25 Des Moines Date Night Ideas

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Sometimes, just sometimes, we find ourselves in a date night rut.  Here are 25 of our favorite (and memorable) Des Moines date night ideas.

Two hands holding glasses of wine for Des Moines date night.

1.) Eat a leisurely dinner at your favorite restaurant. Our favorite date night restaurants include Malo, Django, and Christopher’s. We recently tried Ceviche Bar in the East Village and had a great experience.

2.) Enjoy a concert or a play. For live music or theater, check out Des Moines Performing Arts or the Des Moines Playhouse to see what is currently running and coming up.

3.) Grab a coffee. Java Joe’s or Smokey Row are great options for coffee and chats.

4.) Explore open houses. Check out houses way out of your price range, just for fun.

5.) Visit a museum. Check out the Des Moines Art Center, Historical Museum, or Science Center of Iowa. The Des Moines Art Center has a great lunch spot if you choose to do a day date.

6.) Go to a movie. Flix Brewhouse is one of our go-to date night spots because we can enjoy dinner and drinks along with our movie.

7.) Have drinks. Louie’s Wine Dive, Confluence, or Exile are all excellent local choices.

Man sitting at an outdoor table holding a beer.

8.) Go to a game. One of our favorite date ideas, Des Moines has several sports teams you can support. Whether you like hockey, baseball, basketball or football, the Iowa Wild, Iowa Cubs, Energy, and Barnstormers all have exciting, inexpensive games. Go IOWA WILD!

9.) Browse the book store. So, I’m a geek, but I love browsing shelf after shelf of books. Check out the Storyhouse Bookpub in the East Village and grab drinks afterward.

10.) Go shopping. Yeah, this sounds boring, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a break to get errands done together. Twice a year, Hubs and I hire a babysitter and make a day of shopping for the kids’ birthdays and Christmas presents. We’ve had a great time doing this and have some priceless memories.

11.) Indulge in dessert. The Creme Dessert Lounge has delicious sweets and cocktails. Need I say more? Beforehand, grab pizza and wine up the street at Eatery A – one of the best happy hours in Des Moines.

12.) Take a cooking class. Cooking With Alessandra has been a popular choice among our friends. Bonus that you can re-create the meal on a date night at home.

13.) Hit up an arcade. We haven’t tried Up-Down yet, but several of our friends love it and have had a blast on their date night.

14.) Trivia night. Many bars and restaurants host trivia. Check local breweries and bars.

Active Date Ideas

15.) Kayaking, boating, biking, or hiking. Gray’s Lake has paddle boats, or head to Big Creek to rent a kayak or boat. For hikes, we are fans of Ledges State Park. Take a look at the Interactive Park Map to get some great ideas.

16.) Golfing or bowling. Hit up the golf course, go mini-golfing or spend the evening at one of the many bowling alleys in Des Moines.

17.) Paintball. Archery Field and Sports has a great paintball field. You could also try an archery lesson while you are there!

18.) Dance classes. One of our favorite date nights was a salsa class we took back in the day (long before kids were even a thought). Des Moines Ballroom Dance offers classes or private lessons and a variety of dances to choose from.

19.) Ice skating/roller skating. Many of the Des Moines area skating rinks offer adults-only nights or cheap skating nights.

Romantic Des Moines Date Ideas

20.) Take a walk. A late-night walk around Gray’s Lake or the High Trestle Bridge (in Madrid, Iowa) are great for exercise and can be an incredibly romantic date night.

Pedestrian bridge at Gray's Lake lit up with colored lights at night.

21.) Get a couples massage. East Village Spa is wonderful and in a great location.

22.) Indulge in champagne brunch. Americana has a great spread. Complete the brunch with a walk through the Pappajohn Sculpture Park afterward.

At-Home Date Nights

23.) Game night. We love game nights with friends or other couples. Our go-to game is Cards Against Humanity (not for the easily offended).

24.) Date night in. We are pros at this one! Get take out (we’re fans of Mi Patria) and wine, then watch a movie or play a game of Scrabble. It is our typical Thursday night.

25.) Cook something fancy together. This could be a special dish you’ve always wanted to try, or maybe cook through a cookbook together. You could choose a new dish from the cookbook each week!

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.


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