This guide to romantic getaways in the Midwest contains affiliate links. When you click on one of these partner links and book your hotel or activities, I may earn a commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you.
Are you planning a Valentine’s Day surprise, anniversary trip, honeymoon, or weekend away with your significant other?
Offering both small-town charm and big-city glamour, the American Midwest shouldn’t be overlooked when planning your next romantic weekend getaway. Hilltop wineries with panoramic vineyard views, idyllic lakeside towns, and lively cities set the mood for romance at the following destinations for romantic getaways in the Midwest.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
On a romantic weekend getaway to Ann Arbor, Michigan, twosomes in love can stroll hand-in-hand through beautiful parks and gardens, the sprawling University of Michigan campus, and a downtown full of date-night restaurants, cocktail bars, and live music and performance venues.
Begin your romantic walk through this Southeast Michigan college town at Nichols Arboretum, meandering through over 100 blooming peonies in late spring or under a canopy of colorful leaves in fall. Then, stroll over to the University of Michigan Law Quad, where the grand neo-Gothic architecture is a popular backdrop for couples’ engagement and wedding photos.
As you make your way through Ann Arbor’s walkable downtown, browse independent bookstores for literature’s epic love stories, and then settle into a cozy nook at one of Ann Arbor’s most unique coffee and tea shops.
Once daytime turns into date night, tantalize your taste buds with Spanish tapas at Aventura, or see if oysters really are an aphrodisiac at Black Pearl. For dinner and a show, reserve a table for two at the Blue Llama Jazz Club. Then end your evening sipping Thai basil daiquiris and chocolate espresso martinis at Nightcap or tasting whiskeys at the Ravens Club.
Staying at Graduate Ann Arbor, you can peddle through campus on maize-and-blue bicycles or start your downtown Ann Arbor date night with a pre-dinner drink in the hotel’s old-school cocktail lounge. Tucked away from the hustle of campus and downtown, couples will find an indoor saltwater pool and romantic fine dining at Weber’s Boutique Hotel & Restaurant.
When you’re ready for romance, the Windy City is the place to be. There are so many romantic things to do in Chicago, it’s the perfect place to celebrate your love, no matter what your interests are. In the winter, ice skating in Millennium Park is Hallmark movie-worthy. In the summer, the same park not only offers free concerts under the stars, but it is also lovely for a garden stroll.
You can’t help but fall in love, both with each other and with the city, when you take one of the many dining cruises available. There is no better view of Chicago than from a boat on Lake Michigan. Unless, of course, you’re in one of the city’s sky-high observatories. In the Willis Tower, your love is sky-high at the tallest observation deck in the US, and at The Signature Lounge, located two floors above 360 Chicago, share a toast to your love with a breathtaking sunset view.
The Palmer House Hilton is your perfect place to stay during your romantic getaway. Not only is the lobby one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see, but Potter Palmer also built the hotel as a gift for his wife. Open continuously since 1873, it’s also the oldest hotel in Chicago.
Recommended by Theresa Goodrich, The Local Tourist
RELATED: Where to Eat in Chicago
French Lick Resort, Indiana
If you are looking for luxury and old-world romance, French Lick is the place to find it in Indiana.
The historic French Lick Resort is as “all-inclusive” as you’ll find in the Midwest. Away from the big cities and the stress of life, the resort offers gorgeous views, quality dining experiences, and extremely comfortable beds. It is one of the state’s most magical places, and it’s tucked away in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana.
When I read about the resort’s history and saw it in person, I was in awe. The French Lick Resort consists of three hotels (the West Baden Springs, French Lick Springs, and Valley Tower), a casino, and golf courses. It is also a historic Indiana Landmark and famously known for its mineral springs.
Resort activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, spa services, nightly live music, trails, horseback riding, history tours, afternoon tea, biking, and more.
My husband and I had a romantic getaway at the French Lick Resort and it’s truly an experience I’ll never forget!
Recommended by Jamie Ward, Cornfields & High Heels
Kansas City, Missouri
Every list of romantic getaways in the Midwest should include Kansas City, Missouri. It’s a big city with a small-town feel and perfect for couples wanting to spend time together.
Couples on a budget will also appreciate that many attractions are free. They include the Money Museum, The Hallmark Visitor Center, Union Station, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Another free and romantic thing to do in Kansas City is to walk along the river at Country Club Plaza. There are walking paths and bridges, and there are even gondola rides on the river from April 1 to October 30.
There are also a lot of unique places to eat in Kansas City. Couples should start their mornings at Messenger Coffee Company. This multi-floor space serves quality coffee and pastries, all made in front of the customers! Of course, you have to eat Kansas City barbecue while in town. One of the most popular barbecue restaurants is Q39, known for its brisket and burnt ends.
A great place to stay near attractions and restaurants in Kansas City is the Hampton Inn & Suites Country Club Plaza. It also has an indoor pool, gym, and complimentary breakfast.
Recommended by Vicky, Buddy the Traveling Monkey
Mackinac Island, Michigan
There is something completely enchanting about being picked up by a horse-drawn carriage and whisked away into the woods. A 20-minute, fairytale ride with your love is sure to set a romantic mood on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan.
Along Cudahy Circle, high atop the island’s West Bluff, you will find two classic Tudor mansions. The largest is The Inn at Stonecliffe, Mansion & Suites; a summer staple for weddings and sweet romantic getaways. Next door, you will find Woods Restaurant with its opulent exterior and colorful Bavarian charm.
With its unbeatable character and ambiance, Woods Restaurant has the perfect recipe for a romantic dining experience. Serving fine German cuisine with service next to none, each beautiful dish is seamlessly presented and sure to satisfy any palate. But, dinner at Woods Restaurant is more than just a meal, as it allows you to experience all five senses.
Arrive a little earlier than your reservation time to enjoy a drink and fresh popcorn at Bobby’s Bar. Also, be sure to try your luck at America’s oldest operational DuckPin Bowling Alley.
Then be seated in the Gingham-adorned main dining room, alongside a cozy fireplace and the nightly piano performance. For an all-natural setting, choose the outdoor patio to be among flower blossoms and feel the island breeze.
Recommended by Cassondra Scott, Cassondra Wanders The World
Island life comes to mind when you’re searching for a romantic getaway. But you don’t need to escape to the Caribbean to find that island vibe with a touch of romance. Instead, the Midwest offers everything you’ll need in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, located on South Bass Island, in Lake Erie.
The romance starts with watching the sunset on your way over from the upper deck on Miller Boat Line. Another option is viewing the sunset over a seafood dinner at The Boardwalk and starting with an oyster shooter. The deck features stunning views of Put-in-Bay Harbor.
Ashley’s Island House, located just one block from downtown, is an 1860s Victorian Bed and Breakfast. The largest and oldest B&B on the island offers a deluxe continental breakfast. The front porch with white wicker furniture is the perfect place for you and your sweetie to have your morning coffee.
You’ll find luxury in the romantic, calm respite at The Butterfly House, viewing over 50 species of butterflies. Wine tastings are another just-the-two-of-you activity. Put-in-Bay Winery offers the harbor’s panoramic view from the front lawn making it the perfect place to watch boats and relax with a glass of wine.
Recommended by Amy Piper, Follow the Piper
As a coastal destination along the shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck oozes small-town charm with an idyllic waterfront setting, cozy bed & breakfast lodging, and an artsy downtown for your next romantic getaway. With more than 100 LGBTQ-friendly businesses, Saugatuck is also a welcoming destination for queer couples seeking a romantic escape.
It doesn’t get more romantic than sharing a gourmet picnic lunch from Farmhouse Deli & Pantry aboard a sailboat on a private sail for two. Back on land, stroll hand-in-hand through a Saugatuck Center for the Arts or Ox-Bow exhibit or while browsing the boutique shops and galleries downtown. Adventurous couples can climb the 300+ steps to a scenic overlook at Mt. Baldhead Park, hike to the lakeside dunes at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or go on a thrilling dune ride.
In the evening, dine al fresco at Bowdie’s Chophouse or Coast 236 Restaurant & Bar before watching the sunset over Lake Michigan at Oval Beach. If it’s too chilly outside, turn in early to cuddle up by your room’s fireplace at the LGBT-owned Hidden Garden Cottages & Suites.
RELATED: Where to Eat in Saugatuck
St. Joseph, Michigan
With a budding art scene, panoramic views of Lake Michigan, and several wineries to visit, St. Joseph, Michigan, is perfect for a romantic getaway. This lakefront destination in Southwest Michigan was even named Michigan’s Most Romantic City by the Detroit Free Press and the Riviera of the Midwest by the Fine Living Channel.
There are a variety of activities that are appealing to all types of couples. If you’re into the arts, consider visiting the Box Factory and Krasl Art Center. For the athletic couple, book a tee time at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores Golf Club. If you’re looking to relax and indulge, visit the wineries along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
Enjoy dining at several restaurants with waterfront views. Start your day with a latte along the Paw Paw River at Clifford’s Coffee Canal. Then grab lunch at Schu’s Grill, overlooking Lake Michigan in downtown St. Joseph. Finally, wind down your day at Plank’s Tavern on the Water, an upscale American restaurant right on the St. Joseph river.
The Inn at Harbor Shores is a great hotel for couples to stay at overnight. With a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, and modern rooms, this hotel provides luxury accommodations at an affordable rate. And if you plan to stay longer, consider The Boulevard Inn, located in downtown St. Joseph. Every room at this hotel is a suite and offers either a city or park view.
Recommended by Jackie Kanyolo, From Michigan With Love Blog
St. Louis, Missouri
At the center of a circle connecting Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Kansas City, St. Louis is a centrally-located first-rate romantic getaway for second-city travel. Whether your better half is an art, animal, food, culture, or history lover, St. Louis delivers brand-name recognition and a world-class experience without the crowds.
Watch the sunrise over the Mighty Mississippi from behind the Gateway Arch before ascending the tallest man-made monument in the nation for the best views in town. Explore the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, or St. Louis Zoo – which are all admission-free attractions at Forest Park. And instead of a romantic bouquet of cut flowers, stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden, consistently recognized as one of the top public gardens in the world.
Take your honey’s taste buds on a trip around the world without leaving The Lou at City Foundry where the Food Hall offers cuisine from every corner of the earth. Then head to Clementine’s Naughty and Nice, a local ice cream parlor with boozy “naughty” scoops and G-rated (alcohol-free) “nice” scoops.
For downtown accommodations, check out the Drury Plaza Hotel near the Arch or the Drury Inn by Union Station. If your romantic getaway includes a Cards game, then you’ll want to stay at the Hilton St. Louis, which provides great views of the stadium. For a suburban accommodation that’s away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but still conveniently located, I recommend Le Meridien St. Louis Clayton.
It’s amazing what a few days away from work, homeownership, parenting, and pets can do to focus on and reconnect with your significant other, and St. Louis is the perfect place to rekindle that spark!
Recommended by Sage Scott, Everyday Wanderer
Traverse City, Michigan
Nothing says romance like a waterfront view, right? On a romantic getaway in Traverse City, Grand Traverse Bay sets a scenic backdrop as you and your partner wine taste, dine, and stay overnight at Delamar Traverse City.
At this bayfront Traverse City hotel, take in the view from the floor-to-ceiling window in your room, a colorful Adirondack chair near the dock, or your dinner table while dining at Artisan Waterfront Restaurant & Tavern. After a dinner of Lake Michigan-inspired cuisine paired with handcrafted cocktails or wine, unwind with a dip into the heated outdoor pool or indoor hot tub.
Beyond your stylish hotel, you’ll see panoramic bay views over the vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula. At Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery and Mari Vineyards, the scenic view is best enjoyed with a glass of chilled Riesling and a charcuterie spread. When the weather makes you want to head indoors, go wine tasting inside 2 Lads Winery’s tasting room.
Of course, the views are best from the water itself. Try stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking to breweries, or holding on tight to your partner as you ride across the waves on a jet ski! Most romantic of all? Watch the sun go down during a sunset sail on Grand Traverse Bay!
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Dells is a great romantic destination in the Midwest for adventurous couples! In fact, there are lots of fun things to do in the Wisconsin Dells for adults.
Many of the water parks have thrill slides that require two people to ride, or you could enjoy a cocktail together in one of the hot tub swim-up bars. The best Wisconsin Dells resorts for adults — Kalahari, Wilderness, and Chula Vista — include water-park admission as part of the room rate.
For some friendly competition, you’ll find plenty of mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks, and even axe throwing. Alternatively, try out an escape room or the interactive scavenger hunt Wizard Quest to build on teamwork skills. If staying at the Wilderness Resort, Polka Dot Pots has pottery painting, a great creative activity for couples!
The Wisconsin Dells has many unique restaurants and eateries. Share a family-style breakfast together at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty or a meal from a food truck, sitting in the back of a converted Volkswagen camper at the Grateful Shed Truckyard.
Recommended by Kylie, Between England and Iowa
Ready to plan your next romantic getaway in the Midwest?
Are you and your love passionate about wine? Then Traverse City is the perfect place to cozy up with a glass and take in the waterfront view. Or, if a small-town vibe is more your style, Saugatuck offers on- and off-the-water activities for two in a slower-pace locale. Or, perhaps it’s the glitz of the Windy City at night that sparks romance on a weekend in Chicago.
Whether it’s a quiet escape or an exciting weekend away, the getaway you seek can be found in America’s heartland. In this post, my fellow travel bloggers and I have recommended 11 destinations for romantic Midwest getaways. And, for even more ideas of where to go for your next Midwest romantic getaway, I encourage you to read my posts about Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, or Wisconsin.
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