Vegan Eating in Chicago
My first internship boss, Leanne Hilgart of ethical fashion company Vaute Couture grew up in Chicago, and I always knew the vegan scene would be amazing in the windy city because of that. Spoiler alert, the vegan scene in Chicago is great (with Mid-Western portions), the city is beautiful, and here are my tips to enjoy your time there!
What to Eat
Old school diner that's been meat free since 1983. Chicago Diner is like Champs to me, but in Chicago. They have an amazing rueben, diner style seating, and some serious milk shakes.
Two locations, one in Logan Square and Lake View
Chicago deep dish pizza will not replace New York City slices for me, but Kitchen 17 does a great job of putting up some tough competition. They also have an amazing chili mac and cheese!
3132 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657
Native Foods has multiple locations throughout Chicago and is a fast casual chain great for a workday lunch. They have a rotating seasonal menu and some solid flavors in all their dishes that play with bold Asian flavors.
A donut shop that feels old-school and homey with its bright pink branding, coffee menu, and freshly made donuts. They have two vegan doughnuts, so I chose the classic cinnamon sugar option!
Small ramen restaurant that feels like the streets of Osaka with its Japanese signage all around. They have one vegan tan tan ramen option with soba noodles and a rich broth. Great for when all the restaurants in the West Loop are booked up and you just want a quick eat.
819 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Places I didn't get to try, but come highly recommended:
Girl and the Goat - high-end restaurant with a seperate vegan menu
Upton's Breakroom - fast food made using Upton's mock meats
Kal'ish - healthy burgers
Handlebar - vegan bar with comfort food
Amitibul - oil-free vegan Korean food near the airpot
Veggie Grill - fast casual restaurant with multiple locations
What to Do
Cloud Gate is a popular sculpture that's probably all over your friend's Instagram when they visit Chicago. The sculpture is shaped like a bean and is fully reflective all around. While you're here taking your selfies, walk around the park because it's full of art and great spots to lay in the grass.
A touristy spot but great for viewing all of Chicago! On the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower, there is a 360 degree view of the city as well as some areas where the floor is transparent/made of glass, so you can see all the way to the bottom.
Incredibly famous improv group that originated in Chicago. They have tons of shows going on everyday, and it's worth it if you love laughing.
This museum is HUGE. In fact, it's one of the largest science museum int he world. It's full of interactive exhibits that teach you while being fun.
Bike Riding by the Lake
There are a ton of bikes you can rent all over Chicago (like our CitiBike), and there's a perfect path by the lake to ride down. Save on some Ubers, get your legs peddling, and enjoy the view! Unless it's winter, then take the Uber
A fun place dedicated to hanging out with friends and grab some drinks. They have karaoke, bowling, ping pong, giant jenga, giant scrabble, and lots of other games.
Where to Stay
I stayed in Wicker Park the first time I went to Chicago because it has a similar vibe to Williamsburg and had a lot of cute shops and cafes. However, if you want to be in the heart of downtown Chicago, then stay within the loop!