Romance? What’s that? You spend most of your free time helping your kids find their missing shoes and cleaning unidentified gunk off their faces (seriously, how are they always sticky?). You are more than overdue for adult time. Real, honest-to-goodness, peaceful, put-the-phone-down, wear-actual-clothes, stay-out-past-8 p.m. adult time.
And although a Chicago winter is more akin to a dystopian battlefront than a romantic evening in Paris, these hot spots could put the fire back into any frigid night in the city.
Take a sizzling cooking class
Remember when cooking was fun? The Chopping Block puts the passion back into the kitchen with its wide variety of couples’ cooking classes in the Merchandise Mart and in Lincoln Square. The instructors are genuinely helpful and knowledgeable in a non-intimidating, join-in-the-fun type of way. Add in a glass (or two) of wine, an abundance of taste-testing and restaurant-quality recipes, and you’ll start feeling like the master chef you are.
Spend a cozy crafternoon
If you’ve never tried to create something with your love (other than a child), a crafting class at Lillstreet Art Center is a must-do. From ceramics to glass blowing to painting to metalsmithing, these oh-so-perfect couples’ classes challenge, soothe, inspire and invigorate in an intimate environment with instructors who take you step by step. Not to mention, you’ll walk away with a new thingamabob you made together, with love. Just promise us you’ll save the Ghost reenactment for home. No one else needs to see that. (Bonus points if you grab a slice of First Slice pie at the cafe downstairs. Because if love were a pie, we’re pretty sure it’d be First Slice’s French Silk.)
Cuddle up at the movies
Is there anything more perfectly timeless than a movie date? The vintage charm of the Music Box Theatre coupled with the classic romance films it traditionally shows during the Valentine’s season will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the nostalgic bliss of a long-gone era.
Warm up by the fire
Speaking of local gems, Fountainhead should definitely be on your foodie bucket list this winter, if for no other reason than the romance of dining by a crackling fire. It also doesn’t hurt that this Ravenswood gastropub sports an impressive beer and cocktail menu and comfort food that is so good, the carbs just don’t count. Fountainhead makes it a priority for its guests to have a comfortable, relaxed and lovely experience.
Get heated at game night
There is no cuter way to argue or bond than over a board game. Fact. Luckily, we live in a city where there’s Guthries Tavern, a comfy neighborhood favorite that’s home to more than 50 board games available for customers to enjoy any night of the week. To top it off, Guthries has a toasty drink menu of “Winter Warmers,” including a Peppermint Patty, a Hot Apple Pie and an Irish Coffee, all of which pair excellently with the likes of Scrabble and Monopoly. Roll the dice and join in a 4+ player game with couples at other tables for lifelong double date friends.
Escape to a tropical paradise
It might be in the middle of downtown, but Three Dots and a Dash is about as far from Chiberia as you can get. An urban oasis in the truest sense of the term, this funky underground tiki bar will make you feel hip again. Come for the steamy islander atmosphere, stay for scrumptious appetizers—the Thai Fried Chicken and Kai’s Crab Rangoon will make you want to hula—and the decadently gorgeous cocktails. Get a few drinks to share with your date because they all taste like a honeymoon in a cup.
Melt your heart at fondue night
Long live dipping things in chocolate! Get all gussied up for a night on the town at Geja’s Cafe, often dubbed the most romantic restaurant in Chicago. Enjoy mouthwateringly yummy meat, cheese and chocolate courses by candlelight, accompanied by gentle guitar music playing in the background. The ambiance at this city institution is sure to knock your fuzzy winter socks off.