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5 Reasons to Visit Chicago

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Are you wondering why you need to visit Chicago? Our top 5 reasons are Food, Coffee, Architecture, Art & the City Itself.

Lake Michigan in Chicago Illinois

We hadn’t traveled to Chicago in over a decade. Once there for our recent visit, we saw the city with fresh eyes and were struck by the many things that make Chicago world-class.

We don’t know why we waited so long between our Chicago visits. If you haven’t been to Chicago lately, here are our five reasons to visit Chicago now:

1. Food in Chicago

Chicago Food Favorites - Top 5 Reasons to Visit Chicago
Chicago Food

We knew that the food would be good, but we were still blown away by the food quality at all price points. We’ve already written about some of our excellent restaurant meals, but we also loved accessible local food like Chi dogs, popcorn and donuts.

Eataly in Chicago Illinois
Eataly in Chicago

Even the local outpost of Eataly has its own twist, not to mention an enviable selection of fresh produce. Seriously, eating is one of the best things to do in Chicago. It is one of the best food cities in America after all.

Read about the 20 best American food cities.

2. Coffee in Chicago

Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago Illinois
Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago

We had grand plans to check out several coffee shops around the city. However, we ended up going back every morning to the same Intelligentsia shop for generous, well-constructed pour overs and friendly service. Why mess with perfection?

3. Architecture in Chicago

Chicago Architecture - Top 5 Reasons to Visit Chicago
Chicago Architecture

During our insider’s walking tour with a volunteer Chicago Greeter, we were struck by the city’s ubiquitous, amazing architecture. The city was thoughtfully rebuilt after the Great Fire in 1871, and city planners have done an excellent job of mixing historic buildings with new skyscrapers over recent decades.

We saw interesting architecture throughout the city in different Chicago neighborhoods. Exploring the windy city may be exhausting but it’s certainly never boring.

4. Art in Chicago

Appreciating Sunday in the Park with George at the Art Institute in Chicago
Appreciating Sunday in the Park with George at the Art Institute in Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the great museums of the world. We had just enough time to hit the highlights like A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (pictured below with Susan of BestBitsWorldwide), Nighthawks and American Gothic.

American Gothic Meets Hot Dog Gothic in Chicago
American Gothic Meets Hot Dog Gothic in Chicago

We’re also fans of pop art. It’s extra awesome when pop art and food collide during the same experience.

Four Seasons Mosaic by Marc Chagall in Downtown Chicago
Four Seasons Mosaic by Marc Chagall in Downtown Chicago

We saw lots of street art as well, not to mention a stunning Marc Chagall mosaic right in the middle of downtown. Seeing art is a must whether you have two days in Chicago or longer.

5. The City of Chicago Itself

Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millenium Park
Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millenium Park

Chicago is a magical lakefront city with lots of outdoor space. Everywhere we went, people were enjoying the urban outdoor setting.

Final Thoughts

We were struck by the strong civic pride in every single Chicago resident who we met – a pride backed up by an awesome city of art, architecture and food. We’ll be back well before another decade passes to explore more reasons to visit Chicago.

And next time – we’re eating at Alinea.

Planning Checklist

Hungry for More Food in Chicago?

Go to Au Cheval for one of the best hamburgers in Chicago.

Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.


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Important Update
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.

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