Fun Stuff to Do, Eat & Enjoy While Visiting Chicago for Unified Auditions

02/02/17

It’s time to shine! The Chicago Unified Auditions 2017 are here. Next week you’ll be gathered at the gorgeous, golden Palmer House Hilton amongst your peers with sweaty palms and your future wide open in front of you. After you ace your auditions, you’ll probably have some free time. Here are some awesome spots in Chicago within a quick cab, train or walking distance to the Hilton.

For more information on the programs hosting auditions, please see our detailed Acceptd Unifieds Guide.

Break a leg!

Best Coffee Ever: Intelligentsia

Address: Heritage At Millennium Park, 53 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 // Hours 6:30AM-8:30PM

It’s all great. Keep it simple with a house blend or ask a barista for a seasonal beverage. They know their stuff here.

Breakfast: Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe 

Address: 130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 // Hours 6:30AM – 2:30PM

We love the skillets, benedicts and Berry Bliss crepes. During the weekdays of Unifieds you shouldn’t have a long wait to sit either. Added bonus: great people-watching on Michigan Ave by the Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park (below).

Chicago-Style Lunch/Dinner: Portillo’s

Address: 100 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60610 // Hours 10AM – 11PM 

Everything Chicago-style can be found at Portillo’s. The Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beefs, Polish sausages, and chocolate-cake-shakes may make this menu famous, but the chili-cheese-dogs are the secret weapons. Very affordable and quick; dine-in, take-out & drive-thru.

  Chicago-Style Pizza: Giordano’s 

Address: 130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 // Hours 11AM-11PM

Who doesn’t think of deep-dish pizza when it comes to visiting Chicago?! This iconic spot is right by the Hilton and offers individual daily lunch specials.  Note: It can take up to 45 minutes to cook a medium/large deep-dish, so consider this when ordering.

Steakhouse: Chicago Chop House 

Address: 60 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654, Hours 5PM- 10PM

On the fancier side, this swanky spot is a former hangout of the infamous Al Capone. The Blue Point Oysters or a Chop House wedge pair perfectly with their award-winning NY Strip.

Shopping: Magnificent Mile and State Street

Mag Mile: Michigan Ave, Oak St to the Chicago River // State St: Oak St to Grand Ave

State St is department stores and sales, Magnificent Mile is boutiques and high fashion. Mag Mile hosts the Apple Store, while State St has Blick’s.

Record Shop: Reckless Records

Address: 26 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60602 // Hours: 10AM-8PM

We’ve never found better quality bargains than in the “New Arrivals” bin at the front of this tiny shop. Worth a look.

Tourist Time: The Bean

Address: Just East of Michigan Ave between Madison Ave & Washington Ave, Chicago, IL 60601

Otherwise known as “Cloud Gate,” this is a definite photo-op and right-of-passage when visiting the Windy City.

Parks Nearby: Grant Park, Millenium Park

Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (East of Michigan Ave from Randolph St South to Roosevelt Rd)

If you get lucky with a nice day, the famous Buckingham Fountain is just beyond The Bean and offers a sweeping view of Lake Michigan beyond Lake Shore Drive. Consider it safe passage via the Pedestrian Bridge.

City View: Willis Tower Skydeck or The Hancock Signature Room

Willis Tower: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606  //  Hancock Building: 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Prices range for the Skydeck and can be found here. It is the type of attraction you visit to say you went, and of course, get a souvenir photo. Visiting the 95th floor Signature Room atop the Hancock Building requires a purchase instead of a ticket, so enjoy a beverage or a light snack while you check out the view. ProTip: The Hancock bathrooms offer a great view for photo-ops.

Theatre: Broadway in Chicago 

Address: 17 N State St #810, Chicago, IL 60602

Check out The Bodyguard or Hamilton in the heart of Chicago’s Theatre District.

Museum: The Art Institute of Chicago 

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 //                           Hours: 10:30AM-5PM, Thursday until 8PM

Admission Costs: Adults $25, students/teens $19, children under 14 free!

Evening Entertainment for Adults: Andy’s Jazz Club 

Address: 11 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611 // Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 6PM-10PM dining, 2AM close.

This place is just a ton of fun. Lovely atmosphere, great music, and everything to eat from burgers to salads to rack of lamb. Under 21 yr. old guests welcome to all 5PM & 7PM shows. Dinner reservations necessary for all parties with under-21-year-old guests, with an arrival no later than 6:45PM. All 9:30PM & 11:30PM shows are strictly 21 yrs. +

Protip: Purchase a CTA Ventra Card 

The trains and buses, otherwise known as the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), are easy to use and very affordable.  A train ride is $2.25, but you can check here for the full list of rates.

Purchase a Ventra Card for $5 and load it up at any train station, where there is usually an attendant to help you if you’re confused about the process. The closest train station to The Hilton is the Monroe Redline, at the corner of Monroe & State.  The Red line  takes you North to The World Series winning Cubs’ beloved Wrigley Field in under a 30-minute ride, and it’s even closer to head South to ChinaTown for some exploring.


We wish you the best in all your auditions! Whatever you do, have an amazing time. Stay focused and keep your eye on the prize, but don’t be afraid to have a Chicago adventure when the work is done. Safe travels and go get ’em!


About Kelley Lauginiger

Kelley helps connect Acceptd clients and users with available resources. Through communications like our blog, social media, and digest, she is practicing her greatest passion: sharing the written word & powerful images. Outside the office she enjoys live music, photography, adventure and grilled cheese.