Get us in your inbox

Photograph: John Khuu

Don’t suggest these Chicago bars and activities if you want a second date

Written by
Grace Perry

Ever feel totally at a loss for what to do on a first date? Hinge is here to help you out. The dating app recently conducted a nationwide study of what activities and spots lend themselves to romantic success. The study consulted 8,000 Hinge users from Chicago, New York, San Francisco, D.C., L.A. and Boston.

The winners for ‘Most Likely To Lead To A Second Date in Chicago' include (drumroll please):

  • Lincoln Park Zoo — A low-stakes daytime activity where asking, “What’s your spirit animal?” doesn’t seem weird.
  • Happy Camper — This Old Town pizzeria with an airstream and tire swings was basically built for Instagram. And finding love, apparently.
  • Gilt Bar — Swanky, sexy, conveniently located for a post-work meet-up; we dig it.
  • Wrigley Field — Inviting a stranger to a four-hour baseball game is a real ballsy move, and we respect it.
  • Barrelhouse Flat — This place oozes first date vibes. Sidle up at the bar at Barrelhouse and you’ll hear, 'So, do you have any siblings?' coming from every direction.

And, on the other end, the Chicago spots least likely to lead to a second date include: Bangers and Lace, Arbella, Lone Wolf, Marquee Lounge and Rocks. Perhaps these spots give off palpable one-night stand vibes, or maybe the drinks aren’t strong enough. In any case, don’t head here if you’re looking for longterm love.

Interestingly, Chicagoans and Bostonians are more likely to find success on a first date at a park whereas going to a movie or show topped every other city’s lists. Spending time in a park leads to a second date in Chicago 65% of the time. Looks like the Chicago Park District’s awesome summer events programming is helping Chicagoans find love.

Drinks and meals are obviously also popular choices for first dates, but the breakdown surprised us: Apparently suggesting Bloody Marys results in a first date a whopping 50% of the time nationwide. While we love a spicy Bloody as much as the next person, getting drunk with a stranger at 11am sounds… stressful. Fried chicken won the food category, trailed closely by vegan cuisine.

The lesson is: Don’t get stuck in the first date routine of beers at your local bar. Go outside! It’s summer in Chicago, after all. The best things to do on a first date in Chicago requires a little bit of creativity.

If you need some inspiration, you can check out Hinge’s full study here.

Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!