24 Fun and Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City makes for the perfect weekend getaway.
The sun sets over the waterfront in Chicago, IL.
darekm101 / Getty Images
BethAnn Mayer
by BethAnn Mayer
Updated Apr 18, 2023
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

When it comes to date ideas or activities for couples, there's no shortage of things to do in Chicago. For couples, the Windy City offers something for every taste: Michelin-starred and rooftop restaurants with delectable eats and sky-high views. If you've had your fill of fine dining, there are plenty of unique couples activities to enjoy, like perusing art galleries or taking dance lessons.

Unlike some big cities, Chicago has a real hometown feel, a byproduct of its Midwestern location. Folks love to talk your ear off about the latest Cubs game, and people will politely hold the door for you as you exit your hotel. This adds to the experience for couples. Consider these perfect date ideas, whether you're planning a trip to Chicago or already live in the city and want to break out of a date-night rut.

In this article:

Fun Things to Do in Chicago for Couples

Rest assured, there are plenty of romantic things to do in Chicago. You can enjoy a spa day or take in artwork at a contemporary gallery. Opt for one of these unique couples activities for a truly memorable daytime or date night.

A stunning view of the Chicago Skyline at dusk.
Sky Sajjaphot / Getty Images

Explore World-Class Contemporary Works

More traditional, the Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the world's largest venues for the genre. Take in post-World War II works from the museum's permanent collection, including works by Andy Warhol, as well as other lauded pieces on temporary loan. As you walk through the gallery-style museum, you'll see everything from surrealist paintings to sculptures.

220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

Dance the Night Away

Whether you're brushing up for your Big Day or just looking to let off steam on a different kind of dance floor, you'll find plenty of adult dance classes in Chicago. But the place to go is Ballroom Dance Chicago. The studio offers private, group and online lessons in swing, salsa and ballroom for every level.

4039B N. Ravenswood Ave. Ste. B, Chicago, IL 60613

Visit the Bean

Millennium Park offers year-round romance for locals and guests alike. With a Ferris wheel, skating rink, pretty foliage every fall and an outdoor music pavilion, there's already much to experience at the destination. But the biggest draw, at least for most Chicago tourists, is the Bean. Officially known as "Cloud Gate," the iconic reflective sculpture by Anish Kapoor is one of the world's most recognizable.

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Spice Up Your Night With a Cooking Class

In a dinner and date-night rut? Cozymeal offers cooking classes in Chicago that are sugar, spice and all things nice. Master the art of pasta making or Latin cooking. Or, rival your grandmother's Sunday dinner with a course on authentic Italian cuisine. Even carnivores will want to look into the vegan and vegetarian classes. Chefs put creative, plant-based twists on beloved fare like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and more.

111 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60604

Peruse a Farmers' Market

Committed to eating local and living more sustainably together? Picking up ingredients inspired by a recipe you learned at a local cooking class is the next step. Chicago has more farmers markets than there are types of apples. You can pick from the Windy City's longest-running farmer's market on Daley Plaza or the lauded Maxwell Street Market. But you'll also find smaller markets built from the ground up around the city. Regardless of where you go, expect booths full of seasonal produce, homegrown flowers and homemade goods.

Rock Out at Lollapalooza

This annual festival, featuring rock, techno and hip-hop artists, is one of the biggest each year, and it happens on Chicago's Front Lawn (or Grant Park). Lollapalooza brings people from around the nation for four days of revelry (think mosh pits, glow sticks, top-billed artists) all likely to impress your partner. Prepare to rub elbows with your plus-one, and about a hundred thousand others, for a wow-worthy experience.

337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601

The Garden of the Phoenix in Chicago, Illinois.
Wirestock / Getty Images

Find Tranquility at Garden of the Phoenix

You may give or receive flowers before a date, particularly one with that special someone. But what about going to see flowers? Nestled in Jackson Park, Garden of the Phoenix has a koi pond and green space at every turn that allows couples to breathe in, breathe out and bask in their bonds. (Pro tip: Earmark a date here in April when the cherry blossoms bloom, turning the garden into a sea of oh-so-romantic shades of pink.)

6300 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Get a Massage

You deserve some TLC, especially as a couple. Whether you and your partner need time to unwind from work or home life, a massage is a time-honored way to indulge in self-care together. Massage Evolved offers side-by-side couples massages, so you and your loved one can R&R (relax and rekindle). It's popular—you'll see why—so book in advance.

118 North Clinton Street, Chicago, IL 60661

Consider a Spa Retreat

Allyu Spa doesn't just stop at luxe massages. The popular Windy City spa offers entire packages for couples. Spa retreats can include facials, hot stone pedicures and scalp massages. Treatments take place in the same and separate rooms, so you get the perfect balance of together and solo time.

600 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60654

Take in Urban-Contemporary Art

Vertical isn't your grandmother's gallery; it emphasizes urban-contemporary works. Each month, the gallery puts on exhibits that celebrate and showcase muralists, street art, pop culture and more. It brings a Brooklyn-style vibe to the Windy City.

1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

The decades-old tradition of dyeing the Chicago River emerald green began in 1962 and has become one of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Each year, the river turns green on the day of the city's parade (typically that Saturday). If St. Patty's Day isn't on a Saturday, plan to attend the Saturday before March 17.

Three baseballs in a leather catcher's mitt beside the handle of a baseball bat.
krisanapong detraphiphat / Getty Images

Root, Root, Root for the Cubs

Once known as the "lovable losers," the Cubs broke a 108-year hex when they won their first World Series since 1908 in 2016. Regardless of the score, Wrigley Field is on many baseball fans' bucket lists, and Chicago locals take great pride in calling it their own (except White Sox fans). Taking in a ballgame or simply staring out at the iconic ivy-covered outfield wall while sharing popcorn is a quintessential way to spend a summer Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, IL 60613

View Art Like a Member of the Scene

Founded in 1963, Gray Chicago remains a favorite spot to find and view quality art of the in-the-know crowd. Others happened upon it while in the Hancock Center, the skyscraper where it's located. Either way, notable works that have made their way to the gallery include ones from Roy Lichtenstein and Pablo Picasso.

2044 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago, IL 60612

Say Hello to Sea Creatures

Situated in Grant Park, known as "Chicago's Front Yard," Shedd Aquarium has more than 32,000 animals. Animal lovers should also know this aquarium is among the world's top conservation aquariums with researchers and staffers who respect the ecosystem. Throw it back to your childhood POV of wonder as you spot sharks, penguins, Beluga whales, otters and more.

1200 S. Dusable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Head to the Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in North America. The 35-acre center brings the jungle to a concrete jungle. More than 200 animals call the zoo home, including many rehabilitated lions, bald eagles, snowy owls and, yes, tigers and bears. It's a fun couple's activity for any pair, whether it's a first date or a unique addition to your 10th-anniversary celebration.

2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

Attend the Chicago Blues Festival

Roll out a blanket, put your arm around your loved one and jam out. This free annual event draws about 500,000 people from the Windy City and beyond each June for Chicago's largest music festival. Legendary acts, including Etta James and B.B. King, were previous acts on the Chicago Blues Festival stage. Listening to emerging and big-name talent in the genre together serves as a memorable bonding experience.

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Most Romantic Restaurants in Chicago for Couples

A dinner (or even brunch or lunch) is a memorable pastime for couples who love food. It gives you a chance to ditch the phones in favor of face-to-face conversation over apps and taps. But when the date calls for something special, any old restaurant just won't do. Instead, dig in at these romantic date-night restaurants in Chicago.

Virtue, Hyde Park

Helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Erik Williams, Virtue brings cuisine from the south to the Midwest. Savory starters like biscuits and gumbo were made for sharing or letting your date take "just a taste." Swap stories from your week over hearty mains like short ribs with a side of creamed spinach and potato and a bone-in pork chop. The food is all served in a funky space with cushioned wood chairs and hanging lamps, making a date night at Virtue as cool as it is cozy.

1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Bistro Campagne, Lincoln Square

Just the name of this popular French bistro (an H short of "champagne") feels celebratory. Tucked away between Lincoln Square's brick buildings, Bistro Campagne has a warm interior with even warmer and delicious bread. The outdoor patio with string bistro lighting will make you feel as if you and your partner feel as though you're in romantic Paris.

4518 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625

Piccolo Sogno, West Town

In terms of ambiance, this approachable upscale restaurant takes a rustic, yet white-tablecloth elegance approach. A long and dark oak bar is the perfect perch for starting or extending the night with an aperitif or post-dessert digestif. The candlelit tables are covered in the aforementioned white tablecloths, exuding simple romance. The menu follows suit. Expect slightly-smoky pizzas out of the trending wood-burning oven, plenty of pasta and seafood, and a wine list that takes you around the world without leaving Chicago.

464 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60642

The Best Hotels in Chicago for Couples

When you're planning a trip to Chicago or merely escaping the walls of your nearby home, there is no shortage of hotels across the Windy City. Some include sweeping views of the iconic Chicago skyline. At others, you'll find Chicago hotel packages for couples, thoughtfully created for romantic getaways (including staycations). Indulge in spa services, fine dining and several days of bliss at these most romantic spots.

The Langham, Chicago, River North

This five-star hotel has a package tailor-made for couples. River Romance includes a complimentary bottle of bubbly perfect for celebrating a recent wedding, engagement, or anniversary. You'll also gain access to the spa, where services from acupuncture to massages are available. Peek at the star reviews before booking too.

330 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60601

Viceroy Chicago, Gold Coast Historic District

Another five-star spot, Viceroy Chicago's art-deco exterior screams "Gatsby," but the chic interior is decidedly timeless. Expect bright rooms with large windows, allowing the sunlight to pour in and you and your loved one to take in stunning Lake Michigan and city vistas. Soaking tubs were made for romantic evenings, which can start in stylish fashion on the rooftop terrace with a bar.

1118 N State St., Chicago, IL 60610

Marriott Marquis Chicago, South Loop

Peer out at Lake Michigan or the city's iconic skyline as you sip morning coffee together at this stunning high-rise in the South Loop neighborhood. If you're up for it, walk hand in hand for nearly two-and-a-half miles to the Bean in Millenium Park. Just want to chill? There's 24/7 room service, so that won't be a problem.

2121 S Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL 60616

LondonHouse Chicago, Loop

LondonHouse Chicago is set in a turn-of-last-century high-rise. But it boasts modern-day amenities like Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs made for easing into your day together. The view of the Chicago River? Well, that's timeless. The hotel also has a rooftop bar, because Chicago is even more magnificent from a bird's-eye view. A spa offers an array of treatments, including massages. Book a spa stay to get a $125 credit for any treatment you want.

85 E Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601

Up Next
  • the knot travel trends 2024 piece couple travels white lotus streaming on hbo max planetary alignment
    The Top Travel Trends You'll See in 2024