Winter nights don’t have to be frosty and uninspiring. In fact, they may actually be more romantic than – Ohhhh, those summer nights – (to quote Fat).
Something about the chill in the air is a perfect excuse to grab your honey, get closer, and create your own warmth: whether it’s warming yourself by the fireplace, enjoying a piping hot dinner of comfort food ( fact: calories don’t count in winter; I don’t make the rules), or warm your hands with a piping hot toddy.
To get the wheels of winter rolling, we’ve rounded up ten cool date ideas for cool nights:
1. Stay at the North Pole – almost
What is that? Each year, the 2,000 square foot Presidential Suite at Swissotel Chicago is transformed into Santa’s home away from the Pole for the holiday season with exaggerated decor and plenty of glittering Christmas trees complemented by stunning views of the magical cityscape.
What to try? Wake up to the daily breakfast and make yourself comfortable with the kids, in the comfort of your own space, with toys and games, holiday crafts, a letter to Santa, cookie decorating and building your own Swiss Hot Cocoa bar. For those on a budget, the Elf Decorated Room Package is cheaper – and just as fun and festive.
Why this is a great place for dates: For the couple who absolutely go ga-ga for Christmas, there is no better fully immersive vacation experience.
2. Live the song of Santa Baby IRL
What is that? A multi-level, multi-room, exaggerated christmas experience, complete with a full-size ’54 convertible – ala the song – smack dab in the middle.
What to try? You’re delicious, Mr. Grinch: a green variation (what else?) Of the classic margarita with Hornitos tequila.
Why this is a great place for dates: There is so much to look at (the tall gingerbread men! The wall of ugly sweaters! The ornamental ceiling!)
3. Visit the most authentic German Christmas market outside of Europe
What is that? The Christkindlmarket is the most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind outside of Europe, featuring traditional German gifts, local artisans and, most importantly, German beer.
What to try? Stuffed pretzels, baked cheese, schnitzel – and don’t forget to grab a cup of glÃ¼hwein (traditional mulled spiced wine) from the annual Christkindl keepsake mug (they change design every year – they’re collectibles!)
Why this is a great place for dates: Considering Chicago’s arctic temperatures – and the fact that most of the market is outdoors – this is a great excuse to tie your arms and relax. *wink*
4. Treat yourself to sushi in store
What is that? A contemporary take on traditional sushi and Japanese izakaya by chef Jordan Dominguez, the chic lounge / restaurant will be located in the lobby of the Claridge House on the Gold Coast.
What to try? Flagship applications include Japanese sweet potato chips and candle tartare; As for signature maki, try the 12:44, Moonwalk and Chicago rolls.
Why this is a great place for dates: The menu is designed to be a shareable dining experience, with elements that pair perfectly with their exquisite cocktail and martini program. Plus, it’s a restaurant that’s quiet enough to have an in-depth conversation.
5. Dip into fondue and smores at a fire pit table
What is that? Think of this as your own Frozen moment. Nestled between Millenium Park and The Magnificent Mile, The Fairmont Chicago completely transformed this winter into a rustic lodge fit for a northern queen or ice king, with indoor fire tables.
What to try? Chef William Schultz rounds out the experience with a seasonal menu of winter-themed bites like sweet and savory fondue and Oaxacan-spiced s’mores and short ribs. Exclusive craft cocktails include a side-table Flaming Egg Nog and Oh So Delish hot chocolate.
Why this is a great place for dates: It is Phone a perfect meeting place where the lodge hosts whole events connecting local singles from the LGBTQ community to celebrate the holiday seasona son.
6. Spend a baby-free weekend at an English hostel Olde
What is that? After receiving a six bookings in a month for new parents taking their first getaway after welcoming a baby, the Auberge du chemin des cerfs decided to further spur the trend by creating a getaway package for first-time parents that includes in-room massages and manicures and pedicures, a luxury gourmet dinner for two and a ‘make your own cocktail’ mixology class. “.
What to try? Don’t miss the opportunity to enhance your breakfast experience with a sumptuous brunch in the elegant English room or the mixology class with Jorge at the White Hart Pub: he truly is a world-class cocktail master (and has prices to prove it).
Why this is a great place for dates: If you need comfort, a reboot on romance, and a truly unmatched level of sophistication – and what new parent isn’t? – both in terms of accommodation (suites, all recently renovated) and the service itself, a weekend of pure happiness awaits you.
7. Glamp to your heart’s content
What is that? AKA glamping luxury campsite overlooking Wrigley Field at Hotel Zacharie? Sign us up! In exclusive canvas tents, you and boo can relax on comfy sofas and enjoy cozy party decor, complete with hot toddlers and fire pots to keep warm. Don’t forget to pack your plaid – the luxuriously comfortable tents are an Instagrammer’s winter paradise.
What to try? A selection of cocktails in large format barrels, including the ‘Oaxacan Old Fashioned’ with reposado tequila, mezcal and hints of chocolate and mole blackcurrant, lime and ginger beer.
Why this is a great place for dates: The whole glamp-y atmosphere is cozy-chic and ultra-romantic. Snuggle up in the tent and warm your exteriors by the fire, while warming your interiors with a well toasted drink.
8. Immerse yourself in an old thermal bath
What is that? Inspired by the bathing tradition of ancient Roman, Greek and Ottoman civilizations, AIRE antique bath experiences all take place in restored historic buildings in city centers: currently New York, Chicago, Barcelona, ââSevella, AlmerÃa and Vallromanes.
What to try? The âGet away from it allâ package, which in addition to the thermal circuit includes a 45-minute relaxing couple’s massage and hot compresses designed to release muscle tension and relax the mind.
Why this is a great place for dates: Dim light. Hot baths. Candles. Personalized couple experiences are built around romance and enchantment.
9. Pair a steak night with a show
What is that? Combine a hearty dinner with a show. Stolp Socia IslandThe is a seasonal cuisine and steakhouse offering a warm and relaxed atmosphere, with an ambiance reminiscent of 1920s Aurora and Coco Chanel. Adjacent to the restaurant is the award-winning restaurant Supreme Theater, which has been open since 1931 and is iconic for its impeccably preserved art deco architecture and quality Broadway productions.
What to try? Obviously, the steak. But beyond that, it’s hard to go wrong anywhere on this Amy Morton-approved menu (yes, that Amy Morton from the famous Morton’s Steakhouses), but we recommend the kale salad, the whole roasted branzino and the devil’s eggs, all accompanied by a glass of wine, of course.
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Why this is a good date: It’s a classic that appeals to everyone and appeals to everyone, plus it’s traditional dinner + a play – only elevated and extremely elegant.
10. Name on gnocchi straight from southern Italy
What is that? Trulli Osteria, authentic Apulian cuisine located in Arlington Heights, IL. With a focus on ‘La Cucina Povera’ (cuisine of the poor), executive chef, longtime restaurateur and native of Puglia, Giovanni DeNigris, celebrates his passion for humble coastal cuisine that defines one of the brightest regions from southern Italy.
What to try? Homemade gnocchi with black truffle cream, to start. Then panzerotti (calzones stuffed with cheese and mozzarella sauce) are like little pockets of burning love in your mouth. And don’t even dare to consider going out without devouring the mini cannolis – share one if you’re too full of pasta (we wouldn’t blame you for that.)
Why this is a great place for dates: Not only is it comfortable and intimate – two ideal adjectives for planning a good romantic evening – the restaurant really feels at home.
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Andrea Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief at Yourtango. Follow her on Instagram @ angiecat86 or email him at [email protected]