Once you're in a relationship, it starts to feel a bit like Mission: Impossible. It seems like you've exhausted all the date night options and there are literally no new ways to surprise your girlfriend.
Minnesota has so many hidden gems that are perfect for dialing up the romance factor. So take some time to explore all that the state has to offer with your partner — all while winning the "Boyfriend of the Year" award.
Let's face it — she's getting tired of going to the same places and so are you! Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration to take you out of your comfort zone. Luckily, here's a list that's suited for all different types of dates. If you're feeling adventurous, there are spectacular trails. If you're in the mood for a relaxing afternoon, hit up some secret beaches. And if you just want to scarf down food together, there are so many options for brunch.
Content disclaimer: We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. The locations listed below may or may not have changed their regulations in regards to what you can or cannot do on site since the article was last updated. Always consult with local authorities. If you do plan to visit a location, know the risks beforehand and respect the environment.
Where: Tettegouche State Park
This isn't for the faint of heart, but that's what makes it worth it. Palisade Head is a huge rock formation with expansive views of Lake Superior. Don't worry if you both aren't exactly experts at hiking because the trail to the peak is only a 10-15 minute walk! Not too shabby for a beautiful lookout and for a fun Insta pic.
Where: 711 W Lake St, Minneapolis
Itching for a glamorous night out with a sprinkle of mystery? Look no further than this charming speakeasy-esque bar. You might have to hunt for the unmarked entrance, but once you're there just stroll in and be transported to another time!
Volstead's is filled with surprises like secret entrances. One door is disguised as a bookcase and another as a telephone booth. Each booth has a framed mirror that opens to reveal your server!
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Where: 1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul
Zoos are so underrated, am I right? There's no reason why feeding giraffes can't be a cute date idea. And if animals aren't your thing, there are several gardens you can walk through filled with exotic plants and beautiful flowers. If you want to rest, take a seat at the Enchanted Garden. Her head on your shoulder, you guys looking out onto the plant life. It doesn't get better than this.
Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Company
Where: 907 N. Washington Ave, Minneapolis
The interior is the definition of the perfect Instagram aesthetic. The cafe isn't exactly a hidden gem. Sure, the coffee is good, but most people don't know that there's a secret room in the back that has an amazing backdrop for a photo shoot. Just leave through the back entrance and you'll be greeted to an empty room that has floor to ceiling windows and Minneapolis as the background.
Where: 818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis
It's never a waste of time to find a new place to overlook Minneapolis. The theater is open seven days a week and the photo opportunities are endless! Head up to the Amber Box to get a panoramic view of the Minneapolis skyline and the Mississippi River. Also, it never hurts to go see a show while you're at the theater!
Glam Doll Donuts
Where: 519 Central Avenue NE Minneapolis
You think you're sick of donuts? Think again. Glam Doll Donuts will make you wish you had a bottomless pit for a stomach. The donut shop offers the classics and even donuts that have a unique twist on familiar flavors. And if you or your girlfriend are vegan, Glam Doll Donuts have got you covered. They even have seven flavors that are vegan-friendly.
St. Croix State Park
Where: 30065 St Croix Park Rd, Hinckley
This is every woman's dream. This state park has a lot to offer, but let's be real — you're here for the sunflower fields. Nothing says summer quite like a bright yellow flower. Frolick through to find the picture perfect spot for a photo. Just try not to get stung by any bees!
Where: 1426 W Lake St, Minneapolis
If real flowers aren't your thing, take her to see some artsy ones. After you've finished your duty as Creative Director of this photoshoot, take her to Chino Latino and eat everything from tacos to sushi.
Minnesota Nice Cream
Where: 807 Broadway St NE
Who says you can't be inventive when it comes to ice cream? This ice cream shop serves ice cream in a waffle taco! Load up on toppings and your favorite flavor of ice cream, and get ready to experience something your taste buds aren't used to. MN Ice Cream also offers lactose-free and vegan options. Just make sure not to spend the whole time taking photos because eating melted ice cream is no fun.
Where: 21071 County Rd 118, Preston
Romance can be found even underground. Experience Minnesota's longest cave through a network of passages. The park provides various tours based on your interest and endurance level. One tour takes four hours and lets you crawl through some tight spaces. Nothing brings you closer than crawling on your hands and knees as a couple.
Minnesota State Fair
Where: 265 Snelling Ave N, St Paul
A night at the fair is the quintessential rom-com date. If it was good enough for Allie and Noah in The Notebook, it's good enough for you two. Ride the Ferris wheel, lose a lot of money trying to win a stuffed animal for her, and eat funnel cake. What more could you want in a date?
La Michoacana Purepecha
Where: 701 E Lake St, Minneapolis
Cool down in the heat with a brightly colored popsicle. This shop has over 50 popsicle and 30 ice cream flavors. Not only that, they also serve Mexican snacks like paletas.
Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Where: Itasca State Park
Is it really an adventure if your heart isn't racing? This is for thrill seekers or people who want to put on a brave face. If heights aren't your thing, maybe skip out on this thing. But from reviews, people have nothing but good things to say. Apparently, the view is worth the trek up the stairs. It's your call!
Black Coffee And Waffle Bar
Where: 1500 Como Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis
If you've seen Parks and Recreation, then you know that waffles are everything. This place is where you take your girlfriend who has a sweet tooth. You can order specialty waffles and even create your own! If you can't decide which one to order, people keep raving about the Naughty Waffle.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Where: 3206 Highway 61 East, Two Harbors
Don't listen to TLC. Definitely go chasing waterfalls while you're at Gooseberry! There are five in total at the state park and the trails to get to them aren't too long or difficult to hike. Take a dip! And if you get bored, there's also fishing, historic sights to see, and trails for mountain biking.
Lake & Irving
Where: 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis
Don't even look at the menu when you sit down. Just know that you have to order the chicken and waffles. If you don't, you're going to regret it! And if you're craving something else, at least order the chicken and waffles as a side.
Pro Kart Indoors
Where: 11700 Troy Ln N, Maple Grove
Ready, set, go! Engage in some friendly competition by taking your girlfriend go-karting. Sometimes, the weather just isn't on your side and you need an activity to do indoors. And if you invite your friends and other couples along, you can split up into teams!
Where: 9096 Hwy 61 Schroeder
Beaches in the summer? Groundbreaking. Yes, going to the beach is something everyone tends to do in the summer, but if you trek out here you won't regret it. Known for its cobblestone beach, Sugarloaf Cave is where you go to get away from it all. There are forest trails, lakeside trails, picnic areas, and a fantastic view of Lake Superior. It's not a place that's very well-known, so go before everybody else does!
AirMaxx Trampoline Park and Fun Center
Where: 7000 Washington Ave S, Eden Prairie
It's never too late to feel like a kid again. Give that experience to your girlfriend by taking her to this trampoline park. Don't feel like this is a kids-only zone. A ton of adults go there too! And if you get tired of jumping around, this place has glow-in-the-dark mini golf and laser tag. At AirMaxx, you get a free pass to forget that you're an adult!
Yum Kitchen and Bakery
Where: 4000 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park
Prepare your stomachs for some good comfort food. As soon as you walk in, you'll hear your stomach rumbling because you won't be able to stop looking at what people have ordered. And as if a burger or mac and cheese wasn't enough, Yum Kitchen and Bakery (as the name suggests) also makes delicious cupcakes! So snag one to go.
The Judy Garland Museum
Where: 2727 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids
You're certainly somewhere over the rainbow alright. Relive the magic of The Wizard of Oz by visiting this museum. You can tour Judy Garland's childhood home, look at some Wizard of Oz props, and you can even walk on the yellow brick road. The best shoes to wear to the museum? Red sparkly ones, of course!
Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
Where: 20430 Johnson Memorial Dr, Jordan
This is a candyholic's dream come true. Step into this magical world of shelves filled to the brim with all kinds of candy from around the world. You think you'll only spend a couple minutes in here, but you're wrong. You'll lose track of time as you fill up your cart and deliberate how much candy is appropriate to buy. The correct answer: ALL OF IT.
Longville Turtle Races
It's a weird concept to wrap your head around. But embrace the quirkiness and join in on the fun! Turtle races have been going on for over 50 years and $3 is all it takes to race a turtle. It's a slow start, but you'll find yourself getting way too invested in your turtle!
Little Boy Lake
Where: 3600 County Rd. 54 NE, Longville
After your turtle has won in the race, set up your tent and go camping at Little Boy Lake. Take a dip in the lake, rent a canoe, and finish off the day roasting marshmallows under the stars.
Landing-Minnesota River Heritage Park
Where: 2187 County Rd 101, Shakopee
Extra, Extra, read all about it! You have the chance to go back to the early 1800s by visiting The Landing. There is a horsedrawn trolley, demonstrations, and live music. This isn't a regular museum — you really get to experience what it was like to be a 19th century Minnesotan.
Glensheen Historic Estate
Where: 3300 London Rd, Duluth
Experience luxury with a hint of horror when you visit the Glensheen Historic Estate. The 39 room mansion was built on 12 acres and overlooks Lake Superior. You can attend their many tours, but consider taking the evening one. After all, two murders were committed on the estate and that would up the scary factor.
Red Barn Farm
Where: 10063 110th St E, Northfield
Pizza farms exist. Just let that sink in for a minute. All the pizza toppings are grown on the farm so you know your pizza is made with fresh ingredients! You can also pop into their store to buy drinks and appetizers to go with your meal. Visit every Wednesday to join in on the pizza night fun!
Mac's Fish / Chips / Strips
Where: 300 Snelling Ave S, Saint Paul
Sure, you can get fish and chips at almost any bar, but this place serves the best fish and chips ever. It's not expensive and will fill you right up. Don't come to this place thinking you'll only eat a small portion. Come ready to dig right in!
Zumbrota Covered Bridge
Where: 175 West Avenue, Zumbrota
Steal a kiss under one of Minnesota's last remaining covered bridges. There's something so romantic about holding hands and walking over a bridge with your partner.
Where: 351 E Enterprise Dr, Belle Plaine
Cliche? Maybe. But apple picking is so much fun and rewarding too! Apple picking season has already begun and Emma Krumbee's orchard offers a variety of apples. Not only that, you can get lost in a maze with your loved one and blame each other for not getting out in under 10 minutes. Maybe bring along some apples so you have a snack while you're lost.