The holidays don’t have to mean snuggling up to a special someone binge-watching Lifetime specials by the fire. Embrace that single status and hit the town. From brew tours around Des Moines to an adventurous day at the slopes, these no-date-needed activities are sure to keep your holidays more cheery and less cheesy.
Catch a show at the Mews
Vaudeville Mews brings live music to downtown Des Moines almost nightly -- offering shows from metal to indie rock to folk on a regular basis. Looking to discover the next artist or band to change your life? Start the search at this venue, where talent can range from internationally touring acts to hometown heroes.
Find it: 212 4th St.
Hours: Typically opens an hour before each show
Info: 515-243-3270, vaudevillemews.com
Sip on James Bond’s favorite bubbles
This is one time where it’s acceptable to skip the martini and go with the bubbles. Make like 007 and head over to Django on Tuesday, Dec. 15, for Bollinger, Bubbles & Bond for a preview of the swanky champagne’s 2009 James Bond Spectre edition. While Daniel Craig won’t be there in his best tux, wine pro Abbe Hendricks of Gateway Market will be, playing her best Bond girl role. She leads fans through the three varieties of Bollinger bubbles on hand. Django executive chef Aaron Broshar rolls out the heavy appetizers to pair with the drinks. Fun Bond fact: Bollinger appeared in 13 Bond films so far and has been the film’s exclusive champagne partner since “Moonraker” in 1979. Tickets start at $75.
Find it: Django, 210 10th St.
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 15
Info: 515-288-0268; ohospitality.com/events
Crack a joke at Lefty's Comedy Night
Have you ever wondered if you’re funny? Here’s your chance to find out. Underground Comedy presents Open Mic nights every Tuesday at Lefty’s starting at 8 p.m. If you don’t want to perform an act, bring yourself or a group of friends to listen and laugh with other locals and comedians. And don’t be shocked if you see a dog walking around inside. Yep, you heard that right: it’s dog friendly.
Find it: 2307 University Avenue
Hours: 8 p.m. Tuesdays
Play in the snow at Seven Oaks
It’s a marshmallow world in the winter and this blanketed playground is no exception. Bundle up in your puffiest of winter wear and head to Boone for a day on the slopes. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tubing your way through heaps of snow and fun, then take a lunch break at Snow Joe’s for cheeseburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, pizza and more. After round 2, unthaw at the Coal Creek Lounge with a few brews.
Find it: 1086 222nd Dr, Boone
Hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Info: 515-432-9457, sevenoaksrec.com
Raise a glass to Repeal Day
For 13 dark and boring years, America went dry until the repeal of Prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933. Celebrate your constitutional right to drink alcohol at the Science Center of Iowa’s Mixology Night. The 5:30 p.m. event on Friday, Dec. 4, includes a cash bar, a live science program, DJ Eight Ten on the ones and twos, and more. The event is free for members and $5 for all others who want to raise a glass to the 21st Amendment. Just do it because you can.
Find it: SCI, 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy.
When: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4
Info: 515-274-6868, sciowa.org/mixology
Get your nails done
For almost two hours, your hands and feet get pampered and cleaned, you enjoy a back massage and you leave looking fantastic. The perfect relaxation session for a single girl (or guy) or a fun group outing. Our pick? Thia’s Nails on Fleur Dr., plus you can have two affordable luxuries in one trip — the Starbucks on Fleur Dr. is just a parking lot away.
Find it: Thia’s Nails, 4521 Fleur Dr.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Sing karaoke at AJ’s on East Court
There’s no invitation needed to become an overnight superstar at AJ’s on East Court. Grab a drink and the microphone, pick a crowd-favorite number (come on, what’s not to love about a karaoke rendition of “Welcome To The Jungle”?) and impress everyone in the bar with your never-before-harnessed karaoke ability. AJ’s offers nightly rounds of karaoke, giving patrons a chance to steal the limelight every day off the week.
Find it: 419 E Court Ave.
Hours: 2 p.m.-2 a.m. daily
Cook like a pro
Instead of serving boring chips and dip to ring in 2016, turn your New Year’s Eve bash into a gourmet feast with a cooking class at Country Club Market. Chef Terrie Kohl leads a demonstration of decadent new year’s dishes that include a lobster in champagne cream, balsamic glazed roasted Brussels sprouts with shallots and roasted red pepper bisque. Not enough? Kohl has a super secret bonus recipe. The 6 p.m. class goes for $50.
Find it: Country Club Market, 2624 NW 157th St., Clive
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 16
Info: 515-987-5957; countryclubmkt.com
Wine down at Pinot’s Palette
Did someone say wine? Grab your friends and a bottle of your favorite sipper, then hit Pinot’s Palette to paint the night away. You BYOB, they cover the rest. All through December, you can create festive canvasses showcasing the sights of the season: jolly snowmen, glittering trees and gorgeous snowscapes. Thanks to expert tips from the Pinot staff, you’ll feel like Picasso in no time.
Find it: 900 42nd St.
Hours: Varies by class
Info: 515-277-7651, pinotspalette.com
Walk it out with a self-guided hike
In that meteorological sweet spot before it gets too cold and the snow is still pretty, take a self-guided hike using one of the Des Moines Bicycle Collective’s handy printable guides. Walking tours range from 1.5 miles to 3 miles long and feature themed experiences like “Along the Riverwalk,” “Public Art in the City” and “Downtown Architecture.” As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Find it: Community Workspace, 506 E. 6th St. Suite 100
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday
Try some suds with Iowa Brew Tours
When in Des Moines, drink beer! Or beers, in this case. Founded this year by WOI-TV meteorologist J.D. Peterson, Iowa Brew Tours offer brewery tours and tastings at Confluence and Exile Brewing, both in Des Moines, Firetrucker Brewery in Ankeny and 515 Brewing Co. in Clive. And don’t worry, no need to drive, Iowa Brew Tours shuttles attendees around in a Mercedes minivan. Starting and ending at El Bait Shop, the $55 public tour includes four or five pints, but no food — a hearty meal beforehand is suggested.
Find it: Locations vary
Hours: Public Iowa Brew Tours are held Thursday evenings, Friday and Saturday afternoon and evenings and Sunday afternoons. Private tours available upon request.
Info: 515-512-2781, iowabrewtours.com
Stroll through the Art Center
A favorite solo spot to check out is the Des Moines Art Center. Walk around and look at the current exhibitions and art pieces. Laurel Nakadate’s Strangers and Relations exhibit features photos of people she’s asked to meet her in the middle of the night. What she captures on film are individuals in the dark with minimal lighting. Her exhibit is featured at the Art Center until January 24. Be sure to stop in while it’s still here and experience darkness in a way you never have before.
Find it: 4700 Grand Avenue
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday
Movie night at Flix Brewhouse
Food + booze + movie + friends = FUN. Flix Brewhouse offers various beers on tap as well as their own brews. They also have a menu featuring appetizers like wings and mozzarella sticks, pizzas, burgers and more. Make sure you arrive early. Seating begins half an hour prior to showtime. If you’re late, you won’t be seated. So trust us, you’ll want to come early. Order a beer while you wait, and if you don’t finish it before seating starts, bring it in with you. Yeah, it’s awesome.
Find it: 3850 Merle Hay Road
Hours: Showtimes vary