Photo Credit (Unedited): Chris Smith
This is the final post in my 7 part Chicago City Guide Series. I often get asked for my favorites things to eat, see, and do in Chicago and am going to be very glad to have this summary handy for the next time I get a request. This was a really fun series to put together. Thank you to those of you that added ideas via the comments – you’ll notice that I added a few things to my lists based on your feedback.
Do you have 48 hours to spend in the city? Not sure what to do? Check out my 48 Hours in Chicago post.
BREAKFAST & BRUNCH (original post here):
- The Bongo Room – Insider Tip: Unless you REALLY like sweets, get a sweet pancake to share with the table (they do many of them individually) and order something savory for your main meal – portions are huge
- Glazed and Infused
- Doughnut Vault – Insider Tip: Get there early – they only sell donuts until they run out
- Café Selmarie
- M Henry – Insider Tip: There is a great nail salon across the street
- Bad Wolf Coffee – Insider Tip: Visit on Saturday just before 10AM to get a canele – they run out quickly
- Big Jones
- Batter & Berries – Insider Tip: A French Toast flight is a great starter for the table
LUNCH & DINNER (original post here):
Chicago Hot Dog:
- Chicago Chop House
- Fogo de Chao (all you can eat)
- Purple Pig
- Leghorn Chicken
- Slurping Turtle
- Honey Butter Fried Chicken – Insider Tip: Honestly, put the honey butter ON the chicken.
- Longman and Eagle
- Girl and the Goat
- Little Goat
- Big Star
- Belly Q
- Billy Goat Tavern
- Sapori Trattoria – Insider Tip: Google for coupons before you go – they’re everywhere.
- Piccolo Sogno
- Lao Sze Schaun
Vegetarian / Vegan:
PIZZA (original pizza post here):
- Lou Malnati’s – Insider Tip: Forgo the diet and add the butter crust to your deep dish
- Pizanos – Insider Tip: The thin crust is also really good here!
- Giordano’s – Insider Tip: I actually prefer the thin crust here
- Nueva Italy – Insider Tip: This is more of a delivery spot – ask for the buy one get one half off special when you order
- Spacca Napoli
Insider Tip: All of the spots listed above (except Nueva Italy, which is primarily delivery) get very crowded at the typical lunch / dinner times. If you’re eating at a pizza spot downtown go at off-peak times to avoid the very long wait times.
SNACKS & DESSERT (original post here):
- Garrett’s Popcorn – Insider Tip: Get the Chicago Mix (the orange fingers are worth it, but grab extra napkins). There are shops all over downtown – buy a small bag and eat it the same day. The next day it is less good (it holds for longer in their cans).
- Rainbow Cone – Insider Tip: They close for the season on November 2, 2014
- Jeni’s Ice Cream
- George’s Ice Cream – Insider Tip: Try the Fat Elvis
- Lickity Split – Insider Tip: I find that the pastries are just ok, but the custard and old-fashioned candy counter are great!
- Scooter’s Custard
- Bang Bang Pie Shop
- Hoosier Mama
- Hot Chocolate – Insider Tip: Make reservations.
- Sweet Mandy B’s
- Affy Tapple (factory store) – Insider Tip: This is outside of Chicago, just North of the city.
- Sprinkles Cupcakes – Insider Tip: They have vegan cupcakes available
- Bobtail Ice Cream
DAYTIME SEE & DO (original post here):
- Shop on Michigan Ave / State Street
- Architectural Boat Tour – Insider Tip: The line for this boat tour is BELOW Michigan Avenue at Wacker & Michigan. Get in line early and sit on the top deck, near the edge.
- Millennium Park (FREE!)
- Swim, walk, run, bike along the Chicago Lake Path
- Museums, Etc.:
Insider Tip – The museums aren’t cheap. At all. There are some free days during the year though – and many more options for Illinois residents. Do a quick Google search – you may end up saving yourself a lot of bucks.
- Be a tourist:
- Chicago Hop on / Hop off bus
- Willis Tower Sky Deck
- Hancock Building – Insider Tip: Get a drink or a meal on the 95th floor in the Signature Room and save yourself the cost of a ticket to the top
- Navy Pier – Insider Tip: Free trolleys from Michigan Ave to Navy Pier and fireworks on Wednesdays and Saturdays
- Chicago Mob Tour
- Chicago Pizza Tour
- Chicago Chocolate Tour
- Pamper Yourself:
Photo Credit (Unedited): Kevin Dooley
DRINKS & NIGHT LIFE (original post here):
- Revolution Brewpub
- Untitled Speakeasy – Insider Tip: It’s really fun to sit at the bar. The bartenders are awesome and you’ll get good service.
- Rockit Bar & Grill
- Three Dots and a Dash
- Webster’s Wine Bar
- Pops for Champagne
- Violet Hour
- Aviary – Insider Tip: Make reservations online in advance. If you don’t get them, your wait could be very long (even if you show up early in the night) and you may not actually get in.
- Second City – Insider Tip: Tickets in advance is a must. The late show is usually the better show because they aren’t rushing to make the next showtime.
- The Green Mill
- Kingston Mines
- Blue Chicago
- Broadway in Chicago
I hope that you enjoyed this Chicago City Guide Series. If you’re planning a trip and have questions please let me know in the comments!
p.s. Have you joined the Mustela giveaway yet? Ends tomorrow at midnight!
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