date night

15 Best Date Ideas in Chicago 2022 (Fun & Romantic)

If you are looking for date ideas in Chicago, you need to keep an eye on the weather forecast and keep the season in mind. 

Freezing winters mean cozy restaurants and coffee shops, while summertime is great for beer gardens and days outdoors.

More importantly, though, dating comes down to one important question – Cubs or Sox?

Date Ideas in Chicago

1. Fondue Dinner at Geja’s Cafe

Cost: $50-$200
Best for: First date
Location: 340 W Armitage Ave.

Using dating apps in Chicago can help you find the right person, but not the right date idea. If you are going on a first date in Chicago, you can’t beat the romance of Geja’s Cafe.

With the option of a Premier Dinner or an A la Carte menu, you and your date can enjoy the mood lighting and delicious fondue. 

For added romance, order flowers for your table and make sure to save room for the chocolate fondue dessert.

2.  Watch a Rooftop Movie in Fulton Market 

Cost: $40-$60
Best for: Romantic date
Location: 5th floor terrace at The Emily Hotel, 311 N Morgan St.

The Rooftop Cinema Club at Fulton Market is a romantic date idea in Chicago that will wow your date. 

You get amazing views of the city and a selection of cult classics and newly released movies to enjoy from a cozy love seat.

Bring your own blanket and enjoy popcorn with your ticket. There is also a food and bar menu so arrive early for dinner before enjoying a movie and romantic snuggle.

3. Visit the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo 

Cost: Free
Best for: Unique date
Location: 2001 N Clark St.

For a unique Chicago date idea, why not visit the Lincoln Park Zoo?

Not only is the zoo a cheap date idea in Chicago, but you will get to see critically endangered animals and some that are extinct in the wild.

There are four restaurant options, and you even get to be hands-on with the animals with interactive activities like Groom the Goats.

The zoo is ideal for a second date and will give you lots to talk about.

4. Relax and Unwind with a Massage at AIRE Ancient Baths 

Cost: $135-$1200
Best for: Anniversary date
Location: 800 West Superior St.

AIRE Ancient Baths is a fantastic option if you are looking for special anniversary date in Chicago.

They offer different couple experiences but if you really want to spoil yourselves, try the signature wine experience where you soak in a bath of red wine.

Be sure to make a reservation so you don’t miss out on the magic of warm baths and massages in a beautifully restored historical building.

If you are looking for the best date in Chicago to treat yourselves, then this is it.

5. Learn to Make a French Meal to Enjoy with Friends at Cook Au Vin

Cost: $135-$155/person
Best for: Group date
Location: 1945 W Wilson Ave.

If you are looking for a Chicago date idea that you can do with friends, Cook Au Vin is a great option.

Learn to cook a French fusion meal with a qualified chef. Together as a group, you will prepare the meal and then sit down to enjoy it afterward.

With your personalized caps and aprons, you will feel like kitchen professionals. This is a fun date idea in Chicago that you can experience with friends.

6. Explore Garfield Park Conservatory 

Cost: Free
Best for: First date 
Location: 300 N Central Park Ave.

There are some unusual first date spots in Chicago and the Garfield Park Conservatory is one of them.

Made up of eight botanical conservatories, you and your date can stroll through the exotic domes and get to know each other. 

With such an array of beauty around you, the conversation will never run dry. The conservatory also offers ten acres of an outside area if you want to keep the date going.

Don’t forget to make an online reservation before you arrive.

7. Look at the Stars in the Adler Planetarium After Dark

Cost: Free (for Illinois residents)
Best for: First date
Location: 1300 S Dusable Lake Shore Dr.

If you are looking for a first date night idea in Chicago, look no further than the Adler Planeterium After Dark.

Every Wednesday, the planetarium is open from 4:00pm-10:00pm so book online and make it a first date to remember.

The planetarium is a unique experience with fun features like the sky show. You can even walk through time and space together and send an e-postcard from Neptune that you will receive four hours later.

What a special way to remember your first date!

8. Enjoy an Evening of Magic at Trickery 

Cost: $70
Best for: Fun date
Location: 3453 N Halstead St.

For a fun Chicago date filled with magic and laughter, try Trickery.

The intimate atmosphere and engaging host make this an evening you will both love. You can bring your own drinks and enjoy a night of bewildering magic with a side of comedy.

To avoid waiting at the door, be sure to book ahead of time, and don’t forget to take some photos in the funky photo room to remember your amazing Chicago date night.

Related: 15 Best Singles Bars in Chicago (to Meet & Mingle)

9. Let Your Competitive Side Loose with Arcade Games at Emporium Wicker Park 

Cost: $50
Best for: Fun date
Location: 1366 N Milwaukee Ave.

You don’t have to give up the fun for a date night restaurant in Chicago. At Emporium Wicker Park you can enjoy an evening of classic arcade games and take your own food or order in.

They have an amazing selection of craft beers, cocktails, and whisky to keep you hydrated as you and your date compete.

Emporium doesn’t only have arcade games but also a selection of DJs and live shows, making it a fun date night option.

10. Take a Tram Tour Around Chicago Botanic Garden 

Cost: $40-$100
Best for: Relaxing date
Location: 1000 LakeCook Rd, Glencoe

Romantic dates in Chicago don’t have to be filled with candlelight. 

The Chicago Botanic Garden offers a Butterflies and Blooms experience and you can even take a tram tour through the gardens. 

If you want to spend some private time together, then take a stroll to the English Walled Garden and spend a few romantic minutes hidden in the rose arbor.

Before heading home, stop for lunch at the cafe and buy a plant or keepsake at the shop.

11. Try Delicious New Wines at Broken Earth Winery

Cost: $20-$100
Best for: Double date
Location: 219 Robert Parker Coffin Rd, Long Grove

A simple evening with friends makes for a great date night in Chicago. 

At Broken Earth Winery, you can try wines from Paso Robles, a Californian vineyard, paired with a selection of cheese and charcuterie.

If you want to make a night of it, they offer order-in menus from local restaurants and live music. A selection of beers and spirits, as well as a gift shop, makes this a great double date spot.

12. Appreciate Priceless Artworks at the Art Institute of Chicago 

Cost: $50
Best for: Memorable date
Location: 111 South Michigan Ave.

You don’t have to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the Art Institute of Chicago.

If you are looking for a Chicago date night idea that will impress your date and also allow you to experience something new together, then the art institute is the place.

You can download the institute app and hear the stories behind the artwork as you see it. The institute is open until 8:00pm on Thursdays, so be sure to book online.

13. Work as a Team at Fox in a Box Escape Room 

Cost: $150-$200
Best for: Exciting date
Location: 47 W Pol St. Suite 15 basement

If you are looking for the best date ideas in Chicago, Fox in a Box Escape Room should be on your list.

Go in a pair or with a group of friends and test your skills in four escape room scenarios. Choose from the Zodiac Killer, Cold War Bunker, Prison Break, or Bank Heist, and spend 90 minutes working with your date to escape.

Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and arrive on time.

14. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Molly’s Cupcakes

Cost: $50
Best for: Picnic date
Location: 2536 North Clark St.

Sometimes a simple picnic on a beautiful day is the best kind of date. To make it extra special, stop by Molly’s Cupcakes for some sweet treats.

There is no way you will leave with just one, so be prepared to buy a dozen! Molly’s even has a make-your-own-cupcake option that allows you to pick a cake flavor, frosting, and tasty toppings at the sprinkle station.

If that wasn’t enough, they also have a selection of brownies, cookies, pies, and cheesecakes.

15. Kayak on the Chicago River

Cost: $110
Best for: Active date
Location: 500 N Kingsbury St.

If you are a couple who loves being active, then kayaking on the Chicago river might be the perfect date for you.

Wateriders offer a selection of tours, including a sunset paddle and kayaking at midnight. Not only is this a fun date idea, but it is also a beautiful way to experience the city.

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