Single City is a twice-weekly blog about the Chicago dating scene written by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho.
Full disclosure: I don’t really watch "The Bachelor." I got the idea for this weekly series from my good friend who is destined to end up with a rose in a future season. So now I’m having to do “research” by reading about old seasons via “The Bachelor’s Diary” entries. It’s a charmed life, I’d say.
This week, I found that one of the most romantic moments in the history of the show came from Season 2, when Bachelor Aaron and (eventual loser) Gwen kiss in a hot air balloon ride, separate from their three-person beach date that also included surfing lessons. I haven’t seen it, but I can picture it to the tune of “Hot Air Balloon” by Owl City (“I’ll be out of my mind/And you’ll be out of ideas pretty soon/So let’s spend the afternoon in a cold hot air balloon”). Swoon!
The Bachelor: An "exclusive" ride (meant for two people and their pilot) goes for $527 with Chicago Hot Air Balloons. The adventure -- which includes watching them blow up and prep the balloon -- lasts about three hours, although you'll be up in the air for just 45 to 60 minutes, going five to seven miles around northwest suburban Crystal Lake and up 500 to 2,000 feet. You pick a date and either sunrise or sunset and the pilot calls the night before to tell you where to go. Feel like romancing yourself? Get in a shared basket with a few others for just $256 per person -- just don't jump out when the loneliness creeps in.
You can also try Sky Rides Balloons, Inc., where a two-passenger ride goes for $350 (Monday-Thursday) or $450 (Friday-Sunday). Takes off in southwest suburban Joliet.
The Poor Man: Who needs a sexy hot-air balloon taking you where the wind blows (literally) when you can just get down to Navy Pier and try out the new tethered balloon ride? For $25, you get a 10-minute ride in the AeroBalloon, which is basically a big basket thing that is anchored to the ground but floats 350 feet via helium balloon. The attraction is scheduled to be back early May through late September. Great views of the Chicago skyline are promised, as is a similarly swoon-filled romantic date.