Downtown Guide to Date Night

One of downtown’s cutest couples, Emily and Chef Corey from Long Nine Junction 

Did you know that the average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding where to eat?! Well, the weekend is fast approaching and no one has time for indecision. Our downtown neighborhood is full of activities for all of you lovebirds out there. We’ve outlined a few itineraries to get you out and about enjoying the cooler temps, delicious meals, drinks… and each other!

“Chills and Thrills” Date Night

The 6th street block between Monroe & Adams is full of charming boutiques; however, one particular shop stands out during the Halloween season, as it hosts more than just living customers. The Roost was investigated by the Capital Area Paranormal Society in 2016 and they found the presence of “others.” A child was heard moaning from the basement. Lights go on & off for no reason. Shop inventory is playfully moved about. Watch the video of their investigation and then make this your first chilling stop of the evening.

Afterwards, make reservations for Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore, where you will learn about the bizarre stories surrounding Lincoln’s life in Springfield. This is an approx 90 min lantern-lit walk that will surely having you snuggling up to your loved one for comfort.

All of that walking will give you a good reason to indulge your appetites, so head to Arlington’s on Broadway. Although not haunted, this restaurant & bar celebrates the silliness of the season all year long by greeting you with their mannequin “Natalie.” You never know what costume Natalie will be wearing or where she will be sitting! Enjoy a fully stocked bar and we suggest choosing one of the many burger options on the menu.

“Lincoln Lovers” Date Night

Lincoln’s Home in Springfield offers tours until 5pm, so start a little early for this date and share a learning experience about our sixteenth president, the guy you just “might” take for granted if you’ve lived here long enough. The home has been preserved in a stunning matter, as well as the neighboring houses around it. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the gravel street while holding hands and taking in the way of life so long ago.

Cross 7th Street and bask in all of fall’s charm in Obed & Isaac’s beer garden. Sit by the fire, enjoy a local brew, share a brick oven pizza, and maybe even a game of bocce ball.

Fun fact: Lincoln loved Shakespeare. He carried copies of Shakespeare plays with him wherever he went. Coming up on November 2nd and 3rd, you can catch Fritz Klein’s one man show featuring Lincoln’s speeches, letters and historical research about him synthesized with elements of the Shakespeare plays he loved. The play will be held at The Old State Capitol.

“Friday Night Lights” Date Night

For this experience, we’re suggesting a few classics, mixed in with a couple new trends. Start your evening perusing Recycled Records, the buyers and sellers of new and used vinyl, cassettes, movies and other knick knacks for more than 26 years. Chat with brothers Mark & Gary during your visit, as their stories & knowledge of music is plentiful.

Next, stop by the Plaza just south of The Old State Capitol for a friendly game of “bags.” Recently, DSI (thanks to many generous sponsors) installed cafe lights along the entire brick pathway, which makes for a picturesque and romantic game for two. Plus a great background for a couples’ selfie.

Directly off the Plaza is Robbie’s Restaurant, where they have live jazz music every Friday evening. This has been a steady offering for the last 18 years, as the Springfield Area Arts Council organizes these performances with proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 raffle going to the arts non-profit. We suggest a pre-dinner drink here while enjoying this free show.

For dinner, head to a fairly new addition to downtown, VELE, on the corner of 6th & Monroe. Chef Justin Richardson has created a menu of modern Italian options including seafood, pastas & steaks, all with deep flavors. The atmosphere is open & social where you are bound to run into an acquaintance or two, but if you are looking for a private place to play footsie, there are corner tables for two that are perfect for date night.

“Adams Street” Day Date

If a day date is what you prefer, you won’t have to go much further than Adams Street. Begin with coffee & breakfast at Cafe Moxo, where you can sit outside and enjoy the falling leaves of this tree-lined area.

Walk the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market until 12:30pm, where you’ll find local vendors of meat, veggies, flowers and even arts & crafts. Halloween at the Market, the final Saturday in October, is always a favorite as it is filled with special activities. The parade of costumes, from adult, to child to 4-legged friends, will make you and your date smile all morning.

After the market, enjoy an afternoon beer at Buzz Bomb Brewery, where you can feel the air on your face as they have a large upward sliding door that opens to the sidewalk. Take a tour of their tap room on the first floor, or head up to the 2nd floor bar and engage your date in a friendly competition with the board game of your choice (the owners have provided you with endless options). As for brew options, we suggest the Maple Vanilla Porter, which is only available seasonally.

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