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First Time in Chicago - Just one day

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I'll be coming to Chicago from Boston for the first time in several weeks and want to hit as many must-eats as possible during my one day(Sunday) there. This will be on 4/15 so the "Germania on the Pier" festival will be going on in case there are any must-haves there?

So far, this is what I have:
-Cheap lunch at Big Star in Wicker Park
-Deep dish at Lou Manolti's
-Do-rite doughnuts

I'll be staying in the Magnificent Mile area and will be spending the day biking along Lakeshore from Millenium Park to Lincoln Park.

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  1. I forgot to mention that I will be traveling alone, but don't mind eating alone in a casual setting with a book or something. Definitely nothing expensive, just looking for cheap eats and maybe something casual.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Well, a couple of things off the bat -- Sundays can be tricky since many places might be closed. That includes Do-rite Donuts (as well as the other fancy donut place, Doughnut Vault). The city's newest fancy donut shop, Glazed & Infused, might have their first outpost open by the time your trip rolls around -- they will be located in Wicker Park, just up the block from Big Star.

      And Wicker Park isn't really along the lake, too. Absolutely easy to get to on a bike, but also 2.5-3 miles west (depending on route). Point being, it's a slight detour to get there if your route is going to be along the lake.

      Big Star is definitely a place where a solo diner will be comfortable. It can get a little crowded/bustling, but if the day is nice, everyone will be on the patio anyway, rather than inside at the bar.

      2 Replies
      1. re: danimalarkey

        I'll be heading to Big Star on my way from the airport to the downtown, before getting on the bike. I'll keep a lookout for Glazed and Infused. Thanks for the tips.

        Anyone have any input on Germania on the Pier's food(must have or standard festival fare)? Any must eats that I should grab during my bike ride? I may try Dose Market while I'm in that neighborhood.

        1. re: tuftsauto

          Pastoral is near Millennium Park and could put together a nice lunch for you to take with you on your bike ride.
          At the festival, I would walk around and see who is offering samples of sausage, and then get a big helping of whichever sample tastes best.

      2. I'm a second generation Chicagoan, pushing 50 this year, and I have never heard of this 'Germania on the Pier' event.

        Looks like it is being catered by one place, Austrian Bakery and is more of a music event than food focused. May I ask why you are going? Do you have a back up plan if it is raining that day?

        3 Replies
        1. re: delk

          I'm more interested in using the bike to get a feel for Lakeshore Drive and to see the parks, but I figured that I could stop at the German festival and Dose Market briefly along the way.

          I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't be a rainy day but will need to figure out backup options in that case. I'm an engineer so I think I would enjoy the science museum. Not interested in art/theater though so that part of Chicago would be lost on me.

          1. re: tuftsauto

            I, too am a lifelong (3rd generation) Chicagoan. What's Dose Market?

            Chicago's lakefront is certainly bike-worthy, but the two events you have identified are not well-known or typical of the city. The Museum of Science and Industry is wonderful, but is targeted to the public, not scientists.

            You might like the Field Museum of National History, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. These are all on the same museum campus and are closer to the city center the MSI. You can get tickets to all three in advance and save yourself both time and money.

            1. re: chicgail

              http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/...
              http://dosemarket.com/

              Sounds fun, kind of like the Brooklyn Flea in NYC.