With the weather officially dipping and the Midwest winter is almost here, Chicagoans have begun to flock to dine inside as the excitement for outside patios and rooftops essentially ceases to exist. However, dining outside doesn’t have to be a miserable experience—it may be better than indoors.
Restaurants, bars, and cafes are getting creative with beautiful escapes as they decorate their patios and rooftops with heated tents, geodesic dome lounges, greenhouses, igloo dining, and more. Dining outside in the winter has become one of our favorite activities, with these spots for the best igloo dining in Chicago.
1. Maple and Ash
Maple and Ash make every celebration one to remember with delectable dishes crafted by two Michelin-star Chef Danny Grant and a wine list that will appease no matter what blend of red or white you get—and the personally engraved “Happ F*@king Anniversary/Birthday/whatever your celebrating menu handed to you as you sit down.
However, their outdoor dining experience is quite divine during the winter months in Chicago. You would never even know you’re dining outside with the lush greenery, decorations, and wooden structure that feels like a building.
Location: 8 W Maple St, Chicago
2. City Winery
Just because the Chicago Riverwalk has packed up for the season doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy riverside views. The City Winery will have heated domes and igloo dining in Chicago—people can dine in the warmth and sip on mulled wine. City Winery’s West Loop tented patio and domes will be open from Wednesday to Sunday each week. Wine made on-site can be enjoyed from the comfort of a climate-controlled dome—one of the best igloo dining in Chicago.
Location: 1200 West Randolph Street, Chicago
3. The Willow Room
The Willow Room is a historic European-American restaurant and tavern in Lincoln Park. Combining fantastic food and a lively atmosphere, the vibrant bar is often a top choice for those-in-the-know locals.
It’s long been considered one of the best places in Chicago to get cocktails; during the winter, they offer the cutest little glasshouses. Heaters line the street, and blankets are available to enjoy your favorite cocktails and some exquisite dishes from the comfort of a little transparent curb-side house.
Location: 1800 North Halsted Street, Chicago
Heading back to the River North rooftops, the Godfrey Hotel has one of the city’s most beautiful winter wonderlands. It’s Chicago’s largest indoor-outdoor rooftop, with a retractable roof that allows it to transform into any venue.
Retracting the roof officially makes it an outdoor space where fine dining and extraordinary views can be enjoyed. Communal booths and signature heated igloos of different sizes have been erected for a winter wonderland that will continue into the new year. It’s certainly one to check out this winter.
Location: 127 West Huron Street, Chicago
Andersonville’s Fiya revolves around a wood-burning oven that produces unique cuisine inspired by dishes from Israel. From the unique Hummusiya menu to dynamic cocktails and coveted craft beers, Fiya is a special Andersonville hideout that is still alive and kicking.
The best part? They are constantly expanding their lush patio to make it a vibrant place to spend an evening igloo dining in Chicago. You’ll find warmth in this cozy patio between the bubbles and fire pits.
Location: 5419 North Clark Street, Chicago
6. Uvae Kitchen and Wine Bar
This is the place to find great wine. The wine connoisseurs at Uvae have had unique journeys working their way up as students of the Wine Professional Program. You will find few places in Chicago that can better rhapsodize about a grape’s environment and how the wine is enriched and enlivened by fermentation, aging, and the winemaker’s technique. The array of wines can now be enjoyed in charming greenhouses that line the street outside.
Location: 5553 North Clark Street, Chicago
7. Whiskey Business
Whiskey Business’s rooftop is a notorious Wicker Park’s hideout. Fabled for its variety of over 100 whiskeys, the 3,000-square-foot patio now offers activities like movie nights, curling, and weekend brunches.
The best thing you’ll find on the fun-packed patio is some cute rooftop chalets converted into cozy heated houses. The little heated hideaways are fully equipped with fake fireplaces, candy canes, and Christmas decorations, so you can sink a few seasonal cocktails surrounded by friends and festive cheer.
Location: 1367 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
8. Kennedy Rooftop
The Kennedy Rooftop is Wicker Park’s very own urban chic hideout. The interior, food, and drink options are designed to accentuate Wicker Park’s modern, trendy, and diverse fabric. Panoramic views of Chicago’s iconic skyline and a comfortable layout make it a phenomenal outdoor option, and it’s set to stay open through winter. The Kennedy Rooftop is also home to a curling lane, meaning you can enjoy a classy evening on the plush rooftop with a bit of competitive fun to keep you warm.
Location: 1551 West North Avenue, Chicago’
9. Las Fuentes
For those of you familiar with Las Fuentes Restaurant in Lincoln Park, you’ll know that as well as a terrific place to get your taco and margarita fix, the Mexican restaurant is also home to an enchanting heated tent patio with colorful murals and plenty of greenery.
The magical outdoor space has been transformed into a private patio oasis to accommodate the Chicago winter rules. A warm and cozy tent now covers the patio with spacious seating around the gorgeous fountain, creating the atmosphere of a tropical paradise in the heart of Lincoln Park.
Location: 2558 N Halsted Street, Chicago
10. Joy District
River North’s Joy District is something of a pioneer when it comes to winter outdoor dining. Only a select few can compete with the astounding nightclub in Chicago. Sparkling lights, comfortable patterned couches, and impeccable views of Chicago’s skyline guarantee a memorable night. Still, the magic of vibrant murals and cascading greenery truly makes Joy District’s rooftop a unique space.
Location: 112 West Hubbard Street, Chicago
Written by Elliot McGowan and Tori Levy