AWS Summit Chicago: The Best Things To Do, Eat, and See in the Area. 2022 Guide.
I wrote a guide on places to eat and see in the South Loop / McCormick Place area for AWS Summit Chicago back in 2019. When I first wrote that guide 3 years ago, the area around McCormick Place was “up and coming” with limited selection of restaurant and bars. I am pleased to say there are now more viable options in the area! With all the new openings and a few closures, I figured I update the list so you can impress your co-workers/colleagues with all the best places to go in the area.
Why should you trust my recommendations? I grew up in the Bridgeport area, I was a tour guide in Chinatown in college and I still live in the area (10 min walk from McCormick Place). I’ve been to all the places listed below multiple times so I am not recommending random places. These are my favorite spots that I frequent with family and friends. As mentioned in my previous guide, I hope my local knowledge of the “South-side” will make you feel a bit better about venturing into uncharted territory. This is not a complete list, but it’s a starting point to venture out!
Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected] if you need additional recommendations or if you want to link up. Happy to help in any way with your stay in Chicago and I hope to meet some of you all in person at the summit!
South Loop and Motor Row
Walking distance, <20 minute walk.
Places to eat
- Pizannos – Sit-down restaurant. One of the best restaurants for Chicago-style thin crust. They also have deep dish if that is what you are looking for. The crust is buttery and corn meal based similar to Lou’s and Pequods.
- Alpolonia – One of my favorite places in the area. Great cocktails and food. Great place to bring clients or meet up with someone.
- Haidilao Hot Pot Chicago – A fun hot spot chain from China. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a new experience.
- My Place South Loop Restaurant/Bar – My favorite Chinese restaurant in all of Chicago. They have an amazing lunch special if you’re stopping by for a quick bite. Get the Portuguese Chicken over rice with a drink for less than $10!
- Moody Tongue Brewing Company – Two michelin star brewery / restaurant closeby. Better start looking for a reservation if you plan to try the tasting menu. They also have a more laidback bar area for a-la-carte dining and chill vibes. They have the best 12 layer chocolate cake there.
- Harolds Chicken Shack #88 – One of the best Harolds Chicken in all of Chicago. Be sure to get mild sauce!
- Flo and Santos – Great little local Chicago tavern style pizza joint with an amazing outdoor patio. We get pizza here at least once a month.
- Weather Mark Tavern – Nautical-themed dive bar. Great drink menu and daily food specials.
- Reggies Chicago – Another dive bar and neighborhood staple. Live music every day with a rooftop patio. Very grungy vibe, but a very fun bar.
- Fat Pour: Wide beer selection but it can get pretty busy during conferences due to a lack of options around the area.
- Duneyrr Fermenta Brewery: A new brewery in the area specializing in wine-beer hybrid drinks. A small spot, but one of the most exciting new breweries in Chicago.
- Other options: First Draft Chicago, Half Sour, Sociale, Kaseys Tavern, All Star Seafood and Tavern
- Spoke and Bird
- Momentum Coffeeshop
- Dollop NEMA
- Overflow Coffee
- Sweet Bean Cafe
Chinatown / Bridgeport / Pilsen
<10 min rideshare distance
- MCCB – One of my favorite places in Chicago Chinatown. The menu is pretty accessible with a wide variety of different types of Chinese food from different regions of China
- Yummy Yummy Noodles – Sit-down restaurant. A small family-owned place that is known for its noodle soups.
- TigerSugar – A new boa tea spot from Taiwan! I recommend the Brown Sugar Milk Tea or the Mango Sago drink.
- Ming Hin – Sit-down restaurant. One of the better places for dim sum. Picture menu and ipads for easy ordering.
- Other options in Chinatown: Dolo, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings, Happy Lamb Hot Pot, Nine Bar
- Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar / Pizza Fried Chicken and Ice Cream – One of my favorite local dive bars in all of Chicago. Get some bomb Chicago Tavern style pizza from Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream and bring it back to Marias outdoor patio.
- Marz Brewery – One of the best breweries in Chicago right now. I haven’t had one bad beer from there.
- Ricobenes – Quick bite. Chicago south side staple. Known for their breaded steak sandwiches, vesuvio chicken sandwiches and pizza.
- Phil’s Pizza – Sit down restaurant. One of the best places in the city for Chicago tavern style pizza. Opens at 4pm.
- Other options in Bridgeport: Freddies, The Duck Inn, Nana’s, Tortillería y Taquerías Atotonilco, Antique Taco
- Carnitas don Pedro – Hole in the wall restaurant service the best Michoacana style carnitas in the city. Pig cooked in it’s own fat, what can go wrong? Cash only. I recommend a mix plate of Carnitas to try out a little bit of everything. Not open for dinner
- Rubi’s Tacos – Considered one of the best places for Tacos in all of Chicago. They press their own tortillas and have an amazing Al Pastor taco
- Other options in Pilsen: HaiSous, S.K.Y., Pilsen Yards or La Vaca.
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