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Be my Des Moines Valentine

Photo: Connor McCourtney

On a day supposed to be about love, there is no lack of hate for Valentine’s Day. What is to love about the holiday is that there are a number of novel activities around Des Moines; Adventure with a significant other, a friend, a potential “thing” or individually.

If the couch feels too inviting, rent a movie, or stay in and bake heart-shaped cookies. However, Des Moines can be just as much a city of love as Paris. Take a trip around the town to explore with a sweetie all that the area has to offer.

All the following suggestions for a great night out on the town are for Feb. 14 unless otherwise noted.


Catch a Concert

The Love Language–A band with indie cred and a vivacious stage appearance. Sway next to a sweetheart or dance alone to the heart’s content in the middle of the room.
Where: Vaudeville Mews, 212 Fourth St.
When: 8 p.m.
Who: With Dustin Smith, Canyons
Price: $10

Geek out on Art

Gaze into the depths of a painting and discover the heart of an artist.
What: Anselm Reyle exhibit–modern, German paintings and sculptures
Where: Des Moines Art Center,
4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312
When: Not open on Valentine’s Day, but celebrate on Tuesday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Price: Free

Go local or go home

Orginal art in the close-to-home coffee shop makes for a convenient and inexpensive date. Make sure to purchase the “Love Motion” cherry mocha as you swoon over the creative hand-printed posters by 30 different artists’
What: Pour-Over Poster Show
Where: Mars Café, 2318 University Ave.
When: Show runs February 14-28
Price: $30 per poster

Put on your dancing shoes
Swing to the music or sit and tap the toes. Trumpeter Pat Harbinson is bringing his skills to the Des Moines Big Band.
Where: Adventure Land Inn, 3200 Adventureland Drive
When: 6:30-9:30
Price: $5 for students

Crooning love ballads

There is no better way to get to know someone than the way they do karaoke. Do they shake with it or stand there belting out the wrong pitch? Sing a duet or style it solo. Any Celine Dion song is suggested.
Where: Billy Joe’s Lounge,
1701 25th St., West Des Moines
When: 9 p.m.


Sweets for the sweet
Chocoholics unite. There is never a better day to indulge than Valentine’s Day. Hit one of many sweet shops around the Des Moines area to satisfy the strongest of cravings.
Where: Nan’s Nummies, 501 Elm St., West Des Moines (Valley Junction)
When: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
What: Candy, cakes, fudge, cookies
Price: Under $9

Exotic foods

Foods can act as an aphrodisiac. Try something French for a taste of the “language of love.”
Where: Django, 210 10th St.
When: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
What: French cuisine and desserts, such as steak frites, oysters and crepes
Price: $16-$25

Nothing is better than a life talk or gazing lovingly into a lover’s eyes or sitting, sipping in solitude with a good book with a strong cup of joe.
Where: Java Joes

Dinner in the gardens
Ever eaten dinner in a dome before? Surrounded by beautiful year-round gardens, the indoor Botanical Center plays host to a slightly expensive, but unique holiday experience.
What: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Where: Botanical Center, 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines, IA 50316
When: Doors open at 6 p.m.
Price: $60 per person

Off the beaten path

Sleigh ride together with you
When it’s cold, it’s necessary to snuggle together for warmth. When you don’t have a Snuggie, that means holding hands. This one is a little out of the Des Moines Metro area, but make a day of it. It will be an experience not to forget.

What: Sweetheart Sleigh Rides
Where: 1171 NW 103 Court, Granger, IA 50109
When: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Price: $60 (Carriages can hold up to 4 people)


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