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.
Hot chocolate is the focal point all year round at this hip Wicker Park restaurant. Choose from seven varieties of the sweet drink, like Mexican (2/3 dark chocolate, 1/3 chocolate with a hint of cinnamon), lemon (white chocolate with vanilla bean and fresh lemon), or a boozy option with a shot of your choice. Each comes topped with a fluffy house-made marshmallow and are available iced. 1747 N. Damen Ave.
The walk-up eatery (located at the window outside Bar Siena) has quickly become a hot spot for must-have desserts in the West Loop and Old Town. Bombobar‘s over-the-top hotter chocolates are as delicious as they are photogenic. Go for the classic option or mix it up with funfetti, chocoholic, and CBD-infused flavors. Spike it with a variety of spirits for an extra kick. 832 W. Randolph and 1529 North Wells
During the summer, this old-school ice cream shop is packed with people enjoying Margie’s classic sundaes, shakes, and sodas. But in the winter, the go-to order is their decadent hot chocolate topped with a cookie and whipped cream. 1960 N. Western Ave.
Katherine Anne Confections
Named one of the best places to drink hot chocolate in America, this sweet shop’s signature item is the luxurious drinking chocolate. There are 10 varieties to choose from, plus vegan options, and they come topped with your choice of flavored marshmallows. This year’s new flavors include chai tea, butterbeer, and pumpkin spice drinking chocolates. 2745 W. Armitage Ave.
Stan’s Donuts and Coffee
One of Chicago’s favorite donut shops will be serving specialty holiday drinks starting in December. One decadent option is the peppermint bark hot chocolate, made with Stan’s classic hot chocolate and topped with whipped cream and a miniature candy cane. Add a shot of espresso to make it a peppermint mocha. And don’t forget to grab a seasonal donut, like the eggnog croissant donut or the gingerbread old fashioned. Multiple locations.
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. There’s also a frozen option if you want your cocoa fix year round. 830 N. Michigan Ave.
This luxe Chicago chocolate brand is known for their exotic flavor combinations. Their gorgeous Lincoln Park boutique also sells cups of their rich hot chocolates. Try the Parisienne for just the right amount of sweetness, or the Aztec for a hint of chipotle spice. 951 W. Armitage Ave.
If you want an authentic Mexican hot chocolate, XOCO 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. 449 N. Clark St.
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, including two hot chocolate options. 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. 1651 N. Wells St.