It's the day before Valentine's Day, and you are panicking because you feel like you need to recognize this Hallmark holiday and you haven't made plans. There's added pressure because it's on a Friday. Perhaps you're all "IDGAF about Valentine's Day." That's fine, this article isn't for you.

However, if you'd like a suggestion or seven, that don't involve going out to eat because good luck getting a reservation now, and are relatively inexpensive (free even!) then here are some options, in no particular order. And please note, you do not need to have a significant other to experience these things.


Get your Latin groove on at Urbana Dance Company

Grab your partner or a friend or just show up and make a friend, and do some Latin dancing. For just $10 ($8 if you have a student i.d.) you can dance your cares away. If you are bringing your significant other, keep it PG folks. This is a family-friendly event. In fact, if you really want to spend the evening with your kids, you can bring them along. Kids 11 and under are free, and if you DO bring another person they get in free as well! Show up at 8 p.m. to get some free lessons.

Date some books

Forget people, books will not let you down. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is hosting a book "speed dating" event to get to know some of the treasures they possess. Think books are boring? Think again! Check out this description: "Visit some of the most fun, fine, & flirty books in our collection. Spend ten minutes each with six of our favorite books. You will learn about, see, smell, & even gently touch the books!" Sounds like a saucy time to me.

A poster with a light pink background. There is a red heart-shaped lollipop and a red flower. The words Misfit Market are in the center. Image from Facebook event page.Image from Facebook event page.

Hit up the Misfit Market

This pop up market will be popping up in style for Valentine's Day. Head to Broadway Food Hall between 5 and 9 p.m. to enjoy an eclectic collection of experiences: Dancing, wine tasting, a host of cool local artists and artisans selling their wares, even a "hypno-affirmation" session. You can check out the event page for a full list of vendors and timing on the experiences. 

Cheer on the Women’s Gymnastics Team

U of I Gymnastics meets are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. They are full of energy, and these women are simply amazing to watch. Tomorrow they take on Western Michigan, and they will wearing pink and raising money for the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, so if you want to keep it all Valentine-y you can wear your pink and fit right in. 

A view of the front entrance of Krannert Art Museum. The facade is mostly glass, and there are four columns in front. It is lit in orange and purple, and there are two red inflatable pieces visible through the glass. Photo by Fred Zwicky from Illinois News Bureau.Photo by Fred Zwicky from Illinois News Bureau.

Check out Hive at KAM

If you've driven by Krannert Art Museum lately you've probably noticed the giant red inflatables visible through the windows of Kinkead Pavilion. This new exhibit, Hive, is the work of artist Nancy Davidson. If you have time to sneak over and see it up close before the museum closes at 5 p.m., you'll also get to experience Lakshmi Ramgopal’s audio installation that accompanies the physical pieces. You can learn more about all of it here. Be sure to admire it from afar as well, as it is quite visually striking from outside the museum, especially at night. 

Get into some Valentine's Day blues at Rose Bowl

Local institution Candy Foster and Shades of Blue are performing at the Rose Bowl beginning at 9 p.m. and cover is just $7. They have a long playlist of R&B favorites that will inspire you to dance or bob your head or maybe cry in the corner with your beer if that's what you need. You do you. 

A close up of the label of a bottle of red wine. The label is white and says 2014 Sexual Chocolate at the top. A stemless wine glass sits to the left of the bottle. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Buy yourself some flowers and wine and cookies at the Co-op and watch Netflix

Okay so who says you have to go out and do things for Valentine's Day, and who says you even have to spend the day with anyone but yourself. There are no rules! Maybe it's time for some good ole indulgent me-time. Common Ground has super cute Valentine message cookies in their bakery, and I've discovered a rather delicious wine there that yes, I picked because of the name. Grab some flowers for yourself, because you deserve them, and you've got all the makings of a lovely evening. My most recent Netflix binges have been Cheer and Sex Education. Highly recommend. 

Top photo from Common Ground Co-op Instagram.