You’ve asked that special someone out on a date. Now that the hard part is over, where will you go for a first date? Instead of the same-old, same-old of eating dinner in an expensive restaurant, consider meeting up for bowling or catching a live music performance. The Chicago area is bursting with great spots for a first date, many of which are inexpensive too. Impress that special someone with these first-date locations in Chicago and the suburbs.

A visitor looks over Claude Monet's series of paintings Stack of Wheat at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A visitor looks over Claude Monet’s series of paintings Stack of Wheat at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Art Institute Of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

A first date doesn’t have to take place in a restaurant. Instead, soak up some culture by seeing priceless works of art while getting to know your date when you visit the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. The museum has a number of galleries where you can find a quiet spot to stop and chat for a bit, making it a conducive place for getting to know someone. Everything you need for a great date is under one roof too, as The Art Institute of Chicago boasts several dining options.

Bridgeport Coffee Company
3101 S. Morgan St.
Chicago, Illinois 60608
(773) 247-9950

Meeting for a drink for a first date may be considered passé. If that’s the case for you, then switch things up a bit and meet for a cup of coffee at Bridgeport Coffee Company. A cup of coffee can be squeezed into even the busiest schedules and may be a prelude to a longer date if things go well. The coffeehouse opens at 6 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Bridgeport Coffee Company has additional locations in the Roosevelt Collection, as well as in the Hyde Park and Beverly neighborhoods; additional location information is online.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
(312) 746-5100

Rain or shine, Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the top must-see venues in Chicago and would make a great spot for a first date. The conservatory boasts six greenhouses with plenty of nooks and crannies so you can have a quiet moment with your date. It’s also home to approximately 10,000 different types of plants on display, with a number of gorgeous backdrops that are perfect for taking a great photo together. Located in the Garfield Park neighborhood, the conservatory also has an extensive outdoor area to explore in fair weather. The conservatory closes at 5 p.m. throughout the week and is open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays if you’d like a later night out.

Related: Best Art Classes For Adults In Chicago

Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 742-1168

If you’re looking for a first-date location that has something for just about everybody, Millennium Park will fit the bill. The renowned park features plenty of trails for a relaxing stroll with your date, with plenty of benches and quiet spots to sit and talk along the way. Lurie Garden is bright and vibrant with a number of flowers and plants growing all year-round. You can also pack a picnic basket and have a romantic dinner al fresco while listening to world-class music through the Grant Park Music Festival; for concert dates, check out the festival’s website. Millennium Park is located in Chicago’s Loop, making it a convenient after-work destination if you live or work in the area.

Waveland Bowl
3700 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 472-5900

If you’d like to avoid the bar scene, consider extending the date a bit later with a game of bowling at Waveland Bowl. The bowling alley has 40 lanes, cosmic bowling and is open until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Waveland Bowl is located in the city’s North Center neighborhood and is near several restaurants for a pre- or post-game dinner or snack.

Related: Best Indoor Pools In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at