Valentine’s Day is right around the corner — and for many people, that means it’s time to start dreaming up the perfect holiday plan. This year, instead of battling the crowds for a dinner reservation or falling back on an old standby, why not switch it up and look for a creative new way to spend this romantic day?
Breaking up the cold and dreary month of February, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to go out and experience what makes Chicagoland magical — whether you’re celebrating with a sweetheart, hanging out with friends, or taking some much deserved solo time for yourself.
Want to take a whole new approach to Valentine’s Day in Chicago and the suburbs? Here are nine fun, unique, and unexpected ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in our area:
1.) Get Immersed In Nature
If the weather outside is cooperating, why not go out and see one of Chicagoland’s most amazing natural sights? The area is full of indoor spots to soak in the beauty of nature, including the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Garfield Park Conservatory. Outside of the city, the Morton Arboretum houses one of the Midwest’s most astonishing collections of flora and fauna, while the Chicago Botanic Garden hosts a spectacular display of orchids and a build-your-own terrarium date night in honor of the occasion.
2.) Relax and Unwind at a Chicagoland Spa
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day solo or looking for a way to relax with a significant other, why not spend some time getting pampered at a luxurious spa? The Chicagoland area is full of incredible and unique options. In the city, look into the sprawling thermal baths of AIRE in River West, or the historic pools of Red Square Spa in Wicker Park. You’ll also find plenty of amazing retreats around Illinois, including the upscale Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca and the aquatic-focused Kohler Waters Spa in Burr Ridge.
3.) See the City From a New Angle
Chicago has one of the most legendary and striking skylines in the world, and Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful opportunity to see the cityscape with fresh eyes. Around the area, countless rooftop restaurants and observation decks present an unparalleled look at the city. You could also get an overhead view from the comfort of a private helicopter tour, or from the enormous Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier. Prefer to keep your feet on solid ground? You can also get a gorgeous view of the skyline from spots like Museum Campus, Promontory Point, or the lakefill in Evanston.
4.) Enjoy a Show
From the city to the suburbs, you’re never far from amazing entertainment in Chicagoland. You could laugh through the holiday with friends at one of the area’s legendary comedy venues, such as iO or The Second City. Or, you could enjoy the magic of live theater at playhouses around the region, which put on options ranging from Broadway-caliber musicals to cutting edge modern plays. For a different kind of show, the Chicago Auto Show often takes up the floor at McCormick Place around Valentine’s Day. And throughout the area, movie palaces like the Music Box and the Logan often show classic romance films to celebrate the holiday.
5.) Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Who says you need to have a four-course meal on Valentine’s Day? Instead of overdoing it on the savory options, embrace your sweet side this year. You could go out for ice cream at any number of iconic Chicagoland spots, including Margie’s, Original Rainbow Cone, Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Evanston, or Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine, to name a few. For sweet treats and unique candy, there’s Candyality, Amy’s Candy Bar, or the Ferrera Pan Candy Company in Forest Park. Looking to warm up? Why not stop for a mug of cocoa at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate or BomboBar to wind down the night?
6.) Explore a Museum
Valentine’s Day can be a great chance to visit some of our area’s great cultural institutions. The Art Institute of Chicago hosts a fun Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt event each year, and you can also take the day to explore destinations like the Museum of Science & Industry or other cool spots around Chicagoland. For an immersive, artistic experience, you may want to check out your local art gallery, or book a ticket for an off-the-wall exhibition-style experience like Nevermore Park or the WNDR Museum.
7.) Take an Exciting Class
For a Valentine’s Day you won’t soon forget, why not sign up for a class or a fun activity? All around Chicagoland, you’ll find plenty of new opportunities for expanding your horizons in a fun, supportive environment. Many local dance schools — including Duet Dance Studio and Ballroom Dance Chicago — offer Valentine’s Day classes. You and a friend could also learn how to think like a chef at a local cooking class, or bring home a new treasure after a session painting, throwing pottery, or blowing glass.
8.) Make a Meal at Home
Why not celebrate Valentine’s with a cozy night in? After a romantic stroll through a local market — such as the Chicago French Market in the West Loop, or Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights — you could whip up a tasty meal and truly enjoy your kitchen and dining room. For a festive finishing touch, why not change up your decor or make a centerpiece — and invite over friends and family to have a party, while you’re at it?
9.) Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Looking to enjoy a little fresh air this Valentine’s Day? There are plenty of fun and festive ways to enjoy the great outdoors, even in February. Many ice skating rinks around the area will still be open on Valentine’s, including the scenic and popular Millennium Park ice rink. Or you could jog for a good cause as a part of the Cupid’s Undie Run, a hilarious party and fun run that raises money and awareness for a good cause.
What’s Your Favorite Chicagoland Destination?
At Baird & Warner, we’re all about connecting people with Chicagoland — past, present, and future. After all, we’ve been a part of shaping the region’s history since 1855. That’s a lot of holiday celebrations under our belt!
Whether you’re planning to sell, looking for a new home, or just want a recommendation on a hidden gem in your dream neighborhood, talk to your local Baird & Warner agent. Our experienced and knowledgeable brokers are hyperlocal experts who always have tips, secrets, and stories to share!