Date Night: Ideas That Aren’t Just for February

 Valentine’s Day is soon approaching, and you know what that means. You’re about to be inundated with hearts, candy, and pressure to buy the perfect gift and plan the perfect date night for your special someone.

I’m not big on Hallmark holidays.

It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of daily life and fail to carve out time for just you and your significant other. This isn’t a reminder to schedule a date night for February 14th. It’s a reminder to pencil one in as often as possible.

Make this list your reference for Cedar Rapids date night ideas long past February. There’s *something* for everyone!

Something Old

Synonyms for old: classic, seasoned, mature. Like a fine wine, some things really do get better with age. Try out one of the oldest restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area: a supper club called the Lighthouse Inn, built in 1912. Another classic family favorite: Leonardo’s, established in 1963. A nostalgic date night might be just what you need!

Something New

Maybe you’ve gotten into a familiar rut and need something brand new to spice up your dining life… The Bohemian is a new restaurant in a very old building in the Newbo district and is the unique dining experience guaranteed to shake up your week! Looking for something more on the snacky side? Check out Frydae in Marion, where you can satisfy both a sweet and salty craving in no time.

Something Borrowed

Want to have deep, meaningful conversations but you always end up talking about work and the kids again? Go ahead and “borrow” some conversation starters from Do It Yourself Therapy. My husband and I pull this box out once or twice a year and I’m always pleasantly surprised how easily our conversation flows from it. This is the perfect thing for couples who have been together “forever” and think they know everything about each other. Also perfect ice breakers for couples who are just getting to know each other!

Something You

What’s something that’s special or unique to your relationship? Maybe it’s the place you met, a hobby you have in common, or an inside joke. My husband and I met at The Vine in Iowa City in 2012 and we make a point to try and go back at least once a year. And of course, I always make him take a picture outside by the sign with me. Our familiar spot will never get old, and the idea of creating a tradition together is *romance* for me.

Something Virtual

The quintessential date: GAME NIGHT. In 2022, that doesn’t just have to be board games anymore. Once a month or so, we like to get on Zoom with other couples for a virtual game night. It’s great for keeping in touch with friends and family out of town and provides a contemporary spin on an old favorite. Our usual go-to is anything Jackbox, and let me tell you, it is a BLAST.

Something Small Town

I’m from a small town in western Iowa originally, so there’s a huge part of me that always wants to explore the bars and restaurants in the small towns surrounding Cedar Rapids. Date night coffee and pastry sound nice? Head on over to The Kava House and Cafe in Swisher. Maybe you’re looking for a small-town brewery. House Divided Brewery in Ely will check that box for you, and they have those fun outdoor igloos that keep you warm in the colder weather! And don’t forget to stop by Dan and Debbie’s for dessert. Want something totally out of the ordinary with wholesome vibes? You’ve got to try the new soda fountain in Solon, The Brass Fountain. They even have a “Prescription Only” menu if you like your desserts a little boozy!

Something Tasty

Wanna stay at home and on a budget? Go to the grocery store and buy a few bottles of cheap wine, OR a variety pack of beer/seltzers, OR both. Create a “key” when you get home (separately), corresponding flavors to numbers and each of you can take turns guessing the correct flavor. Don’t drink? This could be just as much fun with “exotic” foods. Blindfold your spouse and make them guess what they are eating! Bragging rights for the winner.

Something Happy Hour

If you’re looking for a casual place to grab a few beverages and apps at a reasonable price, you are my people. Check out my Cedar Rapids Top Ten Happy Hour list if you want some ideas on where to get started!

Something Fancy

Every now and then, it’s fun to splurge. To LIVE A LITTLE! Put on some fancy clothes, spend an hour on your hair and makeup, break out the high heels. A couple of my favorite upscale restaurants in Cedar Rapids are Bari, Black Sheep Social Club, and Biaggi’s. Make a reservation beforehand!

Something Youthful

Want a date night that makes you feel like a teenager? Bowling is always a classic choice and Cedar Rapids has many options including May City Bowl, CRBC, and Lancer Lanes. Another fun idea is the Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery, where you can have an adult beverage while you play video games. Last but not least, Speedeezz Indoor Karting is the perfect “feel like a kid again” date night idea.

Something Sporty

If you’re into physical activities, here are two great ideas for your date night. We’ve been to Four Seasons Indoor Golf in Fairfax a couple of times, and my husband absolutely LOVED it. You book a room, bring your own drinks and snacks, and play virtual golf. This is perfect for the winter months when real golf isn’t an option.

In other news…. ever tried axe throwing? Now you can! Civil Axe Throwing provides an exciting atmosphere for couples or friend groups who are looking to try a new activity.

Something Adventurous

Having a hard time finding ideas that sound appealing to you? Look no further than The Adventure Challenge: Couples Edition scratch-off book. You open to any random page in this book and scratch off one of the challenges. You have no idea what it’s going to be, but you must complete it, take a photo, and place the photo in the book as proof it’s been completed.

The book gives you small hints such as the cost of the challenge, the time of day it should be completed, and the approximate duration. There’s also a section for notes if you want to write about your adventure together. It serves as both a book of possibilities and memories. Happy trails!

Something Spice

Last but not least, check out one of our favorite restaurants in town: Mandarin Spice!

Mandarin Spice Asian Grill has a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines that will make your mouth water. Where are my sushi lovers at?! Mandarin Spice Asian Grill has got you covered. Dine-in or takeout: either way, you’ll be happy you did.

At Mandarin Spice we believe that it is important to provide dishes using fresh and high-quality ingredients, providing a homemade dinner for families and friends to enjoy together. Whether it be Valentine’s Day, a special occasion, or take-out Mandarin Spice invites you to try their delicious food.


mandarin spice

Located in Collins Road Square
1412 Twixt Town Rd, Marion, Iowa


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