It’s about time to start planning your special night — Valentine’s Day is getting close. A night out with your special someone can come in all shapes and sizes, from giving chocolates as a gift then going to dinner to catching a sporting event or live theater show. The Bend is brimming with dining options as restaurants present special menus. And with Valentine’s Day falling on a Thursday this year, events are carrying into the weekend.
RELATED CONTENT: Winter Hotel Deals in The Bend
Start planning your visit by ordering chocolate and picking a restaurant, then put together a weekend getaway. We’ve listed some options to help get the process started.
Pick Up South Bend Chocolate
Can you even do Valentine’s Day without chocolates? South Bend Chocolate Co. rolls out several products just for the holiday: Cupid Crunch, Valentine Pretzels, Hugs Pretzels, 4-Piece Turtle Valentines, 4-piece Cherry Blossoms, 5-piece Valentine and more. Of course, the classic heart-shaped box of chocolates is available too.
Fine Dining in The Bend
Valentine’s Day often revolves around a dinner date, so it’s a great time to check out some of The Bend’s destination restaurants. LaSalle Grill, Café Navarre, Temper Grille and Tippecanoe Place come to mind as fine dining options. Many area restaurants offer special menus just for the holiday. We put together a list of 11 ideas for Valentine’s Day dinner spots to get your planning started.
Dinner with a River Lights View
Let’s add one more to that list of 11. The Emporium Restaurant sits on the east bank of the St. Joseph River, offering sweeping views through large windows. After sundown, the South Bend River Lights (pictured below, with the Emporium off to the left) light up the night. You’ll be able to see the downtown South Bend skyline on the other side of the river. After dinner, walk along the river for an Instagram-able moment with the River Lights as a sparkling backdrop.
Take a Stroll Around Notre Dame
Few places in The Bend offer a more tranquil setting for a post-Valentine’s Day dinner walk. All the beautiful Notre Dame landmarks are worth your time. But if you can only choose one, we’d recommend a visit to the Grotto. Its candles always radiate peace, perhaps more so after snowfall during winter.
Date Night on Ice
Looking for something more active to do on Valentine’s Day? Visit Howard Park in South Bend to skate along its new ice trail. It’s open from 5-10 p.m. Fridays, noon-10 p.m. Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. DJ Skate Night is every Friday! Merrifield Park in Mishawaka puts on a special Valentine’s Day Couples Skate, complete with a DJ. This year’s event is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Feb. 14.
Get Your Game On
The Bend’s biggest entertainment destination, Four Winds Casino South Bend, offers an all-encompassing experience. Dine at one of its five restaurants — Copper Rock Steakhouse offers fine dining and Kankakee Grille features rustic cuisine — then head to the gaming floor or poker room for a night of thrills.
Head Outside for a Winter Hike
Outdoor enthusiasts might be looking for a reason to head outside for a serene winter hike. Head to St. Patrick’s County Park or Potato Creek State Park for miles of trails and scenery. Depending on the weather, you might be able to cross country ski or snowshoe too.
RELATED CONTENT: The Bend’s Best Hiking Trails
A Night with the Symphony
Dinner and a show, South Bend style. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will play an Indiana Trust Pops Series event called “Hollywood Hits” on Feb. 15. You can relive some of Hollywood’s greatest moments as SBSO performers scores from the James Bond franchise, “Rocky,” “Gone with the Wind” and more.
Hockey Night in The Bend
Here’s a Valentine’s weekend date idea sports lovers can get behind: The Notre Dame hockey team hosts Minnesota for a two-game series Feb. 14-15. Compton Family Ice Arena, one of the top venues in college hockey, is sure to be rocking.
Turn it into a Trip: Stay in The Bend
Ready to put several of these options together for a complete Valentine’s Day weekend? You’ll probably want a place to stay. Some of our hotels and bed and breakfasts are offering discounts during winter that might fit your itinerary.