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People dancing at Pritzker Pavilion
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

9 romantic summer date ideas in Chicago

Got a hot date this summer? Take them to one of these fun spots.

Written by Erin Yarnall in association with Vizzy Hard Seltzer

A strong smell of chocolate isn’t the only thing in the air this summer in Chicago—love is out there, too. Whether you’ve just met your SO or have been together for years, we know there’s always pressure to impress the person you’re seeing. Fortunately, that’s not a hard task in Chicago, where you’ll discover fun and romantic date spots all year long, especially during the summer. From outdoor music festivals, to outdoor dining, to outdoor baseball games (you get the picture), set a date with the person you’re interested in and take them somewhere sunny to soak up Chicago’s best season. Here are some of our choices for the most romantic summer date spots in the city.

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The best summer date spots in Chicago

  • Things to do
  • Film events

Is there anything more classic than the movie-and-dinner combo for date night? Sure, you can go to the movies any season, but summer offers up more opportunities to catch a flick with the city’s many outdoor movie offerings. Lakeview’s Music Box Theatre is playing classic ’90s films like Office Space and Hackers in their outdoor garden space through the end of June, and family-friendly movies will be screened at attractions like Navy Pier, Millenium Park and other Chicago parks all summer long.


  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

It’s not a true summer in Chicago if you haven’t spent some time on the water, and with both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan to choose from, you should consider taking your date on a boat ride in the city. Head out on the much-beloved architecture tour, or embark on a two-and-a-half hour dinner cruise that includes a three-course meal. If you’re not up for a river or lake cruise with other people and don’t have a boat of your own, rent a kayak or canoe for a smaller-scale day on the water.

  • Sports and fitness
  • Stadiums
  • Armour Square

Sure, baseball season stretches out far past the end of summer—and it starts so early in spring that you need a winter coat to go to a game—but cheering on the Cubs or the White Sox is a favorite way to spend the summer days for many Chicagoans. Whether you want to experience the history of Wrigley Field on the North Side, see the fireworks at Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side or head out to the suburbs and watch the Chicago Dogs play, there’s sure guaranteed to be a game for you and your sports-loving date to enjoy.

  • Things to do

If there’s one thing Chicago doesn’t lack, it’s beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. There are 24 beaches spanning the city’s 28 miles of shoreline, and they all offer unique amenities for whatever type of date you envision. If you want to visit one of the most popular beaches with kayak rentals and a nearby restaurant featuring gorgeous waterfront views, make your way to North Avenue Beach. Or if you just want a romantic spot to look at the skyline together while enjoying the waves, go to Bronzeville’s Margaret T. Burroughs Beach.

  • Things to do
  • Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park Zoo is open every day of the year, but it’s especially fun in the summer, when animals emerge from hibernation and play around in the warm weather. While animals are the star attraction, they’re not the only reason to bring your date to the zoo, as it’s home to several festivals throughout the summer—including Summer Wine Fest at the end of July. 

  • Things to do

In every romantic period film there’s at least one scene where the two protagonists walk through a field surrounded by nature, so it’s safe to say that heading outdoors is a time-and-tested date idea that works. Sure, there weren’t movies and concerts to go to back then, but few things beat the great outdoors, so bring your date to one of Chicago’s hundreds of parks and watch the wildlife (and your love!) blossom.

  • Music

Concerts are a fun date idea all year round, but summer is the only time of year to appreciate the city’s dozens of outdoor music festivals. Trying to impress an indie date? Take them to Pitchfork Music Festival, where acts like Mitski and Japanese Breakfast will perform in Union Park this July. If the huge crowds aren’t the romantic vibe you want, check out a smaller-scale festival, found in almost every neighborhood like the Hyde Park Summer Fest and Lincoln Square’s Square Roots Fest.

  • Things to do
  • Millennium Park

Golf requires big open spaces to be able to fit in an entire course, something that large, urban areas like Chicago typically lack. The city makes up for that with its mini-golf offerings, which are perfect for a fun date night. Try your chances at shooting a hole-in-one at City Mini Golf—boasting a central location in Maggie Daley Park and killer skyline views—or putt-putt among beloved Pixar characters a Navy Pier's Pixar Putt. Summer rain storms don’t have to ruin the fun either, as you can hit the indoor links at Wicker Park’s Big Mini Putt Club.


Even if you’re not an astrology buff, there’s something beautiful and romantic about looking up at a full moon. While stars are tricky to spot in Chicago due to light pollution, the big, bright full moon will be lighting up the city’s skies each month, giving you the opportune time to take a walk with your date. Or, make a night of it and head out to the Chicago Full Moon Jam, a celebration along the lakeshore with musicians, performers and dozens of fire spinners.


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