The Best Off-Beat Date Ideas in St. Louis

Go Beyond Dinner and a Movie

A nice restaurant is a safe choice for a date, and it's often a great option. But what about those times when you want to shake things up a bit? No worries! St. Louis has some great options for off-beat dates filled with fun and adventure.

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    Couple at Cooking Class
    ••• Photo courtesy Caiaimage/Agnieszka Olek/Getty Images

    Kitchen Conservatory
    8021 Clayton Road, Clayton
    (314) 862-COOK

    Learn to make a special meal together with help from an expert chef. Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton offers a wide variety cooking classes for couples. Whether you want to grill the perfect steak, roll sushi or make a decadent chocolate cake, you can find a class to fit any taste. Once the work is done, sit down and enjoy your gourmet eats with some fine wine. The cost for couples classes are $125-$170.

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    Skyline Dinner Cruise
    50 Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd., St. Louis
    (877) 982-1410

    Take advantage of St. Louis' location along the Mighty Mississippi with a riverboat cruise. Evening dinner cruises include live jazz music, nighttime views of the St. Louis skyline and a buffet meal of beef, chicken, salad, sides and dessert. Cruises leave at 7 p.m., near the south leg of the Gateway Arch. They are offered on Friday and Saturday nights from April through October. The cost is $46 a person.

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    Casa Loma Ballroom
    3354 Iowa Ave., St. Louis
    (314) 282-2258

    Kick up your feet for a little fun at Casa Loma Ballroom. This historic venue has been hosting dance parties for more than 85 years. If your dancing is a little rusty, don't worry. There is a complimentary swing dance lesson most evenings. The ballroom is open on Friday and Saturday nights and offers live music from popular local bands like Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, Fabulous Motown Revue and the Pennsylvania Slim Blues Band. The cost is $10 a person.

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    Gamlin Whiskey House
    236 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis
    (314) 875-9500

    For a new twist on the traditional dinner date, try a whiskey tasting at Gamlin Whiskey House in the Central West End. The popular restaurant and bar features fine whiskeys from the U.S., Canada, Scotland and Ireland. It also sells its own signature whiskey, Knob Creek Bourbon. Along with hand-crafted cocktails, the restaurant menu includes steaks, seafood and pasta. There is also a late-night happy hour starting at 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with drink specials and smaller plates and appetizers.

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    Upper Limits Gym
    326 S. 21st Street, St. Louis
    (314) 241-7625

    When you want to be active, try a rock climbing date at Upper Limits. The gym caters to people of all skill levels from complete beginners to expert climbers. All you have to do is take a 10-15 minute orientation, then you're ready to climb with your partner. The gym has 35 foot high climbing wall, large arches and several bouldering areas. The cost to climb is $14 a person. There are also two other Upper Limits locations in Chesterfield and Maryland Heights.

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    City Museum
    750 N. 16th Street, St. Louis
    (314) 231-2489

    During the day, the City Museum in downtown St. Louis is filled with kids, but at night it's a great destination for grown-ups too. The museum is basically a giant, indoor playground with caves, tunnels and a 10-story slide. For food and drinks, there's a cafe on the second floor serving sandwiches, salads and pizzas, and a full bar on the first floor with a DJ playing music on Friday and Saturday nights. The City Museum is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $10 a person after 5 p.m.

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    Flamingo Bowl
    1117 Washington Ave., St. Louis
    (314) 436-6666

    Bowling can be a lot of fun whether you're good at it or not. Flamingo Bowl in downtown St. Louis is one of the coolest places in town to knock down a few pins. The bowling alley is known not only for its lanes, but for its art-deco cocktail lounge that serves up good food and signature drinks. Children are allowed during the day, but after 9 p.m., all customers must be 21 or older.

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    Painting with a Twist
    8 Ronnie's Plaza, South County
    (314) 270-2045

    You don't have to be an artist to make a beautiful creation at Painting with a Twist. These fun classes are your chance to get creative and show your artistic side. Each class is led by a local artist who gives step by step instructions for creating your masterpiece. You can also bring in food and wine for even more fun. Most classes cost $35 to $45 a person. In addition to the South County store, Painting with a Twist has six other locations in the St. Louis area.

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    Shaw Nature Reserve
    307 Pinetum Loop Road, Gray Summit
    (636) 541-3512

    Enjoy the beauty of nature together with a hike at Shaw Nature Reserve. The reserve has 14 miles of trails that meander through a variety of natural habitats including prairies, meadows and forests. Some trails lead to a sod house and teepee. Others follow a quiet section of the Meramec River. You can also bring a picnic basket and have a nice meal at any of the three picnic areas located inside the reserve. Admission is $5 a person.

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    Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery
    1637 S. 18th Street, St. Louis
    (314) 858-6100

    If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, then plan a trip to Clementine's in Lafayette Square. This is an ice cream parlor that caters to adult tastes. Clementine's is known for its alcohol-infused "boozy" ice creams like chocolate cabernet, maple bourbon and summer shandy. There's also a wide variety of hand-crafted, non-alcoholic options including gooey butter cake, decadent coffee and chocolate coconut fudge. Order several flavors to share with your date. 

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    Alton Hauntings Tour
    110 E. Third St., Alton, IL
    (217) 791-7859

    Share a spooky night with your date on a haunted tour in Alton, Illinois. The small community on the Mississippi River is considered one of the most haunted small towns in America. It caters to that reputation by offering tours of its most scary locations like the McPike Mansion, Alton City Cemetery, Old Alton Prison and Mineral Springs Hotel. There are both walking and trolley tours available. The cost is $25 to $40 a person.

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    Balloons Over the Rainbow
    2700 Ridge Point Drive, High Ridge
    (314) 402-8010

    A ride in a hot air balloon is certainly one way to impress a date. Balloons Over the Rainbow in High Ridge offers both group and private flights. Champagne Flights include a one-hour balloon ride for up to 12 people, along with champagne or sparkling cider. The cost is $185 a person. Private flights for couples cost $800. 

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    The Boathouse
    1601 Government Drive, Forest Park
    (314) 367-2224

    Take in the sights of Forest Park with a paddleboat ride. The Boathouse rents its boats on Post-Dispatch Lake for $17 an hour. The lake leads to the Grand Basin offering great views of Art Hill and the St. Louis Art Museum. After your ride, enjoy a drink or casual meal on the Boathouse's outdoor terrace.

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    Fairmount Park
    9301 Collinsville Rd., Collinsville, IL
    (618) 345-4300

    Bet on the horses at Fairmount Park in Collinsville. There is live horse racing on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from May through September. Fairmount Park also simulcasts many of the bigger races from Churchill Downs, Belmont Park and other racetracks across the country. There are several restaurants and cafes for food and drinks including Top of the Turf. It's located on the third floor of the clubhouse offering great panoramic views of the racetrack.

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    Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns
    1135 Hwy W, Sullivan, MO
    (573) 468-9477

    When you want to satisfy your sense of adventure, take your date to the Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns. You'll sail through the trees and across the Meramec River during the 90 minute tour. The ride includes four different ziplines and three sky-bridges. The cost is $49 a person and advanced reservations are required.