Romantic, Interesting Chicago Tour
February 13, 2020 7:23 AM   Subscribe

For Valentine's Day, I want to get my boyfriend tickets to a romantic and interesting tour in Chicago (he lives there, but I don't). He loves history and culture, but isn't much of an aesthete. Food is fine, as long as it's vegetarian; he's also not a big drinker. I'm hoping for tickets for the two of us to be under $100, and a Sunday tour is best. Any suggestions?

If you think another "experiential" present would be better -- a trip to a certain restaurant or other site, etc -- than please suggest that, too! The historical/cultural stuff is more important to him than food or how something looks, though.

He's more high-culture than low-culture, so bar crawls and dive-y stuff isn't his thing. He likes watching sports, but I don't (and neither of us is especially outdoorsy). Has a million subscriptions to theater companies, so I can't get him tickets to a play or concert.

We're both into books (anything literary, really -- plays, you name it) and politics.

He's from NYC originally, so the Chicago version of stuff we think of as "classically" NYC could be fun, too. For example, there's a tour of Chicago's underground system, which would be awesome except that it's just on weekdays.

Thanks, everybody!
posted by rue72 to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Chicago Architecture Center offers "more than 85" tours. If you're worried about getting too much aethetics and not enough history, give them a call for guidance.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:44 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

As mentioned above, the Chicago Architecture Foundation river boat tour is really nice, though not particularly romantic. (Bring ear-plugs.) Last year a family member gave my spouse and me a Chicago river dinner cruise as a gift. It was okay, but kind of cheesy. I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

How about a day trip to Oak Park, on a self-guided Frank Lloyd Wright tour? (There's also a Hemingway museum and some other generally interesting stuff.) It's enough out of the way that it isn't something a Chicago resident would ordinarily do. Unity Temple alone is worth the trip, if you ask me.

If you're fans of the macabre, a picnic at Graceland Cemetary is lovely. They're closed on Sunday, though.
posted by eotvos at 8:08 AM on February 13

The boat tour was a lot cooler than I thought it would be. There is also a bar on the boat which helps.

The other tour I've done is the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio tour. It is also very enjoyable, but, you do have to trek out into the suburbs a bit.
posted by trbrts at 8:41 AM on February 13

I would check out the tours Atlas Obscura has coming up in Chicago. Since you mentioned the underground system, there's an underground scavenger hunt that will "help you learn the history of the Chicago Pedway and how to navigate the city completely underground"—and it's on Saturdays!
posted by Mender at 9:22 AM on February 13

Thanks for your suggestions so far!

We can’t do anything until after sundown on Saturdays. We also will not have a car. So something that we can do relatively early on a Sunday (before dinner) and that’s easily accessible from the Loop would work best.
posted by rue72 at 9:31 AM on February 13

Well, now that I think about it, we could do something on Saturday, but it has to be walkable from the West Loop.
posted by rue72 at 9:33 AM on February 13

Off the wall suggestion:
Peggy Nortebart Nature Museum

They have a lovely butterfly exhibit. The non-kid exhibits (photos, animal specimens) tend to be fairly quiet and it's easy from the 151/156 bus.

I have heard that the International museum of surgical science (gold coast) is interesting but haven't been personally.

I would also check if Newberry Library has anything going on.
posted by typecloud at 2:02 PM on February 13

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