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Chicago Cityscapes And City Views
It’s cooler by the lake.
Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Where to Eat Along Chicago’s Lakefront

Find delicious treats with beautiful views of Lake Michigan

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It’s cooler by the lake.
| Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Summer in Chicago brings a much-needed wave of festivals, warm weather, and an atmosphere that makes this season a truly special one. Capitalize on warm, clear days with a meal or drink accompanied by an aquatic backdrop of Lake Michigan, where scenic lakefront views combine with food and drink to create a memorable summer experience. This map highlights some of the top options along the water. For riverfront dining selections, head here.

If you feel any are excluded, leave a comment or send a note to the tipline.

As of June 11, Chicago restaurants have fully reopened and the city has lifted restrictions on capacity, masking, and social distancing. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Waterfront Café

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Waterfront Cafe is an urban oasis near Edgewater. This spot is worth a visit for the atmosphere and live music from local performers on a lakefront stage.

The Dock at Montrose Beach

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Downtown doesn't get to have all the fun. The Dock at Montrose features American fare with a few tacos thrown in for good measure.

The Clocktower Cafe

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Snag a spot at this historic site that features two patios (one is dog friendly) and lovely views of the lake and Downtown Chicago. A casual menu of beach eats includes nachos, burgers, beers, and more.

The Lakefront

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The Lakefront, an upscale tavern at Theater on the Lake, opened in 2017 and offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus full of crowd-pleasers like wings, tacos, and chicken fried chicken. The restaurant’s Skyline Patio, open seasonally, seats 80.

Shore Club

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This three-in-one lakefront hotspot reopened its large patio for the season with seafood dishes such as salmon ceviche, crispy lobster tacos, and tuna poke, as well as plenty of boozy frozen cocktails and draft beers.

Castaways Bar & Grill

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North Avenue Beach was reborn when Castaways opened, providing tourists and surburbanites a base of operations during summer weekend. It's a great place for a private event.

Caffe Oliva

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Off the bike path at Ohio Street Beach, Caffe Oliva serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. It’s run by the same folks as the Dock on Montrose.

Navy Pier

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Navy Pier’s interiors have been revamped creating a more intimate atmosphere, well it feels more comfy compared to the ‘90s mall feel that the tourist attraction had going for the space. Within, there’s a food court with McDonald’s and Starbucks. Forget those chains and opt for the Chicago chain restaurants of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises which offer Big City Chicken, Big Bowl, and Frankie’s Pizza. There’s also Rainbow Cone, Frio, America’s Dog, a Billy Goat Tavern, and the Beat Kitchen (the Lakeview music venue actually has pretty amazing food). Don’t forget Brown Sugar Bakery, I Dream of Falafel, and Snow Dragon Shavery.

Offshore

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This 36,000 square-foot bar and lounge on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall has the nation’s largest rooftop deck, as certified by Guinness. The space includes retractable glass walls to shield customers from the elements, seven fire pits, and seating for groups to drink and socialize.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Navy Pier is also home to Lirica, the new all-day sister spot to Offshore inside the 223-room Sable Hotel. The Latin-inspired restaurant, a replacement for the shuttered Riva Crabhouse, offers tapas like fish tacos, skirt steak, and a cheeseburger for the unadventurous. It’s a great location for views of Lake Michigan.

The exterior of Lirica.
Lirica is a new addition at Navy Pier.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Pier 31

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This spot off 31st Street Beach offers music and a family-friendly menu with hot dogs and other sandwiches. Drink, dance, and dine just steps from the sand.

Reggies on the Beach

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The beachside arm of South Loop rock club Reggie’s is open at the century-old 63rd Street Beach House with frozen cocktails, bar food, and a laid-back atmosphere.

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Waterfront Café

Waterfront Cafe is an urban oasis near Edgewater. This spot is worth a visit for the atmosphere and live music from local performers on a lakefront stage.

The Dock at Montrose Beach

Downtown doesn't get to have all the fun. The Dock at Montrose features American fare with a few tacos thrown in for good measure.

The Clocktower Cafe

Snag a spot at this historic site that features two patios (one is dog friendly) and lovely views of the lake and Downtown Chicago. A casual menu of beach eats includes nachos, burgers, beers, and more.

The Lakefront

The Lakefront, an upscale tavern at Theater on the Lake, opened in 2017 and offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus full of crowd-pleasers like wings, tacos, and chicken fried chicken. The restaurant’s Skyline Patio, open seasonally, seats 80.

Shore Club

This three-in-one lakefront hotspot reopened its large patio for the season with seafood dishes such as salmon ceviche, crispy lobster tacos, and tuna poke, as well as plenty of boozy frozen cocktails and draft beers.

Castaways Bar & Grill

North Avenue Beach was reborn when Castaways opened, providing tourists and surburbanites a base of operations during summer weekend. It's a great place for a private event.

Caffe Oliva

Off the bike path at Ohio Street Beach, Caffe Oliva serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. It’s run by the same folks as the Dock on Montrose.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier’s interiors have been revamped creating a more intimate atmosphere, well it feels more comfy compared to the ‘90s mall feel that the tourist attraction had going for the space. Within, there’s a food court with McDonald’s and Starbucks. Forget those chains and opt for the Chicago chain restaurants of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises which offer Big City Chicken, Big Bowl, and Frankie’s Pizza. There’s also Rainbow Cone, Frio, America’s Dog, a Billy Goat Tavern, and the Beat Kitchen (the Lakeview music venue actually has pretty amazing food). Don’t forget Brown Sugar Bakery, I Dream of Falafel, and Snow Dragon Shavery.

Offshore

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This 36,000 square-foot bar and lounge on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall has the nation’s largest rooftop deck, as certified by Guinness. The space includes retractable glass walls to shield customers from the elements, seven fire pits, and seating for groups to drink and socialize.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lirica

The exterior of Lirica.
Lirica is a new addition at Navy Pier.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Navy Pier is also home to Lirica, the new all-day sister spot to Offshore inside the 223-room Sable Hotel. The Latin-inspired restaurant, a replacement for the shuttered Riva Crabhouse, offers tapas like fish tacos, skirt steak, and a cheeseburger for the unadventurous. It’s a great location for views of Lake Michigan.

The exterior of Lirica.
Lirica is a new addition at Navy Pier.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Pier 31

This spot off 31st Street Beach offers music and a family-friendly menu with hot dogs and other sandwiches. Drink, dance, and dine just steps from the sand.

Reggies on the Beach

The beachside arm of South Loop rock club Reggie’s is open at the century-old 63rd Street Beach House with frozen cocktails, bar food, and a laid-back atmosphere.

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