Tips + Trends

Good Morning Chicago: 5 Great Places to Start Your Day

(Photo: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock)

With its abundance of after-hour lounges and bars, Chicago isn’t shy about its love for late-night revelry. But that doesn’t mean early-risers can’t get in on the fun — or work, as the case may be — too. Here are five great places to jump-start your day in the Windy City. Rise and shine, indeed.

Scone City. At this new Wicker Park bakeshop and espresso bar, you’ll not only find some of the city’s best renditions of sweet and savory scones – which, truth to be told, haven’t gotten much well-deserved love outside of the occasional high-tea setting – but a beautiful and quiet space to enjoy them in.

Take your cup of HalfWit Roaster coffee and breakfast scone (eggs, bacon and green onion) to Scone City’s quaint upstairs seating area or grab a table by the window for some early-morning people watching.

Chicago French Market. Located just steps from the Ogilvie Transportation Center in the heart of the West Loop, the European-style, indoor Chicago French Market offers an eclectic mix of prepared food ranging from Belgian frites to Montreal smoked meat that never fails to draw a bustling lunch crowd.

In the morning, though, it’s a much more subdued setting. While not all the vendors open early, you can still get delicious coffee, squeezed-to-order juices and fresh-from-the-fryer doughnuts with plenty of open tables to choose from.

Baker Miller. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this Lincoln Square bakery and millhouse from husband-and-wife owners Dave and Megan Miller.

Translation: By getting there first thing in the morning, you’re not only guaranteed a coveted table (each one outfitted with a toaster for those slices of house-made bread), but first pick of Baker Miller’s terrific pastries, including sourdough cinnamon rolls, which are as good as they sound. Non-sweet lovers can opt for creamy oatmeal and seasonal grit bowls made from grains milled in-house.

Map Room. While this casual neighborhood bar is well known for its extensive collection of craft beers from around the world and the lively evening crowd that enjoys them, it’s also a favorite of in-the-know locals for its morning coffee made from Intelligentsia beans, selection of free-to-read newspapers and pastries from local cult fave Bennison’s Bakery.

Added early-riser bonus: The morning light means you’ll get a better look at the Map Room’s vintage globes, cool maps and beer memorabilia.

Specialty’s. We don’t know what we like best about this café and bakery chainlet — the free Wi-Fi, abundance of power outlets, variety of seating options, freshly baked pastries, hearty egg sandwiches or super friendly service. Put them altogether, though, and it adds up to one terrific alternative to working in an office.

While Specialty’s has three downtown locations, we’re partial to the one at South Dearborn and Monroe streets, which, in addition to all of the above, also offers lovely views of the Marc Chagall mosaic “Four Seasons,” located directly across the street.