Our Favorite Things to Do In Chicago

the best things to do in ChicagoSummer is in full force in Chicago and we are enjoying every second of the sunshine and warm temps. Today’s post is kind of a follow up to my Summer City Guide from last year. A lot has changed in 12 months and there are so many new places in Chicago that have become favorites in our household. Becoming a mom has opened my eyes to so many new places that Chicago has to offer – whether that be tourist destinations, restaurants, date night ideas, where to stay, etc. Not a lot has changed in terms of favorite summer activities and hotels from this post but wanted to share some new additions…lunch at Left Coast in Lincoln Park, Chicago best summer activities to do in Chicago with kidsmy favorite things to do in ChicagoLeft Coast is a new healthy spot in Lincoln Park that I am embarrassed to admit we frequent at least twice a week. Their menu is DELICIOUS, it is kid friendly, they have amazing cold brew coffee and smoothies and a mixologist who whips up a mean cocktail come 5pm (or all day should you fancy a drink). A few favorites from the menu: laguna avocado toast, acai bowl, Le Midi salad (add chicken), Santa Monica Shred, Farro and Away, D-O-Double G Wrap, the Mornin’ Buzz and Kale Mary smoothies and Charlie loves the Sunbutter and Jelly sandwich. Go!

I was reviewing my restaurant list here and it is all really good. A few more new(er) favorites are The Hampton Social (seen here, get the lobster roll!), Earls Kitchen (beautiful interiors, get the Bibimbap!) and I’ve linked the rest of my suggestions below:

Where to eat/drink:

Coffee Talk/Bakeries:
Elaine’s Coffee Call
City Grounds
Heritage Bicycles
Sweet Mandy B’s

Bang Bang Pie
Kanela Breakfast Club
Dove’s Luncheonette
Stan’s Donuts
Doughnut Vault
The Publican
Little Goat
Glazed and Infused
Milk & Honey Cafe
Perennial Virant
Birchwood Kitchen
Bongo Room

Le Colonial
Fred’s at Barneys
Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen
Lyfe Kitchen
Blue Door Farm Stand
Shake Shack
Big Star
Tavern on Rush
Nico Osteria
RL Restaurant

GT Fish & Oyster
Girl and the Goat
Au Cheval {be prepared for a long wait}
RPM Italian/RPM Steak
Burger Bar Chicago
Summer House
Stella Barra
Chop Shop
RM Champagne Lounge
Hot Chocolate
Gemini Bistro
North Pond
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Green Street Smoked Meats
Pump Room
Piccolo Sogno
RL Restaurant

Terrace at the Trump {best views}
Big Star {tacos, margaritas, outdoor patio}
RM Champagne Lounge
Nico Osteria
J.Parker at Hotel Lincoln
Pump Room

Where I Frequent:
Del Seoul {the best korean street food}
Dunlay’s on Clark {american brunch/dinner}
Athenian Room
Bobtail Ice Cream
The Local Option {great food + awesome beer list}
Blue Door Farm Stand
Le Colonial
Goddess and Grocer

*I should note, I am not a restaurant buff – I wish I were into all of the new and amazing restaurants that are constantly popping up around the city but I am not. My friend Jena always has the best suggestions on her insta and blog!

summer in Chicago with kidsLincoln Park, Chicagosummer city guide to ChicagoCharlie and I also spend our days going to Tunes with Tim at Monica + Andy (Charlie is obsessed), swinging on swings and playing at splash pads in the park (we love Fellger Park at Belmont and Southport and Adams Playground on Seminary) and walking around the Lincoln Park Zoo. where to eat in Chicagohealthy lunch at left Coastkid friendly restaurants in Chicagomom and baby stylecity guide to ChicagoCharlie is officially 9 months old and I stare at him every day and think to myself “how did I get so lucky?” Life is significantly better since I became a mom and spending my days with him are my favorite.

Are you a mom in the city? Any favorite activities? I want to sign Charlie up for a swimming class and am thinking about starting some Bubbles classes. Would love your thoughts!

What I’m wearing: IRO Jacket  //  Old Navy Maxi Dress  //  Love Always Sunnies  //  Nora Tonn Necklace (contact me for details!)  //  Herschel Backpack (our diaper bag!)  //  Marble iPhone Case

Photos by Heather Talbert.

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25 thoughts on “Our Favorite Things to Do In Chicago

  1. Babies and grabbing long hair – it’s always a thing! We use our Herschel Backpack as our diaper bag too. The last thing I wanted was to make my husband carry around a bold patterned diaper bag.

    Jamie of Hello There Lady!

  2. This is awesome! Im headed to Chicago at the end of the month and can’t wait to try some of these places 🙂

  3. Hi Liz! I have a 7 month old son and will be signing him up for Wiggleworms at Old Town School of Folk Music (Armitage and Lincoln sq locations) in the fall. I did it with my daughter and she was obsessed! We also like Peggy Notebart Nature Museum on those really hot days when you need the AC. Or bitter cold winters! I love your blog and Insta account, keep up the great work!


  4. Do you recommend a specific Herschel bag as a diaper bag? So many styles!

  5. We moved to the city in December and love it! We have a daughter that just turned 2 and she has been at Goldfish Swim School since we moved – we both love it!

    Thanks for all the new places we need to try!

  6. Your blog makes me so happy!!!! Charlie is absolutely adorable and now I REALLY HAVE to visit Chicago!! Thanks Liz-I’ve gotten SO MUCH fun inspiration from you!!
    xo…Marisa from RI

  7. Great post! It looks like this maxi dress is the jersey one, not the chiffon. How tall are you? It seems like we are about the same size. I occasionally wear a maxi, if the shape is right, so I’ll check this one out.
    Chicago is a great city for eating! Not many places are in that category for this native Louisiana girl. But Chicago….YES!
    The best hot chocolate of my life was at XOCO after Topolobompo!

  8. I love this place! It’s right down the street from my son’s preschool, which is perfect. We love Weisman park on Mildred just north of Diversey. It’s a really great park for little ones.

  9. If Charlie likes splash parks, you should check out the new Margaret Donahue Park at School and Racine. My kids love it!

  10. Great post! Gives me more incentive to plan a trip to Chicago this summer 🙂

    Just curious – how did you decide on the Herschel backpack as a diaper bag, versus a traditional diaper bag? Did you make the switch after having a traditional one? Seems like there are so many cute options in both!

  11. My 8.5 month old LOVES Goldfish swim school and My Gym on Clybourn and Webster 🙂

  12. haha you’re so sweet! I have to say your picks are pretty on point though… (still haven’t been back to Local Option since that one time with you…need to hit that up again!)

  13. Great, great post! This is super helpful when picking places to go have a cup a coffee, drink or just meet friends! I really appreciate the recommendations! Any new finds — please let us know!