Our Favorite Spots for a Parent Date Night

By Debra Flanagan, Chicago Northside February 13, 2024

This Guide is generously sponsored by Otter.

Otter is great for date-nights, planned events, last-minute emergencies, and any babysitting needs. They can often find care with only a few days (or even hours) notice. It's free to use the platform, and pricing is competitive (rates start at $22/hr.) Parents get two hours free on their first session -- Sign up and book here!

When you have kids, dating your partner can become a little more complicated, while simultaneously much more important. 

Dating as parents serves a new purpose. After all, you've already closed the deal, but believe it or not, you are still getting to know each other, particularly as parenting can change you both as individuals. Parenting can take a heavy toll on your relationship. Dating can provide a well-needed reminder as to why you chose each other to go down this path with in the first place. 

Still, dating as parents presents some challenges. 

  1. Find a sitter you can trust. You want to be fully present on the date and not worrying about the kids at home. 
  2. Stay relatively close by. Even if you have a trusted sitter, you may still not feel comfortable veering too far from home. 
  3. Be creative. Parent Date Night can require a bit more ingenuity. You may not want to spend money on a sitter to simply go to a movie. You'll want to make sure the date provides the necessary opportunity to really connect with your partner in a way, with all the distractions at home, you may not be able to. 
  4. Make it fun. You likely both need to blow off a little steam. 
  5. Keep it affordable. You may already be spending a small fortune on a sitter. With kids, you may have less disposable income than you have had in the past. If you spend it all on one date, it'll be too long before you go on another. There are plenty of inexpensive things you can do.
  6. Be realistic. Let's face it, having kids matures you (to put it delicately.) While you may have fond memories of the places you went to and things you did on dates before kids, they may no longer be a good fit. 

We've put together a list of some of our favorite spots for a parent date night that meet many of the above prerequisites. We are always on the hunt for more, so check back regularly.

Alma at Hotel Zachary - Lakeview
If you thought Hotel Zachary was relevant for only out of town visitors, think again. Alma, the hotel’s second floor social hub, offers a lively lounge experience with endless options for drinks and Mediterranean-inspired light bites. Elevate your date with live music entertainment during Vinyl Thursdays or Bubbles and Beats Happy Hour on Fridays.

The Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture - Lakeview

Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture is a hub for theatre, music, comedy, dance, and more in Lakeview, Chicago. Operating out of Chicago’s oldest continuously operating Off-Loop theatre, every night at the Athenaeum is one to remember.

Learn More or Visit Their Website

AURA Candle Bar - Lakeview

AURA Candle Bar is a socially interactive retail experience bringing people together to explore and create through the power of scent. Each guest creates their own unique fragrance and pours a one of a kind candle, reed diffuser, or wax melt.

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Candlelight Concerts - Various locations around the city
Candlelight Open Air concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Chicago. Listen to classical, jazz, or even pop music tributes performed on string instruments, under the gentle glow of candlelight. 

The Chopping Block - Lincoln Square

Do date night differently at The Chopping Block! You'll have a fun evening out, enjoy a delicious meal (with wine if you like), and learn how to make recipes you can recreate together at home for years to come. 

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Eataly - River North
Eataly hosts a slew of events throughout the year that make for perfect date nights. Learn how to make fresh pasta together, pastries, pizza, gelato, or more. Most classes are accompanied by a cocktail and/or some sort of antipasto to snack on while you create.

The kids go to camp. Why not you? Vino Camp happens every month with a new theme – it’s always the three-night series with a dinner, walk around food & wine tasting, and seminar. Check out Rosé Camp: A Walk Around Food and Wine Tasting.

Speaking of Walk Around Food & Wine Tasting, there is no more quintessential date night than an all-inclusive "Storewide event", such as the recent Summer Kick-Off Party. These events tend to take place with each new season. The marketplace closes for the evening, and ticketed guests gain total access to Eataly, complete with unlimited food, drink, and entertainment. Highlights have included 25+ Italian bites (think: Neapolitan-style pizza, housemade pasta, sweet gelato and pastries, artisanal salumi & formaggi, and more), 10+ Italian and local spritz, 15+ Italian wine bars, live music and entertainment, chef demonstrations, photo booths, and more. I highly recommend getting on their mailing list for these!

Eden - Avondale
This new space will impress. Eden is an ever-evolving restaurant, with a menu that embraces seasonal flavors cultivated inside their on-site greenhouse or sourced locally from farmers and purveyors. The open space and contemporary decor adds "downtown" sophistication to a Northside neighborhood. Not all dates need to be at night. Eden is also open for brunch Wednesday-Sunday.

Ella Elli - Lakeview

Ella Elli is dedicated to creating an elevated dining experience, perfect for a memorable date night tucked away in Southport. The thoughtfully curated menu celebrates locally sourced ingredients, taking inspiration from the exquisite flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. 

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Gallagher Way - Lakeview
Gallagher Way supplies a wealth of inexpensive Parent Date Night options. There are free music nights, movie nights, and special events, all year round. Pack a picnic, purchase cocktails in the park, play provided lawn games, and relax under the shadow of Wrigley Field.  

Lost Never Found - Lakeview

Located in Lakeview, Lost Never Found brings an upscale and unique dining experience to the neighborhood. With curated craft cocktails and a menu with Italian influences offering new takes on classics.

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Moe's Cantina - Lakeview

Your ultimate destination for an authentic taste of Mexican food and drink in Chicago.
Our Wrigleyville location boasts a stunning rooftop bar and is a must-visit for Cubs baseball fans and tourists. At Moe's Cantina, we take pride in creating a fun atmosphere that celebrates all things Chicago and Mexico. Whether you're a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, you'll feel right at home at Moe's.

Visit Their Website

Picnic Wine and Provisions - Rogers Park

Picnic is a destination for fine food and spirits and all things “picnic.” A wine boutique featuring cheese, charcuterie, and rotating specials.

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Tatas Tacos - Lakeview

Tatas Tacos has regular events that are perfect for a local Date Night, including a Summer Music Series, Eats and Beats Wednesdays, and Trivia Taco Tuesdays!

Learn More or Visit Their Website

Whim at Stage 773 - Lakeview

Experience a captivating art exhibit -- paintings, music, sculpture and street art come together in our seasonal immersive exhibit. Enjoy our signature cocktail menu and live performances with tickets.

Learn More or Visit Their Website

You are the horse. We have brought you to the water. Now DRINK!