5 Valentine’s Day Ideas in Bloomington-Normal

With the holiday season wrapping up, and a stack of Amazon boxes ready for the recycle bin, let Valentine’s Day be a day to give the gift of experiences, new memories, and epic moments. We compiled a list of five ways you can create new memories with the people you love in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

Use this year to show your friends you love them, to make your parent or grandparent feel special, to let your adult kids know they’re not too old to be spoiled by their parents, and to give the gift of new memories to the one you promised to spend a lifetime with.

Give the Gift of an Experience on Valentine’s Day 

  1. 3 Course Traveling Dinner 
  2. Paint the Town. Twice. 
  3. Game Night with 3 Rounds 
  4. Play Hooky & Be a Kid Again 
  5. Be a Tourist & Make Your Own History 

3 Course Traveling Dinner 

Go to one restaurant but only order appetizers. Then to a different restaurant for dinner. And finally a third just for dessert! You can spice it up and go to three different types of cuisines, or pick a theme and test out different local establishments. You can make it a bit more fun by putting the names of several restaurants in a hat, and the one you pick first is where you go for your first course, second course and third course. Then it’s a surprise for everyone! (And if you want to add a fourth course for breakfast, stay overnight with us and we’ll prepare the gourmet breakfast in the morning to round out your traveling dining excursion.) 

tiered tray of mini appetizer sandwiches

All of these downtown Bloomington restaurants excel at appetizers, dinners and desserts or after dinner drinks, so you can’t go wrong adding them to your traveling cuisine experience: 


Paint the Town. Twice.

For their inner artist, take them to paint pottery at Artful Designs during the day, and together in the evening paint on canvas at Merlot and a Masterpiece (it’s BYOD so it doesn’t have to be Merlot). These are great activities for groups of friends, Mother/Daughter moments and for kids. Everyone gets to create their own piece to take home as a memento. This is also a great option for those visiting from out of town because you can create items together that remind you of one another when you’re apart. 

3 Round Game Night Around Town

Are you better at darts? Are they better at trivia? Is someone the queen of board games? Test each other’s skills across all game types in one night of fun. Start at Fat Jack’s in downtown Bloomington with their line of dart boards (and impressive line of beer taps). Then check out Twin City Trivia! They are at different spots around town with different themes. So find the spot you want to test your skills on the same team against the rest of the bar! After high paced high stakes trivia, take a break for dinner, and pick up a new board game or card game together from Red Raccoon Games in downtown Bloomington.  

And if you want to get away from home to play, consider staying overnight with us at Vrooman Mansion and play your game in our historic Parlor.

historic parlor room with red velvet furniture and bright bay windows

We have a fridge where you can store your late-night drink of choice and simply relax and laugh together as you try to figure out the rules of your new found tradition. Enjoy your evening away reminiscing about the day, and wake up in the morning to the smell of gourmet breakfast made just for you. 

Play Hooky & Be a Kid Again

antique iron figurine of a child placed on top of a dresser

Take the day off work and go be a kid. Try the trampoline park. Go bowling. Find a matinee. See if you have what it takes for an Escape Room or finally try virtual reality at MassVR Bloomington. Then forget a traditional meal and have ice cream for dinner. Don’t overthink it. Let yourselves be silly! And finish the night with an old-fashioned sleepover at our place! Check here for availability

Be a Route 66 Tourist 

Often people know the least about where they live, because they’ve never experienced their town like a tourist. We encourage you to take a history tour of Bloomington-Normal and learn about the impact our not so little community has had on politics, education, agriculture and business. We recommend the itinerary below for the entire day which covers tours, places to eat and even a historical place to stay. Create your own historic moments, as you study history in and around town. 

antique route 66 sign in front of a bale of hay

  • Dinner at Epiphany Farms or Mystic Kitchen – While both restaurants are relatively new, the buildings they are in have a lot of history. Epiphany Farms is located inside the old fire station built in 1902. If you look up you might find where the fireman’s pole used to be, and the windows in the main dining area are the old fire engine stalls doors. And Mystic Kitchen is in the historic Illinois House Building that was a luxurious hotel in 1903 and the original location for Jack Lewis Jewelers.
  • Stay overnight with us at Vrooman Mansion – Built in 1869 with vintage elements preserved and the modern amenities you need, choose the room that fits your preferences and enjoy a gourmet breakfast in the morning at the original dining room to the mansion that served the likes of Eleanor and President Roosevelt. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Vrooman Mansion! 

Create new memories. Give the gift of time and laughter. Discover new things about where we live, but most importantly discover new things about one another. Book your stay and come make history. 

Upgrade Your Upcoming Stay 

Have you already booked your stay? Looking for other ways to make it memorable? Check out the luxurious extras you can add on. Just give us a call before you arrive and we’ll take care of the rest: 

  • A charcuterie tray ready when you arrive 
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries & Champagne 
  • S’mores to beat the winter chill 
  • Fresh Flowers 
  • An in-room massage 
  • A bath package for rooms with beautiful clawfoot bathtubs

bouquet of pink flowers on a white fireplace mantle in front of a mirror with antique wallpaper reflected in the background

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