Date night (or day date) in charming historic Geneva, Illinois


This year I wanted to change things up a bit by actually putting thought in our dates nights beyond a movie and dinner. In fact, as I was planning my Valentine’s Day gift of a year of dates (more on this later!), I was curious about Geneva. It’s one of those towns that we always hear about but never really explore. I thought it was about time that we got to know Geneva, so I planned a day date in downtown Geneva. It was definitely one of our favorite dates and now hubby is asking for more dates like this. Read on and find out what we did on our day date in Geneva, Illinois. 

Brunch it up

We were hangry and food was our first activity of our day date. After seeing pictures of the Atrium Cafe at The Little Traveler, I knew it would be perfect for brunch. Plus, it seemed a really affordable option at only $8.95 a person. What a steal!  My husband chose steak and I had the delicious crab cake Benedict. They really didn’t skimp out on the crab. So so good! Oh, and the brunch comes with their cinnamon roll. It may not have looked so appetizing but boy was it delicious!

Pro tip: Visit on Saturdays when they have afternoon tea. I’m thinking of trying that next time with my daughter.

Get lost at The Little Traveler

After stuffing ourselves, we needed to walk off all the food, and couldn’t resist perusing the shops at The Little Traveler. With 36 different rooms-turned-shops, we spent a good hour browsing a variety of goods from clothing to stationary to kitchenware to kids clothing. They even had a little wine shop where we could do a little taste test.

Wine Bar Crawl

We love a good wine bar and we instantly felt like home at Galena Wine Cellars.  Our agenda included wine tasting, so we picked out 6 wines to try ($6). I was pretty impressed with their menu — they had a large variety of sweet and dessert wines. We sipped, we swirled, we listed to live music. All in all we had a fabulous time, and ended bring our favorite of the day — the Red Sangria.  After trying these wines, we definitely want to check out the Galena winery!

Next up on our wine bar crawl — Geneva Cellars. Literally located in a cellar, Geneva Cellars definitely wins points for their cozy and intimate atmosphere. Grabbing a seat at the high top table, my husband and I waited patiently as we were given 5 tastings of their wines of the week featuring a different country. We definitely enjoyed this different kind of tasting.

Get your chocolate (or gelato) fix on

I heard Geneva was all about chocolate and had to see it myself. We first stopped by Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream, then headed across the street to All Chocolate Kitchen, a must for chocolate and sweet lovers.  After walking in and being greeted with the sweet smell of chocolates, we saw many amazing chocolate and sugar sculptures. As it turns out Chef Alain Roby, well known in the industry, has been featured in Food Network, Martha Stewart Show, a three-time Guinness Book of World Record Holder, and the list goes on and on.

We ended up sharing their homemade gelato. So unbelievably good! At ACK they also offer afternoon tea, a gelato avalanche, siphon coffee, and chocolate fondue. Definitely a great day date/date night hot spot!

Create your own scent

When I heard about Scentcerely Yours, a place where can make your own candle, lotion, and body mist by choosing your own scent, I was too excited. We did something similar in Hamilton County, Ohio and absolutely had a wonderful experience. Ideally, we wanted to get a candle for each other, but we didn’t have enough time (you need 90 minutes for it to set) so we settled for a lotion for our daughter (perfect Vday present!) There are SO many different scents to choose from but we ended up picking a combo of things my little girl loves vanilla, brown sugar, banana nut bread, and pistachio. We can’t wait to give it to her!

Did I mention the store is #BYOB? Yes, definitely perfect for date nights.

Get cozy with a book

I have an infatuation with libraries and bookstores. When I heard there was an independent bookstore in downtown Geneva, I knew we needed to squeeze in time to see it. I was instantly charmed by Harvey’s Tales. The former home-turned-bookstore is super cozy! I loved exploring the different rooms throughout the store and settling in the cozy nooks. If we weren’t so full of wine and gelato, I would have loved to grab a coffee or tea from their cafe. Next time, I plan to stay awhile and play the larger than life scrabble on the wall.

Tacos + Whiskey

Since we were munching and drinking the entire time in Geneva, we didn’t really need a big dinner. I thought tacos would be perfect, so 1910 Bar was perfect. Cool atmosphere, graffiti walls, plus the tacos were pretty darn good!

Get Cozy with Coffee and a Chocolate/Cheese Board

As you know, I adore coffee shops. When we visit a new town, I can’t wait to check out their coffee/tea shops. Cafe & Barr was next on our list. I loved it! It’s exactly my kind of place — spacious, plenty of tables, cozy, and community focused.  I tried their latte (love the latte art) and we shared the cheese and chocolate tray. Delicious all around! Love that they include chocolates from neighboring shop, Kilwin’s.

P.S. I totally want this couch.

Date night (or day date) in charming historic Geneva, Illinois

Bucket List

We would definitely come back to charming Geneva. Some things we would like to do.

  • Explore the Fox River
  • Try any of the many other restaurants
  • Tour and have a brew at Penrose Brewery
  • Afternoon Tea at The Little Traveler
  • Check out a real viking ship

Have you been to downtown Geneva before? What would you add?

Date night (or day date) in charming historic Geneva, Illinois