In Chicago, there are two seasons: Winter and Patio. The Oak Street District happens to have some of the best outdoor dining (and the best people-watching) in the city. Herewith, a look at some of our favorites:
Most Historic: Del Frisco’s (58 E. Oak (312) 888-2499)
This glamorous steakhouse is housed in what was once the Esquire, a single-screen, 1,400-seat movie theater built in 1938. The cinema is gone, but there is still plenty to look at from Del Frisco’s beautiful terrace.
Best Rainy Day Option: Fig & Olive (104 E. Oak (312) 445-0060)
On clear days, fashionable guests flock to this Mediterranean eatery’s lovely terrace. But when the clouds set it, diners can still get that al fresco feel, thanks to the space’s bright, airy atrium and lush olive tree.
Quintessential Chicago: Gibson’s (1028 N. Rush, (312) 266-8999)
Ever since it opened in 1989, Gibson’s has been a must-visit Chicago dining destination for celebrities, tourists, and locals alike. Cozy heat lamps mean the patio can be open early in the Spring and well into Fall.
Best People-Watching: Tavern on Rush (1031 N. Rush, (312) 664-9600)
A prime location on the lively corner of Rush and Bellevue means that diners get the best view of all the comings-and-goings of the Gold Coast set, while also enjoying the privacy of Tavern’s oversized umbrellas.
Foodie’s Paradise: Nico Osteria (1015 N. Rush, (312) 994-7100)
From the team behind Chicago’s celebrated One Off Hospitality Group, this sophisticated spot offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Erling Wu-Bower’s menu changes daily and boasts farm-to-table cuisine that is both rustic and refined.
Hidden Gem: NoMi Garden at The Park Hyatt (800 N. Michigan Avenue (312) 239-4030)
Nestled seven floors above the hustle-and-bustle of Michigan Avenue, NoMi Garden is a quiet oasis serving artfully-crafted cocktails, flawless wines and a seasonal menu. Their weekend brunch is also one of the best in town.