70+ Date Ideas in Des Moines


Date night! But wait, what are the plans? There is no shortage of things to do in the Des Moines metro and beyond. Whether you are planning ahead or need a last-second idea, we are here to help! From new spins on old classics to something you may have never thought of. Date night (or day) in Des Moines is sure to be a good time.

Find a category that fits your mood or scroll the whole list! Enjoy your date!

Food Lover

Des Moines is known for its old-school Italian restaurants. Try Noah’s Ark, Latin King, or Tumea & Sons for a classic romantic meal.

Try something new! Hit up an international restaurant like Kathmandu, Mi Patria, Irina’s, or Lucky Lotus.

Get eclectic at an only-in-Des Moines spot like Fongs, High-Life Lounge, or Zombie Burger.

Like more of a snacky-dinner? Get a great board plate at Cheese Bar, Purveyor, Urban Cellar, or Republic on Grand.

No one said dates can only be at night! Find a sitter or make it a family date at brunch.

And don’t forget dessert, find the best spots for ice cream or donuts in town.

Enjoy a farm-to-table event at the Wallace Center, or enjoy one of their pizza on the prairie nights.

Drink Lover

Looking to just grab a drink (or a few!)? Pick a route and do a coffee, beer, or wine crawl.

Or enjoy a variety of drinks at a local wine bar like The Cave or beer bar like Iowa Taproom or El Bait Shop

Pretend you are on a tropical island and enjoy tiki drinks at Bellhop or enjoy the island spirit with mocktails and other tasty delights at Kava DSM.

When the weather is nice, enjoy a local patio. Or go for a backyard party feel and exciting cocktails at The Bartender’s Handshake.

During the summer Blank Park’s Zoo Brew is a unique way to enjoy a beer.

Outdoor Adventures

Try a new activity at Gray’s Lake or Jester Park, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board.

Pick up some sandwiches at Gateway Market and have a picnic at Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

Book a tee time at Blank Golf Course, they feature both a full 18-hole course AND mini golf.

For the plant enthusiast, take a stroll through Reiman Gardens, Des Moines Botanical Garden, or Brenton Arboretum.

During the winter, pretend you are in a Hallmark movie and lace up at Brenton Skating Plaza.

During the summer, enjoy an outdoor movie, concert, or festival.

Take a hike! Enjoy serene trails through Brown’s Woods or Ledges Park.

There’s no limit of amazing bike trails in Des Moines, the High Trestle may win for most romantic, especially on a warm summer night. Don’t forget the couple’s selfie on the bridge!

Indoor Fun

Relive your childhood and take your partner roller skating.

Get historical with a visit to the State Capitol or State Historical Museum

Make a lunch date at The Art Center and enjoy fine art plus lunch at their cafe, Tangerine.

Take a dance lesson!

Try your hand at an Olympic sport, curling.

Challenge yourself (and your partner!) at Climb Iowa.

Indoor play isn’t just for kids, or if you want an adult beverage with your game try bowling, ping pong, pickle ball, and more at Spare Time, Ricochet, or Smash Park.

Feeling competitive? Grab some quarters and hit up a classic arcade! The Operating Room (with locations in West Des Moines, Waukee, and Ankeny), Up-Down in the East Village, and The Old School Pinball & Arcade in Grimes are two favorites. 

Channel your inner lumberjack and try ax throwing! (It’s harder than it looks).

Grab another couple for a double date night! Start with drinks then get dinner and end with dessert. 

Don’t want to actually go anywhere? You can still have a date night in and have fun!

Entertainment Lover

A movie is a classic date night idea, but enjoy extra amenities like drinks and dinner at Flix Brewhouse or The Palms Dine and Recline option.

Check out a live show with Des Moines Performing Arts or for a more intimate experience, see what’s playing at Des Moines Playhouse.

How about a concert? See the lineup at Wooly’s or Gaslamp.

During the summer, enjoy Shakespeare on the Lawn at the Salisbury House.

Love ballet? Catch one of Ballet Des Moines or Iowa Dance Theatre’s performances.

Get scary with your partner, hit up a haunted house around Halloween.

Cheer on a local team, go see the Iowa Cubs, Iowa Wild, Iowa Wolves or Iowa Barnstormers.

And don’t forget about the opera!


Kids going to grandparents for the weekend? Head to Omaha for an adult weekend away including happy hour, a garden tour, and sleeping in!

Make it a theme over a period of time and visit the 99 counties.

Plan a staycation or just a night to go swimming!

Or check out our day trips and cheap and easy getaways.

For the ultimate romantics, take a tour through The Bridges of Madison County.

Craft Lover

Get crafty and do a class at AR Workshop, The Knotty Nail, or Glazed Expressions, and bonus, have some new decor to show for it.

Want to sip wine while getting artsy? Check out Painting with a Twist.


Plan a day or night perusing Valley Junction or the East Village, each boasting over 100 businesses to shop, dine, and be entertained.

From late spring through fall, shop any number of farmers markets and find locally grown and produced goodies.

Love finding a good deal with your partner? Head over to The Outlets of Des Moines, stop by Bass Pro Shops too to see some fish and pick up outdoor needs.

Spend hours browsing West End Architectural Salvage‘s unique variety of found goods. Bonus, grab a cocktail or coffee at their cafe to enjoy while you wander.

What’s your favorite date spot? Let us know in the comments!


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