You know you need to spice things up when your weekend date nights have devolved into binge-watching "Better Call Saul" and stuffing yourselves with pizza. Let's be honest - your Instagram feed could also use some spice. And there's no better time than fall in Minneapolis to explore everything our area has to offer.
Get off the couch while the weather's still good (or, at least, not miserable) and check out these hot date spots!
Go for a romantic dinner cruise on the St. Croix
Nothing says romance like a riverboat ride. You'll feel like you're on the Rhine as you meander around the bends and bluffs, sipping wine and dining to a jazz-band serenade. Good food, live music, stunning scenery and shimmery water - it's the perfect recipe for a magical date night!
Get lost in a corn maze at Sever's Fall Festival
This is your one-stop-shop for all things fall. Just a 40-minute drive from Minneapolis, here you'll find loads of apples, pumpkins, hay bales and gourds. There's a hayride, an extreme corn pit, and - yes - a corn maze. Play hide-and-seek with your honey or work together to complete the Corn Maze Challenge by finding six hidden pictures of "Scuba Sever." (There's even an app for it!)
You can also try some not-so-traditional fall activities, like the camel rides, pumpkin blaster, pig race, parakeet landing and pair of giant jumping pillows.
Float away to Never-Never Land in a hot-air balloon
Don't mean to burst your bubble (no pun intended), but you won't actually make it to Neverland. Still, you'll feel like you're on Cloud Nine gazing out at a bird's-eye view of the bluffs, farmland and vineyards of the St. Croix River Valley.
It's a surreal experience, drifting through the sky with no motor or engine to muffle your "ooohs" and "ahhhs."
Afraid of heights? There's no better excuse to hold your honey tight. And when your feet are back on solid ground, stop at the nearby St. Croix Vineyards for a crisp Frontenac Blanc or refreshing hard cider.
Swing-dance the night away at the Wabasha Street Caves
Where: Saint Paul
Step back in time to a Prohibition-era speakeasy that's literally underground. A famous hangout for Mafia gangsters in the '20s and '30s, the Wabasha retains much of its original glory - and its spooky allure. One of the back rooms was the site of a mysterious triple murder that was never solved. (You can still see the bullet holes in the fireplace stone.)
Every Thursday night, the place comes to life again, opening its doors to the public for swing dancing to the strains of a live big band. So put on your dancing shoes and a poofy skirt, and twirl the night away!
Sip some wine (and stomp some grapes!) at Chateaux St. Croix Vineyard
Where: St. Croix Falls, WI
Visiting this vineyard, you'll feel transported to a 19th-century estate in the French countryside. But instead of a 9-hour plane ride, it's just a 45-minute jaunt across the border in Wisconsin. And it's worth the drive.
While you're there, taste the local wine varieties, take a tour of the vineyard, then kick off your boots and hop into a barrel for some good ol' fashioned grape stomping. (You might feel a little foolish, but trust me, your boyfriend will secretly find it sexy!)
Take in the view from the Foshay Observation Deck
Where: Downtown Minneapolis
Stand arm-in-arm while soaking up a 360-degree view of downtown Minneapolis. Perched on the 31st floor of the iconic tower, it's a romantic spot to reminisce. And on the way down, you can get off at the 27th floor and grab a few drinks at the Prohibition Bar - a dazzling modern-day speakeasy.
Pick some apples at Aamodt's
Minnesota and apples go together like New York and cheesecake. (Yum to both!) There's nothing like plucking a big, juicy apple straight from the tree. And there's no shortage of metro-area orchards to start picking.
Just a 20-minute drive from Minneapolis, Aamodt's has it all: endless rows of Sweetangos, Honeycrisps and Haralsons, among others. And while you're there, stock up on other autumn goods like apple butter (yes, it's as deliciously indulgent as it sounds!), hot apple cider, apple croissants and, of course, apple pie.
Grab a growler and a board game at Flat Earth Brewing
Where: Saint Paul
What's so unique about this place? It's a brewery within a brewery. Nestled in the ruins of historic Hamm's, Flat Earth boasts an unbeatable ambiance and an impressive selection of home-brewed taps. They also have a stack of board games behind the bar, so why not settle in for a round of Ticket to Ride? (Winner gets bragging rights and a foot massage!)
And did I mention they make a mad S'mores Porter? Worth a shot... Or a pint.
Catch a sunset (and watch the moonrise) at the Stone Arch Bridge
Where: Downtown Minneapolis
It's one of the best-known landmarks in Minneapolis. And it's the perfect place to stroll with your s/o while admiring a magical sunset. Stay to watch the moon come up, and you'll be rewarded with a sensational view of the glowing cityscape.
Who wouldn't fall in love here?
Surprise your s/o with a weekend getaway at the exotic Elephant Walk B&B
If you're really looking to splurge, you can't go wrong here. Just a few blocks from downtown Stillwater, this historic bed-and-breakfast features exotic decor from around the world. There's an Indian-inspired "Rangoon Room," a Balinese room modeled after the British Colonial Hotel in Singapore, a Spanish suite with a rooftop garden and a Thai-style "Chang Mai Room."
From the moment you walk through the door, you'll feel a world away from everyday life. You'll find wine and chocolates waiting for you in your cozy room. At night, you can soak in the double whirlpool or curl up in front of the warm fireplace while enjoying a complimentary wine-and-cheese tray. Then wake up for a breakfast that's to die for.
Make your reservation well in advance for a weekend retreat that's sure to be memorable!
Go horseback riding (or hop aboard a hayride) at Bunker Park Stable
Where: Coon Rapids
You don't need to drive three hours north to go horseback riding. Tucked away in this sprawling suburban nature reserve, Bunker Stable offers a picturesque backdrop for a trail ride. You'll feel like you're in the north woods, ambling through groves of birches, maples and pines, past marshlands and ponds. Like all good dates, it's both relaxing and a blast. But fair warning: your bum might ache for days afterward.
Hone your chef skills in a cooking class at the Cooks of Crocus Hill
Where: Saint Paul (Grand Ave.), Minneapolis (North Loop) and Stillwater
Looking for something easy and fun that doesn't involve a lot of planning? Book a cooking class for a date-night-in-a-box! Each class features a different cuisine: French, Italian, Moroccan or even a Best British Baking Show-inspired patisserie night. All you have to do is show up. Dinner and dessert are included...although, whether they taste good depends largely on you.
Hop on your bikes and hit the Gateway
Where: Saint Paul, Maplewood, Grant and Stillwater
So your bikes have sat in storage all summer, now's your chance to dust them off before the snow hits. The Gateway Trail - which runs 18 miles from Saint Paul to Stillwater - is bursting with color this time of year. Along the way, you'll pass sparkling lakes, hidden ponds, scenic farms, and a blazing tapestry of oranges, yellows and reds.
Don't have bikes? (At least, not any road-worthy ones?) Take your furbaby along for a romantic autumn stroll instead.
Share a flight at Sociable Cider Werks
Where: Northeast Minneapolis
You can't let fall go by without tasting some cider - and why not make it hard cider? At this Northeast institution - perhaps the best-known cidery in Minnesota - you'll find house-brewed options like "Burn Out Cucumber Habanero," a "Dolgo Crab Apple" infusion and "Freewheeler Dry Apple" - plus two types of mead on tap. Can't decide? Try a flight!
Fun fact: All of their "spitters" (bittersharp or bittersweet apples used for ciders) are locally sourced.
Snuggle in the shadow of "Witch's Hat" Water Tower
Where: Prospect Park
This historic landmark is worth a pitstop any time of the year - especially when the leaves are turning. You can't climb up to the top (the observation is only open one day per year, in the spring), but you can snuggle up on a bench overlooking a stunning skyline view.
Fun fact: At an elevation of 951 feet, it's the second highest spot in Minneapolis - not the first, like most people think. (That honor goes to Demings Height Park in Northeast.)