By Cortney Mohnk

February 14. You either love it or dread it. It can be a high-pressure holiday for some who are determined to go above and beyond the typical dinner and movie. Take the stress out of Valentine’s Day! Here are five options for alternative date ideas around the Twin Cities.

Victorian Poetry Slam
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55201
(651) 297-2555
www.mnhs.org

If you or your honey have a way with words, check out this Victorian poetry slam. Set in one of the grandest historic homes in all of Minnesota, you’ll be awash with the feelings of elegance and grandeur just upon entering. Actors wearing gowns and suits from the late 1800’s will read poems from Browning and others, and invite guests to read short Victorian poems as well. Following the reading, tour the magnificent mansion of local railroad tycoon James J. Hill.

Snowshoe Under The Stars
North Mississippi Regional Park
3800 Bryant Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 230-6400
www.active.com

Strap on your snowshoes and take a starlit hike through the North Mississippi Regional Park. You’ll be accompanied by astronomy experts who will share stories of the constellations. Binoculars and telescopes will be available to take a closer peek. Hot chocolate will also be served to you and your date so you can warm up during this romantic evening under the night sky.

Romantic Dinner In A Haunted Mansion
Forepaugh’s Restaurant
276 S. Exchange St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-5606
www.forepaughs.com

An elegant atmosphere, distinctively delicious menu and excellent service are all common descriptions of Forepaugh’s. But a big talking point for diners who visit this Victorian mansion is the tragic romantic history here. Ghostly sightings of the home’s former owner, Joseph Forepaugh, and his mistress, a beautiful maid named Molly, have been frequently reported. Be sure to ask your server for some of the history, and keep a lookout for spirits while enjoying the impressive dinner selections, such as beef wellington or seared scallops.

Related:  Best Bars For Frozen Margaritas In Minnesota

Carriage Rides Along The St. Croix
Downtown Stillwater Pedestrian Plaza
200 Main St. N.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 342-1386

From 4 p.m.to 7 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, free carriage rides are available along the historic Stillwater riverfront.  This makes a perfect compliment to the charming local businesses that you can visit before or after your horse-drawn ride.  Walk to the nearby Northern Vineyards Winery for a tasting or Domacin Wine Bar for both a glass of wine and a romantic dinner. Top it all off with a sweet treat such as chocolate covered cherries at Candyland.

Couples Cooking Class
Kitchen Window
3001 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 824-4417
www.kitchenwindow.com

This culinary supply store in Calhoun Square hosts regular cooking classes where you can not only learn how to prepare delicious meals from skilled chefs but enjoy the fruits of your labors afterward. On the evening of February 14, couples can sign up for a six-course dinner session. You and your sweetie will create tasty pastries with fig, ricotta and rosemary honey, and poached lobster with cheddar and chive potatoes. A decadent chocolate strawberry cheesecake rounds out the evening’s menu.

Related: Best Lingerie Boutiques In Minnesota For Valentine’s Day

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