Winter Date Night Ideas That Don’t Suck Because Winter Does

I don’t know about you, but winter isn’t my favorite season. The weather, the short days and the cold make me sad, bloated and not a very nice person.  So I try to find new things to do in the winter as my coping strategy. THERE IS A REASON BEARS HIBERNATE IN THE WINTER. Trying to find new places to go out on dates with your significant other is hard and winter makes it even harder. But I bravely researched (see: Google) many winter adventures for you and your sweetie because I am here for all of you. Winter is hard, let’s brave it together with these winter date night ideas.

I might even show up on your dates to take my winter to a whole new level!


Never mind.

winter date night ideas

Winter Date Night Ideas that Don’t Suck Because Winter Does

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1- Dollar Store Date Night 

I didn’t come up with this one on my own, but man how I wish I did. This, my friends, will take your winter/romance level to a whole new, well, level.  Pinterest is a beautiful thing, showing you how to darn your own socks, churn your own butter, and create a date night for those on even the smallest budget. Essentially the writer shares how she and her husband go into their local dollar store and buy items that follow a select criteria such as finding something to match your spouse’s personality but you could have fun with ideas. Head here to read her post (she and her husband also ate a complete dinner for two for under five dollars, not sure what kind of voodoo magic happened there, so click the link to find out).

Read my article from last winter about 10 Lake County Date Nights That Won’t Break the Bank

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2- Try a New Restaurant 

January, February and March are long, so for a fun date night why not try a new Lake County restaurant once each month? Our website has tons of great suggestions for local restaurants, kid-friendly and not-so-kid-friendly perfect for date nights. But read Jennifer’s article about some newer restaurants you might want to try this winter.


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3- Bowling Anyone? 

We love bowling with the kids, with a group of friends, but what about a bowling date night? Metro Bowl in Crystal Lake seems like the perfect place to get a strike with the one you love. Shelby shared it with us in her Little McHenry County Date Night article along with tons of other fun things to do as well.

For even more bowling lane suggestions, check out Alli’s article about Small Town Bowling in Lake County

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4- Make Chocolate not Love 

This might be my favorite date night idea ever. I would even do this alone. Morkes Chocolates in Palatine and Uniquely Sweet in Grayslake both offer local chocolate making classes. They also offer parties too if you want to get several couples together, this would make a fun date night.

We have written about Morkes before in Where To Find Caramel Apples in Lake County, and mentioned Uniquely Sweet in Chocolate, Candy and Sweet Shops in Lake and McHenry County.

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winter date
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5- Let’s Take a Gamble

Used to be you had to drive all the way to the Grand Victoria in Elgin or take the bus up to Potawatomi in Milwaukee if you wanted to get your Las Vegas on in these parts. But now, all you have to do is go to the grocery store and most likely there is a slot machine restaurant next door. I know a lot of people are not huge fans of these places (I have five of these places in my town alone) but “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” is my motto. Friends of ours have raved about Chances in Lindenhurst because they have a huge wine menu, they serve some great food and they have fun events.

If you don’t like the idea of gambling, check out the huge 100 Things to Do in Winter article I wrote last year. If you can’t find a date night idea in that list, I will write another one. 

Or go to The Vegas Cafe in Antioch with your love instead. You have suggested it twice before for our Fan Favorites: Best Brunch in Lake County and for Fan Favorites: Best Places for Soup in Lake County. (I have had both breakfast and soup at this place and it is amazing.)

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6- Throw Some Snow 

I have a free date night idea for you! If we get snow this winter (notice I said “if”), go out together and shovel the drive alone after the kids go to bed! Brilliant isn’t it? Listen, it is hard to get a sitter at times and when the kids are small, you need to get creative. Shoveling the drive alone at night is romantic! Maybe get into a snowball fight, make a snowman together, lay in the snow and look at the stars all while cleaning your driveway. Genius.

Okay, I see I lost you on that one but I still think it is a good idea. But check out some great places to go sledding and tubing this winter if that is more your idea of romance. 

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7- Skate Your Troubles Away 

Do you love to ice skate? There is nothing more romantic than holding your loved one’s hand while gliding over the ice. In my case, it would be my loved one holding me up so I don’t break my hip. There are plenty of places to find outdoor ice skating in or around Lake County this time of year. See Little Lake County’s Guide to Ice Skating in Lake County for both outdoor and indoor ice rink options.

Is ice skating not your ideal winter sport date night idea? Why not try cross-country skiing instead? 

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8- Here’s the Rub

Getting a massage is the one thing I never feel guilty about doing because it is so good for your body and soul. Why not get a couples massage this winter? There is nothing better to make the stress of three solid months of sub-zero temperatures go away than getting the tension rubbed out of your neck. Other than chocolate, so still go do that. Check out Melissa’s review of Massage Envy in Grayslake.

Are you pregnant? Rosemary shared some great places to get prenatal massage in Lake County. 

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9- Hot Stuff Coming Through! 

Coffee is another coping strategy for long winter days, so why not have a coffee date with your loved one? Coffee shop dates are great for when you only have a sitter for an hour, or you are really busy and can’t carve out a lot of time for you and your significant other. It doesn’t have to be a fancy coffee shop either! Starbucks and Panera Bread make great little date night (or day) locations, especially if you go during off-hours.

Looking for a new-to-you coffee shop in Lake County? We have you covered with our Favorite Coffee Shops in Lake County

Are you a tea drinker instead? We have Nine Must-Try Tea Shops in Lake County with your name on them! 

How about hot chocolate? We have your suggestions for Best Hot Chocolate in Lake County

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10- You Filthy Animal 

The zoo is a wonderful place for a date-day during the winter! Wanna know why? Everyone thinks they are closed=less kids! Bundle up, get some hand warmers, maybe hit a Starbucks on the way in and you have yourself a fun date day! Our personal favorite is the Milwaukee County Zoo but there are many zoos within an hour drive or less of Lake County. Say hi to the penguins for me!

If you’re looking for a smaller (and free!) zoo, check out our review of the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison for a fun gas tank date day! 

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What are YOUR best ideas for a great winter date night? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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About Kari Wagner Hoban 58 Articles
Kari loves to write and take photos, not necessarily in that order. Her journey started in 2010 when she sat down to write a few words on a private blog. She pressed “public” a few weeks later and the rest is history. Kari loves making people laugh, being real, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She also really loves her dog Buddy and fish Lucy. When she is not busy writing or going through the Starbucks drive thru, you can find her talking to her plants Zoe, Evie and Albert. She didn’t name Evie. Her nine year old did. But she's totally an Edna so that’s what Kari calls her when her nine year old isn’t home.

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