The 27 best cocktail bars in Chicago
From rooftops to speakeasies, from the West Loop to Little Village to Albany Park, there's a local Chicago cocktail bar for every occasion and taste. Staffed by some of the world's top bartenders, the best cocktail bars in Chicago mix drinks that you can enjoy before dinner at a Chicago steakhouse or when you're keeping the party going into the wee hours of the morning. Whether you're in the mood for a classic Manhattan or Negroni or you're hankering for an over-the-top tropical-inspired sipper with colorful bendy straws, the best cocktail bars in Chicago will take care of you. When you're looking for something a bit stronger than what's on offer at Chicago breweries and wine bars, make your way to the best cocktail bars in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best bars in Chicago
The 12 best vegan breakfast and brunch spots in Chicago
Chicago may be a meat-and-potatoes town—look no further than our vast array of steakhouses, BBQ joints and burgers—but that hasn’t stopped the plant-based and vegan food movement from making its mark on some of the best restaurants in Chicago. From exclusively vegan eateries to non-plant based joints that prioritize fresh, organic and locally-sourced menus, you’ll find breakfasts and brunches throughout the city accommodating animal-free diets in fast-casual or diner-style atmospheres. Whether you’re craving something greens-filled, greasy, gooey or gravy-soaked, here are the 12 best vegan breakfasts and brunches in Chicago.
The best family weekend getaways from Chicago
Chicago boasts plenty of kid-friendly activities, but if you're planning a family vacation out of town, there are plenty of approachable, fun and memorable destinations close by for a weekend away. Cities, state parks, and lakes across the region are full of hiking for all ages and engaging, hands-on ways to learn about history, ecology and wildlife. Along the way, find quirky shops and hidden gems, kid-friendly restaurants with decadent desserts and recreational activities that kids of all ages will enjoy. From the wacky and weird the to active and relaxing, here are the best family weekend getaways from Chicago (all within four hours of the city).
The 16 best weekend getaways from Chicago
Places like Door County, Galena, and Michigan's southeastern shore have long been popular weekend jaunts for Chicagoans (especially for the best hiking near Chicago), but there’s a host of untapped food, arts and culture scenes beyond the well-known favorites. From post-industrial cities reclaiming their place on the Midwest map to quirky university towns proving they’re more than just a temporary destination, you’ll find underrated weekend getaways from Chicago within a five-hour drive of the city. When you've run out of things to do in Chicago, explore, rejuvenate or get weird at unexpected attractions any time of the year—your next weekend getaway from Chicago is waiting. RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from Chicago
Where to eat brunch outside in Chicago
Tell a Chicagoan it’s above 40 degrees and they’ll tell you at least three patios and a rooftop bar where you should spend such a balmy day. With so much of our year spent indoors, we’re a city that relishes open-air spaces to soak up the sunshine (or stars)–maybe even more than we love feasting on the best brunch in Chicago. Combine the two and you’ve got the perfect excuse to catch up with friends and spend time outdoors before sightseeing or enjoying a summer street festival. These brunch spots feature irresistible globally-inspired dishes from Mexico, Greece and beyond, and their outdoor seating—whether it’s a lush patio, breezy rooftop or sidewalk tables—is the cherry on top of your chicken and waffles. Say cheers to warm weather at the best restaurants for outdoor brunch in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to brunch in Chicago
The best yoga studios in Chicago
You’ll find no shortage of options in Chicago’s robust fitness scene, especially if you're searching for a yoga studio. Whether it’s to tone up, zen out (there are plenty of Chicago spas if you really need to relax) or find a community of like-minded friends, these Chicago yoga studios offer classes for all levels. With an emphasis on expanding the idea of who does yoga, owners of many Chicago studios are inclusive, purposeful, and ready to welcome every body who wants to experience the benefits of this ancient practice. Shimmy into those stretchy pants and get ready to strike a pose—here are some of the best yoga studios in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best gyms in Chicago
The 26 best brunch in Chicago to try right now
The origins of this late morning meal may be contested, but there’s no questioning Chicago’s admiration for brunch. From standards like pancakes and French toast to creative fusions like schnitzels and waffles or za’atar and blue corn bagels, you’ll find brunch at the best Chicago restaurants for whatever craving—or hangover cure—you’re after. And whether it’s to cozy up with close friends inside on a cold winter day, turn with a bottomless brunch or fuel up before exploring the city, there's a spot that has exactly what you need. Here’s where you’ll find the best brunch in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: Find the best breakfast in Chicago
The 15 best happy hours in Chicago
Society may have revised what post-pandemic work looks like, but post-work drinks? That’s a staple that won’t go away anytime soon. Leave it to Chicago’s best cocktail bars and restaurants to offer enticing happy hour drinks and food pairings, from yuquita fries and lavender-infused vodka cocktails to oysters and martinis. Whether you’ve been hard-pressed to get a reservation at a popular restaurant, want to kick back with coworkers and a few pitchers of sangria, or impress a date with your board game skills, the best happy hours in Chicago offer plenty of entertainment—4pm karaoke, anyone?—and atmosphere to spice up any day of the week.
The 8 best cheap hotels in Chicago
Chicago has no shortage of spectacular hotels—even if you’re traveling on a budget. You’ll find hip and affordable accommodations year-round in the Loop and throughout the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. While some no-frills hotels simply offer a cozy bed (with so much to explore, you won’t spend much time inside anyway), others feature social events like yoga and happy hours, ideal for solo travelers looking to mingle. Whether you’re visiting for the first time, passing through for work or you’re a local ready for a well-deserved staycation, the best cheap hotels in Chicago balance cost and quality, allowing you to get on with exploring the world-renowned Chicago museums, restaurants, summer festivals and Chicago attractions. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in Chicago.
The best late-night delivery restaurants in Chicago
When you’re hungry and it's past midnight, Chicago offers more than just fast food drive-throughs to satisfy your cravings. Chicago late-night delivery restaurants boast takeout and delivery options that range from Jalisco, Mexico-inspired goat stew to rib eye steaks paired with pancakes. There’s good news for cheese lovers, too: Mancy dishes involve melted fillings that seem to be much more satiating after dark. Whether you’ve spent a night at the city’s best cocktail bars or at one of Chicago’s best music venues, these Chicago late-night delivery restaurants will provide much-needed grub into the wee hours of the morning. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the best restaurants in Chicago
The 24 most romantic restaurants in Chicago
You don’t have to go to Paris to have a meal where you can feel the love in the air. From the twinkling lights of the city’s skyline to the many waterfront views, there are many romantic things to do in Chicago—and that includes some of the best restaurants in Chicago. A date at a romantic restaurant in Chicago could involve a quaint evening at a traditional Italian eatery, dining under the amber glow of lamps at a secret speakeasy bar, or a meal in one of the most unexpected places (who knew that furniture stores had so much allure?). These romantic restaurants in Chicago provide sultry or charming—whichever you prefer—atmospheres and unforgettable culinary experiences for your next Valentine's Day meal or an intimate night out. RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago
Sex shops in Chicago for all your sex toy needs
Say goodbye to shame and hello to new possibilities at these sex shops in Chicago. No longer hidden in basements or behind beaded curtains—in fact, one features floor-to-ceiling windows—sex shops in Chicago pride themselves on being LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive of folks of all sizes, ages, genders and experience levels. From family-owned shops to outposts of national chains, no matter which store you head to, you can rest assured that staff will happily help you find the exact items you need for healthy and positive sexual experiences. So leave the stigma at the door as you shop for your fetish, BDSM, bachelorette, lingerie, toys, gear or game needs at sex shops in Chicago. And if you’re looking for romantic things to do, why not indulge your desires in one of the many workshop or private parties offerings?
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Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria
Bringing much needed plant-based sabor to the River North neighborhood, plant-based dinrers can step into this bright, intimate space covered in colorful murals and enjoy Mexican staples. Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria’s fully-vegan menu includes tacos, enchiladas, molletes and other small bites. For brunch, grab the chilaquiles and coffee—there’s bar seating available if you’re dining solo, while small groups can snag one of the tables.
Lucy’s Cafe is great any day of the week, but it holds a special charm on slow, cheerful weekend mornings spent with family and friends. The extensive menu of American-style breakfast is exclusively vegetarian, and most items can be prepared vegan upon request. Order standout dishes like vegan waffles or the southwest skillet—a medley of veggies, plant-based meat, black beans and cilantro—and grab a seat on the sunny front patio when weather allows.
Nothing gets closer to a home-cooked meal and a loving atmosphere than Hyde Park’s B’Gabs Vegan Scratch Kitchen. Owner Gabrielle Darvassy prioritizes organic and local ingredients to craft her healthy, aesthetically-pleasing meals, as well as the goal of a come-as-you-are atmosphere where you can be your whole self. Fill up on the Breakfast Burrito Bowl with vegan sausage, potatoes, black beans, greens, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and avocado sauce or the Breakfast Sammie with chickpea eggs, sausage, potatoes and cheese on a bun.
RealGood Stuff Co.
Fresh, organic and local aren’t just buzzwords at this Chicago fast-casual eatery and grocery store, which sources the majority of its food from local organic farms. Real Good Food serves both plant-based and animal meat dishes with accommodations for a variety of dietary needs. While they’re known for their hearty juices and smoothies with creative names–like the Bluice Wayne or Kale E. Kopowski–their vegan breakfast options of bagels, bowls, burritos, and sweet toasts are worth a try.
A new app aims to make camping easier and more accessible
Last summer, Chicago couple Emma and Blair Sheade were celebrating their one-year anniversary with a camping trip. Though they’re frequent campers, they jokingly refer to themselves as amateurs because they always seem to forget something or have trouble starting their campfire. On that particular trip, “everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” says Emma. She went to bed that night thinking that there must be an easier way for people to camp. And if there were, perhaps more people would want to do it. That was the genesis of Pitch, the pair’s recently-launched on-demand camping concierge service catering to Chicagoans who want to experience nature, but might not have the tools or time to organize a camping trip on their own. Emma considers Pitch to be an authentic outdoor experience that provides a middle ground between traditional, do-it-yourself camping—which can be intimidating to novices—and the often pricier glamping. When you book a night with Pitch, the service sets up your campsite and stocks it with the essentials—a tent, sleeping pads and bags, a lantern, a welcome cooler stocked with essentials, water, snacks, games and a fire log—and tears it all down after you leave. If you have questions about the area or the equipment during your stay, a “scout” is on-call to help you. Outdoor recreation has become extremely popular as a safe and easy travel option throughout the pandemic, but it’s still not as easy an option as it could be. “So many people want to try [ca