Your Kind of Town
North Michigan Avenue
Spend the day shopping and sightseeing. Fuel up with breakfast at Feast (25 E. Delaware Place, 312-337-4001, feastrestaurant.com), which has a gluten-free menu of comfort foods and breakfast favorites. Take an early morning walk along nearby Oak Street Beach (Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street). Its sandy shore attracts sunbathers and volleyball players who flock to the water’s edge.
If you didn’t make it to the Willis Tower on Day 1, you’ll get an equally good view of the city at the John Hancock Observatory (875 N. Michigan Ave., 888-875-VIEW, jhochicago.com) on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Tower. Just down the street, the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660, mcachicago.org) hosts compelling exhibits and provocative performances.
The stretch of Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River is called the Magnificent Mile (themagnificentmile.com), famous for its blocks of ritzy shops. You can shop till you drop at department stores and popular retailers. On Oak Street, you’ll find even more tony high-end boutiques.
Water Tower Place was one of the first vertical malls in the United States, with 100 stores. For girls–especially gluten-free girls—the highlight is American Girl Place (835 N. Michigan Ave., 877-247-5223, americangirl.com). In addition to being a fantasyland for girls to shop, American Girl Place is a dining dream for families on special diets. A gluten-free menu and allergy-friendly options at breakfast, lunch and dinner ensure that your little princess is treated just as royally as the rest of your family. You must make reservations several weeks in advance. (If you don’t have reservations, show up at one of the seating times and ask if there are any cancelations.)
Also in Water Tower Place, Foodlife (835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-335-3663, foodlifechicago.com), a contemporary food-court concept, has gluten-free options.
During summer, boat cruises on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River are a great way to enjoy the sun and find out more about the city’s striking architecture and history. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a popular architecture river cruise aboard the Chicago’s First Lady (book online at cruisechicago.com or call Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787), as does the Chicago History Museum, which offers its architecture and history boat tours through Chicago Line (312-527-1977, chicagoline.com).
Tourists, especially families with kids, flock to Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave., 312-595-PIER, navypier.com), a former naval pier turned entertainment center. The giant 150-foot Ferris wheel gives you breathtaking views of the lake and skyline. (Fun fact: the Ferris wheel was invented in Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893.) The Chicago Children’s Museum (700 E. Grand Ave., 312-527-1000, chicagochildrensmuseum.org) makes its home on Navy Pier, as do dozens of stores and kiosks selling souvenirs galore.
Off the Pier, River North offers several dining options for special diets. From the folks who invented the Weber kettle grill, the Weber Grill Restaurant (539 N. State St., 312-467-9696, webergrillrestaurant.com) serves steaks and kettleburgers with gluten-free buns.
Of course, Sweet Home Chicago is famous for the blues. For evening entertainment, check out a legendary Chicago blues club, like Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave., 312-427-1190, buddyguy.com) downtown, or Kingston Mines (2548 N. Halsted St., 773-477-4647, kingstonmines.com) or B.L.U.E.S. (2519 N. Halsted St., 773-528-1012, chicagobluesbar.com) in Lincoln Park.
Next: Day 3