Photo above by Danica Donnelly: Holly Palkowitsch of Eagan gave birth to her daughter, Wilhelmina, with her partner, Chris, by her...
Top 10 date nights
Sometimes, in order to put our best parenting foot forward, we need to engage in a little self-care.
Care for the romantic relationship, in particular, is often overlooked and goes a long way in terms of refreshing parental energy and creating a family environment that’s both happy and connected.
Here are 10 Twin Cities date-night ideas to inspire you to get out more — as a couple — this summer!
Paddleboard & picnic
Several city lakes offer various recreation rentals — paddleboats, paddleboards, kayaks and even bicycles built for two (wheelfunrentals.com)! Plan for an afternoon of light exercise and exploration followed by a sunset picnic sans bunny crackers and juice boxes.
Continuing with the theme of “staycation because we can’t manage the real thing,” Psycho Suzi’s gives you a taste of a wild and bizarre tropical island — overlooking the good old Mississippi. Stiff drinks in Tiki idols, fruity virgin counterparts and kitschy Minnesota appetizers like cheese curds, little smokies and those amazing pickle-and-deli-meat pinwheel sandwiches. It’s church potluck meets Polynesia, if you will. This is an ideal place to go for a double or triple date night with pals you haven’t chatted with outside of the playground for far too long.
You just can’t go wrong spending time along the historic Minneapolis riverfront. Walk the Stone Arch Bridge, hike down the old wooden steps through Father Hennepin Park and feel the mist of the mighty Mississippi. Romantic restaurants with a river view include Wilde Roast, Aster Café and Pracna, to name a view. Take in a film at the old theater or catch a live band on a hot summer night. Look for bigger crowds and bigger fun during summer events like the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, the Fourth of July and the annual Aquatennial.
Did the kids miraculously end up engaged in simultaneous play dates / birthday parties / long hockey practices? Ignore the lure of laundry and lawn mowing and spend some time together! Head to Minnehaha Falls for an afternoon of Frisbee golf and mild hiking (in the spring you can creep behind the frozen water fall for a stolen kiss) followed by oysters and local beer at Sea Salt Eatery (.
Fun, whimsical and historical any day of the week, this bowling alley / music venue / comedy club / restaurant caters to couples on Monday nights. For only $28 per couple, you get two entrees, a bottle of wine and a game of bowling. Score!
Romantic getaway to London not in the budget this year? Head to Brit’s for authentic British tavern food and a lively rooftop complete with lawn bowling green. Noteworthy events include Bend it at Brit’s — perhaps the city’s largest yoga class, and the only one where a pint of beer replaces the typical bottle of water next to your mat. Summer fun on the roof doesn’t stop there. Check out the summer movie series or Shakespeare on the lawn. For the traditionalist, Brit’s features an afternoon tea Monday through Friday.
Stoke the super sleep-deprived embers with the heat of competition — work together to come up with a nerdy team name and try to win the big prize (usually a gift certificate toward your bar tab). The cost to play is free besides what you eat and drink — inexpensive for a night of entertainment. There are many venues providing this service and a handful of trivia companies with heavily attended regular nights. The hometown favorite, however, is by far Trivia Mafia with venues all around the Twin Cities.
Coming up June 20–21 is the annual music festival hosted by two Twin Cities cultural icons: MPR’s The Current and the Walker Art Center. Taking place on the back lawn of the Walker’s sculpture garden, this isn’t your teenager’s rock festival. With craft beers, gourmet burgers and a line-up that draws from various genres and eras, this is a grown-up good time to invigorate your youthful spirits. Even if you take the kids, it will still feel like a date reminiscent of your early courtship.
Arguably the prettiest patio in the Twin Cities, a leisurely date night dining al fresco at this historic St. Paul restaurant will slow your busy selves down. Whether for cocktails, dessert or a full dinner, the low-lit lush garden effortlessly sets the stage for romance.
Kid play your way
Ride the craziest coasters at Nickelodeon Universe, stroll leisurely through the zoo — reading every sign — without the burden of your diaper bag, or do the State Fair your way (think wine tasting, shopping the bazaar and skipping the Midway all together). Shhhh — don’t tell the kids.
Jen Wittes lives in St. Paul and is a mother of two. Send your favorite Minnesota date-night ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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