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Things to do near McCormick Place

Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America, is surrounded by exciting entertainment, trendy restaurants, and cool breweries in the historic South Loop neighborhood. Your attendees will want to make time to check out everything that the McCormick Place area has to offer, from innovative microbreweries to fascinating local museums to cultural destinations like nearby Chinatown.

Things to do

Lips Drag Show
Photo courtesy Of Kyle Flubacker

Lips Chicago is the first Midwest location of the dazzling drag show-and-dinner venue. The candy-colored South Loop location features a big, sparkling stage and roomy aisles for the glamorous drag queens to sashay down. Plan a fabulous drag dinner or diva cocktail party for up to 200 guests.

The historic Chess Records played an outsized role in the city’s legendary blues scene, working with some of the era’s most influential musicians. Today, the space is a museum and gallery dedicated to Chicago’s blues history. Schedule a guided tour in advance.

Head to the Lakefront Trail for the best views of the city skyline and blue waters of Lake Michigan. Take a leisurely walk or rent a Divvy bike to cover more ground. Stop by the McCormick Bird Sanctuary to admire the local wildlife.

In Chinatown, Ping Tom Memorial Park is a scenic green space on the Chicago River. You’ll find skyline views, Asian-inspired architecture, and a boat house offering seasonal kayak rentals.

A National Historic Landmark, the Glessner House is an architectural treasure tucked away in the Prairie Avenue historic district. Schedule a guided tour to learn more about the home’s fascinating history, design, and the people who lived there. Make sure to take time to walk Prairie Avenue, known as Millionaires’ Row, and admire the stunning homes.

Not far from McCormick Place, the Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Explore the astounding exhibits to see mummies, gemstones, and some of the rarest fossils ever discovered.

Breweries and bars

Duneyrr Microbrewery
Duneyrr Microbrewery

For something truly one-of-a-kind, stop by Duneyrr Microbrewery for a taste of their Nordic-inspired creations. The welcoming taproom is the perfect spot to relax with a pint of an experimental brew, like a mixed-culture wild ale and beer co-fermented with wine. Or get a flight and try them all.

Moody Tongue Brewing Company is one of the city’s most acclaimed breweries, known for their culinary-inspired beers. You can sample their latest creations in The Bar or try the fine dining experience in The Dining Room, which has been awarded two Michelin stars.

Fatpour Tap Works McCormick, named for its hearty 22-ounce pours, is a sleek, two-story brewpub located in the Hiltons at McCormick Place. Fatpour features a variety of craft beers on tap paired with elevated pub fare that ranges from wood-fired pizza to cowboy ribeye steak. Plan a dinner in the second-floor private dining room or a cocktail party on the outdoor patio.

In nearby Chinatown, Nine Bar serves a variety of creative cocktails infused with nods to Chinese culture. The food also plays off traditional Chinese cuisine but brings a modern twist — think mapo hot fries, ube egg tarts, and a “McKatsu” sandwich.

Also check out: Reggies, VU Rooftop, and Buddy Guys Legends.



Helmed by an award-winning chef, Apolonia specializes in coastal European and Mediterranean dishes. Wines are sourced from around the globe, and custom-blended Apolonia vermouth is offered on tap. The airy 100-seat restaurant features a private dining room that can accommodate 20 guests.

For a quick bite to eat, Mustard Seed Kitchen is the creation of esteemed chef Erick Williams, winner of a James Beard Award. Located within walking distance of McCormick Place, this fast-casual concept serves everything from hearty pastas to satisfying salads — all with Williams’ signature Southern flavors.

Il Culaccino pasta

Located just steps from Wintrust Arena is Il Culaccino, which melds traditional and modern Italian favorites. Private parties can opt for the covered and heated year-round patio or main dining area, accommodating up to 250 seated guests.

Haidilao, the largest hot pot chain in China, has opened a Chicago outpost in the South Loop. The restaurant serves Szechuan hot pot, where guests cook their own meat and vegetables in a rich, boiling broth. Unique entertainment is also on the menu here — robots ferry out diners’ food.

Check out more popular restaurants near McCormick Place.

Learn more about McCormick Place’s South Loop neighborhood.

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