Mix Things Up with These Date Night Ideas in the Western Suburbs

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Indoor ActivitiesOutdoor Activities

As life has gotten crazier with our kids, my spouse and I have fallen into a date night routine: the babysitter arrives, we kiss the kids good-bye, we walk out the door feeling giddy with freedom . . . and look at each other to ask, “Uh, what are we doing?” We usually figure something out, but depending on how tired we are, it might take a few rounds of “I don’t know, what do you wanna do?” to get there. This list of local date night ideas in Chicago’s west suburbs will help mix things up with some fun new ideas and destinations! Whether you’re looking for a free date night exploring a new area, a fancy dinner to celebrate a special occasion, or something in between, you’ll find tons of ideas below.

At a North American Pizza and Culinary Academy class in Lisle

Date Night Ideas in Chicago’s West Suburbs

Local Downtown Destinations

The western suburbs are full of cute downtown areas to explore! A downtown date night might involve dinner at a local restaurant, a stroll to see the shops and art downtown, and a final stop for coffee and dessert. Feeling adventurous? Drive to a downtown and explore it on foot, rather than planning your itinerary in advance.

A few fun local itineraries you might want to try:

  • A classy steakhouse dinner at Stolp Island Social, a stroll around Stolp Island, and a nightcap at the cocktail-bar-and-fine-art-gallery French 75 in Downtown Aurora.
  • A walk through Wilder Park to see the conservatory, tacos at Guac N Tacos, and playing a borrowed board game at Brewpoint Coffee in Downtown Elmhurst.
  • Exploring the historic Main Street Cemetery (one of the only cemeteries in a downtown area); heading right next door to Cellar Door for wine, cheese and charcuterie; and exploring Fair Game’s new, bigger location on Curtiss Street.
  • Hunting for treasures from vinyl to pop culture collectables at the fun-and-funky Reel Art Collectables, followed by wood-fired pizzas and local brews at Flapjack Brewery in Berwyn’s Depot District.
  • Exploring the Harvey’s Tales bookshop (if you’re early enough), dinner at the critically acclaimed Bien Trucha, and a stroll to see gorgeous historical buildings — and be tempted by all the sweets shops — in Downtown Geneva.

Free or Cheap Local Destinations

Date night doesn’t have to be expensive. These free (or cheap) local destinations offer a chance to connect over something fun while still getting out of the house:

  • The Chicago Athenaeum International Sculpture Park in Schaumburg combines 20 acres of forest and paths with a really cool selection of sculptures.
  • Hiking together is probably the ultimate free date idea! Pack a picnic and explore a local trail. In the winter, hiking crampons for your boots can help you stay steady on icy hikes: for a cheaper alternative, microspikes are much more affordable and work on the kinds of easier, flatter trails you’re likely to find in our area.
  • Look for the Classic Cinemas location near you to find $5 movies. These classic theaters (including The Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove and York Theater in Elmhurst) show new movies in historic buildings!
  • In the summer, an outdoor movie in the park is lots of fun. There’s usually a mix of kids’ movies and PG-13 fare offered throughout the summer, so you can look for a more mature offering on your night away from the little ones.
  • Head to your local library together to browse the shelves, pick out books or magazines, and spend some quiet time reading together.
  • Coffee shop dates are my favorite! I especially love finding a new local place. If the place is big enough and not crowded, we sometimes bring a board or card game along.
  • Hit the batting cages together!

Dinner and a Movie

The beauty of the classic dinner-and-a-movie combo is that if you go see the movie first, it gives you a great conversation starter for dinner. But that long of a date isn’t always in the cards, especially when you’ve got a babysitter in the mix. Chicago’s west suburbs have some great locations to eat while you watch, including:

In summertime, our list of drive-in theaters makes for a fun retro date, too!

Take a Couples Class and Do Something New

Honestly, these kinds of dates have been some of the most fun for us! There’s something about a new experience together that’s great for reconnecting. Plus, you get to bring home a new skill. Some places offer classes specifically geared towards couples, while others are more open.

Some local options include:

Ah, restaurants: food that someone else has cooked, on dishes that someone else will wash. That definitely helps me feel relaxed and ready to focus on my spouse! We put out the call to Kidlist readers for their favorite date night eateries, and you all put together some amazing suggestions:

We hope this list helps inspire some creative new date nights. Have another favorite spot? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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