If you have been following me for a while you know I consider Chicago my second home. 4 years of college and growing up visiting family and friends before and after gets you to know a little something about the city. I thought for today’s post I would compile some of my favorites that I come to again and again and new places I tried this last trip to the Windy City. I’ll break it up with breakfast/brunch, lunch/dinner, and sweets + coffee!
Also these are great Spring and Summer ideas- Fall possibly but Winter many of these activities are off limits 🙁
First off- let’s talk transport. TAKE THE L! Get that Chicago experience. They offer weekend passes (great bang for your buck at about 20 bucks for 3 days!) or day passes or single ride (about 3 bucks). If you use your google maps it gets you where you need to go and it’s always great people watching.
Chicago Bagel Authority – I recommend their breakfast sandwich- their bacon is the crispiest! Also for lunch the Messy Katy is really delish (pic below)
I tried Pacific Standard Time and their sourdough pancakes were to die for. The savory dishes looked great as well! Also mimosas are wonderful here.
Floriole is a wonderful bakery and coffee shop that has AMAZING croissants and baked goods. Wifi too!
Great atmosphere and decorated beautifully- French American food. Lovely avocado toast- but share it with someone if you aren’t too hungry. SO BIG.
I love the salads at Blue Door Farm Stand and the atmosphere is beautiful, light, and bright!
A new to me restaurant was Barrio. I would recommend getting chips and the mango salsa for an app + the barbacoa tacos + the original or the cucumber margarita! DELISH! Ps this is a little on the pricy side.
In my top 2 restaurants in Chicago by far! I would recommend the meatballs, the Rustica salad and I LOVE the fried mozzarella. Their lasagna or pasta bolognese is delish too! They have a nice patio to people watch as well.
Cafe Ba Ba Reba – Spanish style tapas to share! Their pitcher of red sangria is amazing. You have to put in your order for Paella right when you get there- it takes a while! I love the seafood one + the spicy potatoes.
I ordered from Cozy all the time in college for green and yellow curry if you need a quick order in!
Homeslice Pizza 10/10 would recommend any pizza here! Homeslice is such a fun atmosphere too with porch and back patio seating. Warning- there’s a time cut off for people under 21 around 9 pm so call before to check in on the updated days and time for that!
Sweet Mandy B’s! If you need a cupcake, a cute cookie, or a cookie dough stuffed cookie- GO HERE! They also have a great iced coffee.
Do-Rite Donuts – multiple locations! They also have a wonderful and affordable breakfast sandwich (5 bucks). It really is delish. Also 1 dollar dark roast coffee when you purchase a donut.
Donut Vault – this place has a donut of the day- not too many to choose from but very cute inside- it’s probably the side of my Ford Escape inside- ha!
Stan’s Donuts– a Chicago staple! Many locations!
Jeni’s Ice Creams– Multiple locations. Personal faves- Darkest Chocolate – Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks and their new Summer Strawberry.
Colectivo Coffee– outdoor patio seating + bites and coffee!
Sawada Matcha– wonderful matcha latte! Pricy at 6 bucks but worth it for a friend date or a nice study spot. They have wifi!
Try a museum! There are plenty in Chicago (Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, The Field Museum etc.) to get out out of the cold or whatever crazy weather Chicago has to offer. Many offer student discounts too 🙂
Cubs game (works at night too!) Grab a Chicago dog while you are there and get off at the Addison Red Line stop for easy transport.
Lake Walks! Starting at the Fullerton L stop is an easy path straight down to Fullerton Beach. In nice weather you don’t want to miss this view (about a mile there and a mile back). You can also pick up a Divvy bike and ride down or get one at the lakefront and ride along the front for a while.
Parsons Chicken and Fish! This is an awesome low key place to enjoy friends and a cocktail or two. You can also grab some awesome chicken. I don’t have a photo of the drinks but they have cute blended options, cheap to higher end beer, and fun mixed drinks. Also- there are dogs and babies if you like baby and dog watching, like yours truly!
Taking an architecture tour! Hop down to the riverwalk and book yourself a Chicago Arcitexture tour. I don’t think we talk about the amazing history of Chicago architecture enough. I took an entire class on it freshman year and it was so enjoyable. On a nice day a boat on that river feels like heaven!
After your tour you can bop down to City Winery to grab a glass of rose to enjoy with friends while you watch the boats go by. Here’s your view with a bunch of RDs who put their wine down.
Still can’t get enough of the river? Me either. Hop on a kayak for about 30 an hour!
Ok enough water. The a walk to the FREE Lincoln Park Zoo (this is also great on your way to the lake)! Fun for adults and kids. You can also bop over to the conservatory and look at some awesome plants and flower arrangements. There’s a farmers market close to Hotel Lincoln and the Zoo on Saturdays and Wednesdays!
Second City– if you need a laugh- check out a second city performance!
Some of my favorite bars are- Lady Gregory (fun and dancy) Woodies, and Pour House. All in Old Town.
I hope this was helpful for you if you are visiting!