Chicago: what to eat & drink (and see in between)

1. Eatlaly
What’s not to love about a two floor department store dedicated to fine foods and fresh produce? Couple that with the fact you can enjoy a glass of wine while perusing the store, and it’s the ultimate foodie paradise. Watch beer being brewed, mozzarella being made, bakers in action, or just sit back and relax with a freshly made bowl of pasta. It’s a winner. 

2. Baptiste & Bottle
Ok, it’s a hotel bar. But Baptiste & Bottle in The Conrad hotel is definitely a pretty one. Specialising in bourbon, it has a fantastic cocktail list and one of the most beautiful drinks trollies I’ve ever seen. A little haven just off Magnificent Mile. 

3. Giordano’s

Home to the iconic deep dish pizza Giordano’s is a city stalwart. The chin has been rustling up deep dish, stuffed crust pizzas since 1974 – and now boasts 50 stores nationwide. Rich, dense, gooey and not short of cheese, these pizzas aren’t necessarily to my taste, but an experience none the less. 

4. The 606

Walk the 606, a three mile disused freight track from Wicker Park to Logan Square. Chicago’s answer to NYC’s High Line has been spruced up with lush plants and is now a haven for joggers, cyclists and walkers. Keep your eyes peeled for graffiti and amazing warehouse spaces, and leave plenty of time to enjoy the bars and galleries around Logan Square. 

5. Elly’s Pancake House
A stone’s throw from the entrance to Lincoln Park, Elly’s Pancake House serves up all the iconic US staples – buttermilk pancakes, eggs, bottomless coffee, and juice. It’s a 24 hour diner with a touch of class and charming service, that even in The States, goes over and above. 

6. Little Goat Diner 
Brave the queues at Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner and be rewarded with a meal to remember. If you’re lucky, land a table at the counter and watch the chefs at work. The more casual little sister of Girl & The Goat serves everything from breakfast – Cereal Killers, love it! – to burgers, Bhan Mi, shrimp and cheese grits and mac & cheese. The fish tostada was spot on.

7. Architecture Tour

Take to the waters and discover the history behind some of Chicago – and America’s – most iconic buildings. Learn how they turned the direction of the river, more about the Gothic Chicago Tribune building, Trump’s brash tower, The Wriggly Building and the river’s 68 bridges. This 90 minute cruise is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is worth every penny. Watch out for imitations.  

8. Big Star Diner
Mexican street food, margaritas and local beers rule the roost at hipster hang out Big Star Diner. Housed in an old 1940s gas station in Wicker Park this was some of the best – and cheapest – food I ate in Chicago. Try the simple but delicious taco de papas con rajas, washed down with a cold, local beer. Amazing flavours and chilled vibes. 

9. Three Dots and a Dash
Dive down the dark stairs past an eerie wall of skulls into this lively tiki bar – one of the World’s finest according to The World’s 50 Best Bars. Hawaiian shirt clad bar tenders shake up first class cocktails. While happy punters sup the through elaborate garnish and garish straws. The lively atmosphere is sure to make anyone leave happy.

10. The Street Art
It seems wherever you look in the city there’s art. From Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (AKA The Bean) in Millennium Park and Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s The Crown – a video wall come fountain which draws the crowds. To the huge, eye catching Lincoln statue and graffiti just about everywhere you look. Grab your trainers, open your eyes and go for a stroll. 


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