but your Picasso impression definitely will.
Wanting that candle-lit dining experience this Valentine’s Day? The beloved Lucille is back again, offering their annual Valentine’s Day Special Date Night. For $70 per couple, bring your appetite for a bottle of wine, appetizer, heart-shaped wood-fired pizza and a dessert to split between you and your loved one. Besides, Lucille will be featuring a seasonal salad and exclusive dessert during this Wednesday, Feb. 14 event from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. only.
Lucille is offering a second fun get-together Valentine’s event for all you singles out there. Take yourself on a date or grab a friend to check out Lucille’s Palentines Bash! On Saturday, Feb. 10, join Lucille in their lounge where there will be a fun evening filled with activities. For a cover charge of $5, specialty cocktails, a DIY bouquet bar with fresh flowers and friendship bracelet making will be offered from 6–8 p.m.! If you are feeling frisky and wanting to stay out past your bedtime a little longer, there will also be music & dancing, featuring DJ Avalon from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Turn Key Supper Club
I could not write this article without mentioning Turn Key’s ‘Cheap Date Night’ on Thursdays. Although the day after this Valentine’s, you are never too late to celebrate anything with a salad, two entrees, dessert and a bottle of wine or a pitcher of beer for $60.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Madison!