Here's a list of outside-the-candy-box Valentine's Day date ideas

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This weekend, $4.3 billion will be spent on jewelry for Valentine's Day gifts, $2 billion on flowers, $1.7 billion on candy and $1 billion on cards, according to the National Retail Federation.

That averages to $136.57 per person spent on traditional ways to acknowledge their affection.

Well, candy is dandy, but why not try something different? A multicourse gourmet dinner with wine? An activity you and your new date can do together with no commitment involved? Maybe you have a hard time expressing your love, so you want to hire a barbershop quartet to vocalize that sentiment for you?

Or if you're sick of the whole Valentine's hype, try the "Cupid Is Stupid: Anti-Valentine's Day" party at Chattanooga Brewing Co. on Feb. 14 from 5 p.m. to midnight. Sample the one-time-only Valentine's Day brew while listening to music by Heather Holt. They'll even provide a pinata on which you can whack out your frustration.

Here is a list of ideas for Valentine's weekend dates that think outside the candy box.


* Where: Feed Co. Table and Tavern, 201 W. Main St.

* When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

* Cost: $100 per person, reservation deadline Thursday

* For more information:

This special date night is a Master Distillers Supper featuring a five-course dinner with spirit pairings from George Dickel and The Bitter Bottle that are paired with delicious food prepared by chef Charlie Loomis. After tasting the first course you'll know why Loomis beat Bobby Flay in a Food Network throwdown!

Diners will have the chance to discuss products with Master Distiller Nicole Austin of George Dickel and food with Loomis. The event also includes a silent auction, and all proceeds will benefit Hart Gallery.


* Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View

* When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $75 general admission, $125 VIP

* For more information:

A sexy, masquerade-themed party just adds to the romance of Valentine's Day. Come dressed to impress, and a mask is required.

This masquerade presented by Soire'e Chattanooga includes live music, heavy hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. The VIP ticket includes complimentary valet parking, private lounge, premium open bar, dessert stations plus access to the Hunter's new "SouthBound" art exhibit.


* Where: Brainerd United Methodist Church, 4315 Brainerd Road

* When: 7:30 p.m. lesson, 8:30-10:30 p.m. dancing Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $5 first-time guests, free for USA Dance members, $10 nonmembers, free for all men

* For more information:

Do you tune into "Dancing With the Stars" and wish you knew those smooth moves? Here's a chance to learn how to ballroom dance for minimal cost while spending Valentine's Day with your sweetheart. Tisha Deal will teach everyone how to waltz at 7:30 p.m., then put your new skills to the test during the dance that follows.


* Where: The Chattery, 1800 Rossville Ave.

* When: 7:30-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $30

* For more information:

Make your own Love Potion No. 9 when Kaleena Goldsworthy of The Bitter Bottle teaches the class how to make three cocktails and the basic skills needed to replicate what you learn at home.

At the end of class, everyone will leave with recipe cards to try their newfound skills on their valentine.


* Where: The Mad Priest, 719 Cherry St.

* When: 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $5 general admission, $30 VIP

* For more information:

After dinner or dancing, join this late-night poetry session with Erika Dionne Roberts and beverages.

The VIP ticket includes reserved seating in front and four mini beverages; curated beverages that pair with each poem are available by separate purchase with general-admission tickets.


* Where: Wanderlinger Brewing Co., 1208 King St.

* When: 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $100 couples, $50 individuals

* For more information:

Couples ages 21 and older let their inner artist loose at this art class with beer.

Class fee includes two canvases per couple, all art supplies and a flight of four beers. Sling Em's food truck will be on-site. Stick around after class for the free '80s dance party with music by Mystery Box and DJ Kyng.


* Where: Rock City, 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain

* When: Thursday-Monday, Feb. 13-17

* Cost: $44 per couple Feb. 13-14; $49 per couple Feb. 15-17

* For more information:

Share what's in your heart to your sweetheart against the romantic backdrop of Lover's Leap overlook - the perfect place for a proposal. Either package includes two tickets to Rock City, two glasses of sparkling wine or cider at Cafe 7, one souvenir photo and one slice of Valentine's Day fudge.


* Where: Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant, 2 W. Aquarium Way

* When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: Menu prices

* For more information: 423-708-8505

If mood music is too mushy for you, then maybe some Southern rockabilly, gospel or country is more your style. Jason Lee Wilson and James County will entertain guests, sharing stories of legends and the land that shaped them.

Reservations required; book online or call 423-708-8505.


* Where: Mayan Kitchen, 507 Broad St.

* When: 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $10 per person

* For more information:

Valentine's Day shouldn't wrap up when dinner is finished. Stop in Mayan Kitchen for a Passion Fruit Mojito and dancing to music of DJ Zach Givarz. This party is open to singles and couples.

Guests who eat Valentine's Day dinner at the restaurant automatically get in the party for free. Must be 21 or older to attend.


* Where: Ruby Falls, 1720 S. Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain

* When: Feb. 14-16

* Cost: $69 per couple

* For more information:

This after-hours date night takes couples 1,120 feet below the summit of Lookout Mountain for a guided tour of the cavern lit only by handheld lanterns.

Guides will share tales of local legendary romances, including that of Leo Lambert and his wife, Ruby, which led to the discovery of Ruby Falls.


* Where: Former 2 Sons Kitchen and Market location, 422 E. M.L. King Blvd.

* When: 7-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $70

* For more information:

Here's a pop-up dinner in the former 2 Sons location that offers a six-course meal with cocktail pairings from the Lil Oso team.


* Where: Crabtree Farms, 1000 E. 30th St.

* When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14

* Cost: $30 individual, $54 couples

* For more information:

Here's a night out that doesn't require a date or is a good choice for a purely platonic date night. Join this workshop to learn the art of tying a variety of useful knots led by Robert Temple and Jessie Gantt-Temple. Participants may bring their favorite beverage as well as finger foods to share.


* Where: The Whitebird in the Edwin Hotel, 102 Walnut St.

* When: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15

* Cost: $65 per person, exclusive of taxes and 22 percent service charge

* For more information: 423-713-5900

Enjoy a four-course, locally inspired Valentine's dinner in The Whitebird that includes crispy pork belly with charred cabbage and tamarind glaze, hanger steak with shiitake mushrooms, roasted baby carrots and, to top it off, chocolate fudge with peppered strawberries and meringue.

The hotel is also offering a romantic getaway package that includes spa treatments, three-course dinner for two, welcome beverage and more.


* Where: Read House, 107 W. M.L. King Blvd.

* When: Dinner seatings at 5 or 7:30 p.m. Friday or Saturday, Feb. 14-15

* Cost: Dinner for two starts at $199

* For more information:

If you haven't seen the historic Read House since its renovation, here's your chance to enjoy dinner for two and overnight accommodations in its Gatsby-era charm.

Your stay will include an in-room bottle of champagne, chocolate swans and four-course prix-fixe dinner for two with optional wine pairing ($45) in the opulent Green Room, where Naomi Ingram will entertain diners.


* Where: The Moxy, 1220 King St.

* When: Friday, Feb. 14, continuing through Dec. 30

* Cost: Rates are per room per night

* For more information: 1-800-228-9290

Leave the kids with the grandparents and enjoy a romantic downtown getaway with this package that includes a box of chocolates and bottle of champagne on arrival, $40 Moxy Moolah and late check-out. Advance reservations required; use promotional code LVU.


* Where: Frothy Monkey, 1400 Market St.

* When: After 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 13-15

* Cost: $50 per couple, bottle of wine additional $25

* For more information:

Start your date-night dinner with a cheese plate or small salad. Choose from either braised beef short rib, herb-crusted mahi or penne pasta for your entree, then follow that with a shared dessert of chocolate pound cake layered with white-chocolate mousse and two chocolate truffles.

Open Table reservations are available online at


* Where: Princess Theatre, 215 S. Cedar Ave. in South Pittsburg, Tennessee

* When: 7 p.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 15

* Cost: $15 per person

* For more information:

Dance and sing along to the music of Elvis and Carl Perkins at this fundraiser for the theater. Shake, Rattle & Roll oldies tribute band will perform.


* Where: Alhambra Shrine, 1000 Alhambra Drive

* When: 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15

* Cost: $10 per person

* For more information: 423-892-0223

Keep the spark in Friday's romance alive by taking your sweetheart dancing on Saturday. DJ Ken Hughes will spin hits for this annual Shrine fundraiser that is bring-your-own-beverage and snacks.


* Where: Tennessee Valley Theatre, 184 W. Jackson Ave., Spring City, Tenn.

* When: 6 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. program

* Cost: $22 singles, $40 couples

* For more information: 423-365-7529, reservations due Thursday

After dining on roast pork or chicken, green beans, potatoes, salad, beverage and dessert, enjoy the music of emcee and soloist Vickie Gould. Also performing will be Linda Abel, Randy Bright, Justin and Kahala Jennings, Tony McCuiston and Kerri Pitt.


* Where: The Vibe Room, 3661 Brainerd Road, Suite 309

* When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15

* Cost: $25

* For more information:

The more you sip, the better your artwork will seem to appear. BYOB for this paint party.


Surprise your sweetheart with a Singing Valentine performed by a quartet from the Choo Choo Chorus.The quartet will sing two love songs and present your special someone with a bud vase holding a red rose, baby’s breath and ferns as well as chocolates and a card with your personal endearment.The fee is $50 for the quartet to arrive at a specified destination within a four-hour window; $100 to arrive within one hour. To hire a quartet: 423-265-SING.