Keep this list of date night ideas handy, and you and your sweetheart can explore the western suburbs for many dates to come! Because let’s be honest: there’s nothing sadder than paying a babysitter or arranging for Grandma to come over, only to slump into the car for a round of, “I don’t know, where do you wanna go?” Never again. We’ve got you covered with date night restaurants, fun activities to do together, local spots offering bar trivia, and ideas for exploring the historic downtown areas you’ll find all over Chicagoland. Save this list to keep surprises up your sleeve, or share it to see what ideas you both think sound like a great time.
Date Night Ideas in Chicago’s West Suburbs
Test Your Teamwork with Bar Trivia
Hit up your local bar to play trivia together! Trivia can run late, so you’ll definitely want to be realistic with your babysitter so that you aren’t running out before the winner is revealed. Trivia usually runs on weeknights, when business is slower. You can check your favorite local spots to find trivia near you, or look up local entertainment services that do trivia to find their schedules.
A few of our favorites:
- Baig of Tricks Entertainment runs general and themed trivia nights, including Music Bingo, all over the western suburbs. Check out their calendar of events for regular trivia at Alter Brewing and Cellar Door in Downers Grove, Freedom Brothers Pizzeria in Naperville, Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard, and Polyanna Brewing Company in St. Charles, Lemont, and Roselle (among others).
- Chicago Trivia Guys also run themes and general nights, and they work in and around the city. In the western suburbs, you can check their Facebook page for events at The Evergreen Pub & Grill in St. Charles, Mi Hacienda in Darien, Cuvee Cellars Bar & Wine Shop in Elmhurst, X-Golf Naperville, The Little Owl Social Pub in Brookfield, and more.
- Check with your favorite local eateries, especially bars, brewpubs, and breweries! Many host occasional or weekly trivia nights. Some bring in an outside company like the ones above, while others do it all in-house. Their website or social media may list trivia.
While my husband and I have had fun as a two-person trivia team, this is also a fun outing to do with friends.
Practice Your Swing with Indoor Golf
Many of these local indoor golf spots are focused on the overall experience, with food and drinks at the ready in addition to indoor golfing, simulations, and more. Check out these spots in the western suburbs to see what feels like a good fit for the two of you:
- Smash Factor Indoor Golf in Aurora
- Mistwood Golf Dome in Bolingbrook
- Score 18 in Bolingbrook and Naperville
- Legends Indoor Golf in Downers Grove
- X-Golf Downers Grove, X-Golf Naperville, and X-Golf Schaumburg
- Topgolf in Naperville and Schaumburg
- Game of Irons in Oak Brook
- Puttshack in Oak Brook
- Halfway House Indoor Golf in Elmhurst
Explore a Local Downtown Destination
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:
- Downtown Aurora: 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 make for a fancy night out together.
- Berwyn’s Depot District: 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.
- Downtown Downers Grove: 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 (now on Curtiss Street).
- Downtown Glen Ellyn: Grab a delightful dinner at Maize+Mash, then stroll over to Common Good Cocktail House for inspired cocktails in a hip locale. For a different sort of beverage, Elitea is open until 9pm with boba, smoothies, and more.
- Downtown Elmhurst: Take a walk through Wilder Park to see the conservatory, then go out for tacos at Guac N Tacos and play a borrowed board game over creative signature lattes at Brewpoint Coffee.
- Downtown Geneva: 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.
- Downtown La Grange: Honestly, this destination is great to just stroll until you find something that tickles your fancy! We’re partial to Mak’s House for urban cool in the ‘burbs, including band stickers everywhere and a secret beer garden in the spring. For a super-sophisticated meal, try fourteensixteen for New American fare.
- Downtown Naperville: If wandering bookstores is your thing (or a treat for your spouse), Downtown Naperville has you covered. Check out Anderson’s Bookshop (the indie bookstore after my own heart) or explore the two-story Barnes & Noble. If you haven’t been in a while, you’ll find some great newer restaurants over on Water Street, including Quiubo and Vaisili’s. In nice weather, strolling the Riverwalk is a great way to spend your time after eating.
- Downtown Westmont: Kim’s Uncle Pizza has been making a splash with Chicago critics and foodie lists (check out the Chicago Tribune’s review) with the other Chicago-style pizza: thin-crust, tavern-style cut into square pieces. There are only a couple of booths, so you can snag one or head over to the benches at Quincy and Cass to eat. If you’re looking for more of a sit-down affair, check out Neat Kitchen + Bar instead. For dessert, Tasty Treat will bring you back with classic ice cream scoops and retro prices, too.
- Downtown Wheaton: Hale Street is the place to be for dining; take a stroll down the block and see what tickles your fancy, including upscale Latin fusion at Altiro and Moveable Feast + Company for healthful, gourmet options. Then, take a stroll around Adams Park, which has benches spaced throughout for you to enjoy the greenery and conversation.
Save Your Budget with 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.
Do Dinner and a Movie All at Once
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:
- Hollywood Palms in Naperville
- AMC DINE-IN Rosemont 12
- Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton
- Hollywood Blvd. in Woodridge
- AMC DINE-IN Yorktown 18 in Lombard
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:
- The Wilton School for cake baking and decorating classes in Darien
- Board and Brush for DIY classes and sign-making in Downers Grove, St. Charles, and more
- Bottle & Bottega for follow-along painting classes in Glen Ellyn, La Grange, and more
- Marcel’s Culinary Experience for cooking classes in Glen Ellyn
- The North American Pizza and Culinary Academy for pizza-making and other cooking classes in Lisle
- Farmhouse Academy for BYOB cooking classes in Mokena
- Pinot’s Palette for follow-along painting classes in Naperville
- Sur La Table for cooking classes in Naperville
- The Kitchen Table for cooking classes in Wheaton
Dive Into an Immersive Experience
These over-the-top special experiences are a fun way to bring our your inner kid! At Kidlist, we tend to focus on the kid-friendly angle, but many of these spots also market themselves for adults-only trips. Check out our reviews of Color Factory Chicago and the Museum of Ice Cream for an idea of what you’ll discover.
Dine Well at a Date Night Restaurant Recommended by Our Readers
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! Last year, we put out the call to Kidlist readers for their favorite date night eateries, and you all put together some amazing suggestions:
- Mandy’s Soul Food Kitchen in Bolingbrook
- Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe in Darien
- Cooper’s Hawk in Burr Ridge, Downers Grove, Naperville, Oak Park, St. Charles, and more
- Cité Restaurant in Chicago
- The XPot in Chicago
- Shikara Restaurant in Downers Grove
- sip. self serve wine bar in Tinley Park
- The Next Whiskey Bar in Lisle and Plainfield
- Lynfred Winery in Roselle
- Vie in Western Springs
- Katy’s Dumplings in Westmont and Oak Park
- The Burger Social in Wheaton
- Jo Jo Japanese Hibachi & Sushi in Willowbrook
- Don’t forget our list of igloo dining spots!
We hope this list helps inspire some creative new date nights. Have another favorite spot? Leave a comment below and let us know.