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In the Neighborhood: Your guide to Chicago’s McCormick Place

Thanks to exciting developments in nearby Chinatown, Pilsen and the South Loop, there’s plenty to discover in the neighborhood also home to the largest convention center in the US.

By Alina Dizik | May 25, 2023

Tucked along Lake Michigan’s stunning shoreline and just minutes from downtown Chicago, McCormick Place has incredible views of the city skyline and a host of nearby attractions. While most visitors come to the sprawling convention center for meetings or events, its central location makes it ideal for exploring the city too.

Have an afternoon off? Start by walking along the lake for a glimpse of Chicago’s historical football stadium, Soldier Field. Continue your stroll towards the museum campus, with the stately Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium, which has stellar views of the lake. While it’s possible to explore on foot, you can also take advantage of area bike paths. Eager to duck out for a world-class meal or some quick sightseeing? There are ample opportunities to explore within walking distance of this lakeside neighborhood.


Between authentic Chinese and one of the country’s most upscale breweries, there’s no shortage of memorable eats in and around McCormick Place. Try:

- Mustard Seed Kitchen to savor upscale comfort food from James Beard Award-winning chef and owner Erick Williams. Offerings, including Cajun fettucine and caramel cake, are prepared to go.

- The world’s first two Michelin-starred brewery, Moody Tongue’s hyper-seasonal tasting menu pairs perfectly with specialty brews including Aperitif Pilsner and Orange Blossom Belgian Blonde.

- Dim sum palace MingHin Cuisine is known for its all-day traditional and contemporary Cantonese menu. Favorites include shrimp dumplings and sticky rice.


Explore Chicago’s storied past before spending some time relaxing by Lake Michigan. Head to:

- Motor Row, a historic district built in the early 1900s by several notable architects, to see former automobile showrooms that have been redeveloped into restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, theaters and more.

- The area around Burnham Harbor and Northerly Island Park. Northerly Island, an artificial peninsula that was once the site of an airport, now features hiking trails and a small beach with city views.

- Immerse yourself in the life of the 19th-century elite at Glessner House, one of the original Prairie Avenue mansions and a National Historic Landmark. The home’s intricate Arts and Crafts design and original furnishings give visitors a glimpse into the area’s gilded past.


Browse candy shops, jewelry, home accessories and other goods to find the perfect keepsake in nearby art-filled Pilsen and Chinatown. Walk into:

- Mashallah for greeting cards, jewelry, home goods and unique vintage finds that draw dedicated locals to the indie Pilsen boutique.

- Aji Ichiban The sweets from various regions in Asia found at this Chinatown institution are sure to bring out your inner child. (Chinatown image credit: Adam Alexander/Fall 2019 Adam Alexander/Choose Chicago)

- The Shudio, an environmentally conscious shop and metalsmith studio offering a mix of vintage fashion, handmade jewelry and reclaimed home decor.

With plenty of established and new offerings to discover in the neighborhood, visiting McCormick Place means you’ll have ample opportunities to explore the best parts of the Windy City.

Alina Dizik is a veteran lifestyle journalist, covering travel, real estate, family, work trends and dining. Her work appears in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Cut, The Guardian and other top publications. She lives in Chicago and has spent time living in New York, Europe and the Middle East. She spends more than two months each year traveling internationally with her husband and two school-age children. She has visited more than 50 countries.