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updated: 2/14/2014 12:12 PM

10 last-minute ideas to keep you out of the Valentine's Day doghouse

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  • Dr. Frankenstein (Devin DeSantis), left, gets cozy with his sexy assistant Inga (Allison Sill) in Drury Lane Theatre's production of "Young Frankenstein."

      Dr. Frankenstein (Devin DeSantis), left, gets cozy with his sexy assistant Inga (Allison Sill) in Drury Lane Theatre's production of "Young Frankenstein."
    Courtesy of Brett Beiner

  • The Midtown Men -- featuring J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard of the original Broadway company of "Jersey Boys" -- perform two shows at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora on Friday, Feb. 14.

      The Midtown Men -- featuring J. Robert Spencer, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria and Daniel Reichard of the original Broadway company of "Jersey Boys" -- perform two shows at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora on Friday, Feb. 14.

  • Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) uses his ability to time-travel to win over Mary (Rachel McAdams) in Richard Curtis' romantic fantasy "About Time."

      Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) uses his ability to time-travel to win over Mary (Rachel McAdams) in Richard Curtis' romantic fantasy "About Time."

  • Get away from it all without venturing too far from home. Eaglewood Resort in Itasca offers Valentine's weekend packages.

      Get away from it all without venturing too far from home. Eaglewood Resort in Itasca offers Valentine's weekend packages.
    Courtesy of Eaglewood Resort

  • Make a splash this Valentine's Day by taking your special someone to Brookfield Zoo's Valentine's dinner, which starts with cocktails in the underwater viewing area.

      Make a splash this Valentine's Day by taking your special someone to Brookfield Zoo's Valentine's dinner, which starts with cocktails in the underwater viewing area.
    Courtesy of Brookfield Zoo

  • A roaring campfire and s'mores make for a sweet family-friendly Valentine's Day at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake.

      A roaring campfire and s'mores make for a sweet family-friendly Valentine's Day at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake.

 
By Lisa Friedman Miner
lminer@dailyherald.com

If you're the type who made your Valentine's Day dinner reservations a month ago and snagged tickets to your sweetie's favorite show, good for you. If not, well, we're here to save the day -- or at least the night.

Now, we can't guarantee the best seats in the house or dinner at the place and time you want. Early birds get more than worms, you know. But if you read on, you'll find 10 last-minute ideas to make tonight special. All were available as of earlier this week but call to check before you head to the box office.

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And no need to confess you didn't plan ahead: We'll never tell.

1. Let Open Table find you a restaurant.

The online reservation service will save you lots of desperate dialing. Just go to opentable.com and click on Chicago. The pulldown menu will let you narrow your search -- West suburbs, Northwest and so on. Plug in the date and you'll see what's left and when. But don't hesitate. If your favorite bistro has a table for two at 8, grab it.

2. Try puttin' on the Ritz.

You get laughs, lust and loads of innuendo in the raucous Mel Brooks musical "Young Frankenstein" at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oak Brook Terrace. Tonight's performance is at 8 p.m. $49. Sorry, dinner packages are all sold out. (800) 745-3000 or www.drurylane.com.

3. Celebrate the '60s.

The Midtown Men, featuring the original stars of Broadway's "Jersey Boys," perform the love songs of the '60s -- Beatles, Beach Boys and all. See them at 1:30 or 8 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Tickets cost $45-$55. (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com.

4. Give your regards to Broadway.

Broadway star and Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters takes the stage for an 8 p.m. concert at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. Tickets cost $52.50-$92.50. (800) 982-2787 or geneseetheatre.com.

5. Tickle your funny bone.

As comedians and a married couple, Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky spread the Valentine's Day laughs in two shows at the Improv, 5 Woodfield Road, Schaumburg. Segura's TV credits include "Happy Endings," "Comedy Central Presents" and Showtime's "Russell Peters Presents"; Pazsitzky, meanwhile, has been a round-table regular and a writer for "Chelsea Lately." Shows are at 8 and 10:15 p.m.; the earlier show also has a special Valentine's Day menu. Tickets cost $17-$55; there is a two menu-item minimum. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.

6. Make it a weekend.

Itasca's Eaglewood Resort & Spa, 1401 Nordic Road, is one of many getaways near home offering Valentine's weekend packages. Theirs start at $169, and that package features champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries and breakfast for two. Others include dinner, spa treatments and more. (630) 773-1400 or www.eaglewoodresort.com. Or head to Hotel Baker, 100 W. Main St., St. Charles, which has packages that start at $299 and include dinner for two. (630) 584-2100 or hotelbaker.com.

7. Take in an old-fashioned treat.

Enjoy the musical tale of co-workers who clash in real life but fall in love as anonymous pen pals in Williams Street Repertory's "She Loves Me." The show is at 8 p.m. at the Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Tickets cost $25-$31. (815) 356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

8. Go wild at the zoo.

Valentine's night at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st St., gives "animal magnetism" a whole new meaning. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Seven Seas Underwater Viewing Gallery, where couples can cozy up near the dolphins. Dinner, at the Bocaditos restaurant, includes an open bar, lobster bisque with shrimp, lobster tail, petite filet mignon and more. $225 per couple. Reserve your spot at (708) 688-8355 or www.czs.org/events.

9. Celebrate family style.

If you've got little kids, a romantic dinner out might not be in the cards. So enjoy Valentine's Day together under the stars at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Events start at 6 p.m. and include fireside storytelling, a puppet show, a hike, s'mores, nature activities for the kids and presentations on animal courtship for parents. Free. (815) 338-6223 or www.mccdistrict.org.

10. Settle in for a romantic night at home.

Enjoy a candlelit dinner in your own kitchen and then cuddle up on the couch for a romantic movie. "About Time," new to DVD, is a good choice.

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