Romantic Date Night Ideas in the Petoskey Area

Whether you’re looking for a unique dining experience or something a little more affordable, the Petoskey area has some great choices to take your sweetie out for a great date night. It’s not all about where you go to eat, put a little more thought into it and pick a fun activity, try a new place for a cocktail, or snag some dessert.

Let’s take a look at our top picks for dinner and a few other fun things to do! Oh, and if you’re looking for a weekend getaway there are some Valentine’s Day lodging specials going on too.

Romantic Dining

Looking for something a little more romantic? Fancy, even? Petoskey area has quite a few options. Some I can even point out a special table to request, menu items that I love, or describe the atmosphere a bit for you.

Chandlers – A Restaurant – Petoskey

Number one on my list of places to go for a special occasion or if you’re looking for a fancy place to grab a happy hour special, Chandler’s on Howard Street in Petoskey. This little spot that lives directly behind Symons General Store (a great spot for lunch to-go, fine cheeses, and other goods) is the perfect place if you are looking for a dimly lit dining room and the most fantastic meal. A little more on the expensive side but rightly so if you are a foodie. The flavors they capture in every dish I have tried will leave you thinking about it for days if not weeks afterward.

Their menu is constantly being refreshed with new proteins and flavors to try. I would recommend going all out and making it a three-course meal with an appetizer to share and dessert too (crème Brulé, yum).

POUR – Petoskey

This restaurant just next to Tap 30, they even share a doorway, is a great spot to come for date night. POUR Kitchen & Bar has a cozy yet refined vibe that will leave you at ease. The menu has options from poke nachos, sushi, a burger, wagyu skirt steak to other rotating fresh menu items. Don’t forget to try one of their cocktails, I always find myself finding a new favorite which is good as they rotate these out a bit. If you’re open to spicy, they make a cocktail with chile fresno infused ice cubes. The drink gradually gets a little more heat as the ice melts. The drink is called Plum Caliente, rightfully named as caliente is Spanish for hot.

Stafford’s Pier Restaurant – Harbor Springs

Pier Restaurant is well-known for its waterfront dining – really the only true waterfront dining on Little Traverse Bay. It is a great experience in the warmer months to grab a table on the deck that overlooks the deep basin where you can view large boats moving about. In the winter you can expect it to be a little quieter. The seafood and Great Lakes fish dinners combined with the dining room décor that pays tribute to Harbor Springs’ nautical heritage.

Café Sante – Boyne City

Situated steps from Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Café Sante serves European-inspired dishes. After perusing their menu from pasta to steaks it leaves you with a tough decision on what to choose. The good thing is that it truly is hard to go wrong with your choice.

Don’t Skip: Dessert. Why? When at a European-inspired restaurant, always save room for dessert. You’ll want to have a dessert with your sweetie, I promise. Not up for dessert? Their cocktail selection has some great options too: Sante Cosmo or a Cucumber Cooler

Trovato – Brutus

Located just north of Alanson you will find the Hidden River Golf and Casting Club, inside you will find Trovato. While they close for a short amount of time in the winter months, they will be offering a 5-course wine dinner on February 21st in honor of Valentine’s Day called Love is Still Not Forgotten. This dinner will take place from 5 PM – 8 PM and is $95 per person. The evening starts with communal hors d’oeuvres at 5 PM and follows with the next 4 courses at 6 PM. Each course is paired with a selected wine.

1911 Restaurant at the Terrace Inn – Bay View

This historic inn located in the community of Bay View, just outside of downtown Petoskey, is home to 1911 Restaurant. An intimate setting in their dining room decorated with antique wood chairs sitting on maple hardwood floors, chandeliers hanging throughout, and front porch seating in the warmer months. The atmosphere is intimate but not too fancy which is fitting as they describe themselves as casual fine dining. On their regular dining menu, you have the option to order your selections individually or you can choose your favorite entrée to have as a three-course prix-fixe. For the Valentine’s holiday, you can expect special features like a strawberry watermelon salad or pan-roasted salmon. Check out their website for all of their Valentine’s specials.

Looking to make a romantic getaway out of it? Check out the Terrace Inn! They even have a Valentine’s Day lodging special available Feb 13th – 18th, 2024 which includes a 3-course prix-fixe dinner for two at the 1911 Restaurant.

Sage – Petoskey

When you think of a restaurant located inside of a casino you don’t typically think of a quiet intimate setting. However, at Sage inside of Odawa Casino, you can expect a high-level experience that is separate from the slot machine and table games atmosphere in sound as well as sight. In Sage, you have your choice from lounge seating near the bar as well as the dining area that has such a private feel even when there are other diners present. You’ll want to plan on trying their Signature Roasted Mushroom Gnocchi as an appetizer.  Then you can choose

Vintage Chophouse – Bay Harbor

Located inside the Inn at Bay Harbor, Vintage Chophouse | Wine Bar is an upscale place for a special occasion. Their lounge is brought together by beautiful views of Little Traverse Bay and a cozy fireplace. We would recommend making reservations ahead of time on their website or by giving them a call.


Fun Activities for the Evening

Sometimes a special occasion calls for something fun to experience. Whether you’re looking for a post-dinner cocktail and games or an activity there are a few options to consider.

SkyBridge Michigan – Boyne Falls

Take your date to new heights… ok, I had to. If you haven’t been yet, now is as good a time as any to experience SkyBridge Michigan at Boyne Mountain Resort. You ride a chairlift to the mountain peak (in any season) and then walk across the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge. Midway across the bridge is a see-through section where you can look below to the slopes. If you’re not sure if you are afraid of heights you might find out here.

Movie at the Lyric Theatre – Harbor Springs

This small-town theater is relatively new and features three intimate screening rooms. The largest of the rooms at the Lyric Theatre features artistic talents on the walls and the ceiling. What does that matter if the lights are off for the movie? You’ll see once you experience a showing for yourself. Other great small-town delights can be found at the concession stand like freshly popped organic popcorn using coconut oil, small Tom’s Mom’s Cookies – a local favorite, and local adult beverages as well.

Enchanted Trail – Harbor Springs

Think of a wonderful little winter wonderland decorated with twinkle lights and music at night in winter. Can’t picture it? Well lucky for you (in the winter), The Highlands in Harbor Springs offers what is called the Enchanted Trail experience. This out-and-back trail walk takes you on The Highlands property to a yurt where you can purchase warm drinks, snacks, or a s’mores kit.

Northern Michigan Axe Co. – Petoskey

Northern Michigan Axe Company is located downtown Petoskey and offers a thrilling time for you and a date. This axe-throwing venue allows you to learn from their trained experts the proper way to handle and throw an axe. You’ll throw the axe at a wooden bullseye to test your accuracy – and impress your date of course.

Gypsy Distillery – Petoskey

Just outside the Bay Harbor Village is Gypsy Distillery, the newest of the Gypsy Vodka/High Five Spirits locations. This former equestrian club has an indoor “cocktail garden” area, yard games (life-size billiards, cornhole), arcade games, darts, and more. With a range of seating – lounge, picnic tables, and patio furniture, you can choose one of their specialty cocktails from their spirits.

Know Way Out – Petoskey

Know Way Out escape room in Petoskey is a great way to get to know your date and see what you can accomplish together.

Live Entertainment – Petoskey Area

There are many great bars, restaurants, and performance venues to choose from that offer live music or maybe you’re looking to watch theatre or dance. We are proud to have the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor, and Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center as larger venues. To see the most current events in our area or things going on during your visit, keep an eye on our event page!

This is just a small list of intimate places in the Petoskey area that you will want to consider when picking a restaurant or activity for date night.

About the Author: Ellen Auten is a native of the area and loves to promote the next fun thing to do in the Petoskey Area – but also loves giving out local favorites and learning opportunities for all. She hopes to help in your planning process for your next trip to the Petoskey Area of northern Lower Michigan.