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What to do around Chicago for Valentine’s Day: Fireworks, orchids and a dance party

Our list of what to do around Chicago takes on a holiday theme this week with our top 10 suggestions for your Valentine’s Day — including first-time fireworks on the lakefront.

The Orchid Show of Wonders: The orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is an annual favorite for Valentine’s Day, this year with a theme inspired by carnivals and the circus. Along with some 10,000 blooms, think Ferris wheel seats, a big top and unicycles on tight ropes. Plus after-hours events with light bites and cocktails from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on select nights. Daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 10 to March 24 at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe; timed entry at www.chicagobotanic.org

Love Bites: How cozy. “Love Bites: A Valentine’s Haunted House” gives the 13th Floor Haunted House a heart-shaped makeover, including with date night packages, creatures, zombies and, for all we know, beating, disembodied hearts. Feb. 16-18 at 13th Floor Chicago, 5050 River Road, Schiller Park; tickets from $19.99 at 13thfloorchicago.com

Valentine’s Day for the Unlovables: If you’re craving a different type of gathering, check out this celebration that focuses on the different parts of love – including heartbreak. Enjoy live music by the Billingsley & Earp Band and plant-based light bites. There will also be a Valentine’s Day special drink and a nonalcoholic mocktail option. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at Madame Zuzu’s 1876 1st Street, Highland Park; tickets are $30 at eventbrite.com

DIY Valentines: A Maker Event: If you’re feeling crafty, head over to the Newberry Library for this interactive and family-friendly event with the Chicago Calligraphy Collective. Watch demonstrations of different types of lettering, as well as origami, paper embossing and gilding. Then take a stab at creating your own projects while enjoying hot chocolate, coffee and other treats. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Ruggles Hall at Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street; free, registration required at newberry.org 

Love at the Pier: Through Valentine’s Day, get yourself to Navy Pier — including for free Valentine fireworks at 9 p.m. on Feb. 10, a first-ever show for the holiday. Plus a Galentine’s Day architectural cruise with bottomless mimosas on Feb. 11, romantic rides on the Centennial Wheel and an illuminated Tunnel of Love as a backdrop for photos. Through Feb. 14 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue; information at navypier.org

Heart of Chicago Soul Club Valentine’s Day Party: If you’re looking to hit the dance floor, head over to Color Club for their all-vinyl Valentine’s Day Party for ages 18 and older. DJs will spin tracks of vintage soul, R&B and psych music. 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Color Club, 4146 North Elston Ave.; tickets (ages 18+) are $14 at eventbrite.com

  • Aerialist Lea Hinz in Teatro ZinZanni's dinner-cirque show at the...

    Aerialist Lea Hinz in Teatro ZinZanni’s dinner-cirque show at the Cambria Hotel in Chicago, reopened since fall 2023.

  • The Independence Day fireworks at Navy Pier in Chicago in...

    The Independence Day fireworks at Navy Pier in Chicago in 2017.
    (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

  • Jazz singer Dee Alexander at her home in Chicago on...

    Jazz singer Dee Alexander at her home in Chicago on Aug. 27, 2020. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

  • Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater’s 2004 movie...

    Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater’s 2004 movie “Before Sunset.” (Warner Independent Pictures)



Love Affair at Teatro ZinZanni: Teatro ZinZanni celebrates Valentine’s Day with a week of shows full of acrobatics, comedy, magic and music. Enjoy special menu options for the romantic holiday, including chocolate-covered strawberries. Performances will also include a romantic slow dance moment under a crescent moon. Feb. 14-18 at Teatro ZinZanni, 32 W. Randolph St.; tickets from $99 at zinzanni.com/chicago/valentines-day 

Valentine’s Dinner Cruise: Enjoy a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan with fireworks from Navy Pier as a sparkling backdrop. A live DJ will play romantic music while you enjoy a plated meal and craft cocktails. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 10 at Navy Pier 600 E. Grand Ave.; tickets from $170 at cityexperiences.com

Crying at the Shed: If you’re feeling a tad emotive this February, the Shed on Elston Avenue has a film festival just for you. Titles include “Little Fish” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on Feb. 14, “Paris, Texas” and “In the Mood for Love” on Feb. 15 and Richard Linklater’s whole “Before Sunrise” trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy on Feb. 16. At Salt Shed, 1357 N. Elston Ave.; tickets (ages 17+) including three-day passes at www.saltshedchicago.com

Valentines Day with the Alexander McLean Project: Jazz music has been the official soundtrack for the holiday practically since the days of Saint Valentine. At the Jazz Showcase, famed Chicago vocalist Dee Alexander collaborates with John McLean for five nights of concerts. 8 p.m. Feb. 14-18 at Jazz Showcase 806 S Plymouth Court; tickets from $20 at www.jazzshowcase.com

Also check out the Tribune’s Valentine’s Day restaurant guide with 78 specials for the holiday, from heart-shaped pizza to four-course dinners.



Doug George, Kayla Samoy , 2024-02-09 11:00:59

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