Recommendations for food and activities in Chicago near Millennium Park
November 19, 2023 6:19 PM   Subscribe

We're staying near Millennium Park in early December and would love hearing about any personal experience with walkable things to do, places to eat, etc. I've done quite a bit of obsessing on Google Maps over the past few months, but have never been to this part of Chicago.

Please feel free to tell me about anything in the area that you're passionate about, but I'm especially interested in hearing about the best of the bakeries and the best items they have to offer (I'd like to try them all myself, but I don't think my stomach would appreciate that)!
posted by Eyelash to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Nutella Cafe is always a yummy afternoon treat
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:07 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

The ice cream museum has been on my list to do as well, but I haven't been yet to personally vouch for it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:09 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

Miller’s Pub is a great, old school restaurant. Their dips and pita appetizer was much better than I expected! Good local beer selection, too.
posted by sacrifix at 8:00 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]

i like the chicago cultural center -- they have interesting rotating exhibits, the world's largest tiffany glass dome on the third floor, lots of tables and chairs on the main floor, and it's all completely free.

the intelligentsia on randolph has good hot chocolate and pastries (and coffee too, though i don't often order it).

edited to add: if you're willing to venture a bit farther north, hendrickx makes incredible pastries. my favorite is the pistachio croissant, but everything i've had there has been excellent.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 8:26 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]

The Art Institute is always good for me. I'll revisit this later to review the baked good answers!
posted by TimHare at 9:29 PM on November 19 [5 favorites]

MingHin has dim sum nearby. (Never made it to the Shanghai Terrace, which is much more expensive).
Topolobampo has a Michelin star and is pricey, but good.
The Drake Hotel does a fun afternoon tea; the Palmer House claims to have invented the brownie.

Further afield, there's the Hoosier Mama Pie Company and Joy Yee.
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:00 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

Early December, you say? Definitely stop by the Christkindlmarket!

There's also the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park if that's something you're interested in. You'll need to buy tickets in advance according to the schedule on the website (Dec 4 - Dec 17 tickets are released today!).

It's been a long time since I've gone, but afternoon tea service at Russian Tea Time is lovely.
posted by misskaz at 4:39 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]

If you like those big fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes, go to Hanabusa.
posted by phunniemee at 5:22 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

The Mindworks exhibit is neat and free.

Immediately near Millennium Park, it's hard to go wrong with Stan's Donuts.

North of the river: LA Burdick Chocolate has delightful hot chocolate and mochas and bakery goods.

I think you have to get out of the Loop and River North for not-chain bakery options.
posted by paradeofblimps at 7:17 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

There will be lots of pop-up holiday markets in the Loop to keep an eye out for; one foodie-focused one (if it works out for your timing) is the Sauced Night Market happening at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Dec. 8-9 (free with RSVP).

In the South Loop, there's Sweet Bean for Asian baked goods, and in the Loop near you, there's an outpost of Magnolia Bakery, if you're dying to try it, but most of the best bakery options are in River North/Streeterville or further afield. Ones I've tried that I've liked: Doughnut Vault, the churros at XOCO, the Italian pastry at Dolci Amori, and the pastries and gelato at Eataly. Also, there's apparently now a pop-up French market with baked goods from La Boulangerie, a minichain here that I really like--great croissants and macarons!

I've also bookmarked Pistores, which is supposed to have incredible pastries, and the new Levain Bakery, which has (pricey) cookies, but haven't tried either.

Seconding Hanabusa for their Japanese pancakes--really decadent treat.

The Chicago Architecture Center has a nice museum (and gift shop) which is free through the end of the year.
posted by carrienation at 10:37 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

Some good places to eat in the area: Cafecito, the Gage, Purple Pig, Xoco/Frontera.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:44 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]

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