Metro-East Living

Here are inexpensive ways to treat your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day

Five fun and frugal Valentine’s Day ideas

Looking for something frugal to do this Valentine's Day? Here are five suggestions.
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Looking for something frugal to do this Valentine's Day? Here are five suggestions.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your sweetie some love this Valentine’s Day.

From free events and festivals to cheap eats and free ones, the most romantic month of the year doesn’t have to break the bank.

Looking for something fun to do with your partner for less than $25 per couple? Check out this list of fun and frugal date ideas for the month of February — or whenever you get around it.

Cheap drink and eats

  • Go wine tasting for $3 per person at the Weingarten, 1780 IL-15, Belleville (, 618-257-9463). The bar and kitchen at the Weingarten will be open on Valentine’s Day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The wine bar and event space will be open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday throughout the month of February.

An employee at the Belleville Crossings White Castle pauses to take a photo of the wedding inside the White Castle Friday. Derik Holtmann

  • Don’t sleep on the idea of going to White Castle. Sliders can be romantic on Valentine’s Day. The restaurant doesn’t offer table side service every day. Servers will bring your sliders to the table from 4 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at White Castle locations nationwide. Want to go? It’s best to make a reservation at

Gourmet cupcakes by Smallcakes Cupcakery in Fairview Heights. Cara Anthony

  • Grab a gourmet cupcake then head to a free attraction. Smallcakes Cupcakery in Kirkwood and Fairview Heights will offer specialty cupcakes for under $5 in Feb. 1 4. Both locations will offer a cupcake with a chocolate cover strawberry on top.

  • Go for the $2 sangria at Seven Belleville, 7 S. High Street, (, 618-277-6700). This red sangria special is available Thursdays.

Protip: There’s a chance your favorite hangout has a deliciously cheap item on the menu. Ask a server about the best night to come in the next time you’re there.

Movie, games, bowling and more

Tuesday is the best night to find frugal deals in the meto-east. Here’s a list of cheap dates for Tuesday night and Valentine’ Day, Feb. 14, which falls on a Thursday this year.

Fun Spot in Belleville has changed its exterior appearance. Shiny galvanized steel exterior bordered with painted red and yellow flames and shiny steel 3-D letters. ND/Derik Holtmann Sunday Magazine 11/14/05 Derik Holtmann

  • Celebrate early this year at Fun Spot. Bargain night is Tuesday at Fun Spot Skating Center, 1400 West Blvd, Belleville (, 618-234-4502). Every Tuesday guests can enjoy $3 admission and $2 for any skate rentals. Fun Spot also has some snack bar specials on bargain night for $2. The skating rink will also offer a Valentine’s Day special from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 9. For $25, coupes will receive admission for two, two skate rentals, two soft drinks and two slices of pizza.

  • $2 Tuesday at Bel-Air Bowl, 200 S. Belt West (Belleville,, 618-233-1703).

Cheap movies and shows

  • Head to a Marcus Theater to see “Beauty and the Beast” with your date on Feb. 14 or see “The Notebook” with other single friends on “Galentine’s Day,” Feb. 10. “Beauty and the Beast” will show at the O’Fallon location and participating theaters in Missouri , “The Notebook” will be screened in St. Charles. Tickets are $5, with half off wine and other specials available.

  • Watch a throwback movie at Edwardsville’s Wildey Theatre (, 618-307-1750), 252 North Main St., for $2 Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

Free activities and attractions.

  • The Saint Louis Art Museum offers free admission year-round and to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the museum is passing out free paper hearts. What’s the deal with that? Visitors can show their love to their favorite pieces of artwork by placing a paper heart beneath it or nearby. Don’t forget to snap a photo to share with your friends and family on social media.

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, 5025 Pattison Ave., St. Louis (, 314-338-3501) offers free tours eery half hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tours are also available 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Pro tip: Call ahead for reservations. The best part of this tour? Free samples.

  • Excel Bottling, 488 S. Broadway, Breese (, 618-526-7159) also offers free tours to the public. Call ahead if you plan to go. The soda factory offers tours by appointment on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. The plant is open every day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Wednesdays and Sundays.

  • Visit the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis (, 314-746-4599). The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and open late every Tuesday night until 8 p.m. Admission is free.

Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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