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Think outside the chocolate box

Alternative Valentine’s Day ideas

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Forget champagne, nothing says, “I love you” like a PBR.
Photo: Allison Duck

Boxes of chocolate and roses are such passé Valentine’s gifts. Anyone can run to the drug store and grab an impersonal candy assortment or a silly teddy bear clutching a heart.

You’ll get real points if you think outside the box this V-Day and come up with something a little more creative. Here are a few ideas to use as a jumping off point for an exciting Valentine’s Day weekend.

Get cozy while you get sloshed: Rhumbar at the Mirage will celebrate Valentine's Day with Snuggies, S’mooches and S’mores. Warm up on a cool February night with the S’mooches and S’mores Cocktail and your sweetie. Mixologist Kristen Schaefer created the unique beverage featuring cayenne-pepper infused hot cocoa mix, Dekuyper Vanilla Schnapps, Appelton Rum and a marshmallow, graham cracker and hot fudge garnish. The drink comes with a Rhumbar embroidered Snuggie to keep you cozy.

Lisa Lampanelli

Make her laugh: If your date can handle killer insults, take her to see Lisa Lampanelli, aka Comedy’s Loveable Queen of Mean, playing Valentine’s Day eve at The Pearl. Next to Lampanelli’s jabs and insults, you’ll look like a saint! If you’re looking for a comedian who’s a tad less in your face, though only by a little, check out Ron White over at The Mirage for a dose of low brow humor.

Take your lady to a show: Crooner Jimmy Hopper will begin his Sunday night residency at The Lounge at The Palms this Valentine’s Day. Be among the first to check out his high-energy vocals on songs ranging from opera to symphonic rock at this free weekly show.

Take a walk down Lover's Lane and end up at Ethel's Chocolate Factory.

Take a walk down Lover’s Lane: The folks at Ethel's Cactus Garden have created an illuminated Lover's Lane through the cacti, leading to their picturesque gazebo where you can pose for the perfect photo op. The lights come on at dusk and remain lit until 10 p.m. After that, head inside the factory (it closes at 8 p.m.) to sample delectable treats like hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries.

Spice up your night with some cultural cuisine: Wing Lei restaurant at Wynn is celebrating the Chinese New Year, also on Feb. 14, with the return of their popular Dim Sum Brunch, served tableside. The meal includes shrimp or pork dumplings, sesame balls and spare ribs plus a buffet station featuring cold half lobster, sushi, a carving station as well as specialties from other Wynn and Encore restaurants. On Valentine’s Day a group of performers will be doing the traditional Lion Dance by Wynn’s South Valet entrance starting at 7 p.m.

If your pizza turns out like this, you'll score big points with your date.

Show off your skills in the kitchen: Get in touch with your domestic side this Valentine's Day and show your lover you can actually cook, not just order, pizza. Sammy's Woodfired Pizza will be selling pizza kits starting at only $5. The kits include freshly made pizza dough and Sammy's homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a blend of herbs for the perfect finishing touch. There's even a gluten-free option. You can pick up the kits at any of the five area locations.

Don’t be bitter, embrace the single life, or at least the alcohol: All the single ladies are invited to party it up on Singles Awareness Day at Rockhouse. The bar will be granting all unescorted ladies complimentary cover, two-for-one well drinks and $5 money shots from 10 p.m. until close all weekend long.

Spice up your Valentine's Weekend with some Chili at Lake Las Vegas.

Spice things up a bit: The Village at Las Vegas will host dozens of chili makers in the 2010 Silver State Regional Chili Cook-Off, sanctioned by the International Chili Society. Cooks will produce their best red chili, chili verde and salsa to be judged. Nothing says “I still love you” like continuing to walk around a festival with your loved one after he’s slopped chili down his shirt.

When in doubt, try oysters: If you're looking for a classy snack to impress your date, but don't want to break the bank, start your meal at LBS: A Burger Joint where you can dine on the aphrodisiac appetizer special, which includes two glasses of champagne and fried west coast oysters in a spicy remoulade sauce for $12.

If you can’t land a date the usual way, there’s always hypnosis: Don Barnhart will be headlining all week at the LA Comedy Club at the Four Queens along with Ron Josol. Barnhart can be heard regularly on Bob and Tom and is a veteran performer for The USO and Comics On Duty. On Valentine's Day, Barnhart will break out his hypnosis routine for the late show. If all else fails, you could always hypnotize a stranger into thinking you're the one.

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