OK, we’re coming clean. Our name is HONK and we’re addicted to parking conferences. First there’s the unmistakable thrill of gathering in person with partners & prospective customers, and walking the trade show floor to marvel at the strides being made in our industry, then we catch full-blown tourist fever.
Are you a parking conference junkie too? Why not tack on a few extra days to explore the host city? Whether you’re travelling solo, or with a team, clients or customers, our Enjoy the Ride | CITY SERIES is your guide to all of the area’s hottest spots.
Are you heading to Schaumburg on March 28-30 for PIE (Parking Industry Expo)? Welcome to Chicago—the first city to discover in Enjoy the Ride | CITY SERIES.
WHERE TO DINE IN CHICAGO
Eating out in Chicago is a legendary experience, especially if you’re ready to dive deep (pizza, get it?) into the culinary scene. Here are some of our favorite spots to wine and dine.
Girl & the Goat Chicago: Get Your Goat
One of the first eateries to appear on the famed Restaurant Row, this homestyle haunt serves up hometown cooking and ever-changing cocktails to guests they proudly treat like family. Get brave and sample the featured delicacies, like goat empanadas, goat belly or goat liver mousse.
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio: Today’s Italian
Traditional Italian gets a nice swift kick into 2023 in the Monteverde kitchen. Faithful to simple, globally sourced ingredients, the team not only updates dishes using modern cooking methods but also handcrafts fresh pastas on the daily.
Rose Mary: Discover Croatia
Named for chef/owner Joe Flamm’s grandmamas and the rosemary that thrives along Italy and Croatia’s coastlines, this dynamic eatery has the age-old feel of a Croatian tavern. The seasonal menu blends Italian-Croatian ingredients to make the palate dance.
Au Cheval: The Big Cheese
Everyone loves an upscale diner, especially when there’s a drool-worthy cheeseburger on the menu that can be served single, double or (wait for it…) topped with bacon and/or egg. There’s a late-night menu on Friday and Saturday but no reservations, so plan to get in line or get it delivered.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Go Deep
No trip to Chicago is complete without digging into some authentic deep dish. Lou has been flipping pies since the ‘40s and has the family’s secret recipe for flaky, buttery crust down to a science. There are five Chicago locations but check the online waitlist just in case.
The Wiener Circle: Dog Day Afternoon
This hot dog stand in Lincoln Park is known for more than Maxwell Street Polish, Char-dogs, burgers and cheese fries. Late-night verbal abuse is also on the menu—among employees and customers alike. All is peaceful during business hours but weekend nights til 5am offer some f*cking foul fun.
WHAT TO SEE IN CHICAGO
A cultural mecca of sights, sounds and style, Chicago has it all: soaring buildings, hopping entertainment and art scenes, and miles of waterways. Check out these must-see attractions.
Chicago Architecture Tour: Nerd Out
Witness the city’s world-renowned architecture and soak in its history along the way. Hop on a boat, bus, train or join a walking tour and learn about the design and stories behind art deco skyscrapers, glass and steel castles, street art and cultural landmarks.
Comedy Show: Kick Back
Who says a conference has to be all work? Chicago is home to some of the biggest and newest names in standup, scripted, and improv comedy. Check out the lineups at Laugh Factory, The Second City, The Revival, The Comedy Clubhouse (BYOB) and the bizarre, unconventional Annoyance.
Wrigley Field: Go Cubs!
There’s an old joke that Wrigley Field would still sell out even if all the seats were facing away from the field. A visit to this jewel-box stadium should be mandatory for any baseball fan. Still have room after hot dogs and beer? Stroll on over to one of the many nearby restaurants or bars.
The Art Institute of Chicago: Culture Shock
The Art Institute is home to more than 300,000 precious works of art, including some of the world’s most revered masterpieces. Wandering through the extensive collections of 19th century French Impressionist paintings and 20th century paintings and sculpture, you’ll spend a day transported back in time.
The Bean: Photo Opp
The famous stainless steel Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park—affectionately known as “the Bean”—is a must-see on any Chicago itinerary. Yes, it is a modern work of art, but it is also an opportunity to take a ridiculous selfie, making it one of the city’s most photographed tourist attractions.
The Magnificent Mile: Shop On
Get your wallet ready! Just 13 blocks long, the Mag Mile shopping strip is the most spectacular part of Chicago’s most upscale avenue. Stacked along its length are more than 460 shops, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and unique entertainment attractions with indulgences for every passion out there.
With so much to do and see and experience in Chicago, it’s easy to plan an itinerary around your own personal schedule, tastes and budget. So choose your top picks for this trip and save the rest for next time. Oh and do your fellow conference-goers a solid and share this post—so everyone can enjoy the ride.