27 Fun Des Moines Date Ideas for 2024

Published on July 9, 2024 | 0 Comments
You can find an arry of fun Des Moines date ideas to enjoy

Des Moines date ideas are about to get a whole lot more exciting! We’ve scoured the city to uncover fresh and fun activities that will breathe new life into your romantic outings. From relaxing outdoor experiences to adrenaline-pumping adventures, the capital city is brimming with unexpected delights for couples. 

Curious about what romantic treasures Des Moines has in store for you? Our curated list of Des Moines date ideas will have you exploring the city like never before. Whether you’re a long-time local or a first-time visitor, prepare to be amazed by the diverse array of romantic possibilities waiting to be discovered in this charming Midwestern Gem of a city. 


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Date Ideas in Des Moines for Foodies

1. Hone Your Skills in the Kitchen With a Cooking Class

Transform date night into a gastronomic journey with a cooking class in Iowa’s capital. Ditch the predictable restaurant scene and roll up your sleeves for a hands-on culinary adventure with your sweetheart. Cooking classes in Des Moines offer a smorgasbord of options, from mastering the art of sushi to crafting the perfect soufflé. As far as Des Moines date ideas go, this one’s a feast for the senses and a recipe for connection. 

Taking a cooking class is one of the most fun Des Moines date ideas
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2. Treat Your Partner to a Private Chef Meal

Skip the restaurant reservations and bring the five-star experience home with a meal cooked by a private chef. This Des Moines date idea is perfect for couples who crave intimacy with a side of culinary excellence. Eliminating the need for shopping, prep, cooking and cleaning, you can instead focus on being present with your partner. Private chefs in Des Moines don’t just cook, they curate unforgettable experiences, turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary memories. 

3. Browse The Stalls at The Downtown Farmers’ Market

Turn Saturday morning into a romantic rendezvous at the vibrant Downtown Farmers’ Market. This Des Moines date idea offers a perfect blend of local flavor and a lively atmosphere. Challenge each other to find the weirdest vegetable or the prettiest bouquet of flowers as you weave through the colorful stands brimming with local specialties. Cap off your market adventure with an impromptu picnic featuring all your favorite finds — it’s farm-to-blanket dining at its finest.   

A selection of vegetables at a farmers market
via Canva

4. Feast on Prime Cuts at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

Ignite the flames of romance at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, where the art of fine dining meets the warmth of Italian hospitality. This Des Moines date idea allows you and your other half to enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and the sizzle of a perfectly cooked steak in a highly romantic space. This gem among Des Moines restaurants offers a sophisticated yet accessible vibe, perfect for couples looking to add a touch of glamour to their evening. 

5. Devour Tasty Treats at Molly’s Cupcakes

Elevate your dessert game with a trip to Molly’s Cupcakes, where gourmet meets nostalgia in the sweetest way possible. This Des Moines date idea is perfect for couples who believe in having their cake and eating it too, literally. Share a box of assorted cupcakes or opt for other sweet treats, with tasty options like brownies, cookies and pies on offer.

Getting cupcakes is one of the cute Des Moines date ideas
via Canva


6. Dine in at The Republic on Grand

Located within the AC Hotel in Downtown Des Moines, The Republic on Grand redefines elegance and style. Dining at this chic venue stands out among Des Moines date ideas with its breathtaking city views and stylish décor. Indulge in the exquisite food and craft cocktail menu, and enjoy a romantic and elevated dining experience that will leave a lasting impression. 

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Fun Date Night Ideas in Des Moines

7. Play Arcade Games at The Operating Room

For a night brimming with nostalgia and fun, head to The Operating Room. Lose yourself in the neon glow and the satisfying clatter of pinballs, all while enjoying craft beers and creative cocktails. Whether you’re showing off your skills on a classic game or discovering a new favorite together, the fun never stops. The lively atmosphere and diverse game selection make this Des Moines date idea perfect for all types of couples, from those on a first date to groups looking for fun double date ideas

Pinball machines in an arcade
via The Operating Room

8. Attend a Performance at Hoyt Sherman Place

Dive into a world of elegance and history at Hoyt Sherman Place, where the mansion, theater and art gallery create a trifecta of cultural delight. This venue elevates Des Moines date ideas with its opulent rooms, captivating performances and stunning art collections. Wander the mansion’s grand halls, admiring the art exhibits, before cozying up in the intimate theater for a spectacular show. For those seeking date night ideas Des Moines couples can boast about, visiting Hoyt Sherman Place has to be on your activity list.

9. Roller Skate at Skateland

Swap your usual Thursday night plans for Adult Skate at Skateland, where the rink transforms into a neon wonderland from 8 to 10 p.m. Heading to this lively spot adds a quirky twist to Des Moines date ideas, inviting couples to relive their roller rink glory days or try something new. For date night ideas Des Moines couples rave about, an exciting evening at Skateland delivers a nostalgic yet exhilarating adventure that breaks the routine. 

A couple at a roller rink
via Canva

First Date Ideas in Des Moines

10. Unleash Your Inner Viking at Ironside Axe Club

Planning a date at Ironside Axe Club offers a unique opportunity to showcase your skills on a first date. The act of learning a new, slightly intimidating skill together creates an instant bond. As you cheer each other’s successes and laugh off missed throws, a natural rapport develops. This unconventional activity stands out among Des Moines date ideas as a refreshing departure from the usual dinner and movie routine. 

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11. Meet Your Favorite Animals at Blank Park Zoo

For a wild night out that’s anything but ordinary, Zoo Brew at Blank Park Zoo tops the list of Des Moines date ideas. This event lets you channel your inner child while indulging in grown-up pleasures. Stroll through the zoo after hours, encounter fascinating animals and discover new favorite beers while taking in the excitement of live musical performances. It’s a Des Moines date idea you won’t want to miss out on, with the variety of things to do, see and discuss eliminating any first-date awkwardness.

Going to the zoo is one of the unique Des Moines date ideas
via Canva

12. Applaud Local Talent at Des Moines Community Playhouse

Step into a world of drama and delight by spending an evening together at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. This cultural gem offers a sophisticated twist on traditional Des Moines date ideas, immersing couples in captivating narratives and stellar performances. As you laugh, gasp and perhaps shed a tear together, you’ll forge a connection rooted in shared emotions and artistic appreciation. 

13. Strike up Some Fun at Air Lanes Bowling Center

While the last thing you want to do on a first date is strike out, it’s the first thing you’ll want to do at Air Lanes Bowling Center. The alley’s energetic atmosphere, complete with flashing lights and the satisfying thud of bowling balls hitting pins, creates a lively and inviting environment for Des Moines date ideas. Lace up those iconic rental shoes, grab some classic snacks and make your first date a playful and memorable one.

A couple bowling at a bowling alley
via Canva

14. Perfect Your Putting Skills at Puttmasters at the Pines

For those seeking simple yet fun first date ideas in Des Moines, Puttmasters at the Pines is a hole-in-one. This charming mini-golf course is a top pick for Des Moines date ideas, offering a fun and relaxed setting all summer long. The well-designed course and scenic surroundings make it a great spot for some lighthearted rivalry. As the season changes, a trip to Puttmasters at the Pines becomes one of the most enchanting fall date ideas, with the autumn colors creating a romantic backdrop for first-date fun.

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Indoor Date Ideas in Des Moines

15. Mix Up Delicious Drinks at an Online Mixology Class

When the weather’s dreary or you’re simply not in the mood to venture out, taking an online mixology class offers a refreshing twist on stay-at-home Des Moines date ideas. These virtual classes bring the art of mixology right to your fingertips, allowing you and your partner to become amateur bartenders for the night. Discover the secrets behind perfectly balanced drinks, explore new flavor combinations and challenge each other to create the most impressive concoction for a Des Moines date idea that’s both fun and educational.

A cocktail on a bar next to a gold cocktail shaker
via Canva

16. Appreciate Artistic Treasures at Des Moines Art Center

For an enriching and budget-friendly date, a trip to the Des Moines Art Center stands out among Des Moines date ideas thanks to its free admission and stunning exhibits. This cultural haven provides couples the chance to explore a rich collection of art, from modern masterpieces to contemporary works. Absorb the artistic energy all around you as you admire the creative displays of expression, and stop in at the museum shop for a unique souvenir that can serve as a memento of your special day together. 

17. Witness a Captivating Performance at Ballet Des Moines

Pirouette into an enchanting evening by catching a show at Ballet Des Moines. This is one of the most cultural Des Moines date idea experiences, perfect for couples that love the arts or want to experience something new. 

The company’s innovative performances blend classical techniques with contemporary flair, often surprising audiences with their bold interpretations. Expect everything from reimagined fairy tales to abstract pieces set to unexpected soundtracks, challenging the traditional notions of ballet. 

Attending the ballet is one of the cultural Des Moines date ideas
via Ballet Des Moines

18. Sip and Paint at Painting With a Twist

Add a stroke of creativity to your romance by attending a paint-and-sip session at Painting With a Twist. This creative and engaging Des Moines date idea allows couples to express themselves through art while enjoying their favorite beverages. As you follow the instructor's lead, injecting your own artistic flair within your pieces, you not only wind up with your own masterpiece but also get to enjoy an experience with your partner you can cherish for many years. 

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Winter Date Ideas in Des Moines

19. Ice Skate at Brenton Skating Plaza

Carve up the ice at Brenton Skating Plaza, where the crisp air carries the sound of laughter and the scrape of blades. This open-air ice rink transforms Downtown Des Moines into a winter wonderland, allowing couples to glide, twirl and giggle about like carefree kids. With skate rentals readily available, even those new to the ice can join the fun. As far as Des Moines date ideas go, this frosty frolic strikes the perfect balance between romance and exhilaration.  

A couple ice skating on an outdoor rink
via Canva

20. Cross Country Ski or Snowshoe at Jester Park Nature Center

Trade urban chaos for show-draped serenity at Jester Park Nature Center. Whether you prefer the grace of cross-country skis or the satisfying crunch of snowshoes, there are many activities to try and rentals are available to suit each snowy style. Zigzag through frost-covered pines, pause to admire ice-adorned vistas and find that romance blooms even in winter’s chill. 

This Des Moines date idea isn’t just confined to the winter, either. In the summer, you can still visit Jester Nature Center to hike and kayak, making it an ideal location for outdoor-loving couples all year long. 

21. Indoor Rock Climb at Climb Iowa

Swap winter boots for climbing shoes at Climb Iowa, where romance reaches new heights. This adrenaline-pumping Des Moines date idea transforms winter blues into vertical thrills. Navigate a labyrinth of neon holds, conquer fear-inducing boulders and discover muscles you never knew existed. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or an awkward first-timer, Climb Iowa’s diverse routes ensure an exhilarating experience for all skill levels.

A couple climbing on an indoor rock climbing wall
via Canva

22. Compete in Trivia at Mad Meatball

When the winter chill gets too much to be outside, warm up and flex those brain muscles at Mad Meatball’s Wednesday Trivia Throwdowns. This saucy Des Moines date idea transforms hump day into a feast for the mind. Every Wednesday, couples can test their knowledge against local trivia buffs while munching on classic pub fare and sipping craft brews. If you have fun, this could become your go-to weekly date night activity.

Summer Date Ideas in Des Moines

23. Bike Along High Trestle Trail

For a date idea in Des Moines that seamlessly transitions from day to night, embark on a bike ride along High Trestle Trail. Leave as the sun is setting and let the romantic sunset be the backdrop for your ride through the winding verdant landscapes. As the sun sets and the iconic High Trestle Trail Bridge comes into view, you’ll be taken aback by its sheer beauty and towering height. The dazzling lights create an illuminated tunnel of wonder that’s perfect for a couple's selfie to remember this unique Des Moines date idea.

Biking at sunset is one of the top summer Des Moines date ideas
via Canva

24. Photograph Art at Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Picture a Des Moines date idea where art and nature converge in perfect harmony, that’s the magic of Pappajohn Sculpture Park. This expansive green space, dotted with captivating sculptures makes for the perfect place for a picnic complete with prime couples photo opportunities. 

Take in the fresh summer air and the larger-than-life installations all while enjoying the company of your partner. Be sure to snap a photo in front of the famous Love sculpture by Robert Indiana before you leave!

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25. Explore the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is one of the most scenic places in the city and the ideal attraction to explore with your other half on a warm summer day. After wandering through the pretty gardens, relax on the grass with a picnic, chatting and taking in the stunning scenery. During the summer, there are also lots of great events at the gardens like outdoor concerts, so be sure to check the events calendar when planning your date. 

A day at the botantical gardens is one of the best Des Moines date ideas
via Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

26. Paddleboat at Gray’s Lake Park

As one of the most relaxing Des Moines date ideas, taking a paddleboat ride at Gray’s Lake Park allows you to experience a slice of tranquility in the heart of the city. As you and your partner work together to propel the boat across the serene waters, you’ll be able to take in the beautiful park views before heading back to land for a romantic stroll or lakeside picnic. Summer date ideas like this provide an opportunity to slow down, unplug from the digital world and truly focus on each other.

27. Engage in a Friendly Pickleball Competition at Smash Park

For couples who thrive on friendly competition, enjoying a game of pickleball at Smash Park emerges as an exhilarating Des Moines date idea. This innovative entertainment complex combines physical activity with social interaction in a venue that’s centered around the increasingly popular sport of pickleball. 

Play a few games, grab some drinks and sit down for a bite to eat before getting back to the hard-hitting fun. Des Moines date ideas rarely come as exciting and multifaceted as having a fun afternoon at this sports-centric playground for adults.

A couple playing pickleball
via Canva

As you explore the endless possibilities of Des Moines date ideas, it’s clear that Iowa’s capital is anything but cornfields and small-town clichés. The city’s vibrant mix of culture, adventure and culinary delights ensures that every date is a unique experience. Whether you and your partner are locals or just visiting, let Des Moines surprise you with its hidden gems and unforgettable moments. 

For even more ways to explore Des Moines and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.