Plus, where to watch the Super Bowl.
 
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Today’s Forecast

77º | Mostly cloudy | 0% chance of rain
Sunrise 7:10 a.m. | Sunset 6:14 p.m.

 
💌 Let’s make a date
LAL-lake-mirror-picnic-date-FEB2020
Any place in Lakeland can be romantic with a little creativity. | Photo by @carlycashman3
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and there are too many creative date options in Lakeland to settle for Netflix and chill. Whether you’ve met “the one” or are hoping to impress someone new, we’ve got 20+ local date night ideas that are sure to make you swoon.

For the ones who want a night out on the town

  • Looking for a swanky evening? Stop by Lakeland Loft for live jazz every Friday and Saturday night + premier cigars, hand-crafted drinks, and elevated views of historic Munn Park.
  • Step up your classic dinner and a movie by seeing a film at the historic Polk Theatre or getting cozy at the Silvermoon Drive-In.

For the ones who like to play games (just not with your heart)

A mini golf sign is lit up in the darkening sky.

All’s fair in love and mini golf.

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Photo via Family Fun Center

  • Level up your dating game at Rec Room, which has nightly deals on drinks, game cards, and more.
  • Challenge your partner to a game of mini golf or arcade games at Family Fun Center. This also makes for a great double date — see which couple wins the most tickets, and the other buys dinner for the group.

If the way to their heart is through their stomach

  • For those who want to feel a little fancy, enjoy a white tablecloth and candlelit dinner at Nineteen61, which has been featured in Best of Central Florida for fine dining four times.
  • Wine aficionados and lovers of Italian cuisine will feel right at home at Scarpa’s Italian Restaurant.

If you want an “old fashioned”-style date

A cocktail at revival bar.

We also recommend Revival’s Lover’s Lane cocktail for date night.

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Photo courtesy of Revival Bar

  • Revival has an entire menu for old fashioned varieties — our favorites are the duck fat and the miso-maple old fashioneds.
  • Reserve a free tour of Lugo’s Craft Distillery to sample premium craft rums.
What did we miss? If you know a perfect date spot that’s not on the list, guide us in the right direction using this survey.
 
Asked
 
What’s your go-to activity for a memorable date?

A. Romantic candlelit dinner
B. Cozy movie night at home
C. Adventurous outdoor activity
D. Other
 
 
Events
 
Friday, Feb. 9
  • Dixieland Night Market | Friday, Feb. 9 | 6-11 p.m. | Union Hall, 1023 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | Free entry | Shop from local makers at this monthly night market.
  • 20th Annual Rotary Twilight 5K | Friday, Feb. 9 | 7-9 p.m. | Lake Hollingsworth Park, 929 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland | $20-$40 | Take a scenic run around Lake Hollingsworth to benefit Common Ground Playground.
Saturday, Feb. 10
  • Flipping for Charities | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland | $5-$10 | Join the 65th Annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival to raise money for local organizations that benefit children.
  • Doggie Speed Dating | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Polk County Bully Project, 5840 W. Brannen Rd., Lakeland | Free entry | Get to know adoptable pups in a Valentine’s-themed setting.
  • Polk Tales: Storytelling Event | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 5-6:30 p.m. | Polk Museum of Art, 800 E. Palmetto St., Lakeland | $15 | This storytelling festival comes to Lakeland with a performance by Paul Strickland, Orlando Story Club, and Sharktooth Sam.
  • Open Mic Second Saturdays | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 7-11 p.m. | Quinteassence, 839 N. Massachusetts Ave., Ste. 101, Lakeland | Free entry | Show off your spoken word, poetry, visual art, or musical talents.
Sunday, Feb. 11
  • Polk Tales: Kids Storytelling Concert | Sunday, Feb. 11 | 1-2:30 p.m. | Florida Children’s Museum, 600 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | $5-$15 | End the storytelling festival with a performance for little ones.
Monday, Feb. 12
  • Eras Night! Lover | Monday, Feb. 12 | 7-9 p.m. | Painting with a Twist, 3670 Harden Blvd., Lakeland | $29-$49 | Paint a canvas inspired by Taylor Swift — add on a DIY candle for an additional fee.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Plan Ahead
  • The SUN ‘n FUN airshow schedule is now live, listing who will take to the skies from Tuesday, April 9-Sunday, April 14. Expect to see teams like the Thunderbirds, plus pyrotechnic and fireworks shows.
Traffic
  • As Polk County’s population grows, the Florida Department of Transportation is working to improve roads. Its main focus is I-4, where it’s fast-tracking construction to add more lanes, wildlife crossings, and roundabouts at exits. (WTSP)
Stat
  • 63%. That’s how much local road tests for driver’s licenses have increased between January 2023 and January 2024. To keep up with growing demand, the Polk County Tax Collector’s office is now offering road tests through the Orange Osceola Safety Institute’s Lakeland location (901 E. Memorial Blvd., Ste. 977).
Ranked
  • No. 74. That’s what Florida Southern College ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best online MBA programs. FSC’s Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise earned the honor based on factors like graduation rates + peer reputation scores. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
Award
  • Lakeland students won big at the 2024 Polk County Youth Fair, which included several divisions where students showed off their agricultural skills. In the competitive Commercial Market Steer category, Emmalee Robertson of Lake Gibson High School won her second Reserve Grand Champion title. (LkldNow)
Drink
  • The spring drink menu has arrived at Pressed and includes the Vietnamese iced coffee, strawberry honey latte, blueberries + cream matcha latte, and coconut ube tea. Visit tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to try the drinks while Orange Blossom Poems types Valentine’s Day poetry.
Number
  • $1.75. That’s all it would have cost you to dine at the Terrace Hotel on Valentine’s Day in 1925. The Lakeland Public Library shared a 99-year-old menu that featured mock turtle soup, spring chicken saute, and New York ice cream for dessert — see this year’s menu.
Job
  • Hey, LAL nurses: Looking for a place to grow, explore, and have fun while living out your passion? Lakeland Regional Health is hiring. Get to know their growing + supportive nursing community — and the benefits of growing your career LRH.*
Sports
  • Planning to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday? Stream it with a Paramount+ with Showtime subscription — get 30 days free with code GOAT.*
Announced
  • We’re excited to share that 6AM City, our parent company, closed its Series A funding round led by the media company, TEGNA. This partnership means continuing to deliver the same hyper-local news and events while expanding our reach to new readers and communities. Learn more.
 
 
Sports
 
Anything happening this weekend?
Two women smile and hold up a Michelob Ultra bottle and a Wilson football.
Beer + football go hand-in-hand. | Photo by @foodand.beer
The Super Bowl is this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. If you didn’t book a ticket to Las Vegas, visit these local spots to cheer on the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers — or if you’re just here for the Halftime Show, Usher.

Food + Beer, 3615 S. Florida Ave., Ste.1350
This spot boasts 38 big-screen TVs and guarantees that the sound will be on during the game. Pro tip: Try the seasonal reptile fries.

Swan Brewing, 115 W. Pine St.
The party starts early with food by Crave Hot Dogs & Barbecue starting at 12 p.m. and music by Paul Cataldo at 2 p.m.

Union Hall, 1023 S. Florida Ave.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for this event venue’s free Super Bowl Party. Get deals on drinks, and head to the patio for snacks from Feasts of Persia + dessert by Funnel Feasts.
 
The Buy
 
Your must-have from Six & Main’s winter skin edit, featuring face wash, lip balm, and serums to keep your skin hydrated and radiant during the cooler months. Did we mention all products are from small businesses, too?
 
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The Wrap
 
Connor-Keith-Headshot-LAL Today’s edition by:
Connor
From the editor
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