Let’s be real. There are few things on this earth better than a warm, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious donut.
Am I right, or am I right?
Think about it. Donuts are the perfect treat for almost any situation.
- In a treat yoself mood? Donuts.
- Having friends stay & want to impress the heck out of them in the AM? Donuts.
- Need to perk up your usual coffee routine? Donuts.
- Want something toasty with your cider on a cool, crisp fall day? Donuts.
- Grab and go snack while you’re on a walk or about to hop on the el? Donuts.
I’m going to leave it at that, but honestly, I could keep going. I’m sure you get the picture! Interestingly, according to a number of sources, donuts supposedly can be traced back to 1) an 1803 English cookbook in an appendix that seemed to be mostly filled with American recipes by anthropologist Paul R Mullins, and 2) to the “oliekoek” or, literally “oily cakes” that arrived with Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (aka New York) in the 18th century.
Regardless, they aren’t new and don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. And for the record – you can spell donut many ways. I personally prefer to stay short, sweet & to the point with “donut”.
Drooling yet? Sorry not sorry. In the case that you have a hankering for a sweet doughy treat, I’ve created a “donut crawl”route that will take you to some of Chicago’s most beloved donut hotspots, stretching from the West Loop through River West, into River North. And yes, I did do all of the walking and eating myself – all in the name of “research”. Please note: as with the nature of any “made fresh every day” spot, options may vary the later you choose to visit, or be gone all together – so go early for the best selection!
Not only that, but I have collaborated with my good friend Lily of HungerLustTravel on a Google Maps version that you can actually download to your phone. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see it! You can also check out some of her other maps on her blog or drool along with some of her amazing Instagram shots here.
Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken – 181 N Morgan St.
So yeah… just as the name implies – this is not just your average donut shop. They also have amazing chicken sandwiches. There was a weird period in our lives where we averaged maybe one a week. (But then we had an intervention and now we get them occasionally). I love Do-Rite for their mastery of the old fashioned. They even have a number of chocolate covered old fashioned flavors to choose from!
- Hours: Monday – Thursday 6:30 AM – 7 PM; Friday 6:30 AM – 1 AM; Saturday 7 AM – 1 AM; Sunday 7 AM – 7 PM
- Is there seating? Yes! Plenty – both indoors and outdoors. There’s even a couple of cute breakfast counter-type setups for when you’re in more of a dine and dash mood.
- Pictured donut: I nommed the cinnamon old fashioned – which was like a little happy slice of coffee cake in donut form.
BONUS: Bombobar – 832 W Randolph St
So, much like anything worth putting in my mouth these days, I first got a glimpse of Bombobar on Instagram. A tiny walk-up window annex off big brother restaurant Bar Siena, Bombobar is home to Italian bombos – soft, fluffy potato donuts that are filled with different types of cream. My personal favorite is the maple buttercream. You can also get gelato here – mini bombos are only $1!
- Hours: Monday – Sunday 8 AM – 11 PM
- Is there seating? Yep – but outdoor only. Unless you are ordering dessert while at dinner at Bar Siena.
- Pictured donut: due to the lack of restraint any time I go to Bombobar, all I have to show you is this picture of gelato with a mini bombo.
Glazed & Infused – 813 W Fulton Market
One of 5 current locations in the city, I about lost my marbles when I heard Glazed & Infused was coming to our neighborhood. I fondly remember one point in my life when we were having my brother and his wife stay with us the day before Thanksgiving and I had promised them the best dang donuts they’d ever eaten. I may or may not have gone the wrong way down a one way, but gosh darn it, I came back with a half dozen delectable treats! Fun fact: their West Loop location is their flagship store and also acts as their production kitchen!
- Hours: Saturday – Thursday 7 AM – 3 PM; Friday 7 AM – 5 PM
- Is there seating? Yes, though a tad limited indoors. There are a couple of tables and chairs inside – they also have a cute little sidewalk patio during the warmer months!
- Pictured donut: I opted for one of my most favorites – the maple bacon long john. Can’t help it – I’m a sucker for bacon!
Beavers Coffee & Donuts – Chicago French Market – 131 N Clinton St.
Ever set foot inside the Chicago French Market under Ogilvie Train Station? (Didn’t know there was even a market down there? Welp, there is. I also wrote about it here. You’re welcome). Anyway – if you’ve ever been into the French Market you’ve no doubt smelled the fresh donuts constantly being cooked up at Beavers. They are well known for their tiny “mini donuts” that include a ton of different toppings, like cinnamon, powdered sugar, or more advanced goodness like “Grandma” – with honey and graham cracker crumbs. They also serve coffee & shakes!
- Hours: Monday – Friday 7 AM – 6 PM; Saturday 9 AM – 4 PM; Sunday closed
- Is there seating? Yes! The French Market boasts tons of seating for various party sizes. You can also just take these babies back to your office in a box.
EXTRA CREDIT: Beavers Coffee & Donuts Food Truck – all over
- Hours: varies by day of the week and location – follow them on social media for more info!
- Pictured donut: their signature “S’mores” style mini donuts – which are slathered in a sugar-coma inducing mixture of chocolate and marshmallow sauces, along with graham cracker crumbs.
Doughnut Vault – 401 N Franklin St
So this location is the original. Mosey past here any given weekend day and you will be greeted with a crazy line (most of the time). There’s good reason. Doughnut Vault has some of the greatest donuts around. Super sneaky pro tip? There is another location at 111 N Canal St in the Riverside Plaza building. Super duper sneaky tip? 3 Greens Market, across from Hampton Social, actually serves Doughnut Vault coffee AND donuts. My absolute favorite is their almond turmeric chai tea latte. You won’t regret it!
- Hours: Monday – Friday 8 AM ‘til sold out; Saturday & Sunday 9:30 AM ‘til sold out
- Is there seating? In the warmer months, yes – there is a bit of outdoor seating. But that’s about it!
- Pictured donut: full disclosure, I ended up crossing this donut mecca off my list in a fit of spontaneity… at 3 PM in the afternoon. So… all that was left was the pink lemonade old fashioned. It was actually incredible! But probably not my first choice.
Firecakes Donuts – 68 W Hubbard St
Out of all the donuts I sampled over the course of my “research”, I think I have to say my favorite old fashioned came from Firecakes. It has a distinctly buttermilk flavor that is hard to describe – you’ll just have to try it for yourself! One of my other favorite things about Firecakes is that they have many of their flavors in mini versions so you can try ALL THE FLAVORS. (Glazed and Infused often has mini versions too!) Not only that, but similar to many of the places on this list, they dabble in donut “creations” – one of their specialties is the ice cream donut sandwich… which is exactly what it sounds like. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list!
- Hours: Sunday – Tuesday 7 AM – 10:30 PM; Wednesday – Saturday 7 AM – 12 midnight
- Is there seating? Just like Doughnut Vault, there is some cute outdoor sidewalk seating during the warmer months, but this little shop is one of the teenier spots on the list.
- Pictured donut: So not only did I choose the classic old fashioned as a litmus test (not pictured) – I also got to try the pineapple maple bacon as a mini version… because tasting size calories don’t count, right?!
Stan’s Donuts – 535 N Michigan Ave
Stan is the man. The donut man, that is! Stan’s is always my go-to when I am in the Wicker Park or Streeterville areas. I love their décor- it’s got a sort of old-fashioned ice cream parlor vibe, with pastels and stripes. While I don’t follow either of these diets, I have heard they also have some pretty great vegan and “gluten-less” donuts (they use the same equipment as their regular donuts, thus the need to call them gluten-less). They also serve shakes and other yummy non-donut goodies too.
- Hours: Monday – Sunday 7 AM – 9 PM
- Is there seating? Yep there is! Tons of indoor and outdoor seating for you to enjoy your culinary plunders.
- Pictured donut: Again, I can never say no to a good old fashioned…. old fashioned. (Hehe.) I always opt for theirs – it’s amazing!
You Are Here: Best Chicago Donut Crawl Map
Whew. I will never get sick of donuts, but let me tell you – this was a lot of donuts. As a side note – I did not hit up all of these donut spots in one day – I did this crawl over the course of several donut-filled days.
What’s your favorite donut? Are you a cake or yeast donut person? Have a favorite donut spot I missed? Let me know in the comments and it could be featured in a future expansion!
About Lily, from Hungerlusttravel
Lily is a West Loop Chicagoan passionate about travel and food – an avid international and domestic traveler. Her blog, hungerlusttravel provides Google Map-based city guides focused on where to eat, what to do and spots to photograph in each city she writes about. You can also see more on her Instagram!