Old Town is a very unique neighborhood in Chicago with delicious and diverse foods. It gives you a cozy neighborhood feel during the day, and a lively nightlife scene in the evening. Old Town fits the Chicago Local and the Grub Globetrotters alike. The history and charm of the neighborhood keeps locals coming back. The unique restaurants and shops give tourist something different to do outside of downtown. Explore a day in Old Town….
Start the morning out with breakfast at La Fournette and your day is guaranteed to be amazing. Their Croque-monsieur with a macaroon is the way to go. The macaroons are the best I have ever had and the Croque-monsieur is basically an out of this world ham and cheese sandwich dripping in béchamel sauce.
Two places you always want to shop at when in Old Town: The Spice House and Old Town Oil. You’ll find the finest and most unique spices at The Spice House, such as their famous imported Saigon Cinnamon.
Old Town Oil has a wide assortment of high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars, my recommendations: Tuscan Herb EVOO and the Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar.
Both shops are quite affordable and even if you are not into cooking they have great gift options for your loved ones!
There’s no better spot for lunch in Old Town than Old Jerusalem. Their falafel sandwich is a must: deep-fried chickpea patties, vegetables, and the specialty house made sauce and bread. For those who need some meat the chicken shawmira sanchwich, with lamb & beef, is a local favorite. Don’t forget some Baklava to bring home for later!
Fudge Pot is an Old Town classic, they have been making delicious sweet treats since 1963! Their most famous and extremely addictive treat is the butter toffee. The best way to visit Fudge Pot is for an afternoon treat of the toffee and then get a box full of assorted goodies to bring home and have on hand for the week to come. Fudge Pot’s high quality ingredients will have your taste buds craving chocolate for days!
Chicago is a city of eating, but everyone needs a break, and the Chicago History Museum is a great spot to explore. Technically the Chicago History Museum is in Lincoln Park, but it is just a 5 minute walk from Old Town and a good opportunity to stretch your legs.
The museum has so many unique exhibits that are great for adults and kids alike. The exhibits keep up with Chicago’s History and relevant information based on the month and season. A few current exhibits are Remembering Dr. King, Chicago and the Great War, and Race: Are We So Different?. You’ll have plenty of options to learn and explore here.
Dinner & Dessert
You’ve spent the day exploring and now you need dinner and a cocktail to sit back and relax. Happy Camper it is; they have a vast and unique assortment of pizzas, even cheese-less pizzas for those dairy free friends of yours. With 20+ pizzas on their menu everyone is bound to find their favorite, mine is “the Mike”.
The cocktails are always being poured generously at Happy Camper, as they have pitcher options for all of their specialty cocktail, so you can share with your table. The Pink Flamingo is probably their most popular cocktail as it is an extremely delicious Tequila cocktail with pomegranate, lime, soda, and jalapeños. This cocktail also comes garnished with pink flamingo straws to keep things fun ;).
Dessert is always necessary after a day of eating out, mainly because Jeni’s Ice Cream is on Well’s Street at the center of Old Town. Jeni’s started in Ohio, but has quickly before a Chicago favorite over the years, there are now 5 Chicago shops scooping up delicious ice cream.
The main reason Jeni’s is more than a usual ice cream shop is because their ice cream is made in house with fresh ingredients – the milk comes from an Ohio farm, and even the waffle cones are made fresh to order. Some of Jeni’s unique and fan favorite flavors are: Goat Cheese and Cherries, Brambleberry Crisp, Wildberry and Lavender, and Pistachio & Honey.
Laugh the Night Away
You always have to conclude a day out in Old Town at The Second City. The Second City is truly a highlight of Chicago and has so many diverse shows you will have no problem finding the best fit that will get the whole group laughing. They have produced many well known comedian’s such as; Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jason Sudeikus, Addy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and the list could go on and on. There is no better comedy show in the city than at Second City. Get your laugh on!
If you don’t have a whole day to explore Old Town, don’t worry Chicago Food Planet has you covered with the highlights. Book a public or Private Group Tour on our Second City Classic Food Experience and eat your way through Old Town in just 3 hrs. Our expert Food Ambassadors take you on a unique walk from Gold Coast to Old Town. Story has it you might just pass by a historic landmark, the original Playboy mansion ;).