Chicago has long been a cultural melting pot, one where different culinary influences all bring something of their own to the table. With such a strong food scene, it can be hard to know where in the Windy City to start. From deep-dish pizza to Chicago dogs, here are our picks for can’t-miss food experiences.
It’s easy to detect the strong Italian influence on Chicago’s culinary scene; after all, some of the city’s most iconic dishes reflect this tradition. Don’t miss deep-dish pizza, known for its buttery crust, bright tomato sauce, and generous sprinkling of mozzarella. Sandwich lovers should sample an Italian beef: a roll topped with thinly sliced roast beef and sweet or hot peppers, then dipped in its own cooking liquids. And Chicago’s sizable Mexican community has made tacos a must-eat as well.
With two pro baseball teams in town, the prevalence of Vienna hot dogs should come as no surprise, but unlike in New York City, Chicagoans load up their hot dogs with mustard, peppers, pickles, relish, tomatoes, and celery salt—but no ketchup. If you head to a stadium, sample Chicago mix popcorn, made with a combination of caramel- and cheese-coated kernels.
- Eat your way through the Chicago food scene—pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, local chocolate, and craft beer—on a guided walking tour of some of the city’s best restaurants.
- Treat yourself to an unforgettable meal on the Willis Tower Skydeck, which rises 1,353 feet (412 meters) above Chicago.
- Enjoy a sunset dinner cruise aboard a luxury yacht on Lake Michigan—the city’s iconic skyline makes for a wonderful backdrop.
- Cycle your way through neighborhoods like Wrigleyville, Old Town, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park while stopping to fuel up at local culinary haunts.