Chicago Holiday Tours, Pop-Ups, Performances, Happenings & More

Holiday Tours To Celebrate the Season 

Bobby’s Bike Hike Chicago Holiday Tour, a festive food and walking tour of Downtown Chicago begins at the end of November and runs through Christmas Eve.

Visitors will see the lights of the Magnificent Mile, the ice-skating rink and Christmas tree in Millennium Park, enjoy a warm and filling deep dish pizza, experience the German-inspired festivities of Christkindlmarket, and toast to a joyful season over a seasonal beverage! This 3 hour Chicago holiday tour is perfect for families, friends, holiday parties, and anyone looking to celebrate the season in an exciting new way. All food & non-alcoholic beverage samples included in ticket price. Pricing begins at $75 per adult/$65 per youth (age 4-11) on Fridays/Sundays and $70 adult/$60 youth on Mondays/Thursdays. All children 3 and under ate $10/$9 when sharing with an adult. 

Special Events Spreading Holiday Cheer

Glessner House, a National Historic Landmark in Chicago, is a cultural center and museum showcasing revolutionary design and celebrating the cultural arts from the late 1800s to the present day. Filled with original artifacts and unique family history, Glessner House prepares to celebrate the holidays with the following special programming: 

  • Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating Party (December 2, 2023) – At Glessner House’s seventh annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party children are invited to create their own mini-gingerbread house to take home.  All supplies are included.  Glessner House will have lots of helpers, so no previous decorating experience is necessary but all children (recommended for ages 3-13) must be accompanied by an adult. Ticket pricing is $25 per pair (one child with accompanying adult) and there are two seatings, from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • We Wish You a Mattie Christmas!  (December 3, 2023) – The tree is decorated and the stockings are hung, so Frances Glessner is planning a very special Christmas luncheon with the assistance of her favorite cook, Mattie Williamson, and you are invited! Join the Glessner team in the dining room for a delicious four-course feast based on the menu for a supper served by the Glessners on Christmas night, 1898. Menu items include sausage and cheeses, chicken timbale, turkey sandwiches with cranberry relish, pickles, olives, and celery, plum pudding, eggnog ice cream, mulled wine and more. During the meal, Mattie will share recipes, ideas on menu planning, preparing the perfect guest list, how she acquired the ingredients, and how parties in the Glessner home were different from those in the surrounding Prairie Avenue mansions. The butler, Frederick, will provide information on the 1898 supper, including the guests who attended, and the musicale that served as the centerpiece of the evening’s entertainment. Ticket pricing is $60 per person, with seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., with each seating limited to 26 guests.
  • Christmas Candlelight Tours (December 9-10, 16-17, 2023) – These special one hour docent-led tours will highlight Christmas customs as observed by the Glessner family. The house will feature elaborate decorations of the late 19th-century including a 10-foot tree decorated with period ornaments, toys and holiday crafts, Christmas music performed on the Glessners’ Steinway piano, and the dining table set for an eight-course Christmas feast. After the tour, enjoy complimentary hot cider and cookies. Ticket pricing is $20 per person; each hour-long time slot is limited to eight (8) attendees.

Classic Performances 

A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tradition that has been running for over four decades in Chicago, returns to the Goodman Theatre with Jessica Thebus directing and Larry Yando reprising his role as the miserly Scrooge. Tickets start at $30 and performances run through December 31, 2023. 

DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL is the record-setting Broadway holiday sensation which features the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Holiday loving Whos. Magnificent sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville and help remind us of the true meaning of the holiday season. Recommended for ages 5+ , performances run 85 minutes with no intermission at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from December 19-31, 2023. Ticket prices begin at $32. 

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker by two-time Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to the Lyric Opera House from December 2 – 27, 2023. This version is set during Chicago’s World Fair in 1893, where the young immigrant Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the creator of the Fair, the mysterious Great Impresario, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair that highlights the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and the wonder of the season. A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. The production was adapted in 2021 by Wheeldon to fit the larger Lyric Opera stage and features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet. Tickets start at $40.

Holiday Pop-Ups: 

A full-blown tribute to the beloved Christmas movie “Elf”, Elf’d Up is back by popular demand for the 6th year. Elf’d Up is decorated from floor to ceiling with over 1,000 elves of all shapes and sizes, a 10-foot Christmas tree, an upside-down Christmas tree, wreath chandeliers, strands of festive colored lights, specific tributes to the movie-like figurines, wall quotes, snowflakes, Schylling Jester Jack in the Boxes, cut-outs of Buddy the Elf and Miles Finch and more. Each table comes equipped with condiment carriers filled with the “four main food groups”– candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.

Though there are some non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, it’s heavily skewed in favor of Christmas-themed cocktails, so more of an adult atmosphere – for adults who love Buddy the Elf, of course! They have food too, including specialty holiday menu items like Buddy’s Breakfast Pasta which includes spaghetti, topped with maple syrup, chocolate fudge, and mini marshmallows.

Jack Frost Christmas Holiday Pop-Up is turning up the holiday cheer again this year, this time in the heart of Fulton Market! From November 25, 2023 – January 5, 2024, enjoy two acres of winter wonderland with daytime activities like bumper cars and ice-skating, perfect for families. In the evening, adults can indulge in the festive atmosphere by sipping on boozy hot cocoa as you walk through the Christmas tree forest, try your hand at axe-throwing and explore the Christmas market. Challenge your friends to ice curling and snap some epic Christmas pics at the famous holiday photo-ops.Tickets start at $15; hours typically run from 2.00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on weekends and 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on weekdays but times may vary for holidays and booked events.

8 Crazy Nights, the original Hanukkah bar in Chicago, is back by popular demand for the  fifth year in a row. Where pop-up Hanukkah bars are concerned, The Graystone Tavern is renowned for having the “one and only” in the region. What began in 2019 in Wrigleyville has quickly become a TRADITION!

In addition to all the customary blue and white lights and decorations throughout the indoor area, Graystone has also weather-proofed its beer garden for those who wish to take their celebration outdoors. And, for die-hard original Hanukkah bar Chicago fans, there is a special food menu to please everyone’s palate.

It includes a Brisket Platter, Challah Bread, Matzo Ball Soup, and Latkes, not to mention the vodka-infused, homemade Boozy Jelly Donuts! What’s more, Graystone Tavern’s bartenders offer some pretty remarkable, Hanukkah-themed cocktails like Mazel Tov, Dreidel Bomba, and Hanukkah Harry’s Hot Chocolate. Finally, besides the amazing scrumptious food and Hanukkah-themed drinks, they have spaces set aside for board games like Mitzvah Match, Schmear Build-A-Bagel card game, and Jewish Guess Who? to name a few. 

Chicago Holiday Hotel Packages For A Festive Stay

Holiday Season

At Aloft Chicago Mag Mile guests can experience holiday magic by booking the Christkindlmarket Package which includes breakfast for two and one 2023 Christkindlmarket souvenir mug at check in (people come from all over to collect these mugs!). While strolling to the Christkindlmarket, the hotel’s prime location makes it easy to squeeze in some holiday shopping along the festively decorated Mag Mile. This package is valid through December 26, 2023.

The Blackstone’s Stay Like A Kennedy Package (Through January 1, 2024) invites guests to experience an enchanting escape filled with festive extravagance. The Suite of Presidents will transform into an immersive homage to the lavish 1960s Kennedy White House décor. Complete with historical accents that transport guests to the captivating Kennedy Christmas, the Stay Like A Kennedy package invites travelers to sip hot cocoa spiked with JFK’s favorite scotch and craft personalized Christmas ornaments while classic holiday tunes serenade you from a vintage record player. Embrace an over-the-top escape filled with festive enchantment and create cherished memories at The Blackstone, where history and luxury meet in the heart of Chicago’s iconic Cultural Mile. Rates start at $550 per night. 

  • From January-March 2024, the Presidential Suite will transform into The Winter of Jazz package, welcoming guests to experience the whimsical historic atmosphere of The Blackstone through an immersive musical stay. The package includes an in-room hot cocoa bar, a collection of iconic albums, and beautiful vintage decor, celebrating a timeless era of smooth tunes.

The Four Seasons Chicago’s festival holiday packages include a festive-themed welcome amenity, an in-room visit from the festive ice cream cart, nightly valet parking for one vehicle, and a USD $50 donation to the Chicago Cares Festive Drive. Package valid for selective bookings between November 20, 2023 – January 2, 2024.

At Hilton Chicago, discover the true meaning of Christmas in Chicago. Inspired by the all-new original holiday movie premiering November 5, the Santa Summit suite is made with Hallmark devotees in mind. Be surrounded by Santas of all shapes and sizes and get cozy in your Santa-themed bed — cookie kit included.

Hotel Zachary’s Winterland Package includes 2 complimentary drink vouchers for cocktails in Alma, 2 throwback Federal League stocking hats, 2 Christkindlmarket holiday mugs, and admission to Winterland inside Wrigley Field with skate rental for two. (Skating is open daily, except select holidays, from November 21, 2023 to January 7, 2024, weather permitting.) 

At InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, St. Nick’s best friend is back and he’s visiting Chicago to ensure the kiddos have been nice! This winter, stay steps away from all the holiday festivities and shopping on the Mag Mile while your family interacts with The Elf on the Shelf. The Elf on the Shelf Family Package includes overnight accommodations, an elf on the shelf doll (parents responsible for moving the doll) and breakfast at Center Court. The doll is also available for purchase if you’d like to bring your new mischievous friend home!

The Langham, Chicago announced its 2023 holiday season accommodation, dining, and activities offers. Reservations are available for booking now:

  • ‘Santa’s Toy Stories’ Holiday Tea at the Pavilion – Celebrate the magic of the season and childhood memories by delighting in the timeless tradition of afternoon tea with loved ones. Indulge your taste buds with delectable pastries and tea sandwiches while creating a personalized Letter to Santa during this quintessential ‘Santa’s Toy Stories’ themed tea experience. Offered daily from November 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024; reservations can be made via Tock
  • ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ Package – Celebrate the spirit of Christmas in your home away from home. This special package includes luxurious one-bedroom suite accommodations with a lavish in-suite Christmas tree; deconstructed champagne cocktails inspired by the season; bespoke cheese and charcuterie–ideal for an intimate tree-side respite. Reservations can be made here; Booking & offer period until December 31, 2023. 
  • Visit with Santa – Share your Christmas wishes with Santa at the Flavours of Langham shop, located on the second-floor lobby. Offered December 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., and December 25 from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. No tickets or reservations are needed. 
  • Tree Lighting Celebration at The Langham, Chicago – Gather with loved ones as you sample offerings from the hot chocolate bar and enjoy a festive performance from holiday carolers during The Langham, Chicago’s annual tree-lighting celebration. Saturday, November 25th from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Located in the second-floor lobby; No tickets or reservations are needed.  

GingerBed + Breakfast at the Loew’s Chicago  welcomes families with a sweet seasonal stay – spacious guest rooms complete with a holiday tent, seasonal movie, Holiday Bedtime Story Cart, and hot cocoa. Head down to ETA for a delicious breakfast (daily $50 breakfast credit) and your little ones can enjoy decorating Gingerbread cookies while they wait. Valet parking for one vehicle per night. The offer ends on January 10, 2024. 

Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk’s one-of-a-kind Elf Life Suite features festive decorations, a hot cocoa bar, candy canes, an elf to take back home, breakfast for two adults and two children and a 2 p.m. late check-out. This package is available to book between now and January 1, 2024 for stays between November 23, 2023 and January 7, 2024. 

  • But that’s not all! Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk is also offering The More, The Merrier package because moments are better when we share them together. Book The More, The Merrier room package and bring the extended family along to receive 50% off a second room (connecting if available). This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions. Book between now and February 29, 2024, for stays through February 29, 2024. 

For the tenth year, Swissôtel Chicago will transform its 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite into Santa’s Chicago holiday home. Family and friends can book Santa visits, pop into the hotel’s holiday speakeasy, or wake up surrounded by 17 Christmas trees in the Santa Suite.

  • Too busy to spend an overnight but want to make it a party? Stop by Santa’s Presidential Pad with up to 20 guests to visit the man of the season and overindulge in unlimited Swiss hot cocoa, champagne, and holiday treats. Kids can enjoy holiday crafts, cookie decorating, and face painting, complete with a visit from Santa. (Multiple dates between  Dec 2 and Dec 22, 2023, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.)

Celebrate the holiday season along The Magnificent Mile with The Peninsula Chicago’s Holly Jolly Family Package built for the whole family. With an in-room holiday tree or menorah, holiday welcome amenity, access to our holiday library of movies and games, and more, our Holly Jolly Family Holiday package will make your season bright. 

  • Or opt for the Merry and Bright Package for a pair of adults. (Valid for stays from November 24 through December 31, 2023.)
  • Afternoon Tea during the festive season at The Peninsula Chicago is an annual tradition for many guests. The 20-foot Christmas tree and lavish holiday décor enhance this special experience, which features a traditional English tea menu including a variety of finger sandwiches, scones with house-made preserves and Devonshire clotted cream, and petite seasonal pastries. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. Entertainment includes performances from a string duo daily, plus visits from Santa on weekends from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm*. (Daily from November 24, 2023 through January 7, 2024. Seatings are at 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm. Pricings start at $140 per adult (including a glass of Champagne) and $65 per child (ages 5-12) Monday-Thursday and $150 adult/$85 child on Friday-Sunday.)
  • Additionally, did you know that The Peninsula Sky Rink is the only hotel skating rink in Chicago? Returning for its 11th season on November 18, this 2,100 sq foot synthetic ice rink is tucked into a winter wonderland featuring festive music and snowflake lighting. Surrounded by Chicago’s skyscrapers and twinkling lights, guests can enjoy a selection of hot beverages and snacks available at the Chalet. The Sky Rink is available for groups to rent or for private events, such as marriage proposals. Skates are available to rent for $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, with 100% of the skate rental proceeds donated to two Chicago children’s charities: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Hephzibah Children’s Association.
  • For more information on Chicago holidays, visit Choose Chicago.

Celebrate the Holidays in Chicago: Great Happenings

Running now through January 7, 2024, Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden (located in Glencoe, Chicago’s North Shore) returns for its fifth season with an illuminated outdoor trail dazzling with brand new installations from around the world and beloved returning favorites such as the Winter Cathedral and a reimagined version of the Fire Garden.New works from international artists include Lilies, from UK artist Jigantics (illuminated 5-foot lilies float elegantly on water, providing a mesmerizing view from the bridge above and igniting a sense of warmth and excitement), Night Lights, from French artist TILT (delicate lamp-shaped lights that extend nearly 19 feet high amplify a cozy atmosphere with a display of soft ambient colors) and Sea of Light, from UK artist Ithaca (thousands of individually controlled balls of LED light make Evening Island sparkle and dance their way to a bespoke soundtrack in multiple patterns and colors). Tickets sell out quickly so it is recommended to book your time and date in advance; advance tickets for adults (non-members) begin at $34 and children (ages 3-12) at $19. 

The Christkindlmarket celebrates its 27th season at Daley Plaza, its fifth year at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville, and its second time at RiverEdge Park in Aurora.  This year, Christkindlmarket is introducing its first ceramic beer stein with a holiday-themed design ($20), as well as location-specific $8 souvenir mugs with unique designs at each market (for example: the Chicago mug shows off downtown landmarks like the City Hall building and Daley Plaza’s Picasso sculpture while the Wrigleyville mug shows off Hotel Zachary, the intersection sign of Clark & Addison, and much more.) These mugs are hotly anticipated collector’s items for locals who have turned Christkindlmarket into a holiday tradition since 1996. Modeled after the 16th-century holiday markets in Germany, the free-admission outdoor bazaar is a hub for traditional German fare, delightful warm beverages and handcrafted gifts for purchase, and charming holiday vibes the entire family can enjoy. And now in its third year, another popular favorite is back – the annual Christkindlmarkt ornament, hand-painted and glass blown in Europe, portraying a market scene with holiday elements on its ice blue background ($41 at all info booths).

  • Admission to the market is free but food, beverages, and handcrafted gifts all must be purchased. All markets open on November 17; Aurora and Chicago locations close on December 24 and Wrigleyville on December 31. 

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry (running through January 7, 2024) is a beloved annual tradition that began in 1942 with a single tree. Today the Museum features a four-story floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent holiday traditions from cultures around the world.

This year the museum will also be celebrating the wonders of snow, with an exhibition in the Lower Court featuring intricate photographs of snowflakes taken by Caltech physicist Ken Libbrecht.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum (Though January 6, 2024) invites visitors to celebrate the holidays and marvel at how light transforms a magnificent landscape. Journey along a 1-mile paved walking path (that is fully ADA compliant for guests with limited mobility), amid festive music and lighting effects, explore exciting new features and immersive installations. Afterwards, warm up by a cracking fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Ginkgo Restaurant in the Visitor Center will serve dinner guests view the display’s finale on Meadow Lake. The Arboretum Store will also be open for holiday shopping; gifts include a special temperature-activated, color-changing ceramic mug that will be available for purchase during all Illumination dates. Tickets start at $28 per person for nonmembers. 

People ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Plaza Ice Rink in Chicago’s Millennium Park; December 2021.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park offers ice skating all winter, through March, weather permitting.  Admission is free, but online reservations are required and skate rentals are available. You’ll be surrounded by the downtown skyline, with magical Christmas lights from the City of Chicago Christmas tree reflected in ‘The Bean’ / Cloud Gate sculpture. OR, head over to Maggie Daley Park, right next to Millennium Park, to the picturesque Skating Ribbon that meanders around snow-dusted pine trees and whimsical play spaces. The path is twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. 

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle (November 24 – December 31, 2023) at Lighthouse Artspace Chicago brings cutting-edge technology to meet the artistry of ballet dancers. This mesmerizing 30-minute immersive experience, set to Tchailkovsky’s music, weaves the classic tale of Marie and her toy nutcracker. Join them, on their magical adventure through the Land of Sweets, brought to life by renowned ballet dancers and innovative projection mapping technology. Pricing begins at $29.99 per person. 

  • While you’re here… Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago is bringing a new pop-up bar experience, Bar Humbug, to reign in the holiday season. The ArtSpace will be transformed into a winter wonderland with wall-to-wall holiday scenes. A lot like traditional German beer halls, there will be long tables and plush banquettes for groups to gather. Bar Humbug will present live musicians and DJs playing the holiday classics. Guests must be 21 to enter.

ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ will include new and exciting LED light displays,  photo ops, and interactive programming including a never-before-seen garden-themed light show on the zoo’s South Lawn. Festive photo ops will dot the zoo, as well as costumed characters and Victorian carolers on select nights. Food and beverages including festive cocktails and hot cocoa will be available at Edie Levy’s Landmark Café. Snowy’s Sprits & S’more and various snack stations around the zoo. Check the calendar for special events such as sensory-friendly nights, a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, and adults-only evenings. General admission ZooLights tickets are $7 per person. Tickets on Fridays, Saturdays, Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 22), and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) are $10 per person. As part of the zoo’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, general admission is FREE on Mondays. Ticket sales from ZooLights directly support the zoo’s world-class animal care, global conservation efforts, and innovative learning programs and help keep the zoo free to the public 365 days a year. ZooLights will run through January 7, 2024. 

For more information on Chicago holiday happenings, visit Choose Chicago.

Chicago Holiday Dining Guide

Hang up your apron this holiday season and opt to either dine out or having the fixings brought to your home table. Want to know how? Check out these options from Choose Chicago.

Chicago Restaurant Specials To Bring Thanksgiving to Your Home: 

Avli Taverna (1335 W Wrightwood Ave #1, Chicago, IL 60614) will offer holiday meals for pick-up from November 20-22, 2023). The menu includes Oven-Roasted Lamb Shoulder Meal with greek potatoes, avgolemono soup, spinach and walnut salad, and piece of walnut cake (Price: $46 per person); Greek-Style Half Chicken with greek potatoes, avgolemono soup, spinach and walnut salad, and piece of walnut cake (Price: $39 per person); Tray of Pastichio, a traditional casserole of pasta, ground beef and bechamel (Price: $60, serves 4-6). The meals come hot & ready to eat or cold with reheating instructions. Order on Tock Here

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen (1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622)Bloom Plant Based Kitchen from James Beard-nominated Chef Rodolfo Cuadros is  your vegan and gluten-free friendly option for this year’s Thanksgiving spread. Bloom offers a four-course to-go package for this year’s holiday. Diners can get a Leek & Chestnut Soup for a starter, an Autumn Harvest Salad with a mustard maple vinaigrette, Royal Acorn Squash with stuffed acorn squash, smoked mushrooms and chimichurri and a Pumpkin Pie to close out the meal with cranberry bourbon vanilla preserve, toasted meringue and a lemon balm. Ordering will be available beginning October 20 through their website, and will continue through November 20. Pick-up will be on Wednesday, November 22. 

Daisies (2375 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647)If you’re giving your turkey baster and carving set a break this year, let one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago whip you up a full Turkey Day spread that takes the holiday’s most nostalgic dishes up a notch. Logan Square’s favorite vegetable-focused restaurant, Daisies (New York Times’ Restaurant List 2023) is bringing back their Thanksgiving dinner kits filled with seasonal, Midwestern-inspired holiday classics. Sit back and relax, because Executive Chef Joe Frillman and the team are cooking up a full feast including a Sous Vide Turkey Breast and Confit Leg and Thigh and a variety of sides like Candied Sweet Potatoes with marshmallow, Sage and Maple Stuffing, Brussel Sprouts with Grapes in Bacon Vinaigrette and more. For desserts, take your pick between scrumptious Pumpkin or Apple Crumb Pies (Price: $35 each) whipped up by Executive Pastry Chef Leigh Omilinsky. And of course, if you’re really looking to impress the in-laws, add on a wine trio (Price: $99) to receive three bottles that’ll pair perfectly with your Thanksgiving meal. To-go kits are $240 each and must be ordered in advance with pick-up available on Thanksgiving day. Orders available here on Tock 

The Dearborn (145 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60602)Take the chaos out of baking and pick up a pie from one of Chicago’s best downtown spots. For $35, guests have the option to order two delicious desserts, the French Silk Pie made with dark chocolate custard, oreo shortbread and mascarpone chantilly or the Dutch Apple Pie made with cinnamon apples, “rough puff” crust and a graham cracker streusel. Link to order here. Price: $35

Farm Bar Lakeview (1300 W Wellington Ave, Chicago, IL 60657) Lakeview’s quintessential neighborhood tavern, known for their seasonal and approachable menus, are offering the ultimate Thanksgiving to-go box complete with every main, side and dessert that you will need to serve all your loved ones. Two package options are available – smaller size for 2-4 people and large size for 6-8 people. The menu is handcrafted by Executive Chef David Wakefield, including a Carved and Cooked Turkey, Butternut Squash Bisque, Side of Toasted Pepitas and Creme Fraiche, Autumnal Salad, Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Gravy, Honey Balsamic Brussel Sprouts, Cornbread and Brioche Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Dinner Rolls and Pumpkin Pie. All dishes will only need to be preheated and ready to eat on Thanksgiving Day. Link to order here. Ordering is available until November 15 with pickups available Wednesday, November 22 from 12pm-5pm. Price: Package A (2-4 people): $140, Package B (6-8 people): $200.

Fora (311 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607) – Located in the heart of Fulton Market on the ground floor of The Emily Hotel, Fora is offering a Thanksgiving To-Go feast perfect to pick-up for busy families and hungry gatherings. Menu highlights include a maple sage butter Tom turkey breast, roasted turkey gravy, buttermilk potato purée, heirloom carrots & french beans, orange cranberry sauce, herb sourdough stuffing, farmer’s salad, roasted beets, Hawaiian rolls and apple cranberry pie. Price: $275 (2-4 people), $350 (4-8 people).

Lexington Betty Smokehouse (756 E 111th St., Chicago, IL 60628) – Chicagoland is feeling extra thankful for Lexington Betty Smokehouse this holiday season! The BBQ haven is rolling out its annual Thanksgiving menu, brimming with turkey bliss and rib tips from the season four champion of Food Network’s “BBQ Brawl” and 2023 Master of ‘Cue herself, Chef Dominique Leach. A variety of to-go packs are available for preorder, fit for the hostesses with the mostess and the Friendsgiving goer in need of a ‘homemade’ side alike.

  • Betty Traditional (Feeds Four) | Smoked Turkey, Gravy, Turkey Gizzard Dressing, Cranberry Relish, Candy Yams, Gouda Mac N Cheese, Cornbread Muffins  (Price: $150)
  • Betty “Smoked” (Feeds Four) | Smoked Chicken, Rib Tips, Brisket Baked Beans, Gouda Mac N Cheese (Price: $125)
  • Betty Have It Your Way (A La Carte) | $75 Whole Smoked Turkey (12-15 lbs), $28 Brisket (per lb), $70 Gouda Mac N Cheese (Full Pan), $50 Greens, $70 Peach Cobbler

Orders to be placed online at lexingtonbetty.com by Wednesday, November 15th for pickup on Wednesday, November 23. Pricing varies by selected Thanksgiving to-go pack.

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse (505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611) – Known for its impressive carnivorous offerings, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse will be living up to their iconic reputation with an epic Thanksgiving meal available for dine-in or to carry out. A feast of Slagel Family Farm Roasted Turkey served with Apple-cranberry sauce will be served alongside Nuske’s bacon French green beans and Au Gratin Sweet Potatoes. Available from 4 – 8:30 PM, make reservations and order online here. Price: $59

The Publican (837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607) – Leave the prep to the pros behind One Off Hospitality’s culinary powerhouse, as The Publican comes together once again with acclaimed Head Chef/Butcher Rob Levitt of Publican Quality Meats and James Beard Award-winning baker Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread to elevate your at-home Thanksgiving! Skip the grocery store chaos and pre-order sustainably-raised Slagel Farms-sourced turkey and ham, with add-ons like brine kits, gravy, and stuffing sausage to make cooking a breeze. Savvy hosts can outsource sides, pies, and everything in between, mixing and matching from Publican holiday favorites like garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts with fregola, honey oat pull-apart rolls, house-made desserts, curated wines, and more! Orders can be picked up at The Publican or delivered right to your door for $15 (restrictions apply, please refer to the delivery map on Table22). Pickup and delivery available 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, November 20th, Tuesday, November 21st, and Wednesday, November 22nd. Available here on Table22.

Chicago Hotels & Restaurants That Set a Fine Table 

Maple & Ash (8 W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610) – Chef/Partner Danny Grant and the team are here to take the stress off your plate this year by serving up an indulgent feast featuring beloved Thanksgiving classics made with their signature luxurious flair that’s sure to impress your relatives. Settle into Maple’s elegant dining room and start your dinner off with a toast of bubbles picked from their robust, expertly crafted list of bottles. For the main course, dig into a decadent Black Truffle Turkey plate (Price: $75) complete with favorite sides like pomme puree, brussel sprouts and chanterelles for a dose of classic Thanksgiving comfort. For those who still need their fix, Maple’s wood-fired menu of steaks, seafood towers, and caviar will also be available. Thursday, November 23, 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.; reservations available here

The Peninsula Chicago (108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611) – Elaborate holiday brunches have been a signature of The Peninsula Chicago for many years. Guests can usher in the festive fall harvest season with The Lobby’s annual Thanksgiving Brunch on Thursday, November 23, which will feature à la carte plated options and buffet items served via a variety of stations: the carving station features Ferndale turkey, dry aged striploin, suckling pig; local foraged mushrooms and ancient grain station; seafood station with jumbo shrimp, Alaskan king crab, Jonah crab claws, east and west coast oysters, sushi and sashimi, maki and nigiri; an imported and domestic caviar station; a global cheese and charcuterie station; Shanghai Terrace station featuring Peking Duck, handmade dim sum and stir-fried favorites; and a Lobster bisque with winter truffle action station. A decadent dessert buffet rounds out the holiday selections. Entertainment features a string quartet as well as a roving magician for children. Brunch seatings are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Brunch is priced at US$ 325 per adult and US$ 95 per person for children ages 5 to 12 years. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. Reservations are accepted via TOCK.

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago (401 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611) – Guests can indulge in a 4-course Thanksgiving Dinner at Terrace16 on Thursday, November 23. The first course will include a carrot & parsnip soup, parsnip chips and chives, followed by a second course of kale chicory salad with toasted pecans, apples, acorn squash, pumpkin goddess dressing. The main course will feature slow roasted sliced turkey with black garlic pomme puree, roasted winter vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey demi glaze. To top it all off, dessert will include a slice of pie (pumpkin, pecan, or sweet potato). The Regular Dinner Menu will be available as well. Price: $85 per adult, $39 per child (under 12 years old) prior to taxes & service charges. Booking is available via OpenTable.

Chicago Cooking Classes To Hone Your Kitchen Skills: 

Tutore Cooking School (2755 W Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60618) – Why buy pies when you can make them from scratch? Tutore Cooking School is offering a number of Thanksgiving pie making classes, teaching the proper steps to make the perfect pie for Thanksgiving dinner. From making the flaky pie crust, finding the best apples, proper baking tips, and general knife skills, students will be able to learn how to make both a Pumpkin and Apple pie. At the end of the class, each guest will be able to bring home a full pie. Classes are available November 19 -November 22, 2023. 

Discover Chicago’s New & Trending Food & Libations

A new barbecue restaurant in Canaryville, Bell Heir’s BBQ opened its doors in January 2023. Located at 704 W. 47th St., this casual spot offers diners brisket, ribs, burgers, and more. (Neighborhood: South Side)

Bistro Monadnock, a French bistro from the owners of Victor Bar and Love Street, will open in Spring 2023. Located inside the 130-year-old Monadnock Building at 325 S. Federal St., the menu will feature classic French dishes prepared by executive chef Johnny Besch. (Neighborhood: The Loop)

The Cauldron, a magic and wizard-themed restaurant and bar that brings fantasy to life through food and beverage spaces around the world, is pleased to announce the grand opening date of its third location in the U.S. in Wicker Park (1612 W Division St.) on May 4, 2023. As the brand’s largest U.S. location yet, The Cauldron Chicago fills the space of a 10,000-square foot former bank that will boast a ticketed and ever-evolving Potion-Making Experience, a walk-in restaurant and bar with weekly programming, and more. (Neighborhood: Wicker Park)

Dawn, a new brunch spot from the owner of Caribbean bar and restaurant 14 Parish, will open Summer 2023 at 1642 E. 56th St. at the former home of Piccolo Mondo. Restaurateur Racquel Fields, a South Side native, is planning to offer a combination of new American fare and Southern staples like fried green tomatoes. (Neighborhood: Hyde Park)

Vegan cuisine is on the menu at Don Bucio’s Taqueria in Logan Square. James Beard Award-nominated chef Rodolfo Cuadros opened the plant-based restaurant at 2763 N. Milwaukee Ave. in early 2023. (Neighborhood: Logan Square)

West Loop Mexican restaurant and bar Federales will open a second Chicago location in Logan Square at 2471 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Spring 2023. Four Corners, the hospitality group behind Federales, Ranalli’s, Benchmark, and Kirkwood, will transform the former Marcello’s Father & Son restaurant space into Federales’s Logan Square outpost. (Neighborhood: Logan Square)

Fioretta is a new steakhouse from the team behind Siena Tavern and Prime & Provisions set to open in Spring 2023. The menu at the 318 N. Sangamon St. location features Italian-American fare. (Neighborhood: Fulton Market) 

After debuting Gordon Ramsay Burger in December 2021, celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay plans to pay homage to one of his most popular TV shows with Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen. Set to open in River North in 2023, the 18,000-square-foot two-story restaurant will be one of only a handful locations in the U.S. and will include a few unique-to-Chicago, to-be-determined menu items. (Neighborhood: River North) 

Kindling | Downtown Cookout & Cocktails, a new concept from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, opened January 2023 inside the Catalog at Willis Tower. The 17,000-square-foot live fire show kitchen restaurant is helmed by James Beard Award winner Jonathon Sawyer, formerly of the Four Seasons Hotel’s Adorn Restaurant & Bar. (Neighborhood: The Loop) 

New York City restaurant Kohoku-Ku Ramen is opening its first Chicago location in Spring 2023. The shop at 1136 W. Thorndale Ave. offers diners 12 different types of ramen with a variety of broths. (Neighborhood: Edgewater) 

Michelin-star Chef Daniel Rose returned home after years in New York and abroad to open a French restaurant Le Select in Chicago with the industrious Boka Restaurant Group in January 2023. The menu features traditional French brasserie fare, showcasing the best ingredients and classic French techniques. (Neighborhood: River North) 

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will open two new Ramen-san and Sushi-san restaurants in Lincoln Park later this year at 1962 N. Halsted St. and 1948 N. Halsted St., respectively. The Lincoln Park Ramen-san will open in early 2023, while the Sushi-san will open in late 2023.

Ramen-san’s Lincoln Park outpost will mark the fourth location of the noodle shop. Sushi-san’s debut will signal the sushi restaurant’s third location. (Neighborhood: Lincoln Park)

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has announced the following two restaurants that will open at the highly anticipated St. Regis Chicago hotel. (Neighborhood: The Loop) 

  • The first restaurant, Miru (pronounced mē-rōō), from Executive Chef Hisanobu Osaka will open Spring 2023 in tandem with the hotel. Miru, Japanese for “view,” will showcase Chef Osaka’s unique take on Japanese cuisine and boast two terraces and a dining room that overlooks the Chicago River and Navy Pier. The Japanese restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will include sushi, sashimi, and raw selections from the sushi bar, complimented by a selection of Izakaya-style dishes like hand-made dumplings, skewers, fried rice, and hot pots, as well as a robust wagyu and seafood section.
  • The second restaurant, Tre Dita (pronounced trā dē-tä), Italian for three fingers, is a nod to the thickness of a properly cut bistecca Fiorentina that the restaurant will be serving from its open-hearth wood fired grill. The Tuscan Steakhouse is in collaboration with award-winning Chef Evan Funke (Felix, Mother Wolf) and will open later in 2023.
  • Netflix’s School of Chocolate winner and Jean Banchet Award nominee Juan Gutierrez has been named Executive Pastry Chef, while
  • will oversee the restaurants’ beverage programs as Beverage Director.

Little Goat Diner, the newest location from James Beard Award-winning chef Stephanie Izard, will open its doors at 3325 N. Southport Ave. in Spring 2023. The menu features new takes on classic diner dishes like burgers, French toast, and chicken and dumplings. (Neighborhood: Lakeview) 


The Oakville Grill & Cellar, another new restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, designed to evoke the effortless ease of Napa Valley dining, opened April 2023 at 163 North Green St. (Neighborhood: Fulton Market)

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit choosechicago.com.

Chicago’s Exciting Food Scene & the Upcoming James Beard Awards

Chicago, an international food destination, is once again hosting the prestigious James Beard Awards on June 3-5. To buy tickets, see below. Chicago also recently was recognized by Food & Wine’s new Global Tastemakers Awards in the following categories:


○ 10 Best Cities for Neighborhood Restaurants in the U.S. (#4)
○ The Best Cities for Food in the U.S. (#6)
○ The 10 Best Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #10)
○ The 5 Most Creative Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #1, The Aviary, #2)

James Beard Awards 2023: full list of Chicago nominees


Big Jones Restaurant chef and owner, Paul Fehribach was recognized as a nominee for Best Chef in the Midwest, 2023 by the James Beard Foundation. When he is not in the kitchen, Fehribach has been writing his multi-year cookbook project Midwestern Food: A Chef’s Guide to the Surprising History of a Great American Cuisine available for purchase in mid-October 2023 from local booksellers online and at Big Jones.

The prestigious James Beard Awards will be returning to Chicago to honor the best restaurants and chefs in America on June 5, 2023. The list of Chicago semifinalist contenders include:

Smyth: Outstanding Restaurant 

One of the James Beard Awards’ highest honors, Outstanding Restaurant recognizes establishments that “demonstrate consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, and hospitality.” Helmed by husband-and-wife duo John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, this tasting menu spot is grounded in pristine products and produce grown in close collaboration with small farms. The menu, which evolves constantly, is served in a welcoming atmosphere with an open kitchen, so guests can watch the chef’s creativity in action.

Damarr Brown, VirtueEmerging Chef

Last year, executive chef Erick Williams of Virtue took from the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. This year, his chef de cuisine Damarr Brown is being recognized for displaying “exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability”. Brown, a fan favorite on Top Chef, has been demonstrating his culinary expertise in Virtue’s kitchen in the Hyde Park neighborhood, composing elegant versions of classic Southern American dishes.


Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining: Best New Restaurant

A hidden gem no more, Khmai has received local and national acclaim for its authentic Cambodian cuisine. Executive chef Mona Sang draws on her Cambodian heritage to compose the restaurant’s weekly menus, which are all served family style for the entire table to enjoy. Khmai is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood — be sure to make a reservation before you go.

Obélix: Best New Restaurant

Chicago is home to a plethora of excellent French restaurants, but Obélix has still managed to stand out from the pack. The intimate space in River North serves up elevated takes on modern French fare. Diners will find favorites like French onion soup, escargots, and steak frites, alongside creative dishes like foie gras macarons, lobster crepes, and confit squab.

Sepia: Outstanding Hospitality

A longtime favorite in the West Loop neighborhood, this venerable institution has earned this nomination for “fostering a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff that serves as a beacon for the community”. The menu melds rustic and refined elements in a way that’s both classic and approachable. The four-course tasting menu offers various options, including sourdough cavatelli, truffle fried chicken, dry-aged beef striploin, and more.

All Together Now: Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

This funky space in the West Town neighborhood is a jack of all trades — wine shop, cheese counter, intimate restaurant, and community gathering space. You can grab some small plates at happy hour, enjoy a weekend brunch, load up on ingredients for the perfect charcuterie board, or just kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the laidback vibes.

These regional accolades recognize chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, while contributing positively to their broader community. The following Chicago chefs have been nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2023:

● North America’s 50 Best Bars named Kumiko and Milk Room to their 2023 list.

James Beard Events

2023 James Beard Awards

June 3-5, 2023

Contact Host

Chicago, IL, USA


2023 James Beard Awards

For more than 30 years, the James Beard Awards, among the nation’s most prestigious honors, have recognized leaders in the culinary and food media industries. This summer, nominees and Award winners will be honored through a weekend of events sure to be the industry’s and food lovers’ highlight of the year, gathering nearly 1,500 of the country’s top chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts in Chicago with millions more tuning in live and on TV. More than 70 Awards will recognize excellence in the categories of restaurants and chefs, books, broadcast media, journalism, leadership, and lifetime achievements.

Join us as we celebrate excellence and community while recognizing our rich and diverse culinary heritage and those who tell its story.


James Beard Media Awards
Saturday, June 3 at 5:00 P.M. CT, Columbia College Chicago

A theater-style seated awards ceremony honoring broadcast media, cookbook, and journalism nominees from around the country. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony, highlighting chefs and other luminaries, including those from the Chicago culinary scene. 400 guests are expected.

James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards
Monday, June 5 at 6:00 P.M. CT, Lyric Opera of Chicago

This Academy Awards-style event will feature red carpet arrivals and an awards ceremony honoring the best of the best in the restaurant and chef industry. This premier event will be broadcast live. 1,650 guests are expected.

James Beard Post-Awards Celebration
Monday, June 5 at 9:00 P.M. CT, Chicago Union Station

A walk-around tasting reception held at Union Station will immediately follow the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. Attended by over 1,600 chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts, the event will feature food and beverage stations highlighting chefs from around the country.

Reservation Policy: All reservations are non-refundable.

Please reach out to boxoffice@jamesbeard.org with any questions. To order tickets, click here.

About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.

What’s New and Happening in Chicago – Winter/Spring 2023

The New Year brings a plethora of new opportunities to explore Chicago. Whether it’s the host of new, hot restaurants, haute shopping experiences, or high-energy, immersive shows and attractions,

it’s clear: the Best Big City in the U.S. (six years running!) isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, it’s just getting started.

January signals the triumphant, sold-out comeback of First Bites Bash after a three-year hiatus. The all-inclusive January 19 event inside the iconic Field Museum kicks off the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, celebrating the area’s acclaimed culinary scene across 17 days and more than 300 top restaurants. Restaurant Week includes special prix fixe menus ($25 for brunch or lunch and $42 and/or $59 for dinner).

These signature events are a great way to indulge in around-the-world delicacies without leaving the city. Immersion takes on a new form with Stage 773’s WHIM, a walk-thru experience inviting guests to partake in a whimsical night out inside a world where every art form comes together – paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance – all by Chicago artists.

And, on the heels of Black History Month, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center debuts The Negro Motorist Green Book, an exhibit dedicated to African American travel in the Jim Crow era.

February is well-known for being a month dedicated to and all about love, and this year, there’s no shortage of events to fall in love with.

This month marks the beginning of a bevy of bold performances at stages across the city, from Broadway in Chicago, the Belmont Theatre District and the Joffrey Ballet. And with the return of Chicago Theatre Week (now in its 11th year), that means these can’t miss live performances are available from February 16-26 for $30 or less!

The Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, returning to McCormick Place Feb. 11-20. And throughout the month, raise a glass to great American writers at the American Writers Museum’s new Get Lit happy hour series.

Complete with the 60-plus-year tradition of dyeing of the Chicago River green, March makes a colorful point to the world that no city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day quite like we do. From the signature parade downtown to neighborhood-specific festivities, Irish history and culture run deep in neighborhoods like BeverlyAlbany Park, and Mt. Greenwood.

With so much in store this year, go ahead: Discover big-city culture, Midwestern hospitality, and urban adventure. Come explore the city that feels like home! Visit ChooseChicago.com for more information.

Please click here for the full list of What’s New in Chicago for Winter/Spring 2023: https://www.choosechicago.com/press-media/whats-new-in-chicago/whats-new-and-happening-in-chicago-winter-spring-2023/

6 Unique Things to do in Chicago That Every Local Should Know About

Check out the recent Redfin article written by Ana Guzman that Travel/Food was featured in.

If you’re living in Chicago, chances are you’ve seen popular tourist attractions like Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean, or have walked around the Navy Pier. Although these attractions make Chicago unique, have you ever wondered what else is out there? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. We’ve gathered Chicagoans to share their favorite unique things to do in Chicago to give you some fresh ideas. So whether you’re ready to shake up your routine or new to the city looking for apartments for rent in Chicago, check out locally approved attractions you want to take advantage of.

Are you looking to step back in time? The Art Institute of Chicago will help transport you as you like. The museum houses one of the country’s largest permanent collections and other centuries-old artwork.

1. You can’t go wrong with the Art Institute of Chicago

Martin, a local Chicagoan from SmartMoneyMatch, a network that connects the global investment community, recommends the Art Institute of Chicago when the weather is terrible. “It’s always worth a visit. It’s filled with masterpieces from every era, from Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte to Andy Warhol’s print of actress Elizabeth Taylor.”

2. Visit the Chicago River in the summer

In the summertime, Chicago becomes an outdoor oasis for all residents and visitors. From the various parks and the waterways, you’ll find a place you’ll love to explore.

“My favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is to go kayaking on the Chicago River in the summer,” says May, a Chicago local from Nutrition Happens, a space dedicated to health, wellness, and nutrition. “Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, there’s nothing better than soaking in the famous skyline views with a peaceful paddle down the river.”

Chicago local Jane Simon Ammeson agrees. “Rivers were the highways of the past, but the Chicago River offers uniquely modern adventures for me. I can paddle its waters and shiver at scary stories during a Ghost and Gangster kayak tour, and sip a Spanish Rioja while gazing at the city lights. I love to stroll along the Riverwalk, choose a favorite place to dine, and plan my next adventure while watching the boats go by.”

3. Take a visit to the Shedd Aquarium

A unique helicopter view of the John G. Shedd Aquarium on Lake Michigan, Chicago.

Bungee QC Fitness shares that their favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is visiting the Shedd Aquarium. “With over 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates from around the world, the Shedd Aquarium showcases an impressive array of aquatic life. 

The Shedd Aquarium is one of the country’s oldest and most respected aquariums. If you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it.

4. Explore nearby neighborhoods

Chicago is full of charming neighborhoods like River North and Edgewater. You’ll indeed find beautiful places in Chicago that will blow you away within a matter of minutes from each other. So grab your shoes, head out the door, and get ready to explore.

“Chicago is a great city for food and family fun,” says Jenny and Sheena, local Chicagoans from “And Then We Had Kids” Podcast. “Park & Field, located in the Logan Square neighborhood, is an excellent restaurant for all ages, and they even host fun family events and a bottomless boozy brunch on the weekends. If you’re looking for a place to host your event, Park & Field features fee-free party rentals. And the best part is they’re dog-friendly.

5. Dine in local favorite restaurants

Whether you’re searching for homes for sale in Pilsen because of the authentic eats or just looking for hidden gems in Chicago, you’re sure to find something that will make your mouth water. 

If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to check out the Irish Nobleman Pub on the West Side. Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while enjoying the lush foliage, flowers & hummingbirds in the summer. The patio is lined with AstroTurf, so it’s like a green oasis near downtown Chicago – and that also makes it super comfortable for bringing my dog along. It’s not just a Chicago favorite spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; the summertime patio is an attraction on its own.

Are you looking for a fancy night on the town? Vess, a local from Bus Connection, a sophisticated transportation service, recommends stopping by Bavette’s Bar and Bouf. “One of Chicago’s finest steakhouse restaurants, Bavette’s Bar and Bouf is truly a hidden gem. Feel the swanky ambiance of a prohibition-era speakeasy, softly lit with red velvet wraparound booths and sultry jazz music soundtracks. It’s the most unique and intimate place to wine and dine.”

6. Go to any event hosted by Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds connects the community with secret concerts in unique spaces. You’ll receive the address of the event within 36 hours before the event. You’ll experience different shows, from musical genres and comedy to dance. 

“My recommendation for a unique thing to do in Chicago is to go to events hosted by Sofar Sounds,” says Emily from Mezz Entertainment. “Through this experience, you can attend intimate gigs throughout the city, like the loop and Lincoln Park. I love discovering new artists to listen to from these shows.” 

About Ana Guzman

Ana is part of the Redfin content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and life & style. Her dream house would be a contemporary style with lots of natural light.

Lost Chicagoland Classics: George Diamond Steak House Redux

In an update to my previous post about George Diamond Steak House and for all those who are into 1950s-style supper clubs and Chicagoland food history, check out this great You Tube post about George Diamond Steakhouse. Back in the day, there were several in the Chicago area including at 630 S. Wabash in the South Loop, Las Vegas, Acapulco, and Antioch (where there was also a George Diamond Golf Course) as well as in Whiting, Indiana.

If you’re thinking how does Whiting, an industrial city on the Indiana-Illinois border fit in with such locations as Vegas, Chicago, and Acapulco–well, consider this–at one time Whiting, now best known as the place where Polish foods are celebrated every year at the Pierogi Fest, one of the top festivals in the U.S. was a major destination for both Chicago and Northwest Indiana residents who enjoyed swank dining and perch dinners. It rocked from the early 1900s to the early 1980s and had such classic places as Phil Smidt’s and Vogel’s. Indeed the latter sold so many frog legs that they started raising their own in nearby Lake George.

And, if you’re really into George Diamond history, Etsy has two of the restaurant’s shot glasses for sale for $145.

For more about vintage restaurants in the Chicagoland area, check out Classic Restaurants of Northwest.Indiana.