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Andersonville Feature Image

Chicago is famous for its food, and rightfully so. People come from all around the world to try deep dish pizza and the Chicago-style hot dog as only the Windy City can provide. For those looking to venture outside the Chicago classics, take a trip to one of Chicago’s many thriving neighborhoods.

Andersonville is a heavily Swedish-influenced neighborhood and LGBT destination just north of Foster Avenue and a few blocks west of Lake Michigan. There are so many outstanding restaurants in the area that it’s hard to choose where to go in just one day. Here we’ve outlined a full culinary itinerary for strolling down the main drag, Clark Street, in Andersonville.

Brunch at Big Jones (5347 N Clark Street)

Southern cooking is the focus of this neighborhood favorite that puts unique twists on traditional dishes, like buttermilk biscuits topped with hot pepper jelly and an omelet stuffed with both crawfish and Andouille sausage. Big Jones also makes its own breakfast meats in-house and adds them to mouth-watering creations such as the tasso ham, smoked for two days and served with pickles, cheese and crackers. Traditional Southern brunch items such as biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, gumbo and other Cajun-inspired breakfasts are also available. Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Brunch at Big Jones

Eggs New Orleans at Big Jones. (Photo courtesy of Instagramer (at) cindyfok)

Lunch at Hopleaf (5148 N Clark Street)

This Belgian-inspired kitchen has 63 rotating beers on tap to accompany its lunch menu of small plates, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts. The signature item at Hop Leaf is the mussels, which are flown in from Prince Edward Island and served either steamed in Belgian beer with vegetables or with lobster and bacon, doused in chili butter, lemon and cilantro. The frites are another can’t miss item at Hopleaf and can be added as a side dish with any lunch meal.

Lunch at Hopleaf

Hopleaf features 63 rotating tap beers. (Photo courtesy of (at) stephanie_toland)

Drinks at Marty’s Martini Bar (1511 W Balmoral Avenue)

Before stopping for dinner, make a trip to Marty’s Martini Bar, around the corner off Clark Street on Balmoral Avenue. Marty’s is the perfect place to sip creative, original cocktails while sitting out on the patio enjoying a warm summer evening.

Dinner at Anteprima (5316 N Clark Street)

Cap off an indulgent day with traditional Italian home-style cooking at Anteprima. Several unique menu concoctions are the result of the staff traveling to homes throughout Italy for secret culinary recipes. Anteprima offers an extensive wine list to pair with interesting vegetable plates, flavorful pastas and delicious entrees. These rustic Italian dishes are prepared using locally grown organic produce.

Bonus Pick: Treats at the Swedish Bakery (5348 N Clark Street)

If you still have any room left in your stomach, the most authentic Andersonville establishment on the list is the Swedish Bakery. Famous for its friendly, warm customer service and even warmer treats, the Swedish Bakery serves a wide variety of sweet and savory cakes, cookies, pastries and breads. If you are overwhelmed by all the options, a signature authentic Swedish dish is the Toska tart, a moist almond cake surrounded by a flaky short dough crust and topped with caramelized almonds.

Swedish Bakery_Andersonville

A yellow cake topped with marzipan at the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville.

For more food suggestions in Andersonville, other Chicago neighborhoods and the rest of the Land of Lincoln, find something more at

–Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image James Beard

For the first time in 25 years, the annual James Beard awards are coming to the Windy City on May 4. All eyes will be on Lyric Opera of Chicago as world-renowned chefs, restaurateurs, and celebrities converge for the ‘Oscars of Food.’

Many Chicago restaurants like Parachute have already been honored as finalists, including chefs Dana Cree of Blackbird and Tanya Baker of Boarding House. But what’s more, hosting the James Beard Awards is just another example of the excellent culinary scene in Chicago and Illinois.

While most of us may not be attending the awards (you can live stream the ceremony from the James Beard Foundation website), there’s no reason why we shouldn’t indulge in some delicious dishes, and what better way than with a foodie tour?

There are several tour operators that will tantalize your taste buds with excursions all over Chicago, including Tastebud Tours.

Lou Malnatis Pizza

A Tastebud Tour includes some quintessential Chicago cuisine: deep-dish pizza!

Reserving a tour gets you three hours of foodie bliss, tasting some of the quintessential Chicago cuisine like deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs, as well as pillars of Chicago culinary history like Billy Goat Tavern and The Berghoff.

The Berghoff

The Berghoff is a classic Chicago restaurant and one of several stops on the Tastebud Tour.

You can also visit some of Chicago’s hidden-gem markets, like the French Market. Praised by Travel + Leisure and Zagat as one of America’s best food halls, the French Market brings together local artisans in an indoor space that makes it accessible year round. In the summer, Chicago is full of fresh farmer’s markets, like Green City Market, that are a must-visit for both top chefs and casual foodies.

Farmers Market

In the summer months, Farmer’s Markets are a central fixture in Chicago!

If you’re ready to go one step further and put your culinary knowledge to the test, Chicago has several culinary institutes catering to any level of expertise. Kendall College, based in Chicago’s downtown area, offers a variety of classes ideal for everything from a girls night out to becoming a grillmaster or a budding mixologist.

At the end of the day, whether you prefer exquisite Michelin-starred dining or some down-home cooking, almost everyone can agree with George Bernard Shaw, who said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

— The Illinois Office of Tourism







Five Things to do with the Kids Feature Image

The Chicago & Beyond region has tons of exciting activities for families looking to escape winter’s chill. From retro-themed diners to undersea discoveries, there’s no shortage of fun for families in the Windy City. Check out our round-up of Chicago’s best indoor activities your kids will love below. What are your favorite family-friendly activities in Chicago? Comment below and tell us!

The Field Museum

A trip to the Field Museum in Chicago is the perfect outing for your family’s little scientist. Children can embark on underground adventures, descend into an Egyptian tomb, be dazzled in the Hall of Gems, come nose to nose with the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo, and walk among dinosaurs in Evolving Planet. The best part? Kids can discover Sue, the largest and most complete T. Rex ever found!

Field Museum

A view of the Field Museum entrance and the largest T. Rex ever found, Sue

Ed Debevic’s

Your kids will love dining at one of Chicago’s top retro-themed diners. You’ll be sure to laugh as quirky servers in flashy costumes serve up burgers with a side order of sass. Ed Debevic’s waiters pride themselves on snarky remarks and even drop their trays to do choreographed dance numbers on the soda counters.

Ed Debevic's

Enjoy an old school diner experience at Ed Debevic’s

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Located just outside Chicago in nearby Schaumburg, LEGOLAND Discovery Center lets kids dive into the biggest pile of Lego bricks ever! Your kids will “ooh” and “ahh” at outrageous Lego creations and have a blast building their own. They’ll also journey through medieval castles, fly with dragons, pedal in the clouds on the Technicycle, feel a part of the story in the 4D cinema and much more.


Kids ogling a lion built entirely from Legos at LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Schaumburg, Illinois

Skydeck Chicago: The Ledge

The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago will let your kids enjoy a view unlike any other. Located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the Ledge’s glass boxes jut out from the side of the skyscraper, offering unparalleled views of Chicago and four neighboring states. This is a great attraction for older kids looking for a fun adrenaline rush.


A family admires the view of a lifetime at Skydeck Chicago’s The Ledge

Shedd Aquarium

Have your kids ever been eye-to-eye with a dolphin? Said hello to a penguin on a stroll to the South Pole? Immersed in a flooded Amazon forest? Or met a friendly beluga whale? They can explore it all at Shedd Aquarium. Your kids will have a blast meeting Luna, a baby sea otter recently rescued by Shedd.


Visitors getting a closer look at tropical fish at the Shedd Aquarium (Photo credit: Choose Chicago)

For more family-friendly trip ideas, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Expedia Feature Image

Expedia Viewfinder and Enjoy Illinois partnered up to highlight the best outdoor things to do in the Prairie State this winter.

With the fresh snowfall of each new winter season, Illinois becomes the epitome of a winter wonderland. At Expedia Viewfinder, we wanted to learn more about what makes the Land of Lincoln so appealing during wintertime, so we turned to our friends at Enjoy Illinois. From ice skating to snowshoeing, we discovered some of the best reasons to travel to Illinois this winter:


Ice skating at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park

Ice Skating

Channel Michelle Kwan and practice those figure 8s at the ice rink this winter. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Chicago’s famed Millennium Park is a favorite spot for visitors and locals to carve up the ice, introduce their little ones to skating, or relive their ice hockey days. This family-friendly attraction offers free ice skating lessons before the rink opens on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so everyone has the opportunity to be an Olympic-worthy skater for the day. Nearby, the brand new Maggie Daley Park offers a quarter-mile long circular ice skating ribbon, for a unique twist on the traditional ice rink. After a day of fun on the ice, grab a hot chocolate and explore the rest of Millennium Park and Chicago’s historic Michigan Avenue.

Starved Rock Ice Climb

Frozen waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park

Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing

Break a sweat while getting in touch with Mother Nature by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at the beautiful Starved Rock State Park. Located just 90 miles from Chicago, Starved Rock offers hiking and skiing trails that meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. In addition, Starved Rock’s seasonal waterfalls often completely freeze over during the winter months, providing a special awe-inspiring natural treat for visitors. For an extended stay at Starved Rock State Park, visitors can stay at the Starved Rock Lodge or one of the cozy cabins.

Flick Park Sledding

Sledding at Flick Park in Glenview (Photo credit: Glenview Park District)


Who says sledding is just for kids? Grab a saucer, with or without the kiddos, and shoot down the slippery slopes at the many Forest Preserves of Cook County locations, like Caldwell Woods. These hills serve up plenty of thrills for kids and adults alike. Flick Park in Glenview is another popular spot, where sledders can fly down the 200-foot hill into the open fields. Shooting down these slopes with snow flying all around is certain to bring joy, while making lasting memories.


Skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena

Skiing and Snowboarding

For those looking for something a little more challenging than sledding hills, hit the slopes at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena. This ski and snowboard destination boasts 19 runs with 475-foot vertical drops. Farside, its terrain park, also includes 25 rails for boarders and skiers looking to pull some tricks and stunts. Meanwhile, snowboarders who don’t want to share their turf can head to Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park, located near Chicago in Algonquin, the world’s first snowboard exclusive area. The Raging Buffalo presents half pipes, tabletops, kickers, and more to challenge every level.


Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Zoo Lights

Enjoying winter in Illinois doesn’t have to include high-thrill activities. Mosey over to the Lincoln Park Zoo in the evening and see a different side to this day-time attraction. Each winter, the zoo is illuminated with lights and musical displays, as visitors can marvel at the holiday decorations and check out the exotic animals. This year, the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights also offer live ice carvers, a Lion Train Adventure, arts and crafts and more.

Don’t let a little cold weather keep you inside this winter. Take a trip to Illinois to enjoy these adventures for yourself. To plan your trip, be sure to visit

Expedia Staff Writer

Sweet Feature Image

Did you know Illinois is filled with many sweets, treats, and delicious destinations? This week, we challenged our Instagram followers to capture and share their favorite Illinois sweet spots. Check out some of our favorite pictures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges. Your photos could be featured next week! Make sure you tag #EnjoyIllinois.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events, and attractions check out

cle_chi christkindlmarket sweets stand

Instagramer @cle_chi has been going to Christkindlmarket since 2011 for its sweet treats!

jojogard blue chicago

A different take on the theme, “Sweet” Home Chicago! Photo: @jojogard


What could be sweeter than a nice cup of warm coffee during the winter? Thanks @elbow_macaroni for sharing!


Yum! Delicious pretzels @dbromo found at Christkindlmarket.

brispichi sprinkles cupcake

Chicago is known for its views, as well as Sprinkle Cupcakes Chicago! Photo: @brispichi


LaUnica Bakery in @OnlyCarbondale has so many delicious treats that they couldn’t choose just one to share!]

-The Illinois Office of Tourism