Best Museums For Dates In Chicago

May 26, 2014 7:00 AM

Isa Genzken Retrospective (Photo Credit:

Taking in a museum on a date gives you talking points beyond the trite astrological sign and six degrees of school or city separation. Chicago has enough divergent, good museums to hit many interests. But the following five museums have something extra going for them such as music, food or scenic surroundings, particularly during the summer months.

Isa Genzken Retrospective (Photo Credit:

Isa Genzken Retrospective (Photo Credit:

Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-2660
Date: Tuesdays June 3 – Sept. 9, 2014 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

You won’t have to worry about embarrassing, dead conversation date moments when visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art. No matter what is exhibited, the works are likely to stir musings on what they mean and how they may be relevant to what was going on in the world when created. However, come during “Tuesdays on the Terrace” for food, wine and jazz when the museum stays open until 8 p.m. Reserve a spot for a buffet on the upper terrace at (312) 397-4034 or just come for a casual burger and more on the lower terrace where you can sit on the grass if you have a blanket.
John G. Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438
Date: Wednesdays June 18 – Sept. 3, 2014 from 5 to 10 p.m.

The Shedd Aquarium is among Chicago’s top museum draws, but you don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy its Abbot Oceanarium, Jellies and Wild Reef sections. If you go on a summer Wednesday after work, “Jazzin’ at the Shedd” fills the lakefront terrace outside with Chicago-style jazz and funk sound and many of the exhibits inside stay open until 10 p.m. Visit the Oceanarium and jellies before 8 p.m. and Wild Reef before 9 p.m. You can also watch Navy Pier’s fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
(Photo Credit: The Adler Planetarium's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: The Adler Planetarium’s Facebook)

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827
Date: Every third Thursday in 2014 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Songs and movies link the moon and starlight to romance, so thinks Adler Planetarium. The museum opens its doors to adults age 21 and older for “Adler After Dark” on the third Thursday night of every month. This is the time to go to see all of the shows and exhibits while bands play and multiple bars are open. The evening is also a chance for a close-up sky view in the Doane Observatory. Snag that ticket in  advance because a Doane telescope tour and viewing fills quickly. Click here for Adler Planetarium After Dark ticket information.

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Smith Museum Of Stained Glass Windows
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437

Picture romantic themes of the Victorian age such as Euterpe, a poetry muse, done in the marbled, opalescent glass style often used by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Look for the contemporary figure of Michael Jordan constructed of pop-bottle glass. Both are among the 150 stunning items in the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. Tucked along a darkened corridor of Navy Pier, the backlit stained-glass collection comes from churches, private homes and commercial buildings. Just as good as its free admission, the museum’s hours are the same as Navy Pier’s so that a date here fits day or evening schedules, weekday or weekend. Click here for summer hours. In addition, Navy Pier’s restaurant choices range from fine dining to fast food.
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 642-4600

Create your own “Sunday in the Park” with whomever at Chicago’s Lincoln Park and the Chicago History Museum. As with Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” you can watch boats, see youngsters play outside and then admire similar period clothing in the museum at the south end of Lincoln Park. The bonus is the museum’s “Chicago: Crossroads of America” exhibit where you can climb aboard “L” Car No. 1, sit and chat in a jazz and blues club, commiserate or delight in the city’s sports teams and pick up some history about the city’s music and theater venues. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the museum’s Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.

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