Everyone wants to show their date a great time, but there’s a myth that suggests the only way to do that is by spending a lot of money. For those, like you, who are smart enough to plan out the best date possible, that’s not really true. There are lots of ways to save money while still having a great time in downtown Des Moines. Breaking the ice doesn’t require breaking the bank, because there’s something for everyone in this city. I’ve gathered up the best deals and dates I could find, and put them in order to try and find the best. Let’s find out the best way to stick to your budget, and make everyone happy.
1. Taco Tuesday at the Keg Stand
The Keg Stand is a cool little place to take your date for afternoon food and drinks. On Tuesdays, they have dollar tacos. You can choose from chorizo, pork, beef. There’s a minimum order of three, but with their dollar Mystery Keg, you can get two beers and three tacos for five dollars! This is a great place to just catch a bite to eat, or to stay and catch a game. Either way, your date and your wallet will thank you.
2. Gaming at Up-Down
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, and get a little more bang for your buck, heading to Up-Down for a night of gaming and drinks. The arcade games are 25 cents a pop, but on Sundays you can get a six-pack and a pound of quarters for 25 bucks. Hanging out here can take up an entire evening if you’ve got the right date. It’s an absolute blast, and, with a pound of quarters at your hip, you might be able to finally finish House of the Dead.
3. Murder-Mystery Dinner
If you want to do a one-night getaway with your date, The Dinner Detective is a murder-mystery accompanied by food and suspicious circumstances in Cedar Rapids. Actors hide among the diners, the guests interrogate each other, and the murderer could be sitting right next to you. With deals like this one, you can make this a lovely and budget-friendly evening for two.
4. Hit up a Movie
Everyone loves the movies. The only real problem is the expense. Between tickets, popcorn, and a drink, going to see the moving pictures these days can cost a small fortune. However if you know where to go you can mitigate most of that price. On Tuesdays, the AMC Cobblestone 9 has movies showing for only $4.25 a ticket. Get there on a weekday and enjoy a lovely night at the movies without paying an exorbitant price.
5. Get With the Local Music Scene
While many big music acts can have some eyebrow-raising prices for tickets, the local scene usually fits anyone’s budget. Places like the Down Under and the Greenwood Lounge have no cover charge for entry to their live music acts, and the food and drinks are usually pretty well-priced. Kick back and enjoy the music.
6. Check out the Beer Scene
Craft beer is booming in Des Moines, Iowa. The amount of beer that has been produced has nearly tripled since 2014, and nearly all of that is new, local craft brewers. There are many ways to get acquainted with the scene on a budget. Confluence Brewing, Exile Brewing Co., Madhouse Brewing, and Big Rack Brew Haus both have great deals that will give you and your date a chance to taste and appreciate all their fine beers.
Honestly, one of the most expensive parts of going out is getting drinks. If you’re having a really good time, you can end up paying nearly as much for your drinks as you do for your food. However, find the right restaurant that’s BYOB, you can save loads of money on a nice dinner out. Two that come highly recommended are Cafe Fuzion and Tacopocalypse. There are also a number of restaurants that allow you to bring in a bottle of wine without a corkage fee.
8. Become Cultured
For a nice, romantic, setting, head down to the Des Moines Art Center and stroll around looking at the beautiful artwork. It’s free, and the perfect way to convince your date that you’re smarter than you really are. Plus, after you get tired of the art you can go out back and enjoy the beautiful sights in the Rose Garden. You could spend an entire afternoon here, walking around and working up an appetite for a perfect date.
If you really want to impress your date, take them to Alba on a Monday night. This gorgeous place has the quality, looks, and accolades of a five-star restaurant, but you can get cocktails and burgers for just five dollars a piece. This has made the number one spot because it’s the perfect way to show your date the exquisite time he or she deserves, while also keeping in line with your budget.
So, those are the top nine dates for those dating on a budget. There’s a decent bit of range in there, so you have a large number of things to choose from. Hopefully, even if you didn’t find the exact date you were looking for, you take away some ideas on what’s possible in Des Moines. Always keep a lookout on deal sites for discounts on unique things to do in the city. You can plan an extraordinary date, while keeping to your budget.