Missed out on a reservation for Valentine’s Day? No worries! We’ve got you covered with 10 ideas for last-minute outings you can do with your special someone. Or treat yourself! (Be sure to check with each location for specific hours.)
1. Go "Bobbing" on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
Be in two places at the same time when you go “bobbing” on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the Missouri River between Council Bluffs and Omaha. Strike a pose while you stand with a foot in both states to take the memory home with you.
2. Take an Evening Stroll on a Local Trail
Enjoy a relaxing walk on the local trail system and spend an evening gazing at the stars. Or simulate walking among the stars with a stroll along Nathan’s Miles Glow Trail in Vinton. Nearly 3,000 pounds of solar-powered glowing stones turn what looks like a normal two-mile path in the daylight into the longest glow-in-the-dark trail in the country.
3. Grab a Sweet Treat at a Soda Fountain
Go retro romantic while sharing an old-fashioned soda or phosphate. Small towns across the state have preserved these historic gems to give residents and visitors a place to escape modern day life. If you're near Ida Grove, you can't miss the the Farmacy Soda Fountain & Coffee House.
4. Tour the Covered Bridges
Visit the world-famous covered bridges of Madison County (the inspiration behind and setting for the book and movie). Six of the bridges are available to visit near Winterset. Be sure to stop by the Cedar Bridge, which was featured on the book’s cover, or the Roseman and Holliwell bridges, which appeared in the movie.
5. Explore Haitian Art at the Waterloo Center for the Arts
Explore the world’s largest public collection of Haitian Art at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo. Or admire their featured exhibition, "Freedom's Daughters," which runs through March 19. It spotlights largely unknown Black heroines from Suffrage to Civil Rights as depicted by Cedar Rapids artist Kathy Schumacher.
6. Grab a Bag of Locally Made Popcorn for Movie Night
There are few things more relaxing than enjoying a snack and watching a movie. Pop into a local store like Jolly Time’s Koated Kernels in Sioux City and choose from a variety of specialty popcorns. Their flavors include everything from Red Hot Cinnamon and Raspberry Cheesecake to the Sioux City 50-50, a blend of classic caramel and white cheddar cheese.
7. Take a Stroll Through a Sculpture Park
Stroll through your local sculpture park to enjoy an evening surrounded by elegant art. The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines is one of the best in the state, featuring 31 sculptures from world-renowned artists. The park is especially stunning when it's lit up at night. (Bonus points for taking a selfie in front of the “Love” sculpture.)
8. Cheer on the Fighting Saints
Grab tickets for the Dubuque Fighting Saints' Valentine's Day game. Cheer them on and share a pretzel as they face off against the Green Bay Gamblers at home.
9. Stock up on Sweet Treats at a Candy Store
Head to the local candy store and spoil your special someone with a bag of Iowa goodies. One of the most prominent candy shops in Iowa is the family-owned Sugar Makery in Glenwood and Council Bluffs. Both locations sell delicious popcorn, candy, ice cream and more than 200 glass bottle soda varieties.
10. Catch a Movie at a Historic Theater
Find a nearby historic movie theater and enjoy a romantic night that's not only unique, but also budget-friendly. Pay a visit to the world’s oldest continually operating cinema theatre, The State Theatre in Washington, which opened in May of 1897!
- Shop your local grocery store for Iowa-made wine and beers to create your own tasting flight.
- Gifts cards to shopiowa.com make great last-minute gifts.