A few weeks ago, a college friend of mine came to visit me here in Chicago! It was only her second time visiting the windy city, so obviously I wanted to show her as much as possible. When I was asking her about the things she wanted to do and see, one of the things she mentioned was that she really wanted to get donuts. And then we had the most brilliant idea.
Why not base our sightseeing around our very own Donut Crawl?!
We agreed that we should stop at a minimum of four different donut shops, and that at each one we should eat at least half of our donut. We also decided that, to keep things interesting, we couldn’t repeat flavors. In between stops, we did some exploring to give us time to digest and prepare for the next donut.
Our first stop was Stan’s Donuts in Lakeview. Stan’s is a go-to for me because both the Lakeview and South Loop locations are super convenient. I went with the banana Nutella pocket, and my friend tried the Captain Crunch bismark. Stan’s also serves Intelligentsia coffee, and with it being our first stop of the morning, I opted to caffeinate with a latte. Both of our donuts were good, and we gave Stan’s a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
After Stan’s, we finished our coffees while wandering through the beautiful Lincoln Park. We walked past the zoo and snapped a few pics to kill some time before stop #2..
Second on the list was Firecakes Donuts in River North. The shop is tiny but adorable – I loved the atmosphere of this one even more than Stan’s (and Stans is pretty tough to beat, with their wall of colorful mixers!) I just loved the quaint and cozy feel (although I wished there was some seating when I was eating my donut outside in the cold).
I opted for a Red Velvet donut here, and it was AMAZING. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet (like some donuts can be), had the perfect amount of frosting, AND it was almost too pretty to eat (almost). Firecakes was my favorite and got a 5 out of 5 stars from both me and my friend!
Stop number three was only a few blocks from Firecakes, so we headed there right away. Glazed and Infused used to be my favorite donut shop in Chicago (before I tried Firecakes), so I was most excited for this one.
I normally get the red velvet donut, but since we agreed we couldn’t repeat flavors, I decided to try the blackberry cheesecake flavor. It was good, and the tart flavor of the blackberries was a welcome break from all the sweet. In retrospect, making two stops in a row was probably a mistake. Although I enjoyed my donut, I was starting to get pretty sugar-ed out at this point and had trouble even finishing half. Even still, I gave Glazed and Infused a 4 out of 5 stars. We decided we needed an extra long break before trying to eat another donut, so we set out do to some exploring!
A trip to Chicago is not complete without a visit to Chicago’s #1 tourist attraction – the bean. Most tourists go to the bean to take the infamous selfie, but the purpose of the bean (whose official name is Cloudgate) is to reflect the Chicago skyline, and it really is beautiful.
Of course, it’s really not a trip to the bean if you don’t take a picture in its reflection, but I decided to try a different pose than the typical selfie!
After the bean, we ventured through Maggie Daley Park to Buckingham fountain. The fountain is still turned off for the winter, but I still think it is a beautiful landmark to visit.
And BONUS! There was no one there! So, naturally, we goofed around and took some more random photos.
After this, we decided we were ready to squeeze in our fourth and final donut from Do-Rite Donuts. On the way, I spotted this super cool wall downtown:
I have walked down this street hundreds of times and never noticed it before. That’s one of the things I love about having friends and family visit – it gives me an excuse to see my city through the eyes of a tourist again, and notice things I may otherwise walk right by!
A few minutes later we arrived at Do-Rite… only to discover that they had closed! We learned the hard way that Do-Rite Donuts closes when they run out of donuts. We had no idea that this was the case, or we would have moved this stop up to be earlier in the day! We thought about trekking to a different donut shop, but to be honest… we were full and tired, and decided to walk down the street to Magnolia Bakery instead. Magnolia doesn’t have donuts, but they do have some pretty delicious mini cheesecake. I went with the red velvet (because it wasn’t a donut, so it isn’t technically repeating… right?) and even though I was SO sick of sweets at this point, I still managed to eat almost the whole thing… I’m a sucker for cheesecake.
And thus marked the end of our donut crawl! Between the food coma and all the walking, we were both pretty worn out afterwards, but it was well worth the exhaustion (and the mild stomach ache!) If you’re a donut fan, I highly recommend this as a fun and unique way to explore Chicago (or any city, really!)
Where are your favorite donut shops in your hometown?!