Being a mom, a night out every now and then is super important for my sanity. A night out with my girlfriends doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but when it does, we tend to opt for the same restaurant with the good, cheap margaritas. Not that we don’t enjoy those margaritas, but we always think of things we could have done after the fact.
To keep that “what should we do???” from happening, I made a list of things to do on my night’s out. Here are twenty things my girlfriends and I have enjoyed doing (and things we’re planning on in the future):
1.) Pinot’s Pallet. Be sure to go to their calendar first to select the painting you’d like to paint. I did this with two friends last spring and we had a great time! Loved our instructor and the painting we did was awesome. Helpful hint: not only can you bring in wine/beer, but you can also bring in food. We didn’t know this for our first time and were drooling over everyone’s dips and various appetizers.
Pinot’s Pallet (Des Moines, IA): (515) 277-7651
2.) Kil’n Time Studio. Take a pottery class (or simply painting pottery). Kil’n Time frequently has deals on Groupon so be sure to check there before you go. We’ve also gone to Glazed Expressions many times to paint pottery such as bowls and coffee mugs. It’s a great way to relax and chat with friends.
Kil’n Time Studio (Waukee, IA): (515) 329-3165
Glazed Expressions (Clive, IA): (515) 224-4700
3.) Jasper Winery or Winterset Cidery, L.L.C. I’ve spent plenty of time at Jasper Winery (their wine tastings with chocolates is a must) but have yet to try Winterset Cidery. It seems like the perfect place to visit on a Saturday afternoon with friends. Be sure to check out their website, as the Cidery is currently closed for the season and will reopen in the spring.
Jasper Winery (Des Moines, IA): (515) 282-9463
Winterset Cidery (Winterset, IA): (515) 493-9756
4.) Breweries. If wine isn’t your thing, check out Exile (also had a great dinner menu), Confluence (try biking there, as it’s right along the bike trail and across from Gray’s Lake), Peacetree, or Iowa Taproom (there’s a huge selection here).
Exile (Des Moines, IA): (515) 883-2337
Confluence (Des Moines, IA): (515) 285-9005
Peace Tree (Des Moines, IA): (515) 883-2739
Iowa Taproom (Des Moines, IA): (515) 243-0827
5.) Coffee spots. Java Joe’s, Caribou (on Ingersoll), Grounds For Celebration (Beaverdale) all come to mind when I think of meeting a friend for coffee. Also, the cinnamon rolls at Grounds are one of my faves.
Java Joe’s (Des Moines, IA): (515) 288-5282
Caribou (Ingersoll Ave. Des Moines, IA): (515) 274-1644
Grounds for Celebration (Beaver Ave. Des Moines, IA): (515) 255-4863
6.) Book Club. If you even remotely enjoy reading, set up a book club with friends. Books are great conversation pieces. Some books to get you started: Evicted, Hillbilly Elegy, The Alchemist, All The Light We Cannot See.
7.) Creme Cupcake. They don’t have just cupcakes, they have an array of fabulous desserts in the evening hours paired with drinks (martinis, coffees, champagnes, teas, etc.). The place has a great, sweet vibe for girlfriend shenanigans.
Creme Cupcake (Des Moines, IA): (515) 288-1050
8.) Flix. Dinner and drinks while you watch the movie. Show up early (or stay later after your movie) for drinks. Check out their calendar for special movies and events other than their regular movie showings.
Flix Brewhouse (Merle Hay Mall): (515) 612-9200
9.) Classes at Des Moines Social Club. Vastly different classes are offered at the social club: belly dancing, aerial boot camp, breakdancing for kids, fantasy writing and drawing class, and more.
Des Moines Social Club (Mulberry St., Des Moines, IA): (515) 369-3672
10.) Spa Day at Estilo. It may not be a night out, but a day out it’s just as good! Make appointments (schedule ahead of time) and get pedicures and/or manicures. Bring along a bottle of your favorite champagne to sip while you gab away.
Estilo Salon and Day Spa (West Des Moines, IA): (515) 727-4980
11.) Cooking with Alessandra classes. Learn how to make wonderful Italian food, get (and keep) the recipes, and have an amazing time with friends (and a fantastic entertaining instructor).
Cooking With Alessandra (East Village, Des Moines, IA): (515) 508-9474
12.) Exercise class: yoga, spinning, walk around Gray’s Lake. In the summer, Gray’s Lake has yoga classes on Saturday mornings (grabbing coffee after is a must). There’s something mind freeing about sweating AND having fun with a friend. To get you started, check out:
Powerlife Yoga (Des Moines, IA): (515) 243-3383
13.) A new restaurant every month. A friend I have done this after getting tired of our usual chips and margaritas on our girls nights. We tried a variety of restaurants and have a list of our faves. Some excellent places to try:
Bubba’s, Django, Tacopocalypse, Ceviche, Strudl Haus, Mi Patria, Louie’s Wine Dive
14.) The Cheese Shop. A wine and cheese pairing night is phenomenal, plus it teaches you for future get-togethers with friends. You could also check out a show at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, right across the street!
The Cheese Shop (Des Moines, IA): (515) 528-8181
15.) Vines to Wines. Go with friends to make your own wine! Make a batch or go to a winemaking session. Either way, you end up with your own bottled wine.
Vines to Wines (Des Moines, IA): (515) 664-5161
16.) Up Down. An arcade bar that features skee ball and life-size Jenga. This place can keep you and your friends busy for hours!
Up Down (Des Moines, IA): (515) 243-4322
17.) Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar. Great night spot to get dressed up and meet friends for cocktails.
Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar (West Des Moines, IA): (515) 564-7300
18.) Freezer Meal Party. I haven’t been to one of these, however, I have friends that set one up every month. Everyone gets together at someone’s house, brings their own ingredients, and then prepares freezer bag meals that can be eaten throughout the month. This type of party is especially popular with my mom friends. To get an idea of how to do one, check this one out.
19.) Classes at the Botanical Garden. This was put on my to-do list when I saw a class for Botanical Bath Bombs. There’s also Botanical Blues every Sunday afternoon in the winter.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden (Des Moines, IA): (515) 323-6290
20.) Line dancing class (or other dance classes). I’ve done a line dancing class (and a salsa class) and loved it. Although I have two left feet, I loved the class! Miss Kitty’s offers just for fun classes, available for all levels.
About the Author
Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raised here. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book author, and co-director and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time Ashlen enjoys exploring all Des Moines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.