Exciting Date Night Ideas in Chicagoland

Spice up your next date night with these fun activities.

As busy parents, we deserve a night out every now and then without the kids. And when you finally have a babysitter, it’s time to have some fun!

Resist the urge to catch some much-needed shuteye in a parking lot, make a Target run or do the boring old dinner and a movie routine. Chicagoland has so many sensational options for unique date night experiences!

We’ve rounded up our favorite local events and activities to make your next date night extra special. Don’t have time to go out? Check out these at-home date night ideas instead.

Local events

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade


Sept. 28-Dec. 4, 2022 

Head to James M. Nederlander Theatre to see the musical, Wicked, which looks at what happened in the Land of Oz from a different angle.

Haunted History Tours

Oct. 4-26, 2022 (Tuesdays-Wednesdays)

Join Adam Selzer, author, podcaster and host of Mysterious Chicago Tours to learn about the zoo’s cemetery roots. 


Oct. 12-Nov. 1, 2022

Museum of Illusions Chicago has decked out the space with Halloween themed décor. See a Head on a Platter, Vortex Tunnel, Infinity and Anti-Gravity Room and more.

Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

Oct. 12-23, 2022

Features a display of expertly carved pumpkins, returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden for 10 evenings in advance of Halloween. More than 1,000 artist-carved, real pumpkins lit with LED lights will light up the night and line the family-friendly outdoor path in a beautiful fall setting.

Pier Pumpkin Lights

Oct. 12-Nov. 1, 2022

From jack o’lantern towers to light displays, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination will be decked out for fall. Navy Pier will once again transform into an experiential fall spectacle with nearly 1,000 pumpkins for the month of October. Pumpkins are best experienced after dusk.

The Cleanup

Oct. 13-Nov. 19, 2022

Come out to Athenaeum Center to see “The Cleanup,” a show about a a woman named Nicole who joins the toy cleaning committee at The Learning Co-Op.

Immersive King Tut

Oct. 14-Nov. 20, 2022

Immersive King Tut uses stunning visuals to tell the story of the Amduat that was depicted on the tombs of pharaohs.

Sugar Skull City

Oct. 15-Nov. 6, 2022

Aurora Downtown is honoring Day of the Dead, the beloved Mexican cultural tradition, with Dia de los Muertos art, activities, specials, videos, shopping and more.

Pinball Expo

Oct. 19-22, 2022

It will include exhibits, tours, tournaments, seminars, autograph sessions, an opportunity to buy your own pinball machine and more. Attendees have the opportunity to play over 400 pinball games for free at the show.

Tricks, Treats, and Beats

Oct. 20, 27, 2022

Ages 21-plus can enjoy the themed décor at Museum of Illusions Chicago as they host “Tricks, Treats, and Beats.”  This exclusive Halloween-themed after-hours experience featuring beats by DJ Mayhem and drinks provided by Left Coast. Costumes are welcome, but not required.

Schaumburg Halloween Carnival

Oct. 21-30, 2022 (Fridays-Sundays)

This event features spooky rides, tasty treats, seasonally themed arts and crafts, a beer garden and more.

Howl-o-ween Yappy Hour

Oct. 22, 2022 

Grab your best doggie costumes, our Howl-o-ween Yappy Hour is back on The Terrace! Tickets include one complimentary drink (beer/wine), a doggie goodie bag and complimentary Pupscicles from Mutt Jackson.

Adults Night Out: Howl-O-Ween

Oct. 27, 2022 

Ages 18 and older can explore Lincoln Park Zoo after the gates close. Guests will enjoy educational entertainment, unique animal chats and cash bars throughout the zoo.

2022 Halloween Masquerade

Oct. 29, 2022 

  • Address: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: $150/general admission LYP member, $175/general admission non-member

Parents can celebrate Halloween with a masquerade at Lyric Opera. They will enjoy dancing, drinking from an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and music from a DJ. There is a chance to win prizes from the costume contest.

Harry Potter: Magic at Play

Nov. 11, 2022-May 14, 2023

Enjoy the first-of-its-kind interactive experience, which will allow fans of all ages to engage with the Wizarding World like never before. It’s 30,000 square feet of hands-on magical interactivity including games, exploration, sensory activations and more that celebrate Harry’s own journey in discovering the wizarding world.


Nov. 11, 2022-Jan. 8, 2023

See thousands of twinkling lights while walking through the Winter Cathedral and a reimagined fire garden.

Veteran’s Day Comedy Cabaret

Nov. 11, 2022

See a comedy show put on by veterans in honor of Veterans Day at Madison Street Theater.

Winter Whiskey Dinner

Nov. 11, 2022

Join Sofitel Chicago at their next Maker’s Mark Whiskey Dinner to try our one-of-a-kind barrel of bourbon accompanied by dishes.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Nov. 13, 2022

This performance is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman’s production is a gorgeous spectacle of music and movement. 

The Lion King

Nov. 17, 2022-Jan. 14, 2023

Head to Cadillac Palace Theatre to see the musical, The Lion King, which won six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical.

Rosemont’s Sparkle Light Festival

Nov. 18, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

Visitors can enjoy an immersive display of millions of holiday lights amongst outdoor holiday activities including free train rides, winter tubing and themed mazes. A special menu of festive food and beverage options will also be available. 

The Mudlark Theatre Presents: The Marvelous Land of Oz

Nov. 18-20, 2022

This original musical based on the sequel to “The Wizard of Oz.” It follows young Tip as he escapes his life as a witch’s servant and sets off on a journey to find the lost princess of Oz.

Illumination: Tree Lights

Nov. 19, 2022-Jan. 7, 2023

  • Address: The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
  • Cost: $19-$24/adult, $13-$16/kids, free/2 and under; member tickets at discounted rate; early bird specials available, too.

Surround yourselves with color while walking on the one-mile paved pathway. Enjoy seasonal music, captivating light designs and roasting s’mores on a fire at this outdoor event.

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle

Nov. 19-Dec. 31, 2022

Enjoy this immersive event about the most beloved family holiday tale, The Nutcracker. You’ll see immersive projections and special effects, meet a life-sized Nutcracker, have photo ops and more.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Nov. 19, 2022

The annual festival happens a week before Thanksgiving. Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World illuminate more than one million lights on over 200 trees along the route. 


Nov. 19, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

  • Address: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago
  • Cost: $5/Tuesdays-Sundays, free/Mondays; fees for additional encounters and activities

Enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland complete with festive activities, such as visits with Santa, a holiday pop-up bar, sweet treats of all kinds and more.

Naper Lights

Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 2022

Put on a pair of 3D glasses and enjoy a magical holiday lights celebration, presented by Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise. Bach to Rock will be providing music on Dec. 17-18.

Holiday Magic

Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 2022

Celebrating its 41st year, this annual event features over two million twinkling LED lights! Advanced tickets required.

The One Of A Kind Holiday Show

Dec. 1-4, 2022

This annual shopping extravaganza will bring together 500 talented artists, artisans and makers to offer the best in everything from fine art and handmade goods. Also, live entertainment and activities for all ages. 

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 3-27, 2022 (Fridays-Sundays)

Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair with Christopher Wheeldon’s holiday masterpiece. Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the iconic Statue of the Republic. As they prepare for their annual holiday celebration, a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario sets off a Christmas Eve dream of whirlwind romance and adventure.

Adults Night Out: Holidaze

Dec. 15, 2022 

Ages 18 and older can explore Lincoln Park Zoo after the gates close. Guests will enjoy a live DJ, unique animal chats and multiple bars throughout the zoo.

The Mudlark Theatre Presents : The Nutcracker

Dec. 15-18, 2022 

Join Mudlark Theatre for the Nutcracker. In this play, 12-year-old Marie doesn’t want to stop living in her imaginary world of toys.

More date night ideas

Photo credit: iStock/sturti

Splurge on a chef’s tasting at Roka Akor

Individually curated, multi-course seafood, steak and sushi meals dazzle the eyes as much as they delight palates at Roka Akor. Chef’s tastings are fun to try, especially when they’re capped off with dessert that looks like a work of art.

Play a round of mini golf Puttshack

There’s a new mini golf bar and restaurant at Oakbrook Center. While families are welcome during the day, you can make it a date night since only ages 21 and older are welcomed after 8 p.m.    

Catch a magic show at Chicago Magic Lounge

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 behind the art deco inspired bar.

Make a wooden sign at Board & Brush

  • Various locations in Chicagoland

Bring your Pinterest board to life by working alongside your date to make a custom DIY decor 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. Most Board & Brush locations are BYOB.

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.

Channel your inner lumberjack at Bad Axe Throwing

Experience the thrill of throwing an axe directly at a target. 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.

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 and older age policy after 9 p.m.

Create your signature scent at Scentcerely Yours

With a variety of options like brown sugar, campfire or basmati rice, you’ll bound to find the perfect scent. Choose from a candle, lotion, scrub, and more, then gift your creation to the other. Pro tip: You’ll need at least 90 minutes for a candle to set. Lotions can be made quickly.


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