It's nearly impossible not to think of deep dish pizza when you think of Chicago. The unique pie is one of Chi-town's most famous foods. As the story goes, deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno (now known as the national chain, Uno's) by founder Ike Sewell. A deep dish pizza, as the name suggests, has a thicker and deeper crust than traditional slices. This allows for more cheese, sauce and toppings, making it more cake-like than a New York slice or a flatbread. Of course, Pizzeria Uno's isn't the only deep-dish spot in town. Chicagoans have many opinions on which place is the official top spot, so we're going to give you the best tips and tricks on finding your favorite slice from the most famous pizza places in town! After all, you've probably worked up quite an appetite visiting all of Chicago's best attractions.
It's only right to start at the place that invented this unique dish. The original location of the iconic restaurant has been at Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue since it opened its doors in 1943. Since then, Uno's has opened over 200 locations across the country, with only three of them actually located in Chicago! Because Pizzeria Uno is so famously associated with the creation of the deep-dish pizza, it is constantly flooded with tourists and visitors. Their pies are known for a less crunchy crust than their competitors, but it's still piled high with cheese and sauce in classic deep-dish fashion.
If you decide to journey to Pizzeria Uno, there are some great attractions and landmarks in the area that you can't miss!
- Take a tour of The Chicago Theatre: if you're a theater fan or just have a thing for pop culture, The Chicago Theatre is a must. The iconic building has been home to some of the best shows and performers, hosting several shows that have received Tony Awards.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art: take a walk up the road a bit and visit one of the world's largest institutions dedicated to the work of living artists. The art displays at MCA can't be found anywhere else.
- Ohio Street Beach: visit this small, local beach on the same street as Pizzeria Uno! Enjoy a bit of lounging in the sand as you watch over Lake Michigan.
According to TimeOut Chicago, Pequod's is the "unofficial reigning champ" of the Chicago deep-dish. What sets their pie apart from others is their delicious caramelized crust. They sprinkle a bit of cheese around the edges that bakes perfectly into the pizza for an added kick. On top of that, their sauce tastes incredibly fresh every single time. Pequod's has two locations, one in Morton Grove and one in Lincoln Park. The original in Lincoln park still gives off that neighborhood bar vibe, with tons of TVs constantly screening the latest Chicago sports games.
If you're visiting the Lincoln Park location, there's quite a few things to add to your Chicago itinerary in the surrounding area!
- Lincoln Park Zoo: entrance to this popular zoo is free! It's the perfect day-time activity, whether you're visiting with a friend or the whole family! You can even enjoy a ride on the Endangered Species Carousel or the Lionel Train Adventure.
- The Chicago History Museum: this should be your first stop (history buff or not!) if you want to learn more about the rich history of Chicago. See how the Great Chicago Fire changed the city and explore the dazzling White City of the World's Combustion Explosion of 1893.
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Lou's is another local favorite with dozens of locations across the city. Their claim to fame is their Buttercurst™ (yes, it's really trademarked), a buttery crust similar to that of Italian breadsticks. In accordance with traditional deep-dish, the buttery crust is then filled to the brim with fresh sauce and cheeses of all kind. Pro tip: most Chicagoans recommend trying the sausage pie here!
We recommend visiting Lou's on Wells Street. It's not too far from Navy Pier, which is a great place to spend a day exploring!
- Navy Pier: this iconic pier stretches over 3,000 feet into Lake Michigan. You can explore restaurants, shops, theaters and the famous Centennial Wheel.
- The Chicago Children's Museum: perfect for those traveling with a family! The museum is full of different hands-on exhibits like free daily art classes, a Dinosaur Expedition and more.
- Bike the pier: on a beautiful day, rent some bikes and really explore! Ride the coast of the river and see all that Chicago has to offer.
Described as a pastry-like pizza, the recipe for Giordano's pie originated with the founder's mother. Originally known as the Italian Easter Pie, Giordano's created a new type of deep-dish: the stuffed pizza. A stuffed pizza is similar to the deep-dish, but with more toppings inside and out. It's typically made with fresh ricotta cheese. Giordano's has over 50 locations worldwide, but the best one to visit is right on Randolph Street near Millenium Park. It's the perfect excuse to feast on pizza and see some of Chicago's most famous landmarks.
- Millenium Park: just as famous as the deep-dish pizza (okay, maybe a bit more famous) is the Cloud Gate sculpture located in the park. Most people know it as The Bean, and there's no way you can go to Chicago without snapping a picture in front of it.
- The Art Institute of Chicago: consistently voted one of the top museums in the country by TripAdvisor, The Art Institute is located right off Millenium Park at Chicago's museum campus.
- Shedd Aquarium: one of Chi-town's most popular attractions, Shedd Aquarium is home to more than 32,000 aquatic plants and animals. Stop by and visit the belugas, dolphins, sharks and more.
- The Field Museum: see all of the worlds wonders in one place! The Field Museum is known for it's world-renowned exhibits, scientific research and impressive collection of artifacts.
There you have it. Our list of some of the most famous deep-dish pizza spots in all of Chicago paired with all of the best local attractions. Now it's on you to decide on your favorite pie! Remember, many of these attractions are included on the Go Chicago Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.