Chicago’s Gold Coast is home to the famous Magnificent Mile, among other great destinations. There’s endless shopping and food options, and a lot of them are more affordable than you would expect. It’s totally feasible to have a great time in the Gold Coast on a budget. Read on for some wallet-friendly picks.



Since this neighborhood is such a popular tourist destination, there are many public transit options. Your best bet is to take the CTA Red line to the Chicago stop. You’ll be just steps from Michigan Avenue!

Chicago's Gold Coast is very walkable, so transportation to and from meals and shopping should be free!




goddess and grocer

Goddess and Grocer: The State Street location of this fabulous chain eatery has tons of reasonably priced breakfast items, whether you want a croissant sandwich, bagel, breakfast burrito, or just a coffee and pastry.

Goddess and Grocer  |  1127 N. State Street  |  312-265-1888


You could also check out Le Pain Quotidien (10 E. Delaware Place) or LYFE Kitchen (831 N. State Street) for healthy morning options.




Velvet Taco

There's no shortage of choices when it comes to grabbing an inexpensive meal for lunch in the Gold Coast. Here are some local favorites:

  • Velvet Taco (1110 N. State Street)—Must-trys: global tacos such as ‘falafel’ and ‘spicy tikka chicken’

  • Downtown Dogs (159 N. Wabash Avenue)

  • Epic Burger (40 E. Pearson Street)

  • Foodlife in Water Tower Place (835 Michigan Avenue)—Unique food court with tons of options if you and your group can’t quite agree on a restaurant.




Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile: There are many high-end and fast-fashion retailers along the nearby Magnificent Mile, so wear your walking shoes and go get your steps in. Try department store outlets such Nordstrom Rack (101 E. Chicago Avenue), Marshalls (600 N. Michigan Avenue) and T. J. Maxx (600 N. Michigan Avenue) to score designer finds at deep discounts. If you’re on a tight budget, you can go wrong with window shopping and people watching.




Underground Wonder Bar

Underground Wonder Bar: This somewhat hidden cocktail lounge features live music in a lively atmosphere. They’re open till 4 a.m. so you can stay for a while! Check Groupon before heading in—they frequently run special deals.

Underground Wonder Bar  |  710 N. Clark Street  |  312-266-7761




Chicago q

You could try out another one of the lunch spots above for dinner, or dine at one of these (slightly more) expensive restaurants:

  • Chicago q (1160 N. Dearborn Street)—Classier BBQ restaurant

  • Luxbar (18 E. Bellevue Place)—Order a burger and truffle fries.

  • Mario’s Table (21 W. Goethe Street)—Homestyle Italian food. Check their Facebook for frequent specials, including the Two-fer Tuesday wine deal.




Hopsmith Tavern

Hopsmith Tavern: Gold Coast bars tend to be pricier than other places in the city, but Hopsmith Tavern’s specialty cocktails range from $8 to $14. The two-level pub also has some great specials. depending on the day of the week. 

Hopsmith Tavern  |  15 W. Division Street  |  312-600-9816

Are you excited to spend a day in Chicago's Gold Coast? Make sure to also check out our suggestions for a brewery tour in the nearby Loop area, or explore more neighborhoods and Chicago itineraries.