7 rooms with a view—and a good meal, too—in Chicago

Chicago is hardly short on breathtaking views—of the beach, of the river, of the beautiful downtown skyline, even of the interesting people wandering the streets. But it's where you take in these views that really matters most. We've rounded up our favorite restaurants where the food makes the meal and won’t break the bank—with views that make the whole experience worthwhile.

Change your perspective on downtown at The J. Parker
There are plenty of hotel rooftop bars in the downtown area, but this one actually has a view of downtown—from the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Not only that, but you can also catch glimpses of Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park Zoo from their beautiful terrace. Order the local West Loop salumi while you take it all in.

Bandera puts you up above the fray
If you stroll the streets without ever looking up, you might never discover this classic American restaurant with a Southwestern twist. Situated on the second floor, across the street from The Shops at North Bridge, this restaurant definitely gets its fair share of foot traffic. But once you snag a table, you can watch tourists pass down below—while enjoying live jazz music and a giant chicken Caesar salad, complete with cornbread croutons.

Take in the nighttime air at Davanti Enoteca
Of all the authentic Italian restaurants in Little Italy, few offer a rooftop experience quite as beautiful as the one at the original Davanti Enoteca. Expect a casual ambiance, the romantic twinkle of lights, and a fantastic view of Taylor Street. To complete the scene, you’ll need only a bottle of vino, and a big bowl of their cacio e pepe.

Rise above it all at Le Colonial
Rush Street is known as much for its chic boutiques as for the chic passersby who grace the Gold Coast sidewalks—and you feast your eyes on both from up above, on Le Colonial's romantic and airy patio. Take in the view while sipping a fruity cocktail and enjoying some traditional—and not-so-traditional—French-Vietnamese cuisine.

Be one with the river at Quay
While there are tons of restaurants and bars that offer views of the Chicago River, none are quite like the outdoor space at Quay in Streeterville. The restaurant's lengthy patio is actually right on the river, so close you could toss your appetizer into a passing boat. Not that you’d ever consider doing so—the Thai curry mussels (and the rest of their dishes here) are far too delicious to waste.

While away the hours the old-fashioned way at Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House
An establishment earns the sobriquet “classic” for a reason. The menu at Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House—located in the so-called “Viagra triangle”—has been basically set in stone for years, but it's also the view of the bustling surroundings that keeps visitors coming back. Do yourself a favor: Order a martini and a shrimp cocktail, and then linger for the next couple of hours on their heated and covered patio. You won’t be disappointed.

It really is nice at the top, especially at Cindy's
Yes, it's new and it's trendy, but neither of those details takes away from the fact that Cindy's might just possess the most breathtaking views in all of Chicago. Situated inside the brand-new Chicago Athletic Association on South Michigan Avenue, the vista here reveals the true beauty of Millennium Park, the Art Institute, and more, once seen from above.

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