Flowers, chocolate and jewelry stores are featured preeminently as Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, but when you’ve found that special person in your life, these items can seem cliche. Give this day of love a fresh spin with these unique gift ideas that make the most of great local options and put the emphasis on time together.
1901 Glendale Road
Hastings, MN 55033
Got someone who’s still a kid on the inside? Book a date at Extreme Sandbox and indulge those inner whims. Located in Hastings, this big-kid playground offers the opportunity to work with heavy equipment like skid steers, excavators and bulldozers. Learn to operate these fun machines while working your way through activities and obstacle courses. Pick from a number of packages, ranging from the Mini Sandbox adventure with a skid steer (starting at $195) or give the ultimate adventure of the Extreme Sandbox package, which includes six hours of equipment use (starting at $895).
2424 Franklin Ave. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Get dirty on a pottery date for Valentine’s Day this year. Attend one of Northern Clay’s regular “Clay for Couples” workshops, held on weekends regularly through late winter/early spring. Or sign up for the “9th Annual Valentine’s Day Workshop” for a specially themed night of throwing pots and a romantic dinner. These workshops run from $60 to $95 per couple, and guarantee a creative, fun time. For more information on each workshop and registration instructions, see Northern Clay’s class schedule here.
Valentine’s Day TC 5K
Lake Harriet Bandshell
4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Get physical with your sweetie with a fun and invigorating 5K around picturesque Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Put on by Twin Cities in Motion (the same organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon and other fun running events throughout the year), this race is a great way to spend some time with your loved one and do something good for you both. Run on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. The race offers great swag including a long-sleeve tech t-shirt, complimentary hot chocolate at the race and a post-race party at Cooper’s Irish Pub.
Cooks of Crocus Hill
877 Grand Ave.
St Paul, MN 55105
Heat things up with a fun cooking class at reputed kitchen store and cooking school Cooks of Crocus Hill. Consistently top-rated by Minnesota Monthly and regularly featuring guest chefs from some of the area’s best restaurants, there’s plenty to learn here. Enjoy learning about homemade pasta, steak and scotch, or make sweets for Valentine’s Day, among many other choices. Snag a gift card so that special someone can pick out their favorite class. Cooks of Crocus Hill offers classes at all three of Twin Cities locations.
Summit Brewing Company
910 Montreal Circle
St. Paul, MN 55102
Summit Brewery is one of Minnesota’s best known breweries. The beer maker offers free brewery tours, including samples of the brews – all you have to do is make a reservation. The approximately 90-minute tours take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and more tour times are released on a rolling four-week basis every Monday. Sign up online and surprise your honey this Valentine’s Day with a visit to Summit.
Sassy professional by day, men’s style expert by night, Bethany Rein is a twenty-something living in Minneapolis. She loves baseball, coffee and the well-dressed male. An avid runner, Bethany also plays recreational sports with more enthusiasm than skill. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.