Free Valentine's Day Plans. If You Must.

Three ready-made romance blueprints for the Chicago lothario

By The Editors

Free Valentine's Day Plans. If You Must.
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25 January 2016

Valentine’s Day: it tends to happen this time of year.

We strongly advise against ignoring it. Instead, play the hero. But even heroes need a blueprint.

Thusly: three step-by-step St. Valentine's Day itineraries for the stumped but willing lothario.

Where to take her. What to buy her (besides fancy underpants). What to do.

One in the home, one in the city and one long weekend nearby. Mix and match, or follow one in its entirety.



Step 1: Book a Massage
With Zeel, booking an at-home massage is just as easy as hailing an Uber. Same-day service, but you’d be foolish to gamble. Book ahead for a 90-minute deep-tissue couples session. They’ll take care of everything from the massage beds to oils, but add a little something extra by picking up a woody Feu de Bois candle from Diptyque.

Step 2: Cook a Michelin-Starred Meal
Dinner's on you tonight, courtesy of Graham Elliot's just-released cookbook Cooking Like a Master ChefPro tip: you'll find it in the stacks of Read It & Eat It, the new Lincoln Park bookstore dedicated to all things culinary. Do your kitchen a solid and pop in for a visit. On the menu: Elliot's legendary buffalo chicken recipe served up with celery slaw and bleu cheese. GET THE RECIPE

Step 3: Lounge Around All Sexy Like
Beloved lingerie boutique Journelle is partnering with blooming do-gooders Flowers for Dreams for a Sweetest Day shopping event going down Saturday, February 13th. They’ll help ya procure the intimates. You get a complimentary mini bouquet. Win-win.


Step 1: Pick Up the Gift, Together
Dose Market is taking over the beautifully appointed Morgan MFG for a special Valentine’s Day edition. If you can’t find your token of love here, may God help you. Keep your eye out for: jewlery from Cities in Dust. Flowers from Field & Florist. All the things from West Loop's newest boutique Rider. You'll also wanna get into that kissing booth. Tickets right here

Step 2: Invade a Pop-Up Brunch
Think of your most adventurous brunch ever, then think 10x more adventurous. PlaceInvaders (who we've covered here before) is returning to Chicago to spread the underground supper club love. They’re keeping the location under wraps, per usual, but we caught word of a beautiful modern loft in River West. This one's gonna be good. Your tickets await.

Step 3: Dinner at a Neighborhood Gem
Post afternoon R&R, you’re heading to a Logan Square gem for dinner: Dos Urban Cantina, an inviting neighborhood joint plating up reimagined Mexican classics. Peep the menu here. Former Topolobampo chef Brian Enyart has an approach to Mexican cooking that’s clean, accessible and most definitely memorable. Don't skip the fried plaintain desert. 


Step 1: Check-in
Why Milwaukee? Easy to get to. Better-than-you-think food scene. Enough to keep you happily occupied for a weekend. Also: the Iron Horse Hotel, choice loft-style digs in a historic building with moto-inspired flourishes (the Harley-Davidson Museum is across the river, if you and yours are so inclined). Valentine’s Day package? Yep, they got ya covered.

Step 2: Grab Some Culture
Like the Guggenheim or the Louvre, the Milwaukee Art Museum is itself a stunning attraction worth visiting. It's Milwaukee's cultural crown. Spend some time inside. Stroke thy chin. Take a few photos. Check the current exhibitions right here. And know this: the architectural wings open in the morning and close in the evening.

Step 3: Eat All the Eats
Your main dining event on Saturday: Amilinda. It’s a former pop-up that went major with a permanent brick-and-mortar, and they’re offering up an imaginative menu built on Spanish Portuguese cuisine. Diverse flavors with Wisconsin roots.

You’ll also wanna pin these spots on your itinerary for a quick bite or otherwise: Anodyne Coffee for your caffeine fix, Vanguard Bar for your brat fix, Bryant's Cocktail Lounge for your old-timey cocktail lounge fix and Lakefront Brewery for your brew fix.

Nota bene: Gifts? You need more gifts, you say? Right this way to our Valentine's Day Gift Guide, courtesy of our National bureau. 

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