While dinner and a movie may be the classic date scenario, it
is hardly the most interesting option for one’s
Valentine’s Day plans. With the plethora of restaurant and
recreation venues Ann Arbor has to offer, finding just the right
spot for your tastes is relatively simple. For your convenience,
the Daily has compiled some alternative mix-and-match suggestions
to help make your V-Day a hit, whether you’re celebrating
with a special someone or flying solo with friends.

Julie Pannuto
The dating hotspot options in Ann Arbor go beyond the typical dinner and a movie. (Ali Olsen/Daily)

Food

Any food-loving couple should appreciate the native Ann Arbor
choice of Zingerman’s Deli. This world-famous, colorful and
delicious deli resides in historic Kerrytown on Detroit Street.
Whether you’re looking for a thick, meaty sandwich to split,
or bread, cheese and desserts to share for later, the bright
atmosphere of Zingerman’s will cheer up any winter or
relationship slumps either one of you are experiencing. Although
there’s an immense selection of foods and sandwich combos,
picky eaters beware: It’s the interesting flavors and names
that make the experience that much better.

Champion House is a Chinese restaurant/Japanese steakhouse on
East Liberty and accommodates a variety of moods. It can be a nice
place for a quiet dinner for two, but make sure to come early
because a slightly noisier crowd starts to move in later on. But if
you’re part of one of these large groups or just sake-bombing
for two, their potent drinks are guaranteed to do the trick and
start your night off just right.

The Chop House on South Main comes to mind when thinking of a
romantic setting to dine at with your significant other. If
you’re first-timers, don’t be afraid of the exquisite
table settings or the crumb remover that’s used between
courses, and ask exactly what those funny names mean on the menu if
you happen to be less than informed. Listen up guys; although it
will set you back slightly price-wise, the food is delicious and
she’s definitely more than worth it on Valentine’s
Day.

Locals of all kinds gather at Fleetwood Diner for greasy food,
no matter the time of day or night. Situated at 300 S. Ashley St.,
stepping into the aluminum-sided building with an awning to match
is a far different world than the white cloth seating and suited
waiters at the fine dining common to the area. After last call is
over and before stumbling home, the bar crowd flocks here for some
late night food. Open 24 hours, Fleetwood Diner is a hotspot for
all varieties of couples, bar-hoppers, night hawks, early risers
and insomniacs.

Fun

Whether to skim the shelves and giggle at kama sutra books,
scope out new DVDs and music, or talk over coffee in the
café, Borders Books and Music is a great place for couples
of all ages to gather. Located on East Liberty Street, across from
the Michigan Theater, the friendly and informal environment is
always busy and lively with people, especially on the weekends.
Borders might be the place to go if you two just met and are
nervous about keeping the conversation going full swing.

An alternative idea for couples is to check out the Main Street
Tee Shirts & Gifts at 220 S. Main St. Located in the midst of
upscale restaurants, it gives a more inner-city urban feel to the
street with its flashy neon signs and silk screen T-shirt prints of
almost anything you can imagine. From old beer logos and hippie
bands to our favorite heroes of the ’80s — Mr. T and
Strawberry Shortcake to name a couple — you’ll have fun
designing T-shirts for each other. Plus they’re ready so fast
that you can show them off on your walk back home.

Crazy Wisdom Books & Tea Shop at 114 S. Main St. is a
soothing place to relax, read about varieties of unconventional
methods of medicine and other practices such as palm reading, Wicca
and herbal alternatives. Upstairs is a comfortable little
café area serving an array of tea, caffeinated drinks and
bite-size desserts. Crazy Wisdom is a great place for couples who
like to relax and learn something new at the same time.

For the athletic couple, a challenging racquetball game at the
Central Campus Recreation Building or other local facility is a fun
idea for an energized date. If that’s not your style,
I’m sure you will have no problem thinking up other workouts
for the two of you to participate in — and you won’t
even have to leave your room.

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