4 Valentine’s Day date night ideas on a budget

Valentine’s Day may be nothing more than a “Hallmark holiday” to some (er, my husband), but it’s still nice to find an excuse for a date night. But since there’s nothing romantic about a massive credit card bill, we like to keep our date nights affordable. If you’re a fan of sticking to a budget like we are, treat your sweetheart to one of these fun ideas around Chicagoland.

See a show during Chicago Theatre Week.

Have a play or musical you’ve been wanting to see, but don’t want to shell out a ton of cash? Now’s your chance! Taking place February 7-17, Theatre Week gives you the opportunity to score tickets for just $15 or $30 a piece (some shows are even less!). Choose from over a hundred productions at various theaters throughout Chicagoland, including Steppenwolf, Goodman, Marriott Theatre and The Chicago Theatre.


Feel like treating your children to a little Valentine’s date, too? Tickets to kid-friendly shows like “Sesame Street Live!” and “Seussical the Musical” are also available. Seats sell out fast, so grab them now to guarantee you get the dates and times you want. Here are some other great Chicago Theatre Week deals for families.


Various locations in Chicagoland


Catch a movie at Music Box Theatre.


Does it get more swoon-worthy than watching a classic flick at a cool, vintage theatre? I think not. Bring your best guy or gal to Music Box Theatre to see an indie film or a romance classic for Valentine’s Day. General admission is $11, matinees are just $8 and the theatre even has a buy one, get one popcorn and soda deal on Mondays, so you can score snacks on the cheap if you celebrate Valentine’s Day early. “Casablanca,” “The Way We Were” and “The Princess Bride” are all showing over the next couple of weeks to help get you in a romantic state of mind—just don’t forget to bring tissues!


Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago


Peruse The Empty Bottle’s Handmade Market.


Who needs a spa day when you can shop (or window shop) child-free? This funky artisan market (housed inside a Ukranian village bar) encourages visitors to shop with a mimosa in hand, which basically sounds like a vacation in the dead of a Chicago winter. Check out dozens of booths featuring goods like handmade jewelry, soaps, artwork and more. Entry is totally free and if you do decide to splurge and buy something, you’ll feel good knowing your money is going towards a local artist. The next Handmade Market takes place on Feb. 9 from noon to 4:30 p.m.


The Empty Bottle, 1035 Western Ave., Chicago


Hit up a happy hour.


Want a dinner out, but don’t want a huge tab at the end of the night? Happy hours are the perfect solution. Enjoy some of the city’s best eats and sips for a fraction of the cost by dining early during the week. Meet your spouse for a couple glasses of wine and some apps after work, then get home in time to tuck the kids into bed. Chicago on the Cheap has happy hours compiled by neighborhood, so you can find the deals nearest you. Tip: Happy hour dates and times change often, so always call before heading out.


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