kristy holland

Notice anything different about Boulder? Does the grass in your own backyard -- i.e. the sprawling 786-acres of school grounds -- seem a little greener than it did a before? Hopefully, you're returning from your week away refreshed and excited, and with summer and the end of the semester on the horizon.

What better way to reconnect with your lady-friend than to take advantage of your renewed appreciation for CU and some of the date-worthy opportunities that have been under your nose all year? While a few of the school's best date-night attractions aren't in full swing for this post-spring-break weekend -- add Friday night stargazing at the observatory and the Golden Dragon Acrobats' Cirque Ziva (April 28) to your date night agenda in the next month -- here are a few classy campus-bound ways to spend quality time with your love interest before the full population of coeds is back.

Just got back from Moab? Maybe you spent spring break exploring southwestern canyons? You didn't need to go so far to get a dose of the desert. The Museum of Natural History (Henderson Building; 15th and Broadway; cumuseum.colorado.edu) has an "Ancient Southwest" exhibit that delivers a dose of desert adventure -- and history. If you and your lady have ever traveled to the dry four-corners region together, the display of red-tinted pottery and photographs of some of the area's best ruins will help you two relive the fun times. If your lady's a desert neophyte and you're a sun-chapped explorer, showing her that there's more to the sun-soaked-south than cactus may inspire her to join you on your next desert adventure.


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The museum closes early (4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday), so keep your early-afternoon date rolling with a couple of margaritas and some South-of-the-border-inspired entrees from Mamacitas (1149 13th St.), which serves the best Mexican food on The Hill.

Maybe she's the artsy type? If your lady's more of a painter or photographer than an adventurer, start your back-from-break date with a visit the CU Art Museum (1085 18th St.; cuartmuseum.colorado.edu). Two ongoing exhibits -- a collection of large-format aerial photographs by David Maisel called "Black Maps," and a selection of nostalgic images from the museum's collection called "Primal Seen" -- will help jump-start your efforts to reconnect. Bring a camera, or better yet, stop by Meininger's Art Supply (1135 Broadway; meininger.com) and pick up supplies for making an artsy and old-fashioned pinhole version -- and use the exhibit to inspire a late night photo session of your own. Don't head home without heading to Café Aion (1235 Pennsylvania Ave.; cafeaion.com) for an upscale meal.

If your lady's not back on campus until late Sunday, appreciate that she's not in a rush to return and give her a day to get her bearings before suggesting a date night at the International Film Series' Tuesday night showing of "Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters" (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Muenzinger Auditorium; internationalfilmseries.com). The documentary follows famed photographer Crewdson's process of creating haunting photographs of real people and places. You'll either love or hate his manipulations, but either way, it'll give you and your date some fodder for conversation as you walk toward the No Name Bar (1325 Broadway), for a fun and energizing dose of Tuesday night swing dancing (8:30 p.m.).

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.