10 unique activities to spice up your next date night

You finally have a babysitter! (cue the confetti falling down from the ceiling). Resist the urge to catch some much-needed shut eye in a parking lot (my husband and I have done that), make a Target run or do the boring old dinner and a movie routine.

Chicago has so many underground options for unique date night experiences, and we’ve rounded up all of the activities to make your next date night extra special.

Catch a magic show at Chicago Magic Lounge.

The city’s first magic bar in more than two decades, Chicago Magic Lounge aims to bring the lost art of close-up style magic back to its birthplace in the Windy City. This incredibly designed space features a hidden entrance in the middle of a laundromat. Once inside, magicians will dazzle you and your date free of charge behind the art deco inspired bar. You can also purchase tickets for the Blackstone Cabaret Main Stage Show (every Thursday and Saturday) and opt for a nightcap at the 654 Club, a more intimate magic experience in the space’s back room. What makes this place even more magical? A lengthy lineup of their signature cocktails, consisting of drinks like the Abracadabra, How Houdini Died and Sleight of Hand.

5050 N. Clark Street, Chicago

Craft your own cocktail at Hollow Leg.

If your only specialty is a vodka cranberry, it’s time to up your bartending abilities. Hollow Leg offers private and group mixology courses that’ll teach you the art and science behind making the perfect drink. Find and discover the unique flavor profiles of your date. What’s more, if the weather permits, you’ll be able to do it all from a beautiful rooftop with top-notch views of the city in this Ukrainian Village space.

2524 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Go axe throwing at Bad Axe Throwing.

Channel your inner lumberjack and experience the thrill of throwing an axe directly at a target. Newbies are raving about the hottest new competitive indoor sport because it requires intense mental skills. No prior knowledge of the sport is needed, as coaches brief participants on safety rules and provide thorough demonstrations before letting you run wild. Insider tip: Given the number of things that could go wrong if alcohol were involved, it is prohibited.

165 N. Loomis Street, Chicago

Feel like a kid again at Lucky Strike Social

As a parent, you’ve probably been to your fair share of arcades and bowling alleys. Lucky Strike Social recreates the entertaining atmosphere for adults by enforcing a 21+ age policy after 9 p.m. The recently opened Lucky Strike Social in Wrigleville is worth the visit with more than 100 video games, eight bowling lanes and a vibrant cocktail menu. 

1027 W. Addison St., Chicago & 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago

Learn to garden at a Plant Nite workshop.

Get your hands dirty in these one-of-a-kind workshops taught by professional growers. Dig, drink and socialize as you and your date will be guided the basics of planting. Regardless of what you create — a mini zen garden, succulent arrangement or tiny terrarium — this is one date night experience both of you will dig.

Various locations in Chicagoland

Have a competitive smackdown at the Game Room.

If you’re sick of playing Candyland and Chutes and Ladders (who can blame you?), get your adult game on at the Game Room inside the historic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The hip spot boasts a full-size bocce court, in addition to pool, shuffleboard and foosball tables, as well as tabletops made for chess and checkers. The cocktails at the Game Room are on point, with rotating variations of Cobblers, Collins, Old Fashioneds, and a seasonal frozen cocktail.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Make a wooden sign at Board & Brush.

Bring your Pinterest board to life by working alongside your date to make a custom DIY décor piece for your home. Board and Brush features hundreds of personalized farmhouse-style signs, coat racks, clocks, and more that look great in any space. The two of you will sand, distress, stain and paint in this 3-hour instructional style workshop where you can go at your own speed. Most Board & Brush locations are BYOB.

Various locations in Chicagoland

Race turtles at Big Joe’s.

If your date night falls on a Friday evening, checking out live turtle races at Big Joe’s, a neighborhood bar in Lincoln Square, is one for the books. Here, guests purchase raffle tickets, and if picked, race their assigned turtle on the bar’s pool table. When the buzzer goes off to signify the start of each race, the sound in the bar explodes, as everyone joins in cheering. The first turtle to reach the other side of the table wins, and the person assigned to the turtle wins a t-shirt and drinks.

1818 W. Foster Ave., Chicago

Visit one of our favorite escape rooms.

Escape rooms offer the perfect opportunity to connect with your partner, as you must build communication to work together and problem-solve. Learn where each other’s strengths and weaknesses lie and how the two of you handle pressure and time constraints.

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