Non-traditional Date Nights For Valentine’s Day

Looking to get creative for your Valentine’s Day date this year? Milwaukee makes it easy.

With the most romantic holiday right around the corner, you could splurge on a generic prix fixe menu at a romantic restaurant. But allow me to suggest you buck tradition and try one of these more interactive date nights with your sweetheart or friends.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino (1721 W. Canal St.) has plenty of options. For dining, there are seven restaurants on the property from high end (Dream Dance) to casual (Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill) to hyper local (Locavore). And not only is Potawatomi home to the largest bingo hall in Wisconsin, there are abundant entertainment options for non-gamers. At Bonkerz Comedy Club, there are always free comedy shows at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday nights. The Northern Lights Theater also brings in an eclectic mix of performers. You could check out the country-rock stylings of Poco on Feb. 12, but I’d hold off until Friday, Feb. 26 and see G. Love and Special Sauce perform songs from their new album. And if you can handle the smoke, post up at Bar 360 to take in all the action from the gaming floor while you sip on craft cocktails and (hopefully) hang on to your cash. And if you get too drunk, just book a room at the new hotel.

MAM After Dark (700 N. Art Museum Drive), the Milwaukee Art Museum’s late-night social series, brings together people from all walks of life to get down in one of the city’s most iconic spaces. The next installment is on Friday, Feb. 19, with the theme “Quiet Clubbing,” encouraging guests to don wireless headphones and dance the night away. MAM claims that this is a “sensation never before seen in Milwaukee!” There will be two battling DJs – DJ Bizzon and DJ Why B – transforming Windhover Hall into a silent nightclub. If you are seeking another type of sensory experience, Jake Williams will also be performing solo piano and electronic beats, and Sara Meyer, two-time winner of the Greater Midwest Body Painting Competition, will be live painting, using skin as her canvas. Admission is $12 at the door, $10 in advance or free for Milwaukee Art Museum members. Purchase tickets here.

Bounce Milwaukee (2801 S. 5th Court) has laser tag, rock climbing, vintage arcade games and an inflatable sports arena – finally, a play land for adults! The 14,000 square-foot, two-level facility is for all-ages, but a majority of the clientele are adults and it’s exclusively 21-and-older from 9:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Adults have a great time with all of our attractions, but laser tag, sumo suit competitions, and the arcade built into our bar are all big hits with adults and couples,” says owner Becky Cooper Clancy. “Between mutual encouragement climbing the rock wall, to joining forces in fierce competition with other guests in laser tag or in the inflatable sports arena, there’s never a dull moment or lack of conversation.”

Bounce also has a restaurant featuring locally-sourced fare and beer, wine and craft cocktails if you work up an appetite.

Is a dive bar more your style? Koz’s Mini Bowl (2078 S. 7th St.) has been one of Milwaukee’s most unassuming, activity-filled spaces since 1978. Break the ice on a date by initiating a little friendly competition at one of the four mini bowling lanes, pool table or dart board. Or strike up a conversation about music over the old-school jukebox.

However you chose to spend your holiday, get out and enjoy all of the options Milwaukee has to offer.



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.