Choose Your Own Adventure this Valentine’s Day!
Soon the red and pink hearts will be everywhere you look. Candy hearts and chocolate boxes will move into the seasonal candy aisle at the grocery store. Red roses will beckon from the flower shop, reminding you that Valentine’s Day is once again fast approaching. But, unlike last year, you will be ready this year—ready to break the chains of stress and expectation that come with the holiday. No denied reservations at the overbooked bistro, or last-minute excuses about how takeout and an (awful) romantic comedy was the plan all along.
You could pick up a cliché Hallmark card from Walgreens, pair it with a cheap stuffed bear, and pretend that you’ve done a good job. But, the secret to a holiday about expressing love, is just that. Love is best shown, at all ages and stages of relationships, by shared experiences.
Whether you plan to celebrate the day with your significant other, best pals, yourself, or as an entire family, make a lasting memory by picking and choosing from all that Waukee and the surrounding metro area has to offer. Who knows, you may just fall in love with Valentine’s Day all over again.
Date for a Cause
While bidding on a date may or may not be more intimidating than just giving someone your number, it’s for a good cause when done at this event. Variety will once again host the annual Des Moines Sweethearts Charity Date Auction where attendees will bid on 20 of the metro area’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes and their accompanying unique date night ideas. Variety Iowa—the Children’s Charity—is a fantastic non-profit organization that serves underprivileged, at-risk, and special needs children throughout the state. So not only are you helping local youth, you get to meet a great new person that could turn into a wonderful friend (or something more), and you don’t have to plan a date—it’s already done!
January 16, 5-10 p.m.
Jasper Winery, 2400 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines
Let a local florist, such as family-owned and -operated Classic Floral Design, create a custom bouquet that your Valentine’s date will adore. Sure, roses are rad, but if your love is entranced by tiger lilies or enamored with purple tulips, work with that. Valentine’s Day is all about crafting an experience centered around your unique love.
450 6th Street, Waukee
Sweets for a Sweetheart
Valentines of all ages get weak in the knees for something sweet like treats at Echo’s Cookies. Placing an advance order for a freshly baked bouquet of red, pink, and white frosted sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, and suckers is a delicious way show your love—without having to mess up your own kitchen! Or, go big before you go home to your love, with a mouthwatering cookie cake in hand. Better yet, the locally-owned shop delivers—$6 for the Waukee area and $15 for surrounding areas.
272 West Hickman, Waukee
Louie’s Wine Dive
Cheese, wine, and chocolate may be the ultimate staples of a solid Valentine’s dinner out, and Louie’s does not disappoint. The warm ambiance is akin to the essence of a soothing glass of cabernet, but at the same time, it doesn’t try too hard. Cocktails are shaken and stirred, but the showstopper is the wine list. Their shtick is “Wine is supposed to be fun,” which is what your date should be. Pair a glass (or three) of vino with savory starters and main courses that blend comfort food with a healthy heap of classy ingenuity. If you’re still hungry, the desserts are decadently delectable and perfect for romantic sharing.
1378 E Hickman Rd., Waukee
Table 128 Bistro + Bar
Just a stone’s throw from Waukee are the tantalizing tastes of Table 128 in Clive. The bistro is all about sourcing ingredients locally as well as concocting sauces, breads, and desserts from scratch. The menu appropriately evolves with the changing needs and supplies of the seasons. Each dish is presented in an artistic, yet non-pretentious manner. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, consider making a reservation for Friday or Saturday night instead. And, believe us, you will want to make a reservation to make sure you don’t miss out on this magically delicious, rustically modern dining experience.
12695 University Ave, Suite 140 (northeast quadrant of University Ave. & 128th St.), Clive
What sets this mouthwatering restaurant apart is its claim to be the original “grill your own” steakhouse. Founded in Montour, Iowa, this longstanding establishment has set the bar high when it comes to prime cuts of meat. This makes it the perfect “experiential” locale for a dinner date out with your sweetheart. It won’t be the cheapest date in the books, but your love is worth a salad, warm bread, a bacon-wrapped ribeye (grilled to perfection, of course), and glass of rich, red wine. Follow the whole ordeal with the chocolate torte cake or Bailey’s Delight, a to-die-for dessert comprised of ice cream nestled in a chocolate-swirled glass topped with a shot of Bailey’s, whipped cream, and finished off with a drizzle of chocolate.
3309 Ute Avenue, Waukee
It’s a Chocolate Thing
The weekend after Valentine’s Day is a great time to plan a memorable Valentine’s themed experience. There’s learning and treats to be had for the whole family at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden during “It’s a Chocolate Thing,” part of the youth-centric Garden Growers group. Our chocolate addictions are all thanks to plants, and the event hosts will divulge the interesting information about where it comes from and how it grows. Attendees will be able to make their own V-Day chocolates, which is a hearty bit better than a cheap box of stale chocolates. Registration deadline is February 16.
February 20, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines
Get Dolled Up for Valentine’s Day
Salon Utopia in Des Moines is hosting a Girls Night Out pamper-yourself party on Friday, February 12—perfect for a group of friends that want to play around with hair and makeup under the expert instruction of professional stylists. Have a dinner date that night? Let the experts (and your friends) help you prepare the perfect look! In addition to being fun, the event also raises money for the social justice non-profit, Dignity.
February 12, 6-9 p.m.
Salon Utopia, 1208 42nd St., Des Moines
My Funny Valentine
Laughter is a key ingredient for a successful relationship. Enjoy a night of laughs with your sweetheart as comedians Pat Hazell (an original writer for Seinfeld and a veteran of the Tonight Show), and Karen Morgan (a finalist in Nick at Nite’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America and the 2012 winner of The Improv’s National Comic Search) touch on topics ranging from dating to parenting. There will also be an opportunity to ask your burning relationship questions and get some real advice in return. Bring a sense of humor and a date to any of the show times February 2-7 (with two shows on February 6).
The Temple Theater, 1011 Locust St, Des Moines
Some Sweet Day
Romance plays out on the Ankeny Community Theatre stage in “Some Sweet Day,” perfectly timed for the love-based holiday. Do you have regrets about a past love? Maybe there was a chance you wish you would have taken? A kiss you would have gone in for? That’s exactly what Ken does when he travels 24 years back in time for another chance at landing his first true love, Jenny. You’ll want to share this funny and entertaining theater-going experience with someone special!
Feb 8-28; Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.
Ankeny Community Theatre, 1932 SW 3rd St, Ankeny
Teens ages 12+ can get into the Valentine’s Day spirit by learning how to use keyboard keys to make “love keychains.” These keychains make fun and unique gifts for family members—or for someone special! Registration is required, either online or by calling 515-222-3403.
February 11, 6-8 p.m.
West Des Moines Public Library, 4000 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines
Mommy & Me Sweetheart Dance
Valentine’s Day is not only a great time to go out with your significant other, but to let your little ones know they are loved! Variety—The Children’s Charity of Iowa will be hosting the third annual dance just for moms and kiddos at the downtown Holiday Inn. Activities will include dancing (of course), a delicious dessert and candy buffet, a crafting activity, and a keepsake photo. Get your tickets soon because local superheroes from the Iowa League of Heroes may be making an appearance, too! All proceeds will go to support the organization’s initiatives.
February 6, 5-8 p.m.
Downtown Holiday Inn, 1050 6th Ave, Des Moines
Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival Jr.
If the kiddos love bacon as much as you do, share the love at the Science Center of Iowa. Live science demos, hands-on activities, presentations by guest speakers, and prizes will all be focused on the science of the salty, meaty treat. Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival Jr. is sure to be an engaging and educational day for the entire family.
February 15, 12-5 p.m.
Science Center of Iowa, 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines