Gophers, let’s admit it: we’ve gotten lazy with dates. While restaurants, movies, and the notorious Netflix & Chill are all options, they’re not particularly memorable. If you’re struggling to come up with a great date idea at the University of Minnesota, look no further. Keep reading for ten awesome date ideas students can try around the University of Minnesota that are sure to be sweet and original.
1. Take a hike at Minnehaha Falls.
Grab a light rail schedule and navigate your way to 50th Street/Minnehaha Park Station. Make your way to the namesake waterfalls for a view almost as breathtaking as your date. While the park’s trails are full of natural beauty year round, going in the fall offers the added bonus of colorful foliage and temperatures just chilly enough to make holding hands a necessity.
2. Pick out an outfit at Gina+Will’s.
Nestled right between two huge chain stores in Dinkytown, Starbucks and Target, Gina+Will’s is anything but mainstream. This consignment store is packed with trendy clothes at prices even the brokest college student can afford. Although thrift shopping on its own is plenty of fun, make the date a test of how well you know each other by picking an outfit you think your partner would like. Whether you end up in your new go-to outfit or a hilariously mismatched trainwreck, this date is sure to score you some originality points.
3. Take the light rail to downtown Saint Paul to experience what the city has to offer.
The light rail Green Line running right through campus is your invitation to explore the city. While the coffee shops and restaurants of the Twin Cities are spectacular on their own, there’s plenty of live entertainment to be found just a short walk from the light rail station. For example, the Camp Bar in downtown St. Paul hosts Button Poetry, featuring Minneapolis’ finest slam poets, every first Monday of the month, and is a short walk from the 10th Street light rail stop. Just a few stops down at the St. Paul-Union Depot station, the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar offers live jazz music every Saturday.
4. Go to a University Recreation and Wellness Center fitness class together.
Yes, you read that right: take your date to the gym. The University of Minnesota is known as one of the fittest campuses in the nation, so chances are high that your date will be familiar with the University Recreation and Wellness Center. The RecWell offers a variety of classes, from yoga to cycling. Put on your most flattering gym outfit and find an interesting class to take. If you’re really brave, go to a zumba class and challenge your date to the dance-offs held in just about every class.
5. Have a classic coffee date at one of the several coffee shops on campus.
Colleges and coffee shops go hand in hand, and the University of Minnesota is no exception. Check out the independent shops, each with their own unique character. For a spacious and airy experience, head to the Purple Onion in Dinkytown. Enjoy two dollar lattes at Espresso Royale on Wednesday, or have a warm, mood-lit evening at Espresso Expose. On West Bank, the cash-only, vegetarian friendly, and decidedly punk rock Hard Times Cafe is guaranteed to be memorable. For a more cute and cozy vibe, check out Mapps Coffee.
6. Attend a show at Northrop auditorium.
If you’re looking for a more elegant date night, head to Northrop Auditorium to see a host of talented dance troupes. This outing is especially well-suited to the budget conscious student, as Northrop offers the ‘First Year Free-Ticket’ program, which offers one free ticket to any dance performance to all first year students. Dress your best and learn a few ballet terms to show your date how cultured you are.
7. Buy some baking supplies and rent out a residence hall kitchen.
If you’re a freshman (and most of you reading this probably are), you’re probably living in a residence hall. If a cozy night in appeals to you and your date, whip out those Pinterest recipes that you’ve been dying to try and grab some baking supplies at CVS or Walgreens. Every residence hall has a kitchen as well as bowls, pans, and other kitchen supplies for check out. Make sure to reserve the kitchen in advance so you won’t leave your sweetheart sweetless on date night.
8. Prepare a picnic and head to some green spaces around campus!
U Minnesota has dozens of green spaces, so take advantage of them by planning a picnic. Grab a blanket, pack your best cucumber sandwiches, and wear your favorite sundress for a simple and timeless date. Some notable green areas include the MacNamara Plaza, the Knoll, and the East River Flats. If your date falls in Minnesota’s eternal winter, starting in November and ending in late April, taking your picnic inside and watching snow fall is just as romantic.
9. Take a trip to the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory on Saint Paul Campus.
Instead of buying your date flowers, why not give them an entire greenhouse? The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory maintains a colorful variety of plants and flowers, and is open to drop-in visitors, with an optional donation. You can reach the conservatory by taking the Campus Connector to the Saint Paul campus, a free bus system for all students to use. After checking out the Conservatory, take a walk over to Lori’s Coffee House for the best cafe miel in the Twin Cities.
10. Go to Como Zoo for some free fun.
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can’t still be a kid. The Como Zoo offers a surprisingly high quality experience for a great price– the recommended donation is only three dollars per person. Find your favorite animals, or spend some time in the gardens, including a seasonal butterfly garden. Located off the Green Line, transportation should be a cinch
What are some other cute date ideas to try around the University of Minnesota? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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Featured Image: Pinterest