Chicago AWS Summit: Things to do, eat and see. Recommendations from a local south-sider.
Heading to the AWS Summit in Chicago on May 30th and need recommendations on things to eat, see or drink near McCormick Place?
For those who have been to McCormmick place, you already know the area is lacking quality restaurant, bars or things to do. The area surrounding McCormick place, South Loop and Motor Row, is still “up and coming”, but it’s still 3-5 years out from having more viable options for people attending a conference. Do a quick google map search for “restaurants” around the area and you’ll see what I mean.
I have listed a few of my favorite places near McCormick Place, but I recommend venturing off to the surrounding neighborhoods for more options and a unique experience (Bridgeport, Pilsen, Chinatown). I grew up in Bridgeport, was a tour guide in Chinatown in college and still reside in the area. I hope my local knowledge of the “South-side” will make you feel a bit better venturing into uncharted territory for many. This is definitely not a complete list, but it’s a starting point of a select few places.
If you need more recommendations or have other places to add, feel free to reach out to me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy to help in any way!
Walking distance, <15-20 minute walk. (South Loop and Motor Row).
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. Crust is buttery and corn meal based similar to Lou’s and Pequods. Google Maps Link
- 14 Parish - Sit down restaurant. Carribean food within <5 min walk of McCormick Place. This will be a good option if you need a spot for a business meeting. Google Maps Link
- Opart Thai - Sit down restaurant. Considered one of the best Thai restaurants in Chicago and a neighborhood staple. Another good option if you need a spot for a business meeting. Google Maps Link
- Chef Lucianos - Quick bite. Hole in the wall restaurant for quick take out or lunch. A lot of their dishes are Indian inspired and unique. I recommend the fried chicken or Chicken curry. Google Maps link
Places for a drink
- Weather Mark Tavern - Nautical themed dive bar. Great drink menu and daily food specials. Google Maps Link
- Reggies Chicago - Another dive bar and neighborhood staple. Live music everyday with a rooftop patio. Very grungy vibe, but a very fun bar.Google Maps Link
- Fat Pour: Relatively new place for the area. Wide beer selection but gets pretty busy during conferences due to lack of options around the area. Google Maps Link
- Other options: Vu Rooftop bar, Woven and Bound Bar, First Draft’ Further South Loop Options: First Draft, Kaseys Tavern
Coffee shops to work out of
- Spoke and Bird
- TeaPotBrew Bakery
<15 min rideshare distance (Chinatown, Bridgeport and Pilsen)
Side note: You can get to Chinatown via the 21 Cermak bus which should take less than 10 minutes. Alternatively, it’s about a 20 minute walk.
Places to eat
- Chinatown: Chi Cafe - Sit down restaurant. Hong Kong style chinese food. Great stop for a quick lunch. I recommend the Sizziling Beef in Sake Sauce. Google Maps Link
- Chinatown: Yummy Yummy Noodles - Sit down restaurant. Small family owned place that is known for their noodle soups. Google Maps Link
- Chinatown: Ming Hin - Sit down restaurant. One of the better places for dim sum. Picture menu and ipads for easy ordering. Google Maps Link
Other options in Chinatown: Dolo, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings, Happy Lamb Hot Pot
- Bridgeport: Ricobenes - Quick bite. Chicago south side staple. Known for their breaded steak sandwiches, vesuvio chicken sandwiches and pizza. Google Maps Link
- Bridgeport: Phil’s Pizza - Sit down restaurant. One of the best places in the city for Chicago tavern style pizza. Opens at 4pm. Google Maps Link
Other options in Bridgeport: Freddies, The Duck Inn, Nana’s.
- Pilsen: Carnitas don Pedro - Quick bite. 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. Google Maps Link
- Pilsen: Tortillería y Taquerías Atotonilco or El Milagro for tacos.
- Other options in Pilsen: HaiSous, S.K.Y., Monnie Burkes or La Vaca.
Places for a drink
- Bridgeport: Marias and Kimski - Fun little dive bar with a wide beer selection and korean/polish food. Great option for a business meeting and drinks. Google Maps Link
- Bridgeport: Marz Brewery - One of the best breweries in the city with great food. Their beers are unique and everything here is delicious. It’s off the beaten path, but worth going to if you need to find a place for drinks. Google Maps Link
- Pilsen: Moody Tongue - 12 layer Chocolate cake and beers. Enough said. Google Maps Link
Coffee shops to work out of: