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Where to Eat & Drink on the Water

The best restaurants along the water in Chicago


If you still think Chicago’s food scene is defined by its hot dogs and deep dish pizza, you really need to get out more. Chicago has one of the best collections of chefs and restaurants in the country and it just keeps getting better. You can find delicious eats and tasty drinks all around the city — and that includes being along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

One of the best parts of Chicago is access to natural beauty. We have architect and city planner Daniel Burnham to thank for that. Back in 1909, Burnham and Edward H. Bennett wrote what would come to be known as the Burnham Plan. In it, the pair outlined a series of municipal projects to improve many parts of the city. Burnham decreed that the “lakefront by right belongs to the people,” and that it should not be developed with tall buildings and other housing. That has made Chicago’s lakefront a true gem and with the introduction of the Chicago Riverwalk over the last few years, that too is now a major destination.

So when you find yourself exploring the lakefront or the river, you may find yourself getting hungry or thirsty. You have options running along much of the lakefront from Hollywood Beach in Edgewater down to Hyde Park and along the Riverwalk — and we’re not talking about your average hot dog stand. You can sit in a cabana and eat seared ahi while sipping a lovely glass of chilled white wine. Or get made-to-order tacos and a margarita. Or have flatbread with seasonal toppings while listening to a jazz combo. Where to go? Pick from the list below and let us know what some of your favorites are.

LAKEFRONT

ON THE RIVER

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