Ahh fall. We wait all year for this season. Cool crisp air temps, smokey smell of bonfires and dried leaves underfoot, the comfy feel of flannel and scarves and sweaters (oh how we missed you.)
But while the aesthetic of fall tells me to cozy up under a blanket with my one true love and snuggle in the glow of the season, our calendars seem to tell us otherwise. Between the sports activities, after-school clubs, back-to-school nights, and don’t forget all the must-do fall traditions (apple orchards, pumpkin patches, fall fests, oh my!), my husband and I begin to feel more like traffic control agents on the runway of our family’s schedule than the lovers we want to be.
That’s what makes a fall date night as essential as a pumpkin spice candle from Target. Lighting that flame is what keeps the glow alive, in you and your relationship. Who says the kids get to have all the fun?
But like the seasonal candle aisle, there are many date night flavors to choose from. You have to find the one that fits your vibe. We polled our Twin Cities Mom Team to find their favorite ways to spend a fall date night. Which one will you be lighting up this season?
If it’s been a while since you sat at a dinner table and actually tasted your food without being interrupted a hundred million times by a small child who “really can’t stand anything green,” then a fancy dinner out is what you need this fall. Aimee on our team is a big fan of the new collaborative restaurant in the North Loop Sanjusan, a collaboration from the team of Martina, Colita, and Rosalia as well as the team at Kado No Mise (all incredible restaurants to add to your list as well!) The cuisine is just as it sounds from this dynamic duo–Italian meets Japanese. Also in the same building shared with Kado No Mise, you can find the 10-course dining experience at Kaiseki Furukawa as well as a Japanese whiskey bar Gori Gori Peku. With all these amazing gourmet experiences, you’ll never want to eat a box of mac and cheese again!
The Art of it All
Did you know admission to the Minneapolis Institute of Art is FREE? Come for an afternoon date any day, or a Thursday night when they are open until 9 PM. You’ll feel like you slipped away to Paris wondering the halls, holding hands, getting lost amongst the works of the same artists that line the walls of the Louvre. Continue the Paris escape by walking over to Eat Street on Nicollet, where restaurants from just about any cuisine invite you to dine inside or along the patios. Eat Street Social has great BBQ (and actually a Paris bistro vibe, believe it or not), Centro Nicollet has great tacos, and Pimento Jamaican Kitchen & Rum Bar will surprise you with every bite and sip.
The Happy Hour Hoppers
We all know Happy Hour is not always happy when the children and their whiny end-of-day moods are at play. So why not get the babysitter to come early and catch the happy hour deals at your local bar! Team Writer Aimee loves to have a good time at Cowboy Jacks in Bloomington, and she and her husband take it up a notch with a stack of pull tabs! Go for it! Win back those $3 beers and then some! Because you don’t always need fancy to have a good time. You just need good food, good drinks, and even better deals.
Why should the kids have all the fun? Party like it’s 1990, your mom just dropped you off at the mall with a bunch of quarters, and you’re about to beat your high score on PacMan. Head on over to Can Can Wonderland! For an entrance fee of only $10 you can play unlimited arcade games from vintage to modern. Race your date on Daytona track, show off your dance dance revolution skills, or strike a pose in the photo booth. But unlike the mall in 1990, the food here is AMAZING and there is a whole wall of self-serve beer, wine, and NA beverages. What could be better?
Double Date Night
Want to meet up with friends outside of the playground? Team Member Shannon says The Market at Malcolm Yards is the place to be. There are options for any taste bud so everyone is happy. And the patio in the fall with the roaring fires gives off all those snuggle vibes you were seeking. Want to add on to your fun night? Just around the corner is Surly Brewing for the beer lovers with more great patio seating, and O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company for the whiskey fans and a tasting room with seats you could cozy up into all night.
Ready for Some Futball
Yes we all love football in the fall. But have you tried futball? And by that I mean what (no one but) Americans call soccer. We’re big soccer fans in this house and there is no better place to watch soccer than on the rooftop lawn at Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Even if you don’t have a favorite team, the atmosphere is always exciting at Brit’s on the beautiful lawn surrounded by tall buildings with soccer playing on the big screen. Can’t make it for a game? Try lawn bowling!
Biking Babes Beer Crawl
There are so many great bars and breweries to try out in Northeast Minneapolis but parking can be a hassle. That’s why my husband and I love to turn it into a biking crawl. We ride the train downtown and then move around on two wheels sampling our favorite brews and food along the way. Our favorites are Dangerous Man, Bauhaus Brewery, and Indeed Brewing, with some great carryout tacos from Centro.
Cool Cats of the Cocktail Clubs
Nothing says cozy like a bar that feels like a secret only you and your lover know about where wizards called mixologists make magical elixirs. If dark and cozy cocktail bars are your vibe there are some great ones you need to try in the Twin Cities area that members of our Twin Cities Team rave about. The Basement Bar of Sooki & Mimi is like if That Seventies Show invited you to a house party, and then served you amazing cocktails and fantastic music. Skaalven Distillery in Brooklyn Park is owned by a husband and wife team so they get romance (try the aquavit!) For those speakeasy vibes be sure to check out Anoka Hardware Store. They have cool cocktails and even cooler live music many nights.
How We Roll
Have you tried electric scooters yet? Seriously best fun I’ve had in a long while was a night spend tootaling around downtown Minneapolis on a couple of scooters. I squealed like a little kid from the joy of it all. It made our kids super jealous, too, when we told them the next day. We picked up our scooters in the St. Anthony Falls area, scooted around downtown, up and around the U.S. Bank Stadium, took selfies on the Stone Arch Bridge with the fall colors alive on the Mississippi River, and then crossed the river to have dinner and drinks at a couple of the restaurants along Main Street like Jefe Urban Cocina, Hideaway Cabin Bar, and Aster Cafe. The cobble streets make you feel like you are in Europe.
Take a Hike
No fall date night list is complete without a good hike in the woods. Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley is a great place to find hiking and biking trails for any speed you might need. Top off the leaf peeping with a beer and pretzels at Utepils around their cozy backyard fires. Don’t forget to wear your flannel.