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Amazing first date ideas for Chicago

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Are you worried about the first impression you will create on your first date?
Are you on a budget and need to watch your wallet?

Check out these creative ideas for cold and warm weather that are guaranteed to get you a second date.

 

Wintertime Outdoor Ideas

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Ice Skating in Millenium Park or the Rink at Wrigley; afterward, warm up in a coffee house.  For a truly romantic evening, make reservations to skate at the John Hancock Observatory – it’s the world’s highest ice rink!

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel – it offers a breathtaking view and is a perfect way to end a memorable evening.

How about bowling?  It seems to the be the date that time forgot.  Alleys are scattered throughout the city.  All have refreshments available and many on tap!  Get your game on by visiting Emporium Arcade Bar on N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park featuring 28 craft beers on tap.  Whether you like old school pinball or 1980’s and 90’s arcade games, show off your skills!

Spring and Summer Ideas

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Take a Bike Ride – for around $10, you can rent a bike for 24 hours, plenty of time to take in some sights.

Visit a Museum – check out the Art Institute of Chicago – rumor has it that if you’re an Chicago resident, you get in free on Thursdays between the hours of 5-8:00pm.  It’s been voted #1 in the world and did you know that Barack and Michelle Obama visited on their first date?  Guaranteed success!  Also consider The Field Museum on S. Lakeshore Drive or the Museum of Contemporary Art on E. Chicago Avenue.

Take in a concert – some are free and some require tickets.   The Grant Park Music Festival runs for 10 weeks in the summer featuring classical music.  For monthly event calendars, check out timeout.com

Hit the Beach!  When the weather warms up, step in the warm sand and soak up the sun.
Wine and Whiskey Tasting – check out www.eventbrite.com/d/il--chicago/wine-tasting-events/ for monthly tastings at local establishments. 

Lincoln Park Zoo – who can resist animals?  Setting this up shows your warm and fuzzy side plus the best part is that it’s free!

Food and Beverages

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Bang Bang Pie Shop:  located three blocks south of the Blue Line, you can smell the coffee and deliciousness the minute you walk in the door.  Get ready for some sweet and savory pies and biscuits because who doesn’t like pie?

La Creperie:  on the border of Lakeview and Lincoln Park, enjoy a beer or wine of your choice to accompany a sweet or savory crepe.  Enjoy your treat in a rustic and old school décor or when the weather breaks, eat your goodie on the patio.  Recommended is to catch a flick at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema right across the street. 

Wormhole Coffee:  located at 1462 N. Milwaukee Avenue, this is a must for Star Wars fans.  Grab a cup of joe and check out all the movie memorabilia.  This provides the start of a great conversation!

For more info about PPM, make sure to visit PPMApartments.com!

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Want to Eat and/or Drink in Lakeview or Wrigleyville? Choices Abound

I looked up Wrigleyville restaurants and over 600 showed up. To do a blanket search using Lakeview, the number jumps to over 1800.  This is a lot to choose from.  I narrowed my choices down using two criteria:  A great selection of beer on tap and enough vegetarian options on the menu to make my dinner mate happy.  I want to talk about three.

My search led me first to Sheffield's, a bar and restaurant on Sheffield Avenue and School Street.  There were 30 beers on tap, a lot more in bottles and cans, and on a great menu, there was a variety of home smoked barbecue.  Sheffield's is large, with at least three full bars, an inside and outside area and a lot of guys and girls coming and going.  The beer list contains many local brews and they feature a brewery on a regular basis.  Being a carnivore I can start with a bowl of chili or onion rings spiked with barbecue ribs, get my greens in with a salad and follow-up with a choice of burgers, barbecue chicken, ribs, briskets or pulled pork in either platter of sandwich form.  If I have trouble deciding, there is always the combination platter.  My vegetarian friend will eat but not have the options I enjoy.  If she was vegan the choices would be extremely limited. But for a vegetarian, there is chili, salads, red beans and rice, veggie burgers, or mac and cheese.  We will both enjoy the hand cut fries.

Another option is Goose Island Brewpub at 3535 N Clark Street, just south of Wrigley Field.  It closed for a while but is back up and running as of my writing this.  Goose Island features an extensive selection of their own beers, something for most any taste, and if that doesn’t work for you, there is Bud.  Wrigleyville is a favorite destination for weekend partiers and the street is absolutely nuts on weekend evenings and following Cubs games.  Options for drinking, eating, live music, comedy, and clubs are numerous.  It might be the closest thing Chicago has to Beal Street or Bourbon Street.  Goose Island Brewpub is packed with guys and girls drinking, eating, and meeting.

The Goose Island Brewpub will satisfy both me and my friend’s food preferences.  Again, a vegan might have some issues but they are used to that.  A carnivore like me, a pescetarian (veggie with fish), or a vegetarian will be happy.   Cheese curds and fried pickles are a great way to start any meal.  If that doesn’t do it, the nachos or fish taco appetizers work well for the both of us.  For the main course, Goose Island’s fish and chips are very good. Poutine seems to be all the rage, though I am not sure why, and you cannot go wrong with a brat from the Paulina Market.  My favorite is the Stilton Burger.  There is pulled pork and a good club sandwich.  Veggie options include a burger or a falafel wrap.  Fries are hand cut and excellent.

My last suggestion is a quieter place on Broadway, away from the scene that makes Wrigleyville so popular.  Sometimes you just want to eat in relative peace.  Wilde is an Irish style bar and restaurant at 3130 N Broadway, just south of Belmont.  Wilde has a smaller but well-thought-out selection of beers on tap and in bottles and cans, a small street-side seating area, and in the summer the front opens up to allow the diners at the front of the place to feel like they are outdoors with the protection of actually being inside.  It is quieter than what you might find in Wrigleyville but at peak hours the volume does rise.  As it is more restaurant than pub, it is not as social a scene as the two previously mention establishments.

Wilde’s menu is fairly extensive and contains Irish Pub fare as well as some of its own creations.  Appetizers include fresh cut and curried fries, curried mussels, and their own version of Irish mac and cheese.  The main menu has a good selection of burgers with options for veggie burgers and gluten-free buns.  Choice for salads and meat or fish toppings is wide.  Chicken, fish and steak sandwiches come with a gluten-free option.  Dinner plates include fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese, a very good fried garlic chicken, plus a couple of vegetarian-inspired, stir-fried choices.   The food and service is very good and they do offer separate vegetarian and gluten-free menus.

If you want lots of warm bodies along with your food and drink, give Sheffield's or Goose Island Brewpub a try.  When you leave, there will more great establishments in every direction and lots of people to meet and greet.  For a quieter drink or meal in a very comfortable setting, try Wilde. 

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