Eat Like a Local: Food in Chicago

When you’re going on a vacation, whether it’s the trip of a lifetime or a weekend getaway, there are a few things you probably want to cross off your ‘to do’ list. The best thing to do is seek out local food in Chicago.

Obviously, there are sights you’ll want to see and experiences you’ll want to take part in. Each city and country across the globe is known for something special. 

food in chicago

Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

Planning a Weekend in Chicago

When it comes to the “Windy City”, though, there is so much to do and see, it can feel a little overwhelming. From the Willis Tower to Navy Pier, you’ll have an incredible time exploring Chicago. While it’s a fantastic weekend trip destination, ideally you should give yourself a few extra days to see all the city has to offer. 

One of the most famous things Chicago has to offer is all of the wonderful food options! While you’ll find an eclectic melting pot of foods here, there are a few gems that the city is known for across the world.

Some of the most iconic Chicago foods are hot dogs (specifically a ‘Chicago dog’), deep-dish pizza, and Italian Beef sandwiches. So, if you find yourself in Chicago and you want to eat like a local, what should you do? Where should you go for the best local food in Chicago? 

Looking for the best gay hotels, bars and clubs? Check out this Gay guide to Chicago!


How to get around in Chicago

Do you need a car in Chicago? I would say yes and it’s the best way to get around in the city.


Best Places to eat in Chicago

Pizza Wars

Deep-dish pizza is iconic in Chicago, and that has a lot to do with the different rivalries throughout the city. Many pizzerias claim to be the first, while others just claim to be the best. 

Depending on which side of the city you go to, you’ll probably get different opinions. 

The reality is, Pizzeria Uno was the first one to start the deep-dish tradition back in 1943. So, if you’re looking for the original, head to one of their locations throughout the city, and be prepared to try a pizza as you’ve never had before. Chicago deep-dish is layered almost like a casserole, with crust, then sauce, then toppings, then cheese. Just one slice is enough to fill you up, but you’ll want to go for another – it’s just that good!


Italian Heritage

The city of Chicago has a unique Italian background and is well-known as being one of the most popular hangout spots of famous mobsters like Al Capone. While Italian beef sandwiches might be Americanized, they are a Windy City staple. 

The sandwich started from humble beginnings during The Great Depression when beef was scarce. Thin slices of it were layered high in an Italian roll and the entire sandwich was dipped in au jus. Today, you can get it the exact same way, with the addition of cheese and hot peppers, if you’d like! 

If you want the real Italian beef experience in Chicago, head to Al’s, which can be found in Little Italy. 

A great stop for local food in Chicago!


Chicago Dog

Some people describe a Chicago-style hotdog as being “dragged through the garden”. There’s a good reason for that. To be considered a classic Chicago dog, a hot dog has to have the following components: 

  • All-beef dog
  • Poppyseed bun
  • Neon green relish
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow mustard
  • Chopped onion
  • Celery salt
  • Sport pepper

This is another Depression-era creation since hot dogs were relatively cheap to make and people could afford them. Today, Chicago dogs remain a staple and are most often found at food carts throughout the city. While there are plenty of restaurants that carry them, your best bet is to get one straight out of a cart for the full experience. 

But, whatever you do, don’t ask for ketchup! 


Eating Your Way Through the Windy City

Chicago has so many incredible food options, you’ll never run out of things to try. A few honourable mentions for some famous foods of the city include doughnuts, cheeseburgers, and pierogies. Because the city has such a diverse heritage made up of so many different cultures, its food is truly unique and unlike anywhere else in the U.S. 

Looking for ice cream? Check out some of the best ice cream shops in Chicago!

So, whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’ve been to Chicago before but haven’t explored the food scene, make sure to cross these famous foods off of your list the next time you make the trip. You can even look for discounts for things to do in between meals, or things to pack for your trip at

Enjoy your dining experience, and don’t be afraid to try something new! That’s one of the best parts of visiting a new city. Chicago’s food is certainly unique, but it won’t disappoint you when it comes to bold, exciting flavours and niche items. 


Heading to Europe? Check out my guides to France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.


You can also find me on social media: FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Did you know I also vlog my trips? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get alerted when all my travel videos go live… CHECK THEM OUT HERE


Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

You Might Also Like