The best way to stay warm during a Chicago winter? Lots of hot chocolate. It’s the perfect pit stop during a day of exploring the city’s many snow-covered sites. Luckily, the city is brimming with spots to indulge in a hot mug of cocoa. And none of those powdery packets — this stuff is the real deal.

Here’s where to go for a quick warm-up before your next wintery adventure.



The walk-up eatery has quickly become a hot spot for must-have desserts. Bombobar‘s over-the-top Hotter Chocolates are as delicious as they are photogenic. Go for the Chocoholic loaded with cookies and chocolate or the Banana Split topped with brûléed banana. You can even spike yours with a variety of spirits for an extra kick.

Hot Chocolate bomb from BomboBar

And don’t miss the brand new hot chocolate bombs, glossy orbs that transform into decadent cocoa when they’re dropped in hot milk. These viral creations come in a variety of seasonal flavors, including salted caramel and red velvet. Check out BomboBar’s West Loop location outside Bar Siena or their pop-up in River North.

Katherine Anne Confections

Hot chocolate from Katherine Anne Confection

Named one of the best places to drink hot chocolate in America, this sweet shop’s signature item is the luxurious drinking chocolate. The luscious drink is made of pure ground chocolate melted with a mixture of milk and cream. This year’s flavors include super dark chocolate, semisweet. salted caramel, Mexican hot chocolate, and more. Grab a pack or two to take home — they make great stocking stuffers.

Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop

You might have tasted Ghirardelli candies before, but their dreamy all-chocolate shop is a whole new experience. Their chocolate-centric menu includes several types of hot chocolate — classic cocoa, decadent drinking chocolate, sea salt caramel, and seasonal flavors like peppermint. Or try the new White Chocolate Caramel Steamer with steamed milk, white chocolate, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a touch of sea salt.


Xoco hot chocolate
Photo courtesy Xoco

If you want an authentic Mexican hot chocolate, XOCO in River North is the place to go. Through their unique bean-to-cup program, all their chocolate drinks are made with fresh-ground cacao beans sourced directly from Mexico. Try the almendrado, a shot of chocolate with steamed almond milk, or champurrado, a traditional chocolate drink thickened with masa. Pair one with a churro for the perfect sweet treat.

Stan’s Donuts and Coffee

One of Chicago’s favorite donut shops, Stan’s will be serving specialty holiday drinks starting in December. New options like year include Pink Hot Chocolate (featuring white chocolate flavor with a pop of color) and Hot Chocolate Malt made with chocolate malt balls. And don’t forget to grab a seasonal donut, like the eggnog croissant donut or the gingerbread old fashioned.

Mindy’s Bakery

Want to enjoy your mug of cocoa at home? Pick up a bag of hot chocolate blend crafted by the legendary Mindy Segal. Her new bakery offers a walk-up window where you can choose from three different varieties of cocoa: medium, dark, and Mexican. Plus, grab a few of her famous pastries while you’re there.

Kristoffer’s Cafe & Bakery

This Pilsen mainstay is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. Kristoffer’s Cafe serves a variety of warm winter drinks. The Mexican hot chocolate is a traditional blend of cocoa and spice, and the Mayan hot chocolate incorporates locally make espresso. And don’t forget to order a slice of their famous tres leche cake. 1733 S. Halsted St.

Cocoa + Co

A cup of cocoa is the perfect complement to a freshly made pastry at Cocoa + Co. The menu includes an array of thick, satisfying drinking chocolates with flavors like Mocha X’Tasy and Abuela’s Elixir. Or try a frozen hot chocolate for a refreshing spin on the classic.