Visiting Chicago on a Budget: Food Edition

While Chicago might not be the most expensive city in the US (see New York, Honolulu San Francisco, and Washington D.C.), visitors can rack up quite the bill if they’re not paying attention. Traveling on a budget can be tough especially when visiting a major city like Chicago. If you’re staying at our hostel, you’re already ahead of the game and saving a lot! There are plenty of articles and resources on how to visit Chicago on a budget, but we wanted to put our on local perspective on the issue. If you google “Chicago on a budget” or similar searches, you will get various lists of museums that are free, a couple free tours, advise you to check out the zoo since it’s free, then take a walk down Lakeshore Drive. That’s all well and good, but not everyone wants to go to a museum or a tour and most cities have free zoos. What about eating? Everyone needs to eat, but there not many resources on how to eat on a budget while visiting Chicago. That’s why we wanted to compile and write on our series on visiting Chicago on a budget.

Last month we had a blog series on Chicago Summer Events of 2015 and we categorized them by food, drinking, and music. We are going to do something similar with this post. For the next couple weeks we are going to concentrate on visiting Chicago on a budget and write each post on a different topic. This post will be about how and where to eat in Chicago without breaking the bank. This one will be a little bit of a challenge for us as we don’t want to just recommend eating cheap hot dogs. We really put some effort into compiling resources that will help save you money while dining  out in Chicago.

First and foremost, you should know that most bars and restaurants have daily specials. Monday – Thursday usually have the best pricing and deals due to the lack traffic compared to the weekend. Before you decide on any restaurant, you should check their website and call ahead to see if they have any sort of deals. There are also sites that find all the food deals going on in Chicago. Below are some sites we thought had the best deals listed


We saved you some time and listed some daily deals from restaurants in the Wicker Park neighborhood close to Holiday Jones.

Monday: Lotties Pub – $1.50 tacos

Tuesday: Cortlands Garage – half priced appetizers and salads

Wednesday: Jack and Gingers – $4 burgers and salads

Thursday: 6 degrees: $6 grilled cheese and soup or chili

Friday: Lotties Pub: $0.50 chicken wings

Saturday: Jack And Gingers – $1 mini burgers

Sunday: Janes – $10 specialty burger menu


Combine all those three sites and you have hundreds of deals that go on each day throughout all of Chicago. Some of those deals you can get a burger and an adult beverage for less than $10. Saving money on food in Chicago really just requires a little homework before you pick your bar/restaurant. Coupons are another great way to save while eating in Chicago. It’s pretty old fashioned, but still works well. Again, there are plenty of sites that compile all sorts of coupons. We found a couple that provide coupons for restaurants specifically in Chicago.



The overall theme of this post is research before eating. Before you decide where to eat, look through some deal and coupon sites. You could turn $30 dinner to a $20 with drinks! All of the our bars featured in our Chicago Bars section offer daily deals. This advice might not be the most top secret way to save Money while dining in Chicago, but you would be surprised at how little these deals are taken advantage of. By taking just a few extra minutes you can save a lot of money on your food budget and make spend it on more important things like more drinks.