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.
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.
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, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tippecanoe Place come to mind as fine dining options. Many area restaurants will offer menus just for the holiday. Check out some of Midwest Living magazine’s favorite spots and your other options around town. Make sure to call ahead for reservations, then you can plan the rest of your night and weekend around the special occasion.
Dinner with a River Lights View
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 Valentine’s Day walk. Start your visit with dinner at Livery, a new Latin-themed restaurant at Eddy Street Commons. Then walk over to Kilwins and grab hot chocolate before making your way to campus. 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. Head to Mishawaka for a couple’s skate at the rink in Merrifield Park. A DJ will be on hand spinning music as couples glide around the ice. Admission covers skate rental and snacks.
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.
Tea Time at Sorin’s
Looking to do something a little different? Afternoon tea at Sorin’s inside the Morris Inn is just that. Guests start by selecting from fair trade, organic Rishi Teas – after letting their aromas do the talking – that will be served in an individual French press. Along the way you’ll be treated to sweet and savory small bites and sweets, making for a decadent experience.
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 “Dancing & Romancing” on Feb. 16. Broadway stars Joan Hess and Kirby Ward will take the stage for an evening of song and dance alongside the orchestra.
Hockey Night in The Bend
Here’s a Valentine’s weekend date idea sports lovers can get behind: The nationally ranked Notre Dame hockey team hosts Wisconsin for a two-game series Feb. 15-16. 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. Beyond our hotel options, you can also book a stay at one of The Bend’s quaint bed and breakfasts for an overnight stay with a personal touch.