As a Chicagoan we’ve all been there…. You have friends in town from out of town and they can’t wait to “tour” Chicago. You start to imagine a weekend that consists of long lines at the Willis Tower followed by lunch at Gino’s East and then a night out somewhere near Rush and Division. You quickly snap yourself out of this freakish nightmare after you picture yourself dancing to 80’s music next to a string of bachelorette parties at the Hangge Uppe! Slowly you start to realize that there’s really no reason to have to succumb to that sort of torture and start to consider the true secret wonders of Chicago. Here is our top 10 list of unique Chicago finds for you and your guests:

  1. Drinks at the Aviary or The Office (Grant Achatz’s) exclusive speak easy. Note – make sure to bring your credit card with higher limits because drinks here can be as much $19. If you can afford it though, it’s well worth it! Oh and if you would like to go to the Office… its invitation only so good luck 🙂
  2. Tour Lagunitas Brewery – after all there are only 2 locations in the country and one of them is right here in Chicago.
  3. Burgers at Kuma’s Corner- This small wonder might be off the beaten path, but now noted as the best burger in the country, it’s worth the travel (and wait). Note- If you go right at lunch time, expect a bit of a line… They have some great craft beers to hold you over until lunch though!
  4. J Parker Rooftop – If you’re looking to impress your friends with one of the best rooftop views, look no further than the J Parker sitting atop Hotel Lincoln in Lincoln Park. Unobstructed views of Lake Michigan is a perfect backdrop for a summer day.
  5. The West Loop’s “Hidden Alley”- Ok, so we might have made this name up but it’s so unique that we couldn’t keep it off the list. Behind the popular Nellcote on Randolph and Green, enter the secluded cobblestone alley and find some of the hottest hangouts in the city including RM Champagne Salon and Green Streets Smoked Meats.
  6. Soho House Chicago- If your guests haven’t already booked their stay, this is the recommendation to give. As a hotel guest, they would have access to their “members only” floor and 60’ rooftop pool… not to mention a swanky lounge, a breakfast joint where they can order fried chicken and waffles, or an amazing spa (Cowshed). Needless to say, this place has it all.
  7. Pequods- Only 1 location in the city- Lincoln Park (other location in Chicago suburb of Morton Grove). They are best known for their pan-style pizza with caramelized crust.
  8. Bavette’s Bar and Beouf- Chicago is well known for their quality steak houses and most people are aware of Gibsons, Mortons, as well as a few others that are new to the scene- Chicago Cut & Mastros. Bavette’s is more of a hidden gem that will still offer you one of the best cuts of meats in Chicago… not to mention their bacon, which is to die for.
  9. Café con Leche- Need a “pick-me-up”? Head out to Logan Square to enjoy one of the best cups of coffee you will ever have. They also feature a Latin-inspired menu with some great comfort food!
  10. Thalia Hall- Re-opened in 2013 after first being established in 1892, this historic landmark has brought new life into its former space but has held to its roots by still offering a wide array of music and artistic events. Thirsty? Make sure to venture to Punch House located in the basement of Thalia Hall, offering punches by the glass, carafe and bowl.