#KillingIt this Christmas: 7 of Fort Wayne’s most outstanding dates (& all under $16)

Guys, listen up. The holidays are rough. Your girl is super cute in that white fur hat, talking about Christmas magic and all of her #goals…until it sets in. That moment when you realize that it’s you – yes YOU, sir – that has to make those #goals happen. And it seems daunting and expensive AND…

…CALM YOURSELF. I get it. I’ve been that girl. (Okay, okay – sometimes I still AM that girl.)

But TODAY, I’m here to help. How can you make magic happen for #bae while still being able to afford gifts for your mom, brother, and Great Aunt Louise?  Here’s 5 of Fort Wayne’s most memorable dates that will keep you #killingit in the romance department while still being kind to your wallet. (&, if you do as I say below, they’ll all be under $16 for two people!)

(PS. These also include stellar things to do with friends!)


Photo credit: INFortWayne

See Bruce Willis at the Cinema Center.

Fort Wayne’s downtown movie theater, the Cinema Center, has special showings of Die Hard and Batman Returns on December 16th and 17th. Matinee ticket prices for two people will set you back about $14. (All other times, tickets are $9 each.) If you’re looking for something a bit more in tune with the season, take your girl to go see Cinema Center’s showings of It’s a Wonderful Life – running from December 22nd – 24th.

Total cost: $14.


Photo credit: SaltToday.org

Get cultured with Picasso at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

SECRET: The FWMoA was just given a rare collection of Picasso and Leger masterpieces – something you’d usually travel to Chicago or NYC to see. For $8 / person, impress your date with works by some of history’s most revered artists. WHAT. #dying. Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about art – even looking at the pieces sparks fun conversations.

Total cost: $16.


Photo credit: WANE.com

Get classy at Wine Down.

It’s like taking a trip to Tuscany without the jet lag. Sink into a leather couch in one of Wine Down’s private alcoves, or grab a seat at the bar. Whatever your style, Executive Chef Chuck Blevins and his team whip up a menu of mouthwatering tapas that are absolute crowd pleasers (and many plates are under $10). My recommendation? Start by splitting the Sweet Potato Fries (served with espresso ketchup, $4) and follow it up with the Chocolate Moose ($5) or Chef’s Cheesecake for dessert ($5-7).

Total cost: $9-11.


Photo credit: The Journal Gazette

Roast s’mores at the Hoppy Gnome.

This is a sure-fire stunner and an absolute crowd-pleaser. The Hoppy Gnome is a fantastic spot located right in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, and it’s always buzzing around the holidays. Stop in here & order their S’Mores – $5 will get you a personal roasting fire delivered to your table, with s’more sticks and 5 homemade Tahitian vanilla marshmallows (with chocolate and graham crackers of course)!

Total cost: $10 (because, clearly, 5 s’mores won’t be enough for two 😉

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Stroll down Main Street for dinner + dessert + Santa.

I’ve lived in New York, visited Chicago, and spent time in California and I’ve got to say, there’s no classic like a Coney Island hot dog. Start things out right with “Fort Wayne’s Famous” dogs (~$4 for two coney dogs), then head over to the City’s latest, hottest dessert spot, the Yummi Bunni, for dessert! This place just opened last weekend and LET ME TELL YOU WHAT. Owner McKenna Click has a hit on her hands. The Yummi Bunni specializes in well, Yummi Buns. (Essentially, doughnut ice cream sandwiches that are to DIE for.) Grab your buns, walk outside, and turn to your right to end the night with Fort Wayne’s legendary display of lights – Santa and his reindeer. (&, this is also the perfect spot to lean in for that sweet kiss. #KI.)

Total cost: $14.


Photo credit: Catablu Grille

Go out for Mac & Cheese at Catablu.

Chilly outside means comfort food inside, and the Mac & Cheese at Catablu can’t be beat. Catablu calls itself an “everyday escape” – and it’s roaring fireplace and friendly staff make it a great retreat around the holidays. You can order the lobster mac & cheese ($19), or stick with their plain mac & cheese ($6, and which I personally like more). (Tip: Their plain mac & cheese is actually listed under “Sides”, but can be ordered a la carte and is big enough to feed a hungry soccer player – speaking from experience.)

Total cost: $12.


Brunch at Fortezza Coffee.

Maybe you’re not at the dinner date stage yet. Never fear – Fortezza is here! It’s a big city spot nestled in the heart of the Fort, and has expanded its coffee shop menu to include brunch. (#letsbruch #brunchsquad #brunchgoals #ilovebrunch) I’d recommend the quiche – it’s artfully presented with a small yogurt parfait & raspberry salad included as sides. Or, if that’s not your thing, Fortezza also offers a variety of alternatives – from french toast to delicious breads & pastries.

Total cost: $13ish.


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