Five Date Night Ideas for Couples Living and Loving in Iowa City

Iowa City is—in my humble opinion—the best place to love. If you are a couple celebrating your relationship in Iowa City, look no further than your own backyard for a few fun date night ideas – that are also friendly for the COVID-19 cautious.

This guide was made possible by our friends at CHOMP Delivery — who are helping keep us sane with delicious deliveries from local restaurants during the pandemic! Use code “DateNight” between now and February 28, 2021 and enjoy a FREE delivery.

graphic: date night ideas for couples in the Iowa CIty area

For the Classic Romantics

There is no better place than downtown Iowa City to wine and dine the one you love during a date. Peruse the vast selection of locally owned restaurants and bars, serving up savory suppers, decadent desserts, and unique libations.

A few local recommendations:

COVID Alternative:

Many restaurants are offering delivery or carryout service – including from Iowa City’s local delivery service, CHOMP Delivery. It’s super simple to use this service. Peruse the local restaurant listings, order, and wait for your driver to deliver a marvelous meal. You can even track the order through the web application and opt to have the driver leave your order on your doorstep contact-free!

For the DIY Types

Even though the restaurants in the Iowa City area will have your mouth watering, don’t take for-granted some of the local grocers who sell products that are sure to make your do-it-yourself (DIY) date dinner at home delicious. Check out New Pioneer Co-Op and Bread Garden Market for groceries for a special night at home, offering fresh baked breads (and desserts!), as well as several heat and eat options.

COVID Alternative:

New-Pi offers an online shopping option as does Bread Garden market. Simple order in advance online and schedule a time for pick-up to avoid interacting with others at the store.

For the Nature Lovers

Bundle up and enjoy the lakeside views while you walk (or cross-country ski!) along the trails at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. If the weather allows, bring your ice skates and enjoy a glide, hand-and-hand around the frozen water. Grab a cup of cocoa or coffee at a local coffee shop on your way back!

COVID Alternative:

Enjoying time together outdoors is one of the safest options during the pandemic. Bundle up, bring a mask, and consider ordering your coffee online and then pick it up in-store or by curbside. Java House, a local coffee shop favorite, allows for online ordering or delivery via CHOMP Delivery.

For the Beer Lovers

The Iowa City area has certainly embraced the craft beer trend. If you and yours have a hankering for a cold, frothy brew on your date, don’t miss local watering-holes like Big Grove Brewery, Backpocket Brewing, and ReUnion Brewery.

COVID Alternative:

Many local breweries and bars are offering cocktails to go and several also sell cans of their best brews at their establishment or at local grocery stores.

For the Book Lovers

This really wouldn’t be an Iowa City date guide without a nod to Iowa City’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature. If you are looking for a cozy day or date night idea, consider browsing for books together at downtown’s iconic Prairie Lights Bookstore, or the north side’s Haunted Bookshop.

COVID Alternative:

Prairie Lights Bookstore is offering shopping appointments to minimize the number of customers in the store at a given time, as well as online sales. The Haunted Bookshop also offers “Surprise Me” bundles where staff will make selections for you at a given price point. This could be a great gift or interesting date night for couples that love reading, puzzles, or games!

About Our Sponsor

Hungry? CHOMP delivers! CHOMP is an online ordering, takeout, and restaurant delivery service, bringing hot delicious local eats to people in the greater Iowa City area. Check out their massive list of participating restaurants, and order exactly what you want when you want it. In a year where sitting around tables or sharing a meal or a drink with friends just isn’t an option, we are ESPECIALLY grateful for our friends at CHOMP Delivery for bringing our favorites to our doorstep!


Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.