The allure of the card tables; the thrill of the slots. The chance to make it big–or at least have a fun evening or weekend away from workaday concerns.
In Minnesota, several casinos bring the thrills of Las Vegas and Atlantic City without having to deal with the 1) the heat of the desert or 2) New Jersey. Instead of taking a flight to parts unknown, you can stay in Minnesota and enjoy some local hospitality, high-value dining, gaming and entertainment, and a chance to check out the local splendor.
And while casinos may not jump to mind as a romantic getaway, they offer all of the amenities a couple needs for some fun. For some, the gaming tables or the endless fields of slot machines are enough. For those who want more than gambling, your wishes are also on the table. The beauty of nature is just outside your door, or you can take in a rising superstar in concert, or treat yourself with a special time at a spa.
Below are three Minnesota casinos ready to offer couples a special time, either on Valentine’s Day itself or over the following weekend. You can’t go wrong with any choice.
“For a romantic getaway, we have the hotel, spa, restaurants, entertainment and gaming all in one convenient location,” said Tammy Reed of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake (www.mysticlake.com). For Valentine’s Day weekend, Mystic Lake promises to offer specials in their steakhouse. Entertainment-wise, they will launch of a new comedy club over that weekend with Lisa Landry and Joe Zimmerman on tap first.
Mystic Lake has the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day evening, with a special four-course meal for two, complete with salad, a special beef course, crab-stuffed lobster tails and a triple-chocolate parfait for dessert ($50, or $60 with two glasses of Champagne). By the way, the inclusion of alcohol for dinner is a new twist at the facility, as wine, beer, and liquor sales were added last fall.
During February, Mystic Lake has midweek rates starting at $83 (with discount coupons) and $159 on the weekends. During the month, they are also offering a spa special for Lavender readers, featuring one 60-minute signature facial and one 60-minute signature massage for $150 (a $25 savings), make sure you call Mystic Lake for more details.
Red Wing’s Treasure Island (www.treasureislandcasino.com) offers plenty of gaming opportunities–more than 150,000 square feet in fact–in a non-smoking environment. There is additional entertainment on tap most every weekend, from the Doobie Brothers and Foreigner to Dwight Yoakam and Gary Allan (the featured artist on Saturday, Feb. 16). Or you can check out other options, like the 24-lane Xtreme Bowling Center and Arcade.
It’s not just headliners that are a draw for Treasure Island. The Parlay Lounge features free entertainment every Friday and Saturday night. Red Wing offers its own charms for a couple looking for romance on Valentine’s Day, such as the gorgeous beauty of the Mississippi River Valley to a trip to Falconer Vineyard or the Red Wing Shoe Store and Museum.
The facility offers several restaurants, watched over carefully by award-winning executive chef James Powers. You can go from fancy to casual, depending on mood or what you plan to celebrate. Treasure Island offers special packages for couples, such as the Best Staycation Ever, featuring three nights stay, slot vouchers, and a gift card that can be used at the numerous offerings of the facility, all starting at $484.
There are several casino complexes just outside the Twin Cities while others can be found conveniently located near other getaways. If you want to explore Iron Range, Duluth, and the North Shore, the Black Bear Casino and Resort, located along Highway 35 near Cloquet, is a perfect choice. (www.blackbearcasinoresort.com)
Sure, you can head up the road to explore these great attractions, but Black Bear has its own charms to offer visitors as well. There’s entertainment in the Otter Creek Event Center, gaming specials, and tournaments. The restaurants offer plenty of variety as well, from nightly specials to a terrific variety of dishes.