It’s now well after Christmas, New Year’s resolutions are well in hand, and yes, it’s still winter in Chicago. February is usually our snowiest month, (so don’t forget the cross country skiing we talked about last month) so travelling can be a bit tedious, but Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and we need some really good ideas for that perfect romantic evening. Chicago is filled with fabulous places to go and things to do that are both fun and romantic. Gentlemen, pay attention; these suggestions will not only get you through Valentine’s Day, but several interesting, fun, and yes, romantic follow-up dates with the lady in your life. Ladies, feel free to make these suggestions too, it is 2017 after all.
Valentine’s Day this year in on Tuesday, so perhaps we’ll start the adventure on Saturday morning (2/11) heading downtown to Millennium Park and ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park10.html where skating is free from 10am to 10pm, ($12.00 to rent skates, and a free skating lesson at 9am for those of us who need a refresher.) Skate together, hold hands, have fun and work up a big appetite.
WOW, after all the skating, I’m getting hungry. Is it time for lunch? Let’s head over to The Red Apple Buffet, 3121 N. Milwaukee, in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. It’s a bit of a distance from downtown, but very much worth the trip. While they are also in Norwood Park, 6474 N. Milwaukee, that’s a bit too far today. http://redapple.restaurant/#redapplebuffet In either place there is a wonderful selection of Old World tasty, satisfying dishes, expertly cooked and well presented. It’s a buffet, so we’re bringing our appetites and going for seconds, while saving room for dessert. It’s excellent, trust me.
After lunch we’ll head north, for a walk through the Bahá’í House of Worship, 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL, https://www.bahai.us/bahai-temple/ a magnificent and architectually amazing structure dedicated to prayer and meditation, where we rediscover that the “profound relationship between worship and service is strengthened through prayer.” In this beautiful sacred place take some time to think, quietly and deeply, about the wonderful gift that life is to each of us, and the ways that we can perhaps better express our appreciation to others in our daily lives. Visit anytime between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, and stroll through the Welcome Center as well as the Worship space and learn about the Bahá’í faith and its involvement in our communities. Afterwards, we can take a brisk and wintery walk through Gilson Park, Sheridan Road and Michigan Avenue, Wilmette, http://www.wilmettepark.org/lakefront/gillson-park looking out across Lake Michigan, still in its winter ice and gray colors. It’s very beautiful, in the stark and austere way of winter.
Being still winter, it’s now getting dark. I’ll be taking my date to a nice dinner at a good Italian restaurant (this is Chicago, there are too many to choose from) and then perhaps to a movie. No, as I write this I’m not sure what Valentine’s appropriate movies will be on-screen that week, but we’ll find one and it’s always an adventure. Sit in the back rows and steal a few kisses from your sweetie? Great idea!
But this is only the Saturday before Valentine’s! Now what? Oh boy, this gets harder on a weeknight, doesn’t it? No. It doesn’t. Here are just a few great ideas – Steppenwolf Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St. Chicago, (312) 335-1650, https://www.steppenwolf.org is putting on the “Erik and Jessie and Everyone You Know Variety Show” which promises to be, just like every other Steppenwolf production, a wonderful presentation – “Local actor/musicians Erik Hellman and Jessie Fisher present an updated variant of the classic variety hour: Original music, special guests, comedy, magic, improve, and ephemera along with the tightest country, soul band in the land. Fast-paced, fun, funky and fresh.” Tickets are only $10.00, and the doors open at 7:30. We’ll be there early so you’ll find us at the bar before the doors to the theater open.
Another great option is to head over, right after work, to the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. Chicago, (312)744.3316, where you can take in the Tiffany domes, intricate mosaic walls and floors, and especially the exhibit of Chicago landmark photographs; if any time remains the Chicago Public Art exhibit as well. https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenter.html
Afterwards, of course, head for dinner. If you’re in the city please let me recommend La Villa Restaurant, 3632 North Pulaski, Chicago, www.lavillabanquets.com where the food is excellent and the service wonderful. Enjoy! If you’re out past the airport, make your reservations at Osteria Trulli, yet another fine Italian restaurant, this one in Arlington Heights, IL, at 1510 E Hintz Rd, (224) 347-1010. http://www.osteriatrulli.com/web/
See? This is only a small taste of all the wonderful things to do in Chicago when you are looking to romance that special someone in your life. Go for it. Happy Valentine’s Day!