If you’re anything like me, dating for the last two years has been somewhat of, if not a full, trainwreck. With summers seemingly shut down because of COVID and its subsequent strains, followed by freezing winters where snow persisted all the way into April, it felt like even though we could get out, no one was really interested in meeting strangers because… germs, ya know?
Well, now that COVID is (fingers crossed) in the rearview, it’s time for us single Chicagoans to get back out there and find someone to cuddle up with when the winter vortex rolls back around — using our revamped dating tour guides!
About Lincoln Park
The first stop on our dating tour around Chicago in Lincoln Park. If you’re anything like me, you either went to or dated someone from DePaul, which makes Lincoln Park feel like a second home even if you don’t already live there. With so many restaurants, bars, galleries, shops, and parks, dating in this popular Chicago neighborhood can be a breeze, and I’m rounding up some of my favorite places to have a first, second, or tenth date in Lincoln Park.
938 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
The string lights, the smell of fresh pizza, the bartender serving up drinks with a heavy hand, you cannot go wrong with Homeslice for a date. Not only will you dive into unique, fresh, and delicious food, but the drink menu is why I really think Homeslice is a hit for your next first date.
When you need that little bit of extra liquid courage before your date inevitably asks you about your hobbies (does napping count?) or how many kids you want (yikes), order up one of the signatures like the Umbrella or Patio Pounder. The best part is the atmosphere, where you can find other 20- to 30-somethings doing the same thing you are. Eating pizza and chugging drinks with their next great love.
1816 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
When you’re trying to literally elevate your first date, head to the Hotel Lincoln. Located on the 13th floor, you’ll find the famous J Parker rooftop bar. Fashioned with comfortable couches and mood-setting fire pits, you’ll have almost no choice but to dive into your love languages and respective zodiac signs.
The J Parker has been open since 2012 and has taken couples to new heights. One thing to keep in mind is that the J Parker doesn’t take reservations, so if you really want to impress your date with spectacular views and expert planning skills, go a little earlier in the day or night to ensure a good spot. Hey, you might even end up booking a room at Hotel Lincoln so you can chat all night long.
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Inflation, am I right? It makes you feel like going out is impossible. When you’re looking for a cheap date that’s still fun, head to the legendary Lincoln Park zoo! Cute animals, a little biology lesson, and a romantic stroll will set the mood. Not only is admission to the zoo free, but they also host tons of events within the property that are more unique options for a first date. Know your date loves flowers? Take them to the Second Saturday Garden Tour! Want to see a lion cub with your special someone? Well, do I have good news for you!
And, of course: the best thing about the LP Zoo is that it’s within walking distance of TONS of great bars and restaurants to take your date from day to night, because that’s how every good date should go.
2833 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
If you or your date is a fan of… anything popular, a date to Replay Lincoln Park is just the ticket. What started as a barcade in 2012 slowly transformed into one of the city’s most popular pop-up event locations. The games are free, the drinks are flowing, and there are new events and happenings quite literally, all the time.
You’ll find Replay dressed up as “Jurassic Bar” through Labor Day, but they also have fun events throughout the week like 1980s Music Bingo, Disco Arcade, and Psycho Bingo. The biggest thing you can do these days to make yourself stand out from the other dozen Hinge dates you’ve gone on is to make your date refreshing and exciting, and a date at Replay willA be just that.
2530 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
We’re all just completely reliant on caffeine at this point, right? Right. If you’re nervous your date is going to be a total yawn-fest, rely on coffee! If you need help jumpstarting your confidence, Rely. On. Coffee — Colectivo Coffee, to be exact.
This Chicago staple opened their first of many Chicago cafes in the heart of Lincoln Park, and has remained a key player in caffeinating the city. Imagine it, meeting your date and letting the conversation flow while you both try to hide your shaky hands and brow sweat when that third shot of espresso starts hitting your nervous system. It’s romance in 2022, people! The patio here is also a dreamy option to enjoy the ambiance and welcoming scents of freshly brewed coffee with the person who might just end up as your person.
Featured Image: J.Parker