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The best things to do on Valentine’s Day

Shake things up on Valentine's Day with a gory musical, an ice skating outing or basketball game

Hideout Chicago, Cosmic Country Showcase
Photograph: Sarah Larson

It doesn't matter what your relationship status is, you'll find things to do on Valentine's Day (and the weekend after the holiday) all over town. Sure, you could book dinner at one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago, but if you're willing to get a bit more creative, you could also see a musical based on The Evil Dead or walk through a pop-up installation designed by local artist Hebru Brantley. This year, Valentine's Day coincides with the beginning of NBA All-Star Game Weekend in Chicago, so basketball fans can treat themselves to a romantic evening staring at the court. Need some more unique date ideas? We've rounded up even more great things to do on Valentine's Day in Chicago, whether you've got a partner of you're riding solo.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Valentine's Day in Chicago

Valentine’s Day events and concerts

Photograph: John Wiesenfeld on Unsplash
Things to do, Exhibitions

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL, Suburbs

Chicago Botanic Garden's annual orchid show will blow any bouquet you'd be able buy for sweetheart out of the water, with 10,000 blooms on display. The Regenstein Center is filled with towering orchid installations, including a canopy of color, a floating carpet and a dramatic chandelier. Swing by on Saturdays and Sundays to shop for orchids of your own in a pop-up marketplace, or stay late on Thursday nights to have a cocktail during Orchids After Hours.

wndr museum
Photograph: Courtesy wndr museum
Art, Installation

wndr museum

1130 W Monroe St, West Loop

Wouldn't it be cute to send your boo a text that reads: "What if we kissed inside one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's famous Infinity Mirror Rooms?" Visit the wndr museum on Valentine's Day and you'll be able to do just that (make it a quick peck, because your time inside the mirrored room is limited). You and your date will also be able to hang out in room lined with LED walls that guests can "draw" on with water, a mirrored room with a floor that reacts to your footsteps and sparkling space covered in butterflies and rainbows that would make Lisa Frank jealous.

Madama Butterfly
Photograph: Felix Sanchez/Houston Grand Opera
Music, Classical and opera

Madama Butterfly

Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL, Loop

Shed a few tears with your loved on during a performance of Giacomo Puccini's classic Italian opera, which tells the heartbreaking tale of Japanese geisha Cio-Cio-San and her marriage to an American naval lieutenant. The most romantic aspect of this production is the beautiful compositions that interpolate traditional Japanese insturmentation and folk music. Plus, a night at the opera is always a great excuse to get dressed up.

Photograph: Patrick L. Pyszka
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park

Skate with your sweetheart under the Chicago skyline at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 8, weather permitting.

Nevermore Park
Photograph: Amy Lombard
Art, Installation

Nevermore Park

949 W 16th St, Lower West Side

If your significant other is a fan of Flyboy and Lil Mama, they'll love local artist Hebru Brantley's latest project: an immersive origin story for his most famous creations. Named after a fictional Chicago neighborhood, Nevermore Park takes visitors through 6,000 square feet of installation that begin in a traditional art gallery before quickly transitioning to fantastical environments that feature a crashed rocket ship, a Pullman train car and thick fog clouds.

Evil Dead The Musical
Photograph: Courtesy Evil Dead The Musical
Theater, Musicals

Evil Dead The Musical

Greenhouse Theater Center, Lincoln Park

If you and your date don't mind gratuitous amounts of fake blood, you'll dig this gory musical based on cult classic horror films The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Running with the basic premise of five college students spending a night in a haunted cabin in the middle of nowhere, Evil Dead The Musical follows the chainsaw wielding Ash as he mows down demons while belting out tunes like “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons” and “What the F**k Was That?” Plus, it's one of the only musicals we've ever heard of with a "splatter zone," where viewers will get sprayed with red liquids during the show.