Best Date Ideas For Art Lovers In Chicago

April 7, 2014 8:00 AM

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Art plus food, cocktails, chocolates or music equals a fun or romantic date when couples look beyond the obvious. Sure, Chicago has fine art venues, but instead of limiting a visit to viewing favorite pieces or checking out emerging artists, the addition of another element can raise the date-o-meter from ordinary to great. These five suggestions pair art with something different to make art lovers’ dates even more special.

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Art Institute Of Chicago And Terzo Piano
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600
Terzo Piano
(312) 443-8650

Date: Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

Thursday night, when the Art Institute is free to Illinois residents from 5 to 8 p.m., draws in commuters and city folk after work. Fortunately, the museum’s upscale Terzo Piano restaurant is also open until 8 p.m. A good way to shrug off business stress here is to start the evening with a cocktail or dinner at the restaurant up on the museum’s terrace. Chicago’s skyline views and the restaurant’s fresh Italian dishes make for good conversation before wandering the museum. Reservations are highly recommended. Where to wander depends on art preferences. The Art Institute’s world-class collections appeal to all tastes. One suggestion is to visit the European Collection’s romantic Francois Boucher painting “Are They Thinking About the Grape” in Gallery 216.

Museum Of Contemporary Art And Puck’s Cafe
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-2660

Date: Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

Take a break early in the week with cocktails and a cheese platter at Puck’s Cafe when the Museum of Contemporary Art stays open Tuesday evenings. Overlooking the museum’s terrace, park and Lake Michigan, Puck’s is a relaxing place to unwind before seeing the museum’s special exhibits. If going now through April 13, 2014, the visit becomes a movie date night with “Still from Chicago,” a Sarah Morris film that is part of the museum’s “City Self” series. Compiled to a musical background from British electronic artist Liam Gillick, the film’s running time is 68 minutes. Other films continue through May 4 in the museum’s “Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology” series.

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Chicago Arts District Second Fridays And Uzma Sherif Chocolat
Chicago Arts District Information Center
1821 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 738-8000 Ext.108

Uzma Sherif Chocolat
1823 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 694-3471

Date: Second Friday of the month from 6 to 10 p.m.

On the second Friday night of each month in the Chicago Arts District, the public can see where artists work and talk to them about their mission. Bordering Pilsen, spaces mostly spread along Halsted Street north and south of Eighteenth Street. Stop at the Information Center for a map and then pop into more than 30 galleries, artists’ studios and related shops. The Arts District covers creativity endeavors that span painting, print making, photography, sculpture, ceramics and chocolate. Uzma Sherif Chocolat is a great place to share a treat. A pastry chef and teacher, Sherif goes beyond the usual flavors with an “East meets West” collection that incorporates spices.

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Chicago Cultural Center And Sunday Salon
75 E. Washington St.
Chicago IL. 60602
(312) 744-5000

Date: Sundays at 3 p.m.

Any time is a good time to see art exhibits at the Chicago Cultural Center. Home to two Tiffany domes, marble staircases and beautiful mosaics, the building, also known as “The People’s Palace,” is worth a visit by itself. Although it is open daily and has events throughout the week, if looking for a two-for-one Sunday activity, go to the 3 p.m. Sunday Salon series in the spectacular Preston Bradley Hall on the third floor. As an example, “Third Coast Percussion” performs April 13, 2014. Before or after the concert, look for artist Jan Tichy’s “aroundcenter” installations up through April 27, 2014. They are mostly on the second floor. Then, go up to the fourth floor to see a Kerry James Marshall mural, a model of Cloud Gate and other scattered art pieces that have been brought together in “Thirty-Five Years of Public Art,” up through May 4, 2014. However, new art exhibits take their place so there is always something to see at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Mary and Leigh Block Museum Of Art
Northwestern University
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 491-4000

Date: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

When looking for a place to admire art on a Friday night, consider the Block Museum at the south end of Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. The suburb, immediately north of Chicago, is filled with good cafes to try before or after exploring Block’s galleries. The bonus of the Block Museum is the romantic campus paths that wind from Sheridan Road along Lake Michigan at the south end of the campus. Featured in the Block’s main gallery, now through June 22, 2014, is “The Left Front: Radical Art in the Red Decade: 1929-1940.” The permanent collection includes works by Mary Cassatt, Honore Daumier, Albrecht Durer, Ed Paschke, Andy Warhol and other famous artists. The museum also has items from the Works Progress Administration and computer works on paper.

Related: Best Chicago Businesses With Art Galleries

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on

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