Whether you’re on a first date or taking out your long-term partner for a night on the town, these Chicago venues will not disappoint!
Dates are the glue to any relationship. Maybe you and a prospective partner have just started dating and are using this time to get to know each other. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for a year already. Maybe you’re newlyweds. Maybe you’ve been married for forty years. No matter what stage of a relationship you’re in, dates are that special time when you and your partner get to spend time with each other and only each other.
There’s nothing wrong with a classic dinner and movie date, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to spice up your routine with something a little new. This weekend, test out one of these more niche date ideas and see what your date thinks of it. Who knows? Maybe that venu that’s new to you today will become a lifelong favorite haunt for you and your partner for years and years to come.
Hate trying to decide who should pay for the date, or whether you should just split the check or each pay your own way? GiftYa understands that, and that’s why they’ve made it their mission to take the pain out of paying for dates with e-gift cards. Send one of their partners’ e-gift cards to your significant other for a special occasion so they can “pay” for your date the next time you decide to go to that place. Better yet, send one to your other favorite couple so neither one of them has to pay!
Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611 | Gold Coast | facebook.com/petitmargeaux
Have you and your partner been saving up for a trip to Paris but haven’t quite reached your goal yet? No worries! Tucked away on the ground floor of Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria hotel is this Parisian-inspired gem.
A self-proclaimed French patisserie, this little cafe serves up anything from some of the most beloved coffee in Chicago, to sweet treats, to brunch! The cozy and chic interior will almost make you feel like you’re really in Paris.
Stop by for a taste of France served up with the Midwestern hospitality you know and love.
“Super cute little bakery and cafe. I had some delightful little pastries there and my girlfriend enjoyed a bit of cheesecake. Staff was friendly and helpful. We just had a lovely little afternoon there.” - Yelp Review
130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 | The Loop | wildberrycafe.com
Waking up early just to go out for breakfast probably isn’t high on your list of date ideas you absolutely have to try, but you might just want to make an exception for Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe.
Located in the heart of all of the hustle and bustle of Chicago, this breakfast joint is a favorite among many of the locals. During peak times, you can find yourself waiting for a seat for up to three hours!
Stop in to try the wildberry pancakes they’re most famous for, or maybe decide on something a little more savory like the barbacoa chilaquiles.
Pro tip: add your name to Yelp’s waiting list for a guaranteed spot if you aren’t as much of a morning person and hang out at a nearby coffee shop until they tell you your table’s ready.
“Amazing dining experience! The best service hands down. The hostess was so friendly and accommodating, our waitress was friendly, fast and brought to-go cups for our unfinished lattes.” - Yelp Review
2683 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 | Neighborhood: Lincoln Park | aliveone.com
Live entertainment is a sure-fire way to impress your date this weekend. Image courtesy of aliveOne Instagram.
Do both you and your date love live entertainment but not sure you want your first date to be at a concert where you can barely hear each other over the music? aliveOne is a great compromise.
With live music shows from local musicians every week, karaoke nights where the two of you can make fools of yourselves in front of a crowd - and receive the same entertainment in turn - and regular comedy shows, there’s bound to be something here that you’ll both enjoy.
With a fairly intimate space, but a roomy back room fit for shows, you’ll still be able to chat while you enjoy the entertainment - as well as some tasty drinks!
“There is something going on every night of the week in the back room from comedy to trivia to karaoke and live bands and the only thing that beats their happy hour special is the staff.” - Yelp Review
1000 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 | Fulton Market, West Loop | coldstoragechicago.com
The last thing you want when you take someone on a date is for them to think you’re a suspicious character. While this seafood restaurant is packed with a fishy menu, nothing about bringing a date here is fishy.
Fine dining seafood has never been quite so, well, fine. You’ll have to try their oysters, which people tout as some of the best in the entire city! We hear the lobster bisque is pretty amazing, too.
“The oysters aren't your regular dollar oysters. They are big, thick, and juicy!! And I'm not exaggerating, some of them were OVERFLOWING out of the shell. SO good.” - Yelp Review
2521 N Milwaukee | Chicago, IL 60647 | owlbarchicago.com
You might think a casual date for drinks is mundane, but as soon as you join the crowd of party people at The Owl, you’ll realize it’s anything but there. Image courtesy of The Owl Instagram.
Are you and your date social butterflies? Do you like to stay up late? The Owl is one of Chicago’s best late-night party spots.
Open until 4am every day, you can stop by whenever it suits you and get to know other couples like you while you flit around the room. Be sure to try one of their signature drinks for the best experience!
“We love everything about this place. The atmosphere, the bartender, the happy hour specials are especially great, good jukes.” - Yelp Review
857 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 | Fulton Market, West Loop | duckduckgoatchicago.com
Has your partner always wanted to try some food made by one of those celebrity chefs you always see on TV? Stephanie Izard, who made her name by winning Top Chef several years ago, is the owner of this Chinese restaurant in Fulton Market.
While you probably won’t find her cooking up your meals herself, she did create all of the recipes you’ll see on the menu, which combine classic Chinese cuisine with bold flavors you might not expect.
Split some dim sum and make a note of everything you can taste in your meal. Next weekend, you can try to recreate it just for yourselves at home!
“To be honest... we had a hard time picking a favorite. Everything is just so incredibly flavorful and the more dishes that come out, the more your jaw drops.” - Yelp Review
2013 W North Ave | Chicago, IL 60647 | estelleschicago.com
First dates can be exciting, but they can also be a little awkward at the very beginning. A dive bar might be the perfect place for you and your date to break the ice and really start to get to know each other.
Share some burgers, which regulars have deemed some of the best in the entire city, and peruse their extensive beer list until you each find something you like. It’s hard to feel awkward around anyone when you’re sharing food and drinks and laughs.
“The service was refreshing, nice attentive service with a friendly bartender. The food options are typical of dive bars, but are top notch.” - Yelp Review
2576 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 | Lincoln Park | tacopub.com
Everybody likes tacos, and we’re betting you and your partner will love these authentic street-style Mexican tacos. Soft, freshly made tortillas packed with the fillings of your choice? Yum!
Whether you prefer all veggies or something with some meat, they’ve got something for everyone - and the drinks aren’t bad either. Stop by for a fun time filled with beautiful artwork, funky music, and the best tacos in Chicago.
“Just a chill, affordable taco pub with good food and $5 margaritas on Thursdays. I came here on a Thursday night with some friends. We all had a few margaritas and they were stroooong!” - Yelp Review
Your date is bound to be impressed by any one of these places. Good times and an amazing variety of food and drinks await you in Chicago. Go and see what they’ve got to offer!