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Valentine’s Day Game Plan

Student Blogger Noah Redmond shares his thoughts on how to make your VOLentine’s Day special.

Valentine’s Day while in college can be challenging and confusing. For some, you’re in a new city and that brings the challenge of what to do in Knoxville. Others may be in a long-distance relationship. And finally, there are those first timers who previous to this year acted like Valentine’s Day did not exist.

Whatever your situation, Valentine’s Day should be fun, so that is why I have created a “date night” for anyone in any situation!


Part I: The Activity

To begin the night, you always need to start off with something fun! You don’t have to spend $200 to impress your partner either, but you do need to try and make it unique so it’s a night they will never forget (starting with flowers and chocolate doesn’t hurt, either).

The Long-Distance Relationship

If you are in a long-distance relationship and can’t be together, don’t worry, you can still have an amazing date. One idea is watching a movie or show together. This is not some crazy or complicated thing. You both get on HULU or Netflix and select the same show. While you’re watching it, be on the phone or Face Time each other. It is simple but a perfect start to the night. I recommend watching a scary movie or stand-up comedian; it is a little more engaging then watching the Food Network!

The Knoxville Couple

So, you’re in Knoxville and you’re looking for something to do. If you are any bit like me, you don’t want to do something generic. Not much is worse than hyping up the night and upon arriving seeing five people from your math class… Below I have listed three options at different price levels.

  • Lower Cost – Create a scavenger hunt! This will take a little work but is so fun if done right. Create a map or list of steps and have your partner lead you from stop to stop! Along the way, make sure to get something from each of the places. The directions can also lead you to Part II which I will hit on later.
  • Medium Cost – Scavenger hunts not your thing? Don’t worry because there’s many other things to do. One being bowling! I don’t mean at the local bowling alley, but at Maple Hall. This 11-lane bowling alley located in the historic J.C. Penney building downtown is decked out with lounge areas, a bar, and a perfect retro feel that will make you want to stay all night. Just be aware that after 9pm you must be over 21.
  • Higher Cost – Are you tad bit artistic? Have you ever dreamt of painting while eating your favorite food? I haven’t but if you have then this is the perfect date night for you. Painting with a Twist downtown offers two event times to fit in any schedule, and at $25 for the 3:30-5:00pm option or $35 for the 7:00-9:00pm option it is a steal. Just grab some snacks and drinks and make your way here, saving room for dinner of course.


Part II: Dinner

So, you’ve made it through Part I and you’re ready for dinner. Where do you go, or what do you do? There are so many options for Valentine’s Day, and with many options it is hard to choose. I recommend focusing on what their favorite food is. If they like Italian, then go for Italian. I would not try something new or outrageous on Valentine’s Day because it would be awful if you or they do not like the food.


The Long-Distance Relationship

With your movie coming to an end or just when you get hungry and hit the pause button, your night does not have to end there! With the benefit of technology, you can have dinner together. You can Uber Eats your partner food and order yourself some too. Another option is using apps like Postmates and have groceries delivered to you! Let’s say your partner has a family recipe that they love, well, just order them and yourself the ingredients and make it together!! However you do it you can have dinner together no matter how far apart you are.

The Knoxville Couple

Lower Cost – Returning back to the scavenger hunt, a great option for dinner is to have your scavenger hunt end at a picnic! You don’t have to do a scavenger hunt to do a picnic either, it is always a great option for dinner. It is intimate and also impresses your partner because you will have had to plan and create the entire meal.

Medium Cost – Most students stay around downtown for dates, which makes sense because we like to stay near campus. However, a great option for dinner is Lakeside Tavern in West Knoxville. It is a little bit of a drive but worth it because of the delicious entrees and views of the river.

Higher Cost – An option closer to campus but a little less known is OliBea. OliBea is in the Old City surrounded by upscale bars, restaurants, and local shops. Known for its farm to table menu and small town feel it is a go to for breakfast and lunch. On Valentine’s Day, OliBea is hosting a five-course meal starting at 6:30pm and costs $65 per person. It is higher up on price, but it is sure to be an amazing meal and one that will certainly impress!


Part III: Dessert

Dessert is pretty much a must for Valentine’s Day, so make sure you pace yourself at dinner. There are some restaurants like OliBea which will offer dessert after your main courses which you can certainly take them up on. However, if you want to continue this journey then below are a few other ways you can cure your sweet tooth.

The Long-Distance Relationship

This Face Time call is starting to get extremely long and you’re definitely about to run out of data, but the date doesn’t have to end just yet! Depending on what you used for dinner you could have ordered the dessert portion too. If you did then yay, if not, then just get back on Uber Eats or Postmates and order either the dessert itself or continue your culinary ambitions and order just the ingredients! Seeing who makes a better cake or sundae is a fun way to end a night.

The Knoxville Couple

  • Lower Cost – Let’s say you have been out the whole evening and just want to go home and relax! Then just run by the grocery store and grab all the parts of your favorite desserts. Homemade sundaes, chocolate chip cookies, or cake to name a few are easy and inexpensive if you purchase the store brand kind.
  • Medium Cost – Want something fast where you don’t even have to leave your car? Well don’t look past Dunkin Donuts! With their heart shaped, cookie dough & brownie batter, or bling sparkle donuts you really can’t go wrong. Just get a dozen of random donuts and make it a game of guessing what kind they are!
  • Higher Cost – Keeping up the trend of staying downtown, why not head to one of the best ice-cream parlors in Knoxville. Cruze Farm, known for its classical appearance, old-timey feel, and familiar ice cream flavors always seems to impress. Cruze Farm ice cream is a perfect way to end the night because it is delivered quickly, and you can eat it on the go.

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that can be a challenge to plan, but with a little time and maybe help from this guide it can be a huge success, just don’t forget the flowers and chocolate!