Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.Get Tickets
Whether you’re shopping for a friend in the city or sending a present to someone out of town, Chicago has no shortage of unique gift ideas. From the entertaining, to the thoughtful, to the flavorful, we’ve compiled this ultimate list of items and experiences that are sure to please anyone on your shopping list this year.
With delicious food, stunning architecture, and a cultural scene like nowhere else, Chicago is world-renowned for the sheer variety this city has to choose from. But having that many choices available can get overwhelming when it comes to selecting one perfect gift for a friend or family member for a special occasion.
Here’s the thing: Decision fatigue is real. With this in mind, here’s our easy roster of twenty fantastic, uniquely Chicago gift ideas curated to delight anyone (and everyone) you’re shopping for in 2021.
From deep-dish pizzas and Italian beef sandwiches, to cold and crisp craft beers, Chicago has a cornucopia of cuisines on offer that are not only unique to the city, but also nothing short of spectacular. The best way to give someone a wide selection of the best foods in Chicago is through a food tour. It’s a chance to satisfy your favorite foodie’s culinary cravings and give them an unforgettable tour of the city on the same day!
Can’t decide? Let your recipient choose for themselves by purchasing them a gift card in any amount. That way, they’ll be sure to get to the exact destinations and foods they’ll enjoy most.
Choose from the many tasty treats and sweets available at Katherine Anne Confections, a staple of Logan Square for over a decade. Their chocolates and caramels are made with the finest local ingredients, from wildflower honey to cream from Illinois cows. Boxed truffle gift box options include flavors like lemon poppyseed and toasted coconut rum.
Delight your loved ones with some of Chicago’s most iconic and delicious 312 treats in this one-of-a-kind snack pack. You’ll feel like your standing on Michigan Avenue as you snack on Garrett’s popcorn, Frango chocolates, cinnamon roasted nuts and more. The perfect way to travel through food!
This Illinois chocolate box features chocolate in all of the best ways! A box of chocolate is the perfect way to say “Thank you”, “I love you” or “Happy Birthday” featuring Chicago locals like:
These iconic and luxury chocolates are some of the finest in all of the world. Consider one of these boxes to have a sample of a few of the best chocolates of Chicago.
The streets of Chicago have been filled with the irresistibly buttery scents coming from Garrett Popcorn Shops since 1949. One of the popular gift choices includes a bag of Garrett Mix®, which blends Garrett’s famous CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn varieties. The namesake mixture was developed as an answer to their fans’ requests for sweet and savory all in one bite.
For Chicago gift-givers with lovers of suds on their list, the city is home to many creative craft breweries and distilleries. Check out this list of the Final-Final, Indisputable Ranking of Chicago’s Ten Best Craft Beers for suggestions and gift ideas. This top ten roster showcases the highest-ranked beers that have helped make Chicago a craft beer lover’s paradise.
For children who dream of living in Chicago or already do, here’s a great gift that’s not only educational, but also fun. From the LEGO® Architecture line of pre-designed packages, the Chicago 21033 option allows youngsters to recreate the blend of historical and modern buildings found in the city’s skyline.
The sets are scaled to offer an accurate representation of the size of each of these structures along with true-to-life colors. The package features the Willis Tower, John Hancock Center, Cloud Gate, DuSable Bridge, Wrigley Building, and the Big Red that includes a decorative “Chicago” nameplate. This kit will delight kids for years whether they build it once and put it on display or construct it over-and-over again.
From “Da Bears” to the Cubs, the Bulls, and the Blackhawks, the choice of a Chicago-themed sports-related gift never fails to get fans stoked for next season. While tickets are always an option, think outside the stub and try performing a search on sites like eBay for a huge selection of sports memorabilia and souvenirs.
From jerseys to caps, watches, and pens, there are a plethora of cool Chicago-related gift ideas to choose from for sports enthusiasts. Delve a little deeper into these options and consider choices that are personalized to score a touchdown for fans of any team.
Again, while tickets to watch the Cubs play on their home field are a great, classic option, another excellent Chicago-based gift experience is to tour the historic Wrigley Field. Well-known for its ivy-covered walls, booking a tour of this classic coliseum will score a real home run with baseball fans. Whether it’s booked on a game day or when the stadium is closed to the public, tour takers will get an amazing behind-the-scenes look at this stunning stadium.
The musical 2002 “Chicago” helped bring the spotlight on amazing musical performances back to the Windy City. An excellent way to experience the musical gifts Chicago has to offer jazz and blues fans is through one of these notable venues:
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the most well-respected groups of musicians performing on a global scale. Tickets to see some of the world-class conductors at work are both an affordable and imaginative gift for the music lover in your life. There are also Chicago music themed gifts available from the Symphony Store, including CDs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and more.
Making a donation to a non-profit music organization in your recipient’s name can also be a great alternative to giving them an actual gift. Ways to support the symphony include making a personal contribution, corporate sponsorship, or becoming involved in their charity work.
Often used as a backdrop to movies filmed in the city, the downtown Chicago Theatre is nothing short of a spectacular showcase of stellar performances. In addition to purchasing tickets to see comedians, world-class dance companies, renowned musical performers, and well-respected cultural figures, creative gift choices also include booking a historic tour of this amazing facility.
Renting the venue as a unique location for an upcoming grand event (think weddings or galas) is also a possibility. With a capacity of 200 people on stage, up to 800 with an extension, and outside catering available, wouldn’t this make an unbelievable spot for an unforgettable event?
Purists to stage performances are glued to their seats when the curtain opens at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (or CST). Located on Navy Pier, the CST is the largest performing arts center in Chicago and puts on many of William’s classic plays, from “Romeo and Juliet”, to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, to “Hamlet”, and more.
Family-friendly options include presentations of “Peter Pan” or “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. Speaking of options, another Chicago gift idea includes donating to this non-profit organization in the name of the recipient as a way to show their support of the arts in Illinois.
When purchasing tickets for a performance at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as a Chicago experience gift, why not add a an Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour to the package for an all-day and night adventure? Recipients will enjoy delicious dining options in the afternoon, and spend some time exploring the many attractions on the boardwalk before heading off to attend a show at the classic Shakespearean theater.
This premium venue is an excellent choice for a Chicago-based art-related gift. Plus! There are plenty of souvenirs to take home from their gift shop. At the Art Institute of Chicago, exhibits are rotated year-round and new additions are made regularly. Considering all the new exhibitions that come through too, no one will be offended if you get them tickets to the same place more than once. Every visit to this magnificent Chicago spot is a chance to have a fresh artistic experience.
Lovers of modern and current art will find exactly what they’re looking for when attending a viewing at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Giving the gift of tickets to this modern art meca is sure to engage experienced art lovers, and may even open some new eyes to the beauty of these fascinating creations.
While this one might seem like a stretch, you’d be surprised by how fascinating the history and future of medicine really is. Located in the Gold Coast, the beautiful International Museum of Surgical Science showcases life-size statues of some of the most prominent surgeons and physicians from the past, as well as a curious (and sometimes bizarre) mix of medical equipment and displays to explore.
Chicago gift recipients of tickets to this venue will experience an amazing collection of Hispanic inspired pieces at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Visitors are given breathtaking examples of artistic creations sprinkled throughout the museum. Make it a full day in Pilsen by booking tickets on a Tacos & Tequila Tour to discover some of the authentic, hidden gems of the neighborhood.
Another quintessential educational Chicago location is the Field Museum. Home to one of the largest natural history collections in the world, the focal point of the museum is undoubtedly Sue, the most complete, frightening, and Twitter active T-Rex skeleton ever discovered. Another big attraction is Máximo the Titanosaur—literally the biggest dinosaur on earth. If you’re hoping to gift a larger-than-life learning experience this year, the Field Museum will not disappoint.
The high-profile gangster Al Capone was a huge part of Chicago’s famous past when mobsters ran the streets of this city day and night. For true crime fans and history buffs, consider this unique experience available from Chicago Crime Tours. Their bus tours include stops at locations where the likes of Capone, John Dillinger, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, and many others ruled the roost during the prohibition era.
Their tour buses also swing by the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, one of the most notorious mass-murders in American history. While booking a tour is always a possibility, there are also gift certificates available for this venue that would make a truly unique Chicago gift idea.
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.
Discover why Pilsen was named one of the “12 Coolest Neighborhoods Around the World” by Forbes on our Street Foods of Pilsen Food Tour.
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