Five ways to have one grand Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Don’t have any plans yet for the one near and dear to your heart? No worries; our two towns offer an abundance of SimplyGrand date options!

Here are my Top 5 suggestions.


Lace up the skates and begin your day with a camel spin through the Town Square outdoor ice rink. The venue may be cool but some freshly brewed coffee or hot chocolate from right across the street, at The Ember, will warm your hands and heart. Peruse through our unique Downtown boutiques and art galleries…maybe even stop by Signature Jewelers or Badman Design to find some fabulous bling. Take a more casual approach to dinner with pizza (Spicy Hawaiian is my fav), craft beer (try one of the sours) and a fun game of Sorry or UNO at Half Brothers Brewing Company. If you’re there past 9 PM, enjoy some great live tunes performed by talented local and regional artists.


The Toasted Frog is the best place around to get pickled. By that, I mean their marvelous martinis and dillicious deep-fried cheesy pickles are so mind-blowing, they’ll make your head (and taste buds) spin! Prepared by some of the area’s top chefs, The Frog’s nightly specials and main entrees are stellar, as well. Upon exiting the Frog, take a stroll along 3rd Street, then head over and up to Sky’s Cloud Nine on the 2nd floor of 322 DeMers. Along with a beautiful view of Downtown, treat your five-star sweetie to a five-star dessert. My first choice is always Sky’s out of this world blondie brownie that comes crowned with ice cream and a decadent sea salt caramel sauce.


If you really wanna woo your boo, rent the penthouse or one of the theme suites at Canad Inns Destination Centre. Get wild and share the Old West Dakota room with your partner or perhaps a tropical getaway in the South Seas is more to your liking. Since all of them have Jacuzzis, you can wine and dine while you dip by ordering up room service from one of Canad’s onsite restaurants.


Cross the bridge into East Grand Forks for a romantic movie and some ‘heart’y food. Start out the evening with an earlier showing at River Cinema 15, perhaps in one of the theaters featuring heated recliner seats. When the happy tale ends, let the canoodling over noodles begin. Grab your hot little mamma’s hand and journey down the Riverwalk Centre hallway…to Mamma Maria’s Italian Restaurant. This cozy dining spot happens to serve some of the most carbolicious dishes around like the Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Penne Rosa and garlicky good Pasta Primavera. When it comes to dessert, holy cannoli are Mamma’s good.

River Cinema popcorn


Enjoy an evening on the Southside with wine, your woman (or man) and song. Let the date begin with a delicious dinner and fine bottle of wine at Helix. Start out with one of their awesome appetizers such as the Pork Belly Flatbread, Charcuterie Tray or Helix Fries topped with queso, salsa, pickled jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream. When it comes to amazing entrees, my trifecta are the Vegetable Gnocchi, Pan Roasted Chicken and Mediterranean Mahi Mahi. If you’re not sure what wine goes with each dish, one of Helix’s expert staff will assist in making the perfect palate-pleasing pairing. After dinner, make a stop at SouthTown Pour House. Formerly known as Shotgun Sally’s Rock N Roll Saloon, this popular late-night haunt serves up lots of cool cocktail creations and some of the hottest live music around.

If you would like more information on any or all of these SimplyGrand spots, please go to and peruse our Dining & Nightlife, Things to Do and Where to Stay pages. We also invite you to follow Visit Grand Forks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Helix Couples eating wine and cheese