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May 18, 2007 05:38 AM

Near Millennium Park

We are staying very near Millennium Park this weekend and early next week and I am not real familiar with Chicago. We prefer to do a lot of walking and I am wondering what is walkable. We are planning on going to Hot Doug's, Frontera Grill, Portillo's, and possibly Geno's East and Hopleaf. Also, probably hang out at Murphy's Bleachers during a Cubs game.

Also, how far are Chinatown, Greektown and Little Italy?

Have no ideas for breakfast or coffee. Prefer as close as possible for this. Any ideas?

Nancy in St. Paul

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  1. A LOT of restaurants are walkable in the greater downtown area. It's a bit difficult to say what's closest to you because you didn't mention where you are staying; there are several areas of hotels spread around, all of which are somewhat near Millennium Park - the area north of the river, the cluster on the south side of the river east of Michigan Avenue, hotels in the Loop, and some in the South Loop.

    For recommendations in the Loop itself, check out this topic, which discusses places to eat around the Palmer House Hilton (just west of Millenium Park):

    For recommendations close to hotels on the south side of the river east of Michigan Avenue (just north of Millennium Park), see this topic (although keep in mind that it was asking about inexpensive options):

    If you're staying elsewhere, let us know and we can provide more recommendations.

    If you haven't read about Frontera Grill's reservations policy, note that they only accept same-day reservations and you need to call when they open at 8:30 a.m.; otherwise you'll be waiting in line. Another strategy to enjoy the Bayless restaurants is to go to Topolobampo at lunch, when it's about the same price as Frontera Grill (but Topolobampo accepts advance reservations).

    Chinatown is three miles south of the Loop, easily accessible by el or cab.

    Greek Town is one mile west of the Loop, a long walk or hop on a bus.

    Chicago's "Little Italy" is really not much, and not worth going to, IMHO. Some of our best Italian restaurants are within easy walking distance of Millennium Park, including Coco Pazzo Cafe, Trattoria No. 10, and Vivere.

    As for breakfast places, the closest ones to Millennium Park are Heaven on Seven (Wabash Avenue location is on the east side of the Loop) and Fox and Obel (just across the river, north of Millennium Park). Lou Mitchell's is on the west side of the Loop, and Orange on Harrison is just south of the Loop. All four are within walking distance of the park, and all are excellent. For website links and comments about these and other breakfast places, see this topic:

    If that doesn't answer your questions, let us know and we'll try to help.

    Enjoy your visit!

    5 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks for the info. If it helps, we are staying east of Michigan Ave. on South Water.

      Just a few more questions: Is Hot Doug's walkable? Also, the link above listed mostly brunch places. Looking more for basic breakfast or really good coffee place very close by.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: nancyd

        Hot Doug's is not walkable. It is about six miles from the hotel as the crow flies (four miles west and four miles north). By public transportation, you can take the el's Blue Line to California, then transfer to the #52 bus northbound on California.

        The recommendations in the topic near the Hyatt will be a bit closer than those near the Palmer House Hilton, but both are very close.

        For basic breakfast, I'm sure you can get your basic eggs at any of the hotels (for a high price). I'm not sure what's in the immediate area for a cheap breakfast. Fox and Obel is across the river, but that may be further than you want to go; regardless, you can see their cafe menu at Since they're a gourmet food store (besides just the cafe), you can get baked goods, etc there. I'm eating one of their delicious cinnamon twist rolls as I type this - yum! Heaven on Seven is just a few blocks from you and has four-egg omelettes as well as French toast, pancakes, etc; their breakfast menu is at And there must be a bazillion locations of Starbucks within a few blocks.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Although Starbucks is generally given the status of a "really good coffee place," you might want to try Intelligentsia. It's a local favorite.

          Intelligentsia Coffee
          53 E. Randolph St.

          1. re: twine

            I second the Intelligentsia suggestion. It has nice atmosphere too.

            1. re: applesandoranges

              Just wanted to say thanks for the info. Especially the Intelligentsia suggestion. Totally convenient to where we were staying, excellent coffee and wonderful atmosphere. Also appreciated the directions to Hot Doug's. It is sooo out of the way to get to, and yet, so worth it. Highly recommended. Frontera never ceases to amaze me. Manage to fit in two absolutely fantastic meals there. Noteworthy were an awesome ribeye, ceviche trio, a tomatillo salsa (best salsa I've ever had), killer Topolo margaritas, and incredible mashed potatoes (I want the recipe for those!) Also, Portillo's Italian beef rocked. Not a Chicago style pizza fan, but Gino's East was great. And lastly, had some of the best gumbo ever at Heaven on Seventh.

              What a great trip. What a great town.

              Nancy in St. Paul