Destination: Chicago (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Next month we will be taking a trip back to Chicago and, while we'll only be there a few days, there are so many spots I want to revisit while we're there. I've had quite a few people contact me about my favorite spots in the Windy City, so I've compiled a short list of my recommendations:


Quenchers: this bar is less than a block from where I lived and, while it took us forever to finally try it out, I was instantly impressed.  Great beer selection, free popcorn, and live music.
Scofflaw:  Hip atmosphere without being too pretentious.  Fun & unique cocktails- mostly with gin.  Bonus: free freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at midnight! This was one of our favorite Saturday night spots.
Logan bar & grill: Pretty standard beer/ wine/ cocktail menu but the afternoon patio is perfect for chatting and people watching.


Violet Hour: This lounge is mildly pretentious, but serves superior cocktails.  The door is unmarked and is fashioned like a speakeasy.  You'll know you're there when you find yourself standing in a long line of hipsters next to a long obscure mural.
Danny's:  Great for dancing!  The DJ spins a great mix of... pretty much everything, and the crowd is the least creepy I've ever seen on a dance floor.  Bring cash!
Green Mill: Al Capone used to frequent this jazz club.  Need I say more? 

Worth the Wait
The Doughnut Vault: Cash only, and they are open til they sell out, so get there early!  On a Saturday wait times can be up to an hour, but as a doughnut connoisseur I can personally guarantee they are worth it.  But seriously, get there early.
Hot Doug's:  Again, get there before you're hungry and avoid it on Saturdays.  But seriously... where else can you get a foie gras hot dog? Men's Health named it one of the places you must eat before you die (that's an international list, folks!)

perfection at Alinea

Alinea: I was never able to fork over the $250 to eat here but I've heard it's unreal- it's been on the "50 Best Restaurants in the World" for the past 7 years!
Topolobampo: Eating here was one of the best culinary experiences of my life.  It didn't even matter that the only reservation we could get was a Tuesday at 5:00 3 months ahead of time.   Rick Bayless knows how it's done.  If you don't want to shell out a ton (or wait half your life for a decent reservation) try its sister Restaurant, Frontera Grill.
Girl and the Goat: You go here for the food, not the atmosphere.  And the food is phenomenal.
Hancock Tower Signature Room: The opposite of the above: the $13 cocktails are nothing special but the view of the city by night can't be beat.  Hint: the best view is the one in the girl's bathroom


Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean" at Millennium Park

Millennium Park: Some call it touristy; I call it classic.  Bring a camera for bean pictures and a picnic for the grassy knolls by the lake.
Sear's Tower: I know it's technically called "Willis Tower" now but any Chicagoan will still call it Sears.  Head up to that Skydeck if you're brave!
Second City: Where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, John Candy, and Steve Carell all got their starts.  They have tons of different shows and many are very affordable.
Music/ Movie in the Park: Anywhere and everywhere all Summer long.  And almost always free!
Cultural Center: Provides tons of free programs and is just a lovely building to meander in.
Architectural Foundation Boat Tour: A bit pricey, but totally worth it if you're interested in history or architecture.

What are your favorite Chicago spots?

Image Credits: top image by me/2/3/4/5

P.S. Click here for part 2...

1 comment

  1. 1. This post is awesome.
    2. Now I'm starving, thanks.