Top 5 Great Places for a First Date in Chicago by Nicki Elson

This week Nicki Elson is sharing her 5 things with us. She is the author of Vibrizzio and other romance novels and is talking to us today about the best places to go on a date in Chicago. Check out her website here for more info on Nicki and her books.

Top 5 Great Places for a First Date in Chicago by Nicki Elson

I think one reason I’m so drawn to writing love stories is because of all the imaginary dates involved. I don’t generally do insta-love. I prefer to show the story of how a relationship evolves from a first meeting or friendship into love—and that means lots dates in between. My current series is set in Chicago, so I’ve been vicariously dating there quite a bit lately. Today I’ll list my top five great places for a first date in Chicago.

11. The Second City at 1616 N. Wells Street. We all say a good sense of humor is an important quality in a mate, right? Put their humor to the test by bringing them to the place where John Belushi, Steve Carell, Andy Dick, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Bonnie Hunt, Shelley Long, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers and SO many other comedy greats honed their craft. Choose your stage—from improv to stand-up to sketch comedy. You’re guaranteed to laugh your butt off even if your date turns out to be a dud.



2. The Field Museum at 1400 South Lakeshore Drive. Yes, I said museum. But don’t yawn—this one has dinosaurs! Why do I think this is a great place for a date? Mostly because of the romance of the Neoclassical-influenced building itself. Imagine holding hands and strolling over 300-million-year-old fossilized limestone in the enormous columned central court. Wander through the Evolving Planet exhibits to Dinosaur Hall. It’s not only a skeletal version of Jurassic World—look up to see the gorgeous prehistoric imaginings of natural history artist Charles R. Knight. Peek through the windows for stunning views of Lake Michigan. As you move on to explore everything from gems to ancient cultures to what I like to call the taxidermy wing, it’ll be fun to discover where your interests overlap and where they diverge. When you’re done exploring, go out the north entrance to grab an ice cream cone and a bench. Get to know each other better as you look out upon the harbor and Chicago’s amazing skyline.

3. S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, at 332 W 35th Street. I’m not much of a sports fan, but this is a very pretty park with tons of eye candy and surprisingly good food. I highly recommend the Irish nachos. I also recommend splurging on the lower level seats so you’ll have access to the main plaza (and not risk a nosebleed). In addition to a fun, festive atmosphere, what I like about this place for a first date is that baseball is so God awful boring, you’ll be left with plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. If you realize early on that he/she’s not for you and the date becomes a chore, no worries—that’s what beer vendors are there for. Make them your best friends.


4. The J. Parker on the 13th floor at 1816 N. Clark Street. Chicago has a beautiful mix of architecture. It’s stunning from the street or from the lake, but for something special, take the vantage point up several levels at this rooftop restaurant. I’ve actually never been here. My characters have had access to rooftops via an ex-boyfriend’s apartment and a friend’s wedding, but I realize those scenarios might be awkward for a first date, so I went Googling for a more appropriate rooftop venue, and this is what I found. Now I can’t wait to go! What I like about this place versus the other rooftop restaurants I found is that it’s super casual with only a drink and appetizer menu, so you can hang out as long as you like without breaking the bank (unlike The Terrace at Trump, which charges a $100 per person just to secure a freaking table!).

5. The Village at Italian Village; 71 W. Monroe. Rooftop views are great when Chicago weather is on its best behavior, but we all know what a temperamental biotch she can be. When the temps are frigid or storms are a-brewing, escape to Italy instead. The high ceilings of this top-floor restaurant are painted like a nighttime sky; the outer walls are transformed into murals of Italian countryside, and the warm, stone-like interior walls make you feel like you’ve stepped into a quaint Tuscan village. The authentic cuisine completes the illusion. Even better, this charming restaurant is nestled at the edge of Chicago’s downtown theater district, so you can easily take in a show before or after dinner.

All right—who wants to go on a date with me? Thank you so much for having me over, Liberty! Putting this list together was great fun.

Connect with Nicki and her books at Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Thanks again to Nicki! Be sure to visit her website here. Want to do your own ‘5 Things’ guest post? Message me on twitter @libertyfallsdwn or email me at!


16 thoughts on “Top 5 Great Places for a First Date in Chicago by Nicki Elson

  1. Neurotic Workaholic says:

    Oh, this makes me homesick for Chicago! You’re right that museums are great for dates; the Field Museum was actually one of the first museums I visited when I moved to Chicago. Second City is great too; the comedians there are so funny and talented.

    Liked by 1 person

    • libertyfallsdown says:

      I love museums 🙂 I went to Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Natural History Museum somewhere in California, but I was only five, so I don’t remember it too well. I’d love to go back to America as an adult. Chicago might be first place on my list now!

      Liked by 1 person

      • nickielson1 says:

        Oh, hooray – I think Chicago gets overlooked by a lot of visitors so I’m happy to bump it up on your list. 🙂


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