Chicago, Lincoln Park/Old Town and museum adjacent eats

My family is headed to Chicago from San Francisco next weekend. We have two small kids (indoor dining is ok) and are staying at the Hotel Lincoln next to Lincoln Park, planning to take public transportation.

Day 1, thinking of Kurdish Breakfast at The Gundis in Lincoln Park.

Day 2, we’re going to the Field Museum. One option is to stop at Revival Food Hall on our way there or back. Is there something notable within walking distance or ~10 minute public transportation ride to the Field Museum / Adler Planetarium? Game for anything unique to Chicago or at least challenging to get in SF, and which we can get served without a long wait.

Day 3, going near the Children’s Museum / Navy Pier. Same criteria as above. Not interested in Giordano’s as I’ve had mixed experiences at the different locations, and my kids would probably like pub-style better.

For dinners, I think anything with a 15 minute public transportation ride would be ideal. Is Old Town mostly a tourist trap? Any strong recommendations along N. Clark? I suspect geography may preclude it, but I’d love to get some good Polish food, especially delicately made, and not fried to oblivion, pierogi. I’m a fan of Podhalanka, but it’s not as convenient to get to as I’d like.

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Nearby is BienMeSabe Venezuelan Arepa Bar, my Art Institute lunch go-to. Fits your criteria except maybe unique to Chicago.


Thank you! That looks good, and I like that it has a vegan option, which my omnivorous wife will choose if available (Art of Dosa at Revival caught my eye for that reason). And FYI, arepas are available but not very common in the SFBA.

Does anyone have opinions on the pizza (or other foods) at Flo & Santos?

Yikes, Navy Pier looks awful. Gonna skip Children’s museum, and think about some outdoor activities that could lead to more fun, better food.

Rent bikes near Cloud Gate (the Bean) and ride along the waterfront. A great place to picnic is the shoreline along the peninsula between the Shedd Aquarium and the Alder Planetarium. Be sure to check out Buckingham Fountain and the Bean. The fountain goes into overdrive on the hour, and at dusk they add a light show. Navy Pier is not so bad if you stroll around the outside.


Lincoln Park Zoo is about a 5 minute walk from Hotel Lincoln if you’re looking for an outdoor activity, admission is free. If you’re looking for something unique Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company is nearby, they serve a pizza pot pie which is pretty unusual. For tavern style there is Ranalli’s about a block and a half northwest of your hotel on Lincoln Ave. There’s also Roots just south on Wells which is quad-cities style pizza and Gallucci Pizzeria Napoletana, also on Wells just south of North Ave., for Neapolitan style. Adobo Grill just west of Wells on North Ave. is good for Mexican and Twin Anchors is less than a 1/2 mile away from your hotel at Eugiene and Sedgwick if you’re looking for an old-school chicago type place (been open since 1932). Wells Street south of North Ave. is mostly bars but many of them serve good food as well and tend to be pretty kid friendly.


Navy Pier is an absolute waste of time unless you really want to ride the ferris wheel. We were in Chicago in late November visiting from the OC with kids (9/11). Here are some suggestions
Add Maggie Daley playground to the itinerary if you’re near the Art Institute of the bean. The kids wanted to go back every day. There is a mini golf course and a fantastic large playground with things to keep kids of all ages occupied for hours.

Across the street from Millennium Park is Shake Shack, Chik Fil A (in case you need a kid friendly meal) and the Chicago Athletic Club. Upstairs on the 2nd floor is the game room. Nice old school dark wood pubs with snacks, a few taps and full bar. The kicker is the free games they have for the kids. Bocce, billiards, shuffleboard, chess and checkers.

Revival Food Hall had a lot of good options.

Public transportation was great. We got the Ventra card on the first day and reloaded quite a bit. You can also download the app to store your card balance. The buses and L train schedule shows up on Google Maps which is super convenient. You can time our your travel and itinerary pretty seamlessly.

Near Shedd Aquarium and Fields Museum is Eleven City Diner. We don’t have places like this in the OC so our kids enjoyed it. Kids ordered matzo ball soup, bagels n lox and dad was thrilled to have pastrami on rye at 10am. They were even making egg creams.

If you’re going for burgers at Au Cheval you don’t need to get there at 10:45 like we did. Anytime before 11:30 should suffice and save some room for sweets next door at Sugar Goat.


Thanks for the advice so far!

Never having even heard of four-cities pizza, Roots was a lot of fun. People in our group were pleased with the vegan option, which included lots of produce and a smokey tempeh bacon.

Of course, the sausage pizza was best-suited to the style, which I understand has malt & molasses in its crust and heavier use of spices in the sauce. Each (rectangular or corner) slice was great, crisp with a coarse cornmeal dusting on the bottom, and sausage to add salty traction to the stretchy cheese. I felt a hint of spice, and the overall flavors pleasingly melded together instead of being contrasty.

The outer rim was either not my style, or overcooked— it was well done and lacking flavor, except corner pieces, the center of which had salvageable sticky crumb to scrape out. The sweetness of the crust didn’t jump out in the regular slices— I imagine regular eaters are more sensitive to it and I like that it had balanced in rather than stood out—- but it was very noticeable in that crumb and a very different thing to taste in pizza!