The Chicago branch of Gray Line's global sightseeing operation organizes a wide variety of tours and excursions throughout the Windy City, from architectural tours that send passengers coasting on the river and lake for sun-drenched educational cruises to shopping odysseys at Chicago Premium Outlets, where travelers can zip through more than 100 stores and restaurants after being shuttled to the retail utopia. Blues outings treat music lovers to raw licks, soul food, and real tears at celebrated concert venues such as Buddy Guy's Legends and Rosa's Lounge.
Gray Line's cherry-red trolleys transport visitors and residents alike to famous Chicago sites. Just north of the river, the vehicles idle before the Wrigley Building's sparkling white terra cotta façade, which in the 1920s stood as the first major skyscraper outside of The Loop. From there, the trolley may motor north to the John Hancock Center, where elevators to its observatory sweep guests 96 floors in 39 seconds. The trolley could also steer south to the Willis Tower, which lost its maiden name of Sears after being charmed by a passing cumulus cloud.
After roasting coffee beans with his family in Pakistan, Arshad "Sony" Javid—founder of Café Descartes—indulged his love for the caffeinated drink by making pilgrimages to coffee houses in Asia, Europe, and South and Central America. In 1991, after a stint as a Starbucks barista, Sony opened his first shop, an espresso cart on the UIC campus, where he poured his decadent drinks to quench the thirst of students, professors, and dry textbooks. Today, the aficionado’s dream has expanded across six Chicago cafés, where warm, earth-toned walls, cushy armchairs, and the smell of fresh-roasted beans beckon customers to stick around for a latte, mexican mocha, or sweet pastry.
Pannenkoeken Cafe's specialty Dutch-style pancakes draw breakfast and brunch eaters to the teeny, brightly lit eatery lined with wooden tulips. Thinner than a buttermilk pancake but still slightly thicker than a standard crepe and abundantly thicker than an unwritten novel about crepes, the café's namesake cakes come in a mix of savory and sweet varieties, such as grilled salami and havarti cheese or apple and ginger marmalade. Freshly squeezed juice and espresso-fueled beverages pair with any of the dozen pannenkoeken options, omelets, and other breakfast fare on the menu.
Reese's Gourmet Banana-Mana's sweetscrafters whip up a diverse menu of desserts showcasing their own spin on banana pudding infused with fun flavors. Nine-ounce cups, 9"x11" pans, and 3-foot-deep kiddie pools of the fruity confection can be served frozen, as a chilled pudding, or heated into a sugary plasma. Crunchy cookies sink into the surface of the shop's eight varieties, with such flavors as original banana, lemon crunch, piña colada, and cappuccino.
Join this Restaurant Week-themed G-Team campaign to help build the Inspiration Kitchens – Garfield Park and provide job training opportunities for people affected by homelessness in Chicago’s West Side. Every dollar pledged to this campaign will be generously matched by an anonymous donor (hence the doubled values listed below). Five giving levels are available for G-Team donors: