Chicago’s Best Candy Shops

The closest thing you can get to the selection featured in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” is hitting up these top Chicago spots for satisfying any sweet tooth, no matter how particular, or how ravenous.

Preemptive Honorable Mention: Margie’s Candies is an institution and definitely a top spot, but their handmade gourmet chocolates don’t fall within the “go nuts and fill up your bags” mentality that we’re going for with this list.

Amy’s Candy Bar

A crazy variety of gummies, stupid good chocolate, and all sorts of licorice are go-to staples, but our favorites are the nostalgic options, like the wax soda bottles, peel off the paper candy buttons, candy Legos, salt water taffy, and all the classics, like Nerds and Abba-Zaba. They also have an impressive selection of internationally imported candies you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

Find more info here.

Candyality

If your eyes don’t light up when you step inside Candyality, with all those options in clear containers, complete with giant lollipops, then we question why you’re even reading this article. A true candy-lover’s paradise, this sweet tooth staple now delivers on GrubHub, but we recommend witnessing its wonder firsthand.

Find more info here.

Windy City Sweets

It’s fun to say and even more fun to visit. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate is what they’re all about. Chocolate covered nuts, fruits, berries, and snack foods, and they have a great selection of other candies too.

Find more info here.

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Chicago’s Best Pancakes

Pancakes are hard to screw up, and they’re even harder to set apart from the rest of the pack. Locally famous for good reason, our top three take the classic batter on a pan to a whole new level, selling like hotcakes, and tasting as good as regular cake.

Elly’s Pancake House

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via Flickr user opacity

Six locations, one in the city and five in the suburbs, makes Elly’s a convenience of deliciousness no matter where you find yourself, and as the name suggests, the pancakes are on point. Choose from their many old-fashioned pancake varieties, or go for the famous oven-baked pancakes, a taste and texture of excellence like you’ve never experienced.

Wildberry Pancakes and Café

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via Flickr user Esther Westerveld

Pancakes and berries go together better than pretty much any other two things, and Wildberry’s warm, inviting environment is only furthered by the specialty pancakes. We’re talking such varieties as banana cream pie, caramel apple pecan, and our favorite, the “Signature Berry Bliss.” Blissful you will be.

Bongo Room

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via Flickr user Paul Kenjerski

Points right off the bat for the awesomely classic name, then points off the charts for the pancakes and hotcakes. The unique varieties, like the citrus and ginger snap and the Oreo and praline, are exquisite, and we especially recommend the lethal brunch cocktails.

Best Places in Chicago to Go Sledding

Sledding in the Windy City isn’t like sledding on the hill behind your neighbor’s house in your small town. You’re more than likely going to have to share, but don’t let that get you down, because no one can frown while blasting down a snow-covered hill like a young Charles Foster Kane.

Caldwell Woods

Like something that would be a side feature at a ski lodge, Caldwell Woods’ sledding hill in Oak Park isn’t anything but a sledding hill. Walk up the gated side, which will have a bit of a line if you don’t come during the off-hours, and slide down the steep but smooth bank in gleeful wintery cheer.

Find more info here.

Dan Ryan Woods

The sledding hill at Dan Ryan Woods is tailored for the family outing. We’re talking ample parking, no crowds, and a 200 foot hill that’s not very steep, perfect for children while still being tolerably tame for the big’uns.

Find more info here.

Soldier Field

When they renovated the field, they added a sledding hill, and boy is it impressive. 220 feet of chilly thrills, and if there’s one downside to sledding, it’s lugging the sled back up the hill. Soldier Field’s sledding hill is rocking a T-Bar lift. Can’t beat that.

Find more info here.

The Best Brownies in Chicago

The chocolate brownie was invented in Chicago during the time of the World’s Columbian Exposition by Bertha Palmer in 1893, and has since become a sweet staple of gooey goodness. You can still get the original if you stay at the Palmer House Hotel, but over a hundred years of perfecting has led us to these MostBest top three spots for getting an international favorite that started right here.

Dinkel’s Bakery

Head over to this Lakeview favorite right off the Paulina – Brown Line stop and experience some of the best brownies in town. The particularly famous one is the Brownie Torte, with a buttercream filling and chocolate ganache for the frosting, and head over on Thursdays for their four brownies for $5.99 special!

Find more info here.

La Estrella

While they have a slew of baked goods, all excellent in their own right, there’s something about the brownies that have people stompin’ their feet and howlin’ for more. Chocolate fudge filling with just the right helping of frosting complete with walnuts on top. It’s exceptional without exception.

Find more info here.

Sweet Mandy B’s

This is a world-famous bakery, so they’re obviously going to have exceptional brownies, but they don’t treat them like an added bonus, they treat them with some serious respect. The six different flavors include fudge, mint chocolate, rocky road, turtle, German chocolate, and marshmallow dream.

Find more info here.

Best January Festivals in Chicago

Spring, summer, and fall leave winter in the dust when it comes to the number of options for festivals, but January boasts some exceptional options that are sure to become annual traditions. Brave the cold, they’re worth it.

Sketch Comedy Festival

A local staple of the Chicago comedy scene, Stage 773 has been hosting the country’s largest and premier sketch fest, with almost 200 shows. When you consistently deliver for over ten years, you know we’ll be in attendance at least one of the ten nights ready to laugh.

When: January 7 – January 17
Where: Stage 773
More Info: www.chicagosketchfest.com

MLK Day Celebration

At the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, a tribute to Martin Luther King on his day of memory features eclectic entertainment, from song and dance to poetry and music, as well as a reception with mingling, snacks, and refreshments.

When: Monday, January 18
Where: Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center
More Info: www.blackensembletheater.org

German Party and Winter Beer Festival

Lincoln Square, also known as Germantown, houses DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, and they have two back-to-back nights of fun. The first is a dance party and burlesque show, and the second is Winter Beer Fest, and you drink and eat delicious German beer and food at both.

When: Friday, January 29 & Saturday, January 30
Where: DANK Haus German American Cultural Center
More Info: www.dankhaus.com