Romantic Things to Do in Chicago – Valentine’s Day

Looking to plan a romantic getaway with your sweetheart? There are so many wonderfully romantic things to do in Chicago this time of year that it’s hard to choose our favorites.

Here are our suggestions for you and your loved one to enjoy.

You can save on admission to many of these romantic Chicago activities with the Go Chicago® Card. Or, build your own pass and save up to 20% off.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Explore the Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

If you’re a fan of art, then there are few places as romantic in Chicago as the #1 rated museum in the country, the Art Institute of Chicago.

They’ve got some of the best collections of Romantic and Impressionist Art, some absolutely gorgeous Chagall stained glass windows, plus tons of sculpture, textiles, antiquities, and more.

Check out their seasonal special exhibits for details on new and exciting things on display right now, or hit up their permanent collections for a few love-themed pieces like their collection of 19th century Valentines or sexy photographs.

This year, they’re even offering a special romantic Valentine’s Dinner in the Terzo Piano restaurant within the museum – book your tickets fast!

The Signature Lounge at Hancock Center

360 Chicago

360 Chicago

Located atop the well-known John Hancock Center you’ll find the romantic restaurant and cocktail bar known as The Signature Lounge.

The view from the 96th floor is phenomenal (to say the least), and the food and drink are equally exquisite. This is the perfect spot to wind down after a busy day or get geared up for a romantic evening out.

Skydeck Chicago (top of Willis Tower)

SkyDeck Chicago at The Willis Tower

SkyDeck Chicago at The Willis Tower

Looking out from the observation deck at the top of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is one of the most romantic things to do in Chicago.

You’ll enjoy 360-degree views from the tallest tower in the northern hemisphere, literally taking your love to new heights.

For the most romantic view, head to the Skydeck observation tower at sunset or after dark when the city lights are glowing.

Attend Adler After Dark

Image credit: Adler Planetarium.

Image credit: Adler Planetarium.

This special event series for adults only is a great date-night idea all year. Adler Planetarium offers special programming every third Thursday of the month (just a little after Valentine’s Day) with ever-changing themes, speakers, hands-on activities, and more.

Pick up a cocktail and some snacks, roam the galleries, marvel at the stars, and enjoy unlimited shows in Adler’s amazing theaters.

The theme for the February 18th event is “Stellar Speakeasy,” which sounds like a great date night event!

Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

Navy Pier at night

Navy Pier at night

UPDATE – The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel was closed in September 2015 for construction of the new ferris wheel. Reopening date TBD.

This 15-story Ferris wheel is located at one of the most visited attractions in Chicago, the Navy Pier.

From the top of the famous Ferris wheel, you and your partner will escape the crowd for a few minutes for some alone time with the scenic skyline and Lake Michigan views.

After you depart the Ferris wheel, Navy Pier is a lakeside wonderland to explore. You’ll find romantic restaurants, shops, and other top-class attractions as you stroll along with your loved one.

Attend a Show

Image credit: Chicago Shakespeare Theater / Matthias Baus.

Image credit: Chicago Shakespeare Theater / Matthias Baus.

Chicago’s theatre scene is pretty unbeatable when it comes to variety and quality of performances. From the traditional (like you’d find at the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier) to the avant garde (for example, Robert Bolaño’s 2666 has recently been adapted into a play), there’s something for all tastes.

Because a theatrical performance is a pretty hot idea for Valentine’s Day, be sure to secure tickets in advance!

Enjoy a Romantic Meal

Image credit: Art Institute of Chicago.

Image credit: Art Institute of Chicago.

A romantic dinner is a classic for a reason. It’s hard to go wrong with a well-researched dinner venue this time of year, especially if they’re offering special Valentine’s Day meals or menus. It’s a great break from your own cooking and a good way to pry yourself away from Netflix.

Downtown Chicago has tons of great restaurant options, many of which are in easy distance of several other great attractions to help you plan a larger itinerary.

Remember to book your table early on a site like OpenTable to avoid last-minute panic!

Stroll the Parks

Grant ParkWhile Millennium Park is often the favorite for cultural activities and current events, Grant Park has just as much in the way of sightseeing and beautiful scenery.

Or, check out the Lurie Garden to find the hidden beauty of wintertime plants. Whichever venue you choose, the real treasure is in the journey.

If you’re planning a date in the warmer months, be sure to check out Buckingham Fountain, a truly impressive array of water jets set against the impressive Chicago skyline.

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