Date nights at the museum

Tired of the same old dinner-and-a-movie date night? Have you considered taking your significant other to a museum after dark? What could be better than enjoying the museums you already love, without the crowds and while sipping on a cocktail? These Chicago museums light up after hours with special programming and are guaranteed to be a fun time for you and your sweetheart.

Chicago History Museum

The fun: The Museum’s popular History Happy Hour series offers a different theme each month along with two complimentary drinks, 15-minute flash tours, talks and activities highlighting the Museum’s collection and exhibitions. 

When: Presented once quarterly

Cost: $15 for the general public and $10 for members

Upcoming events: On Jan. 23, you and your significant other can learn all about the Great Chicago Fire with themed activities and 15-minute flash tours of gallery spaces. On March 20, you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the museum with music, themed activities and tours that will explore Chicago’s Irish community. It’s all about sweet home Chicago and the blues as the museum showcases their new exhibit, “Amplified: Chicago Blues” during their June 12 History Happy Hour. End the year with a fun Halloween-themed Happy Hour on Oct. 16 that focuses on the dark side of Chicago’s history.  

Adler Planetarium

The fun: Hit the planetarium for Adler After Dark where ”space is freakin’ awesome.” The fun night out includes access to the museum, unlimited shows, entertainment and a new theme each month. Alcoholic beverages and food can be purchased separately.

When: Every third Thursday of the month from 6-10 p.m. (Summer hours, May-August: 6:30-10:30 p.m.)

Cost: $20 general admission/$15 members (advance purchase); $25 general admission/$20 members (at the door)

Upcoming event: On Feb. 15, the Planetarium presents Mars or Bust and will feature the red planet. Check back for more monthly events.

Art Institute of Chicago

The fun: Can’t think of anything better than viewing art after dark? The Art Institute of Chicago offers their 21+ After Dark event with tours of featured exhibits, live music, art activities, complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. They also offer special events on Thursday evenings when the museum is free to Illinois residents from 5-8 p.m. Examples of programming include concerts, film screenings, lectures and artist conversations. Keep checking the calendar for more special opportunities. 

When: After Dark will return in spring 2018 on select Fridays in the Modern Wing 9 p.m.-12 a.m.

Cost: $15 Evening Associates members, $25 Art Institute members and students, $35 general admission

Upcoming events: On Feb. 10, the Auxiliary Board hosts its 45th Anniversary Celebration with a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing. Their March After Dark event will feature artist Mounira Al Solh.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The fun: On any given Tuesday and Friday — when the museum is open until 9 p.m. – the MCA hosts live performances, curator talks, workshops, screenings, concerts, and other artist projects in its brand new Commons space. They also invite performers from Chicago and around the world to their theater in the museum. 

Cost: Programs are free with museum admission (suggested $15) and Tuesdays are always free for Illinois residents. MCA Stage performances are $30.

Upcoming events: On Feb. 2 their resident artist in the Commons, Edra Soto, will be leading a workshop set to a DJ set by Sadie Woods. On Feb. 9 Alexandria Eregbu performs a scene from Ralph Ellison’s famous novel ”Invisible Man,” reinterpreting Louis Armstrong’s song “(What Did I do To Be So) Black and Blue.” On Feb. 27 join Senior Curator Omar Kholeif in conversation with Paul Heyer on the work and process of creating his new exhibition.  

Museum of Science and Industry

The fun: If you’ve always wanted to try running inside a human-sized hamster wheel, now’s your chance. This, along with additional MSI exhibits, will be available to guests while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. MSI will also have special programming based on a theme.

Cost: TBD

Upcoming events: Their next After Hours event will be on March 23. Theme TBD. 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The fun: On certain Tuesdays in February, the Nature Museum offers Nature on Tap series 6:30-7:30 p.m. where you can grab a drink and learn more about a specific subject. 

Cost: Free

Upcoming events: On Feb. 13 the museum presents a timely event centered on animal attraction and on Feb. 20 it’s all about Wintry Wood Frogs. Their last event of the month on Feb. 27 focuses on the beautiful Monarch butterfly.

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