Dinner and a Movie: The 3 Best Chicago Theaters for a Special Date Night


Dinner and movie has gotten an upgrade. Chicago theaters now have reserved seats, alcoholic beverages, and elevated concession food that can hardly be called “concessions.” Make your next date night experience a truly enjoyable one when you swing by one of these impressive theaters and view a film—you’ll want to stay awhile! Here are some of the city’s best spots to enjoy dinner and a movie:

ArcLight Cinemas in Lincoln Park

ArcLight Cinemas is the star of Lincoln Park’s brand-new mixed-use retail development, New City. The Los Angeles-based chain is for true movie lovers, and it’s apparent in every detail. When you first step inside, you find a charming gift shop to your right and a bar to your left. Order a glass of wine, a cappuccino, or a themed cocktail based on a recent release. (They can all be enjoyed in the theater!)

You won’t stay bar-side long because the aroma of the concessions will soon pull you away. No, it’s not the traditional scent of warm butter—it’s pork! Gourmet snacks like caramel popcorn, a hummus trio, and pork belly sliders are awaiting your order to complete your dinner and a movie experience. Inside the theater, once you’ve settled into your reserved seat, a greeter introduces the film, which makes the whole experience feel extra special. Stay after the credits, because ArcLight sometimes produces exclusive behind-the-scenes shorts.

Showplace ICON in South Loop

At the Showplace ICON theater in the South Loop’s swanky Roosevelt Collection, you really can do a dinner and a movie—there’s a full restaurant inside, complete with bruschetta, Florentine pizza, panini, and more (like bacon popcorn!). This is one of the few Chicago theaters that cater almost exclusively to an adults-only crowd. The 21-and-up Lobby Lounge bar has a north-facing view of the entire skyline, which adds a little moonlight romance to your special night out.

Continue with cocktails during the show by purchasing the VIP Premium Reserved Seating. It’s restricted to guests who can legally drink, and you’ll be able to enjoy the feature with a sofa-style leather chair complete with side tables. You won’t find yourself fighting for the drink holder anymore! Additionally, this theater also holds special events like exclusive showings of the Metropolitan Opera live, which adds class and culture to your date.

AMC River East 21 in River North

The AMC River East 21 is one of the most conveniently located Chicago theaters. Many visitors often find themselves at a downtown Chicago hotel within walking distance of this establishment. You can easily plan dinner and a movie experience here. Lucky Strike, a pool hall and bowling alley, is just down the escalator from this theater, as well as FTW Chicago, a new-age arcade with one-of-a-kind games and mini golf. Both have food and beverage programs that exceed expectations. But don’t worry—you’ll find a bar within the theater too, and you can consume your beverage of choice during the movie. This is one of the Chicago theaters where you can regularly find special events such as film festival screenings, director Q&A sessions, and exclusive showings of foreign language films.

Which dinner and a movie experience is calling your name? On with the show!

  • Showplace ICON Theater at Roosevelt Collection

    1011 S Delano Ct. East, Chicago, IL 60605

    (312) 564-2104

  • AMC River East 21

    322 East Illinois Street Chicago, IL 60611

    (312) 596-0333

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