60+ Champaign-Urbana SUMMER DATE NIGHT (or day) IDEAS
Time as a couple is time well spent, so get some new ideas beyond a simple bite to eat and try one for your next date night in Champaign, Urbana and beyond
Whether you have a hard time getting away, or you have a regularly scheduled date night, sometimes coming up with something to do that night is difficult. We don’t know about you, but we seem to fall into the trap of just going out to eat, but not really DOING something, together.
We’re here with ideas! Grab lunch or dinner and then choose an adventure from below. Or, in some cases, pack a picnic of your own. A few notes:
- SPONTANEOUS OR PLANNED?: Some of these require some planning; others you can do on the fly.
- LOCATION: Many fun Champaign-Urbana date night opportunities are seasonal, and so many (but not all) will be outdoors. Also, date night is not even always at NIGHT.
- COST: Some of these ideas are free. Some have minimal cost. Others can get pricey quickly. There’s something for everyone.
- HOW TO CHOOSE: If choosing just one is difficult, write your favorites on slips of paper or craft sticks and pick them from a jar.
- DISCLAIMER: Please note that while do our best to keep the information on this list updated, anything is subject to change without notice.
- NEED CHILDCARE?: Check out our tips on how to find a babysitter and our article about parents nights out.
60+ Champaign-Urbana Summer Date Night (or day) Ideas
LISTEN TO SWEET SOUNDS
1 | Enjoy LIVE MUSIC. Seriously people, performances from all genres can be found all week long. Head to CU Bands and Fans, where they compile concert info for Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas.
2 | Find MUSIC AL FRESCO all summer long. We love outdoor concerts the most, so we have a list of those you can peruse.
3 | Enjoy live COUNTRY MUSIC performances at the Rose Bowl in Urbana. Its Monday night Hootenanny is a local favorite and is free, to boot.
4 | JAZZ it up. CU Jazz boasts a calendar featuring acts all across Champaign-Urbana. The Iron Post in Urbana is a particularly popular jazz venue.
5 | Pack a picnic basket and head to Alto Vineyards in Champaign — a best kept secret. Most of their events are Saturday nights, from mid-May to mid-September.
6 | Attend a local FESTIVAL. Summer is prime festival season, so (again, don’t tell the kids) and head on out to a fair or festival for some food, drinks, music and fun.
DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
8 | Take a HIP HOP DANCE class at Urbana Dance Company, or pick from another one of their classes or events.
9 | Paint and sip events, group events or OPEN PAINTING sessions all make great date nights. An artist will lead you step by step through an acrylic painting. Each of them adds a different twist to the same concept. Paint Like Me Party has these events regularly.
10 | PAINT POTTERY together at one of our local studios including The Pottery Place. Open until 6 p.m., this would make a great day date on the weekend.
11 | If you love KARAOKE, we have options in Champaign-Urbana. If you don’t want to sing in public, you can rent a private Karaoke room at Star Karaoke in Savoy, starting from $20 per hour. There’s also regularly scheduled karaoke often at Clark Bar in Champaign.
12 | Go to the LIBRARY. It’s a whole different experience going to the library without kids. Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Tolono and Rantoul are all some of our favorites. As an added bonus, Champaign and Urbana are both open until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Weeknight date night (on a budget) for the win.
13 | Find a quaint shop and enjoy COFFEE (or some other hot beverage) together. Some of our favorites are listed here. Get a cultural experience by going to Caffe Bene on campus. Some have live music.
14 | Get ZEN and learn about Japanese culture – tea ceremonies at Japan House in Urbana aren’t happening in person right now, but garden meditations are. Follow them on Facebook to see what’s coming soon.
15 | STAR WATCH at the historic University of Illinois Observatory. The telescopes are open to the public generally on the second Friday of the month on campus. During the spring, summer, and fall months observing usually takes place between 8-10 p.m. Best part? It’s FREE.
16 | VOLUNTEER together. Find a cause you’re passionate about; area organizations are always looking for volunteers, especially in the summer when fewer students are on campus.
17 | Relax and rejuvenate with a COUPLES MASSAGE. Our readers recommend their favorite massage locales in Champaign-Urbana (note: not all offer couples massage).
18 | Indulge in DESSERT. We have a whole list of our favorites.
19 | Take on the Chambanamoms.com ICE CREAM TRAIL Challenge. Tick off our list.
20 | Ok, hit ANY of our epic FOOD TRAILS, depending on what you like.
21 | Have a PICNIC in the park. We have a list of our favorite places for picnicking in the Champaign-Urbana area.
22 | Go BREWERY HOPPING. Head to Blind Pig in downtown Champaign, Riggs in Urbana, or Tryptych in Savoy. All offer tastings and flights so you can get your taste on.
23 | Do a WINE TASTING. Sleepy Creek Vineyards offers wine tastings daily. Closer to home, find them at Art Mart. Or look out for special Wine Tasting events. Alto Vineyards is a close-by, local favorite, too.
24 | Go GEOCACHING OR LETTERBOXING! Free and easy, both can lead to quite an outdoor adventure.
25 | Take advantage of the many Champaign-Urbana area greens and go GOLFING. Legends in southwest Champaign is manageable for date night at nine holes.
26 | Go BOATING. Pedal boats, canoes, kayaks; even pontoon rentals. For a place without a lot of water, you can rent all kinds of boats in and around Champaign-Urbana (seasonally, of course). Most are during the day; for an evening date, try Crystal Lake in Urbana (rentals until 7 p.m.). Or drive out to Moraine View and rent some kayaks there.
27 | Visit a local FARM for flower picking, fruit picking, sunflowers, and more.
28 | Make the trip west and explore the beauty of ALLERTON PARK. Enjoy the various gardens, trails and more. It’s one of the seven wonders of Illinois for a reason.
29 | Take a stroll a enjoy NATURE and ART in harmony at the Meadowbrook Park sculpture garden.
31 | Find a local watering hole and go FISHING. Be sure to bring your own gear (lots of big box stores will sell starter kits if you don’t have any). Be aware that adults fishing in Illinois need to have a license.
32 | Hit one of our many awesome WALKING trails; another budget-friendly date.
TAKE A TOUR
33 | Take a SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOUR OF CAMPUS. Maybe you aren’t as familiar with the University of Illinois campus, or maybe you want to relive the glory days. It doesn’t matter. The University of Illinois Admissions team has put together two self-guided tours you can do on your phone: the Quad and the Engineering campus. FREE.
35 | RIDE CHAMPAIGN ON A PEDAL BIKE. Did you know Champaign was the first city in Illinois with pedal bikes? Illini Pub Cycle offers seats for individuals on Friday night rides, meaning it’s possible to get on when it’s just the two of you.
36 | Go BOWLING! Of course, our favorite local bowl might be the most unique — in the basement at the Illini Union.
37 | Compete in a friendly game of LASER TAG at Skateland in Savoy.
38 | If you’re into PAINT BALL or want to try it, we hear Salt Fork is the place to go.
39 | Shoot some POOL. Jupiter’s is well known for pool leagues; the Illini Union also has a pool hall. Or head to Crane Alley in Urbana.
40 | Compete with others in TEAM TRIVIA for your chance to win cash and prizes. You can find events at numerous locations around Champaign-Urbana.
41 | Hit the BATTING CAGES at Putt Zone, an outdoor location only open during summertime.
42 | If you enjoy solving puzzles, ESCAPE ROOMS are all the rage, and there’s at least three different escape rooms in Champaign-Urbana.
43 | Hit up the new AXE BAR in Champaign and blow off some steam.
44 | Play MINI-GOLF without the kids (okay, without your kids) at Old Orchard in Savoy or Putt Zone in Champaign.
45 | Lace up and ROLLER SKATE! Relive those high school memories at Skateland.
47 | Try your hand at ROCK CLIMBING. Urbana Boulders is open into the evenings daily.
48 | Shoot some ARCHERY at Bowmentum’s 24-hour indoor range in Tolono. Ask about equipment rentals.
50 | Go SWIMMING. Again, it’s a totally different experience to go swimming without the kids. There might even be some adults-only swim nights, open extra late.
TAKE A CLASS
51 | Sign up for adult GYMNASTICS together. If you want to commit to something for several weeks, adult gymnastics class at Champaign Gymnastics Academy might be an option.
52| Check out a YOGA CLASS together. Many local yoga studios, including Amara Yoga, Living Yoga and Hatha, offer evening classes and drop-ins are welcome. Prices vary.
53 | Spice up your life with a COOKING CLASS. Keep your eye on the Common Ground Food Co-Op calendar, as classes happen on evenings and weekends. University of Illinois Campus Rec offers very reasonable classes, and they are open to the public. Parkland College also offers some cooking/baking classes, but plan way ahead; sources tell us they fill up quickly.
54 | Want to learn a new skill and perhaps new technology? Sign up for a WORKSHOP together at the CU Fab Lab. Past workshops have included laser cutting, etching, and animation. Or check out Makerspace Urbana on Wednesday nights.
55 | Cheer on FAST CARS at the Farmer City Raceway.
56 | There’s few things more charming in the summer than going to the ballpark. After the Illini leave town, there are BASEBALL teams to watch all over Central Illinois. Our favorite: there’s few things more charming than old Danville Stadium and seeing the Danville Dans.
CATCH A SHOW
57 | If it’s BIG NAMES you crave in a classic, beautiful venue, then don’t forget to peruse the calendar of events at The Virginia Theatre. The first live concert event of the season is in mid-August in 2021.
58 | Go back in time and enjoy a DRIVE IN MOVIE at Harvest Moon Drive-In in Gibson City. Shows typically run from April to October. (Just don’t tell the kids you went without them.)
59 | Catch an outdoor MOVIE IN THE PARK. Check our list of free/cheap movies coming up soon. Some are even in the pool!
60 | Solve the case at a MURDER MYSTERY DINNER SHOW. There are multiple locations where you can find these special events, often put on by CUTC’s Seven Corpse Murder Mystery Dinners. You can find them hosted by Alto Vineyards, Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Allerton Mansion, Jupiter’s at the Crossing and more. These often sell out FAST.
61 | Laugh together while taking in a COMEDY SHOW. As far as we know, there is Open Mic night at Clark Bar in Champaign on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Rose Bowl Tavern has comedy on the third Thursday monthly. Covers vary.