Chicago has an excellent reputation for inventive, delicious cuisine. With a culinary landscape that includes everything from their iconic deep-dish pizza to funky fusion and innovative American fare, Chicago’s dining scene is sure to amaze.
Here are a few of our recommendations for our favorite family friendly restaurants in Chicago. Or, if you’re looking for a way to spend a night out without the kids, check out our suggestions for foodies!
These restaurants are located in Chicago and are within a short drive or walk from local attractions, so you can easily stop for lunch or dinner as part of a larger plan.
Also, be sure to check out our special offers and deals page for discounts on select restaurants!
Restaurants for KidsNote: the below ads are not affiliated with SmartDestinations.com
Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s
Treat the kids without hurting your wallet at this truly unique McDonald’s. This landmark features a rock and roll exhibit, décor from the 1950’s and 60’s, and an escalator to the second floor
Nearby Attractions: Chicago Riverwalk, Wrigley Building
Here’s the perfect stop for the sweet tooth in your family. Get your fill of the world’s beloved HERSHEY’S products, pick-up some one-of-a-kind souvenirs, and bring home personalized chocolate bars.
If you’re a real HERSHEY’S lover, become a factory worker for the day and learn about Milton S. Hershey’s famed business.
Nearby Attractions: Water Tower Place Mall, Michigan Avenue, 360 CHICAGO (formerly the John Hancock Observatory).
Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
Chicago’s Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop prides itself on exceptional and distinctive dessert creations. The whole family can share one dessert when you order “The Earthquake.”
This 8-scoop sundae features fresh bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds, chocolate chips, cherries, and your choice of any additional toppings!
Nearby Attractions: Magnificent Mile, the Historic Water Tower, Museum of Contemporary Art
Haagen Dazs Café
Famous ice cream isn’t all this dockside café has to offer. Gourmet deli sandwiches, salads, and coffee make this a great daytime lunch stop.
On a nice day, enjoy eating outside on the patio. If it’s not so sunny, sit inside in the large, open dining area perfect for families.
Nearby Attractions: Navy Pier IMAX Theater, Gateway Park, Chicago Architecture Cruise
Harry Caray’s Tavern
Experience the hustle and bustle on the pier while looking out on spectacular Lake Michigan. Harry Caray’s offers a diverse food and beverage menu featuring salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and entrees.
Enjoy the expansive patio seating that boasts a front row seat to the Navy Pier fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop (multiple locations)
This reasonably priced sandwich shop has something for everyone. A diverse café-style menu includes sandwiches ranging in size from “Skinnys” to “Bigs,” soups, salads, and milkshakes, and smoothies.
If you’re eating in a large group (6 or more), save money by ordering a “Box O’ Sandwiches” that includes a side salad, chips, and cookie for each person.
Nearby Attractions: The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Grant Park
Gino’s East is home of the famous Chicago style deep-dish pizza. Located just off Michigan Ave and Superior Street, this iconic joint offers a variety of must-try food items. If you aren’t in the mood for deep-dish pizza, Gino’s offers a full menu of appetizers, pastas, salads, and more.
Nearby Attractions: Museum of Contemporary Art, Northwestern University, Lake Shore Drive
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (multiple locations)
You can’t get closer to the original than this: Malnati is considered the oldest name in Chicago deep-dish pizza. You’ll want a knife and fork to eat this “backward” pizza (the tomato sauce is on top!).
The restaurant also supplies a kids’ menu for ages 12 and under.
Nearby Attractions: Museum of Contemporary Photography, Buckingham Fountain,Chicago Architecture Tours
A short walk away from Chicago’s theatre district, and two blocks south of the Chicago River, Sweetwater Tavern offers beautiful views of Chicago.
This place is a great spot for almost any type of meal – lunch, dinner, and happy hour. If you are visiting during summer, check out their outdoor patio as it won’t disappoint.
Nearby Attractions: Trump Tower, Chicago River, Chicago Theatre District
Vegetarian & Foodie Options
Located near the Willis Tower, this chic, creative vegetarian option offers a wide variety of dishes and drinks to satisfy the discerning veggie palate.
It’s not all salads, either – Green Zebra’s menu features everything from bruschetta and chili to flatbreads and even ramen!
It’s well worth a visit even if you do eat meat because the food is that good!
Nearby Attractions: Willis Tower, Ukrainian Village, Eckhart Park
Three Dots and a Dash
If you’re looking for something a bit creative, check out this funky Polynesian restaurant. It’s a taste of the tropics in the middle of the windy Midwest, and it’s sure to please.
The fare is casual but incredibly tasty – the perfect destination for foodies.
Nearby Attractions: Chicago Architecture Cruises, Chicago Theatre District, House of Blues Chicago
Fulton Market Kitchen
If you’re the kind of traveler who loves to explore new dining options as part of getting to know a new city, then you must pay a visit to the beautiful Fulton Market Kitchen.
With its fun, artistic atmosphere and creative American cuisine, you’ll fall in love with this trendy neighborhood hotspot.
Nearby Attractions: Hull House Museum, University of Illinois, Chicago, Union Park
Some of the best dining experiences come from the unexpected discovery. So if you’re looking to be a little more adventurous, a few good neighborhoods to scope out include the West Loop, River North, Near North, and Gold Coast. Happy dining!