published Friday, February 11th, 2011

Big nights out in the Scenic City

Determining "How do I love thee?" will be between you and your beloved this weekend, but we can help you count the ways. Here are 26 Chattanooga date-night ideas for a Valentine's weekend from A to Z.

Aim for a hole-in-one. Through Monday, when you tee up at Scenic City Mini Golf, an indoor course, the ticket's good for a free scoop from its Blue Bell ice-cream parlor.

Be hypnotized. Master hypnotist Gary Conrad plies his trade at The Comedy Catch through Monday.

Choose a pony. You're never too old to saddle up for a ride on the Coolidge Park carousel.

Delve into darkness. After-hours lantern tours Saturday and Sunday at Ruby Falls tell the love story of the man who discovered the waterfall and named it after his wife. Reservations required: 800-755-7105.

Enjoy the zoo. The fundraiser Cocktails for Conservation is tonight, with a "Jungle of Love" theme. Or you can visit the animals daily.

Fasten your seat belt. The indoor bumper cars at Pin Strikes pack a wallop.

Guess whodunit. In addition to weekend murder-mystery shows, Vaudeville Cafe has scheduled "The Mystery of the Redneck Italian Wedding" for Monday night.

Head into the gorge. The Southern Belle keeps love afloat with lunch and dinner cruises planned through Monday. The River Gorge Explorer, more of a nature tour, sets sail on a sunset cruise at 3 p.m. Saturday. With a little advance work, you can say your vows (or renew them) on either vessel.

Immerse yourself in color. The new exhibit at Hunter Museum examines "A Life in Vibrant Color" through 70 vivid works by Lois Mailou Jones.

Jump and jive with the CSO. When the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera catches "Big Band Fever" today and Saturday, you can dance on the Tivoli stage.

Kick-start your marriage. Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson invites you to renew your vows in a group ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Lace up your bowling shoes. There are deals every day at the Holiday Bowl centers in Brainerd and Hixson, including Monday Madness, a two-hour block specially priced after 9 p.m.

Meet Big Bette. Her alter ego, local comedian Wendy Tippins, will make the introductions tonight and Saturday in shows at Giggles Grill at The Comedy Catch.

Navigate the sculpture garden. River Gallery's two-acre outdoor exhibit space in the Bluff View Art District offers not only masterful art but a beautiful view of the river. It's open till dusk year-round.

Overlook Lover's Leap. This Rock City landmark, as the story goes, is named for the star-crossed lovers from feuding Indian tribes who just couldn't live without each other.

Practice your dance steps. You'll find some basic moves for fancy footwork embedded into the sidewalk on Frazier Avenue.

Quicken the pace. Once you've mastered those steps, head to All Saints Academy on Saturday night for the Chattanooga Traditional Dance Society's contra dance.

Relax on the river. The Delta Queen is open for dinner. Romance on the River packages can accommodate guests who want to book a room on the historic steamboat.

Stroll the courtyard. Go arm in arm through the formal gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The landscaped space is surrounded by train cars and punctuated by reflection pools and fountains.

Take the train. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has six Valentine Dinner Trains running through Monday. Don't delay your reservation; these rides sell out.

Uncover a classic. The criminal Macheath, aka "Mack the Knife," will be your tour guide through the seamy side of Victorian London in the Ensemble Theatre production of "A Threepenny Opera," playing this weekend at St. Andrews Center.

Visit Tahiti on the cheap. Screenings of the "Ultimate Wave" continue daily at the Imax Theater.

Walk the planks. We bet you'll have plenty of company on the historic Walnut Street Bridge, the 2,376-foot span across the Tennessee River.

Xpress yourself in song. Nothing compares to a karaoke serenade. If you're downtown, try the new place, Sing It or Wing It.

Yield to temptation. For some Chattanooga artists, the medium is chocolate. Find your sweet masterpiece at shops such as The Hot Chocolatier or Rembrandt's Coffeehouse.

Zero in on the cuttlefish. These Tennessee Aquarium cuties are often mistakenly called "cuddlefish," which seems appropriate for the holiday. And if you see an eel? That's a moray.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
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