If you are looking for ideas for a romantic date night in Chicago, there are so many options!
Listed below are a mix of some classic and unique Chicago date ideas that ensure a fun and entertaining time for you and your date.
No matter your budget, you will find new things to do in Chicago for a romantic night out. There are plenty of free choices as well as more expensive activities that are sure to wow.
From the typical dinner and a show to sipping cocktails in a posh bar, it is easy to find something romantic to do in the Windy City. Parks allow nature to add an extra touch of peace and quiet.
Here are some of the best date spots in Chicago Illinois!
15 Romantic Ideas for a Date Night in Chicago
Stroll Through Millennium Park
If you want to enjoy one of the best free Chicago date ideas, head to the famous Millennium Park. Stroll through the gardens, admire the fountains, and find cool public art.
Of course, you have to snap a photo in front of the iconic Cloudgate sculpture, also known as the Bean. Post the shot to social media to show off your awesome Chicago date night!
Millennium Park also hosts a ton of free events and concerts throughout the year. There is something for every interest. This is a great way to save money on your date while still having a fun time!
If you have 2 days in Chicago put this on your romantic Chicago itinerary!
Dine at Alinea
If you are looking for the best date night restaurants in Chicago, then consider making a reservation at Alinea. You will gain a new idea of what food can be at this upscale eatery.
With innovative and modernist cuisine, this award-winning restaurant will leave you wowed with creative food that is unique to the eye and palette.
Chef Grant Achatz uses molecular gastronomy to create a menu that has earned three Michelin Stars. Your meal will have multiple courses that combine fine dining and experimentation.
Be prepared to make a reservation well in advance to guarantee a table. This is not a cheap date night, but it is worth it for any major foodie.
Take a Helicopter Tour
If you are looking for the perfect date idea full of adventure, then plan on doing a helicopter tour. This is a great way to experience Chicago in a unique way and make lasting memories.
As you soar overhead, you will be granted amazing views of the iconic skyline with its towering buildings and ballfields. You will be able to spot the expanse of the lake as well.
For even more romantic, book a sunset tour so you can watch the color fill the sky. As it gets dark, the lights of the city will dazzle.
This is one of the most romantic things to do in Chicago for an anniversary or special occasion. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect date idea.
Bike Along the Lake
Another budget-friendly date idea in Chicago is a bike ride along the water. There are tons of bike-share stations throughout town where you can rent a bike for a low price.
After grabbing your bikes, pedal to the Lakefront Trail. This 18-mile paved bike path provides awesome views of Lake Michigan on one side and the city on the other.
There are many attractions along the route. If you get tired of biking, you can stop at some of the parks, museums, and beaches along the way.
And if you are hungry after all that exercise, foodies can look forward to breakfast in Chicago!
Watch Fireworks at Navy Pier
The Navy Pier is another classic date spot in Chicago. And one of the coolest places to visit in the Midwest.
The pier is 3,300-feet-long with so many fun activities to fill an awesome date night.
Take a spin on the Centennial Wheel, find some cool statues, or grab a drink at the Navy Pier Beer Garden. There are a ton of places to eat and shop, too.
From May to August firework shows take place each Wednesday and Saturday night. Share a kiss as the sky is lit up above you. How romantic is that?
End your date night in Chicago by watching the moon reflect on the lake.
Explore the Lincoln Park Conservatory
If you love nature and saving money on a date night in Chicago, then the Lincoln Park Conservatory is for you! This free attraction is housed in a beautiful iron and glass building dating back to the late 1800s.
Take your date by the hand and enjoy a romantic stroll through lush, tropical plants. The inside is open and green year-round so you can find a bit of warmth even in the harsh Chicago winters.
Outside, the gardens continue with fountains and monuments. You will also love the pretty Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. This is a beautiful place to wander and take photos.
Grab a Drink at the Darling
If you want a more relaxing and laidback date, head to the Darling. Found in Fulton Market, this is a beautiful lounge full of dark hardwood, leather couches, chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases.
You will feel as if you have stepped into an old English manor as you sip cocktails in the intimate space. There is often live music as well as other performers such as dancers, magicians, and more.
One cool feature here is the giant Scrabble board on the wall. You can play a game while you soak in the cozy atmosphere.
Take a Pottery Class
If you want to learn a new hobby with your date, think about trying your hand at pottery. This is a great way to have a fun date night while also being creative.
If you aren’t afraid to get a little messy, look into booking a class with Penguin Foot Pottery in Chicago. Beginners will have fun learning the basics with all of the supplies provided.
If you are hooked after one class, you can do a workshop that lasts a few weeks and hone your skills.
Then you can use your new ceramics to decorate your home. Having something tangible from your time together will make the memory of the date last.
Play Some Arcade Games
If you want some fun competition, bring your date to Headquarters Beercade. Part bar and part arcade, this is one of the best things to do in Chicago for couples who are young at heart.
With dozens of vintage arcade and pinball machines, you are sure to have a great time here. Along with a variety of beers on tap, the menu includes pizza, burgers, tacos, and specialty fries.
If you want even more games, come to one of the trivia nights and test your pop culture knowledge.
Admire Views At A Rooftop Bar
There are dozens of rooftop bars scattered throughout the city that make for a great Chicago night out. Try a new spot every weekend to find new fantastic views of the skyline from open-air balconies.
Each bar has its own characteristics. They have a mix of modern and cute decor and vibes that vary from chill to a party atmosphere. No matter what you look for in a bar, you will find a cool place to bring your date.
Some of the best rooftop bars in Chicago include ROOF on the Wit, I|O Urban Roofscape, and Cabra. Sipping drinks in the fresh air is one of the best things to do for couples in Chicago.
Enjoy Happy Hour at the Chicago History Museum
Have you ever wanted to mix history and drinking? The Chicago History Museum has you covered with History Happy Hour events multiple times a year.
Your ticket to the event includes two drinks. There is also a bar with more drinks and food.
This after-hours event gives you access to the museum when it is less crowded, giving you and your date a more personal experience. You will get a special look at the exhibits.
Try Playing Whirlyball For An Active Date Night In Chicago!
If you have never heard of Whirlyball, you are in for a treat! This is a great idea for a first date or even a double date with friends.
Whirlyball is a unique game that is a mix of bumper cars, lacrosse, and basketball. Sitting in a 4 mph bumper car, you will maneuver the court and try to throw a Wiffle ball at a hanging target.
If you love fun and energetic dates, this is the one for you! It’s super casual and the only pressure will be showing off your athletic skills.
Bowling and laser tag are available here as well. After playing, get a bite to eat at the restaurant and bar. Date nights in Chicago will never be the same after this!
Go Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park
If you want a winter date night idea, then ice skating is your best bet! The Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon is a cool place to test your skating skills.
This ribbon of ice is a curving loop where you can go around and around with views of the skyscrapers. If you are unsteady on your skates, it is the perfect excuse to hold hands.
Another nearby place to skate is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park next to the Bean. This is a more traditional, rectangular rink.
Both rinks are open from November through March. Ice skating is one of the best activities during Christmas in Chicago.
Sample Drinks at Koval Distiller For A Cool Date Night In Chicago
Another of the best dates in Chicago is a stop by Koval Distillery. With a gorgeous tasting room, this place just oozes romance.
Order a flight of whiskey, gin, and cocktails then relax in the 70s-inspired tasting room with plump couches and wood accents. There is also an outdoor patio open when the weather is nice.
You can also do a tour of the distillery and learn how the whiskey is made. If you want more drink-related ideas for a Chicago date night, check out Koval’s cocktail classes.
Head To The Theater For Date Night In Chicago
There are a ton of theaters both big and small in Chicago if you want to see a show or a movie. Known as the “theatre capital of America,” there are over 250 theaters to choose from.
The most famous theater in the city is of course the Chicago Theatre. Owned by the Madison Square Garden Company, this theater puts on Broadway plays, concerts, and other events in a gorgeous and historic setting.
If you are looking for cheaper tickets, however, there are plenty of smaller theaters to visit. Check out the Black Ensemble Theater with dance-worthy shows about Black life, history, and empowerment.
Court Theater won the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2022 and brings innovation to the stage by adapting classics. No matter which theater you choose, you will see amazing performances.
If you are more interested in a movie screening than a live show, buy a ticket for the Music Box Theatre. You can see independent and foreign films here as well as cult classics at midnight showings.
This theater is also known for using real butter on its popcorn. Yum! You can’t go wrong with this classic date night in Chicago idea.
Packing List When Having A Date Night In Illinois
If you are searching, here are some tips on how to pack lightly for your date night in Chicago.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when visiting Chicago Illinois. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking Insta-worthy selfies at all the
Chicago activities you attend.
I never much believed in using packing cubes when traveling. That is until I tried them. Now I am hooked. These are the exact cubes I use to stay organized when I pack for a trip!
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for your adventures and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. . No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. And it comes in many different colors.
It is so easy to find romantic things to do in Chicago for an epic date night! There are a ton of bars and restaurants where you can find an intimate corner to converse.
The great mix of parks and lakefront views means there are plenty of cheap Chicago date night ideas like walking through nature, biking scenic trails, or picnicking.