Date Night: History and Magic at Palmer House Chicago

Date Night: History and Magic at Palmer House Chicago

If you are looking for a magical date night in Chicago, I have the perfect evening planned for you!

Plan a date night in Chicago with a night at the Magic Parlour

When you think of a family business, does magician come to mind? For Dennis Watkins, that is precisely the path he followed. He is a third generation magician who was trained by his grandfather at an early age because of his fascination with the family business. His grandfather believed that the greatest magic is also the simplest, so Dennis carries that belief with him as he performs simple yet baffling feats of visual and mental magic.

He has been in residence at the historic Palmer House for seven years running with a show called The Magic Parlour, which if you know anything about Chicago entertainment, that is a massive accomplishment.

So for a date night, the ability to reclaim that sense of childish wonder, that moment of awe, that suspension of disbelief is such a welcome change from the sharing a bucket of greasy popcorn and watching CGI on a big screen.

Here is a little preview of what you can enjoy at The Magic Parlour:

I highly recommend making an evening out of the Palmer House and staying the night if you have the chance.  The history behind the hotel is absolutely fascinating, and whether you dine at the Lockwood Restaurant or simply have a cocktail at Potter’s make sure to take in all of the artifacts and photos scattered around the building.

History at the Palmer House- date night in Chicago gorgeous architecture at the Palmer House- date night in Chicago

If you do dine at Lockwood, they have put together a “Magic Menu” especially for those who purchase a ticket to the show. Reservations can be made before or after the Friday or Saturday night shows for an additional $41.

Part of the Magic Menu at Lockwood- date night in Chicago

And the dessert is purely magic- Bertha’s Famous Brownie served inside a smoking cigar box.

Bertha's Brownie at Lockwood- date night in Chicago

The first brownie was created in the Palmer House pastry kitchen in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago. The dessert is named after Bertha Palmer, who was president of the Board of Lady Managers at the time. She asked the resident pastry chef to create something different, resulting in the brownie.

As for the attire, cocktail clothing is recommended since the hotel itself is elegant and upscale. I chose to go with a floor length black H Halston dress that I found at Lord & Taylor for $20 (originally $200!). It has a one arm drape, maxi length, and a bit of ruching down the side. I paired this with jewelry from the new Kendra Scott Charms collection, which I can’t wait to share with you in a future post! This is the perfect date night in Chicago outfit in my mind- long enough to protect against the elements, enough sex appeal to make you feel fabulous.

Magic Parlour- the perfect date night in Chicago

Dennis performs 5 shows per week, and The Magic Parlour is rated #1 in Concerts & Shows in Chicago on TripAdvisor. Here are the dates and times:

PRICES: All tickets for the magic show are $79 and $89 and include wine, beer and soft drink selections

TIMES: Friday nights at 7:30 and 9:30pm, Saturdays at 4:30, 7:30 and 9:30pm. Additional performances around the holidays, too!

AGES: Best for adults and kids 12+

LOCATION: The Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St, Chicago

BOX OFFICE: 773-769-3832


Cheers to a date night in Chicago that you won’t soon forget!

Disclosure: Thank you to The Magic Parlour for hosting my husband and I! All opinions are honest and my own, as always.



  1. October 9, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    This sounds like so much fun!!

    • alldressedupwithnothingtodrink
      October 10, 2018 / 9:53 am

      I mean, so many times I wish you lived here!! Next Chicago trip I will have a ton of good ideas for us.