12 ways to do Valentine’s Day in Chicago
Whether you’re single or spending the day with your sweetheart, Valentine’s Day is a time to treat yourself to something special. Here are a few ways to celebrate the most romantic day of the year in Chicago.
1. Share fondue at Geja’s Cafe
Geja’s Cafe has been a mainstay in Lincoln Park for more than 50 years. The fondue spot is well-known by locals for being one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. Their indulgent menu includes their famous cheese fondue, along with fresh seafood, meat and vegetables. For dessert, dip treats into pots of rich chocolate fondue.
Tip: You can order fresh flowers to be waiting at your table.
2. Sightsee on a Valentine’s cruise
Take your Valentine’s day dinner to the next level with a lakefront cruise. Step aboard one of Chicago’s many cruise lines, where you’ll dine and dance the night away with the city skyline in the background. Whether you’re looking for a seated meal, buffet or even brunch, there’s a cruise for you.
Odyssey Valentine’s Cruises (three-course seated dinner, dance floor, or brunch buffet)
Spirit Cruises Valentine’s Dinner Cruises (dinner buffet, dancing with live DJ)
3. Take a dip at AIRE Ancient Baths
This is far from your typical spa experience. Housed in a restored 1900s factory, AIRE offers ancient baths inspired by Roman, Greek and Ottoman tradition. Start with a candlelit thermal bath and add on experiences, such as an aromatherapy steam room, salt exfoliation, and luxurious massages. You can even submerge yourself in a bath filled with red wine.
4. Stop and smell the flowers at Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show
The annual Orchid Show at Chicago Botanic Garden is the perfect backdrop for a Valentine’s date. The show features more than 10,000 blooms from all over the world, instantly transporting you and your date to the tropics. You can even buy a potted orchid to bring home.
Tip: On Valentine’s Day, check out Orchids After Hours from 4 – 8 p.m.
5. See a show (for a discount!) during Chicago Theatre Week
6. Sharpen your skills at a cooking class
7. Indulge at Vosges Haut-Chocolat
It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Skip the heart-shaped box from the drugstore and splurge on the artisan kind. At local chocolate boutique Vosges Haut-Chocolat, the handcrafted truffles and bars make a perfect gift for your sweetheart (or yourself).
Tip: Try one of the exotic flavors, like the manchego and cherry or coconut ash and banana chocolate bars.
8. Ice skate in Millennium Park
Glide along in the shadow of The Bean at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Or head over to neighboring Maggie Daley Park to explore the winding Skating Ribbon. Admission is free, skate rentals are available for a fee.
Tip: When you’re done skating, head across the street to Cindy’s at Chicago Athletic Association, where you can warm up with a drink while you watch skaters from above.
9. Take a spin on the Centennial Wheel
See the city skyline from a whole new perspective aboard the Centennial Wheel. The year-round attraction features 360-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan from comfortable, enclosed gondolas.
Tip: Buy your tickets online to save a few bucks.
10. Go on a scavenger hunt through the Art Institute
11. Soak up legendary live jazz
12. Sip cocktails in a hidden speakeasy
Chicago is home to a thriving cocktail scene — but you’ll need to look carefully to spot these under-the-radar speakeasies. These intimate cocktail bars are some of the city’s worst kept secrets, but they make the best date nights. Check out the acclaimed Violet Hour in Wicker Park (hidden behind an ever-changing wall of graffiti), The Ladies Room in Logan Square (tucked behind the shelves of bread inside The Bakery at Fat Rice) and The Drifter underneath Green Door Tavern in River North (where the nightly cocktail menu is printed on tarot cards).
Tip: Tell the doorman “I’m with the club” to get into Brighton Park’s Coco Club, which features a variety of dueling pianos, comedians, and lounge singers.