From deep-dish pizza to boundary-pushing Michelin-starred restaurants, Chicago is one of America’s greatest food cities. Add a fantastic view of the famous downtown area or the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan, and you’ll elevate any meal into a truly unforgettable experience. With the West Loop, Logan Square, and River North, it is no surprise that Chicago is ranked as one of the top cities for foodies.


These are the best Chicago restaurants with a view in 2024

Want to dine with a view of Lake Michigan? How about being on top of a skyscraper with a panoramic vista? Or maybe drinks out on Navy Pier? Whether you’re looking for waterfront views or a window table overlooking the Magnificent Mile, these Chicago restaurants have the best perspectives in town. Let us dig in to find out why Chicago is known as an epicenter of molecular gastronomy.


1. City Cruises Chicago

Why simply sit back and enjoy the view when you can be in the view? Sailing onboard a ship with City Cruises, you can enjoy a high-end brunch, lunch, or dinner while sailing past the Chicago skyline on Lake Michigan, and experience the city in an unforgettable way.

During the day, you’ll admire the towering skyscrapers of downtown Chicago, like the John Hancock Center or Lake Point Tower, and the city’s lakeside parks, like Millennium Park and North Avenue Beach, while during a nighttime cruise, you’ll see the city skyline all lit up with picturesque views. Whether for a romantic dinner for two or a special evening with friends and family, dinner cruises are perfect for any occasion.

Along with great food and stunning views of the Windy City, our dining cruises also feature music and a full bar. Get ready for dancing, and an assortment of games to add to the fun. The fresh air from rooftop decks will provide you with the perfect dining experience with a view.


2. Offshore Rooftop

Situated at the far end of Chicago’s Navy Pier, this open-air rooftop bar holds the honor of being the biggest rooftop dining venue in America. While lounging in the comfortable chairs, soak up panoramic views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. This multi-seasonal space also boasts a world-class kitchen and full-service bar.


3. Sights & Sips Cruise on the Chicago River

Lake Michigan isn’t Chicago’s only body of water worth sailing. The 156-mile-long Chicago River winds through the heart of downtown and trendy districts like River North, surrounded by sky-high towers, skyscrapers, and the tallest residential buildings in town.

A Sights & Sips Cruise along the Chicago River is the perfect way to see the city center, as you sail past iconic landmarks, like Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building while sipping on craft cocktails, beer, or wine and snacking on passed hors d’oeuvres. No matter what occasion you are celebrating, this cruise is the perfect way to unwind and escape.


4. Beatnik on the River

Named after the bohemian freethinkers of the 1950s and 60s, Beatnik on The River channels the Beatnik generation’s sense of style, aspiration, and rebellion to create an exotic escape with maximalist interiors. Along with its vibrant tile mosaics, bold colors, elaborate patterns, and lush greenery, this popular spot for international eats and weekend brunch is easily one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in Chicago. But with spectacular views of the river and glassy skyscrapers, the prime location right on the Chicago River takes this global dining experience to new levels.


5. River Roast

Hugging the sides of a red-brick building right on the Chicago River, this lively social spot draws diners in, not only with its unbeatable riverside location but also its British-centered menu, featuring delectably roasted beef, fish, and chicken.


6. Utopian Tailgate

As the name suggests, this tailgate-themed rooftop patio and bar in Old Town Chicago pairs excellent views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding city with a fun and free-spirited vibe.

The open-air dining area mimics the feel of a garden party, with brightly colored furniture, hanging chairs, tire swings, and plenty of plants and greenery on a wide expanse of Astroturf. You can play lawn games like giant Jenga or cornhole while enjoying boozy cocktails and casual eats, including sliders and pizza. With over 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, the party seems endless.


7. Cindy’s

Housed inside a glass-domed dining area with an outdoor patio, this rooftop bar and restaurant right next to Millennium Park is just as well known for its views of the park and Lake Michigan as it is for its sophisticated seasonal fare. You can enjoy the open-air terrace year-round atop a historic Chicago institution with vibrant service.


8. Caffè Oliva

For tasty burgers and refreshing cocktails right next to Lake Michigan’s sunny lakefront, there’s nowhere better than Caffè Oliva. Open seasonally during the summer along Ohio Street Beach, this breezy and easy-going dining spot is literally steps from the sand and surf.


9. The J. Parker

Catch spectacular views of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan at The J. Parker. This rooftop oasis sits on top of the Hotel Lincoln – conveniently close to DePaul University and Lincoln Park Zoo. Enjoy unobstructed scenery with 140 outside seats or if you prefer, inside seating is available at 55 seats.


10. North Pond

Looking out over an idyllic pond in Lincoln Park, this fine-dining restaurant feels a world away from the bustle of the city.

North Pond’s building dates from 1912 and exudes historic charm, with warm wood paneling, rustic stone walls, and large windows overlooking the water with skyline views. It’s the perfect place for romantic dinners, thanks to a menu of upscale American fare featuring local ingredients.


From Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park to the Chicago River, find incredible views at these Chicago restaurants

Dining out in Chicago is one of the best ways to experience the city, but choosing a restaurant or a City Cruises experience with a beautiful vista combines two of the Windy City’s best attractions: city views and great dining.

FAQs – Chicago Restaurants with a View

What are some popular Chicago restaurants with a great view in 2024?

Some popular options include Everest, Cité, North Pond, River Roast, The J. Parker, and City Cruises Chicago, which offers dining experiences on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan.

Do I need to make reservations in advance at these restaurants?

It’s generally recommended to make reservations in advance, as these restaurants are popular and can get busy, especially during weekends and peak dining hours.

Are there any budget-friendly restaurants with views in Chicago?

Yes, some budget-friendly options with great views include Waterfront Café, The Kitchen at the Chicago Riverwalk, Beatrix Fulton Market, and City Cruises Chicago. The signature cruises offered by City Cruises provide a more affordable option compared to their premier cruises.

What types of cuisine can I expect at these restaurants?

Chicago’s diverse dining scene offers a variety of cuisines, ranging from classic American to Italian, French, and globally-inspired fare.

Can I find vegetarian or vegan options at these restaurants?

Most of these restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options or are able to accommodate dietary restrictions upon request.

Are these restaurants suitable for special occasions or romantic dinners?

Many of these restaurants with views are ideal for special occasions, anniversaries, or romantic dinners, thanks to their unique ambiance and stunning views.

What is the dress code at these restaurants?

Dress codes vary by restaurant, but generally, upscale establishments recommend business casual attire or dressier options, while more casual spots may not have a specific dress code.

Do any of these restaurants offer outdoor seating?

Yes, several of these restaurants offer outdoor seating, usually during the warmer months. Some popular options with outdoor seating include North Pond, River Roast, and Waterfront Café.

Can I host a private event at these restaurants?

Many of these restaurants offer private dining spaces or can accommodate special events. It’s best to contact the restaurant directly for more information and availability. Additionally, you can host a private event on a City Cruises boat, offering a unique and memorable experience for your guests.

Are these restaurants accessible by public transportation?

Most of these restaurants are easily accessible by public transportation, including the ‘L’ train or bus routes. Check the restaurant’s website or the CTA website for specific directions and nearby transit stops.

What types of views can I expect from these Chicago restaurants?
Expect panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline, and the Chicago River.

Are rooftop dining options available among these restaurants?
Yes, several featured restaurants offer rooftop dining experiences with expansive city views. You can also go rooftop on the City Cruises boats!

Can I find a variety of cuisines at these restaurants with views?
The restaurants showcase a diverse range of cuisines, from contemporary American to international flavors.

What makes dining on a City Cruise in Chicago a unique experience?
Dining on a City Cruise combines gourmet meals with stunning views from Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, offering a moving panorama of the city.

Are these restaurants suitable for celebrating special occasions?
Many of these restaurants are ideal for celebrations, offering both a great atmosphere and impressive views.

What dining experiences are offered on City Cruises in Chicago?
City Cruises provides brunch, lunch, and dinner options, each paired with scenic city views.

Is outdoor seating available at these restaurants during the winter?
Some restaurants offer heated outdoor seating, but availability may vary, especially in winter.

How can I ensure a table with the best view at these restaurants?
Making advance reservations and requesting a table with a view is recommended for the best experience.

Original Post Date: December 7, 2022