Things to Do

Romantic Things To Do in Chicago

Believe it or not, Chicago has been a low-key mecca of romance for generations now. Just think about it: some of the most romantic modern classic films are set here. Who could forget the amazing skyline backdrops in About Last Night? Chicago is practically its own character in My Best Friend’s Wedding. And let’s not forget pretty much every teenage, heartthrob-laden John Hughes movie is set somewhere in the Chicago suburbs (shoutout Highland Park). 

Chicago has something for the romantic in all of us – art, music, and history swirl around the city’s sparkling skyline, amazing restaurants, and beautiful gardens. 

Whether you’re visiting or you call Chicago home, if you’re looking for something to do with your sweetheart in ChiTown, check out the following list for a bunch of great spots to hold hands, cuddle up, and maybe steal a smooch.

Romantic Date Ideas in Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago

This world-renowned museum has one of the country’s most celebrated collections of historic and contemporary fine art, including famous works like Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon…” and about 300,000 more. When the weather is too hot, too cold, too rainy or windy, spend your romantic day among the masters. 

Go to the Art Institute’s website to learn about special exhibitions and to buy tickets or memberships.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Often hailed as one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, the Chicago Symphony performs nearly 100 concerts annually. During the year, they perform downtown at the Symphony Center, but in the summer season they move to the North Shore for the Ravinia Festival. There’s nothing more romantic than listening to some of the greatest music ever composed with your boo, but it’s not all Beethoven and Brahms – they often feature live performances of movie scores like Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and Harry Potter. 

Check their calendar for upcoming events and to get your tickets.

The Magnificent Mile

The most famous stretch of road in Chicago, the Magnificent Mile is 13 blocks on North Michigan Avenue, filled with world-class shopping, dining, museums, and entertainment venues. Even if you’re just out for a walk, you and your squeeze will be treated to the city’s most stunning historic architecture. Even if you live in Chicago, the Mile is home to a cadre of luxury hotels, perfect for a romantic staycation.

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck

If Chicago at street level isn’t romantic enough for you, try elevating your expectations and take in breathtaking views of the city from 1,000 feet up. The 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck is located on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Center, and flaunts panoramic views of the skyline and of beautiful Lake Michigan. If thrills are what get you and your sweetie going, try TILT, the highest thrill ride in the world. 

Get your tickets here and skip the line!

The Lincoln Park Zoo

Home to more than 200 species of animals, the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the last free admission zoos in the country. Built in 1868, it’s also one of the oldest. Beyond the amazing exhibits, the summer months are filled with special events like picnics, block parties, and wine tastings. 

Check out the site to see what’s happening for you and your loved one to enjoy together.

The Navy Pier

It wouldn’t be a romantic day in Chicago without a walk out on the famous Navy Pier. Boasting some of the best views of the Chicago Skyline, there are always fun things to do at the Pier like free concerts, dinner cruises on Lake Michigan, or an evening at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. And you and your boo definitely don’t want to miss the fireworks all summer long! 

 

Check out their calendar to see what’s happening.

Chicago Food Tours

One thing is for sure – Chicagoans know how to eat well. The best way to experience a local’s knowledge of the city’s best cuisine is to sign up you and your partner up for a food tour. There are a bunch to choose from, including a great food tour of the trendy West Loop restaurant row; any number of great Chicago pizza tours; and an amazing introduction to the incredible cuisine in Chicago’s Chinatown.

ChiTown Drive-In

Featuring modern classics like The Breakfast Club, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Nightmare on Elm Street, there’s nothing more romantic than parking with your significant other and taking in a great movie. And if you’ve already seen it, it’s a good excuse to steam up the windows a little – in a PG kinda way, of course. 

Check their site for showtimes!

Morton Arboretum

Take a walk with your sweetheart through this stunning nature preserve in suburban Lisle where you’ll encounter more than 4,000 cataloged species of plantlife. Until March 2023, wander among the towering sculptures of the popular outdoor Human + Nature art exhibition. The Arboretum also hosts romantic events like special dinners, Aerial Tree Yoga, and more.

Reserve your tickets here for timed admission or special exhibits and events.

Photo Credit: Alanscottwalker

Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

In the winter months, the gradually sloping quarter-mile Ribbon is home to the city’s coolest ice skating rink, complete with skate rentals. In the summer, strap on your rollerblades and enjoy the nice weather. Either way, it’s a perfect place to hold hands and take in the skyline as you go around the winding path.

If you want to hit the ice this winter, you’ll have to make reservations ahead of time.

Promontory Point

This man-made lakeside peninsula in Hyde Park’s Burnham Park is a lovely spot to take a scenic walk with your sweetie. If things are serious between you two, the stunning skyline is a perfect backdrop to pop the question!

Photo Credit: Michael Christensen

Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park

This Japanese walking garden in Jackson Park’s Wooded Island is a beautiful place to take a stroll with the one you love, especially in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming. The flowers are at their peak in late April and May, and you can check on their bloom status here. The Japanese even have a name for the act of enjoying the flowers: hanami.

The Garfield Park Conservatory

Great for a romantic day together all year round, this 4.5 acre botanical garden is often referred to as “landscape art under glass.” Home to thousands of plant species from all over the world, showcased in eight unique display gardens, the conservancy also features regular special events like art classes, guided walks, and concerts. Reservations are free and required for entry.  

Don’t wait, lovebirds! Now’s the time to get out into the city and kindle that flame between you. If you’re looking for more romantic things to do in Chicago, have a look at how we recommend you spend a day on the Magnificent Mile. If the summertime weather is calling your names, check out our comprehensive Guide to Chicago Summer Events. But whatever you do, make sure you do it with the one you love!

Visit 360 CHICAGO

875 N Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor

Daily: 9 AM - 11 PM
Last entry is 1 hour prior to closing