For romance’s sake – it’s time to brave the cold and get off the couch. Because even if your significant other thinks your sweatpants are sexy, the seventh Saturday night in a row spent binge-watching Scandal on Netflix is six too many. (I speak from experience.) 

A date doesn’t need to mean a reservation at a swank restaurant, heck – it doesn’t even have to happen after dark. Bonus points if it takes you outside your normal routine and ignites a spark. Here are a few ideas:

A foodie experience: Tasting menus and events are like a tour for your tongues. It’s fun to compare notes on what you’re trying. And you know what they say – ‘The couple that samples various cheese/bread/wine/beverage varieties together…swigs from the same bottle of antacid.’


  • Or, make up your own tasting by packing a picnic of artisan cheeses from The Cheese Shop and ordering a beer flight Confluence or 515 Brewing, local craft breweries that allow guests to bring in your own food.


A sporty outing: If you’re the type of couple who spends summers in a sand volleyball league and finds competition a turn-on, you don’t have to wait for the thaw to challenge each other.


  • Belay on! Climb Iowa is open in the evenings, and a special event February 21 features climbing, a live band and BBQ to benefit ChildServ, a charity that serves children with special needs. An adventurous date night that also gives back is double bonus points.
  • Rent some snowshoes and take to the trails. Select a starting and ending point near pizza, like Orlando’s at the edge of Waterworks Park, to warm up afterwards. Or channel your inner winter Olympian at Brenton Skating Plaza. Just don’t try to impress him with your Triple Salchow if the last time you were on the ice was circa the Tonya Harding scandal. 


A quiet(ish) game night: Board games aren’t just for home. Bring them to a bar, or take advantage of Des Moines’ new barcade and showcase the Nintendo skills you honed in your single days.


  • Whether you’re more into Scrabble or Settlers of Catan, think about setting up your favorite game in a cozy booth at a bar with a fireplace. (Ducktail Lounge is a favorite.) For a day date, beat the cold by playing under the dome at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
  • For something slightly higher tech, treat your love to tokens at Up/Down, the hip barcade where you might earn the high score. (Elbow nudge.) Whatever she tries to tell you, strip skee-ball isn’t actually a thing. Or is it?