Restaurants and Food - Shedd Aquarium

Buying Food There

The main area to purchase food is the Bubble Net Food Court on the Oceanarium's middle floor (take the stairs or elevator by the Soundings Cafe/entrance to Underwater Beauty). Seating can fill up quickly, so it's helpful to go in by 11:30 or even earlier on busy days. On the busiest days, staff will enforce the rule that you're not allowed to sit at a table until you have food, which adds challenge when you're on your own with multiple kids.

Soundings Cafe is a small coffee and sandwich shop at the top level of the Oceanarium (directly above the food court). The options are fairly limited, especially for kids, so I don't go there often.

Prices are decent for a museum restaurant and quality is pretty good. Click for More Information below to see full menus.

The Deep Ocean Café at the lower level of the Oceanarium is open on busy days, but doesn’t have a huge variety of food. You can still easily put together a lunch with food like hot dogs or sandwiches and drinks.

Bringing Food

Shedd’s not the easiest place to bring your own food, but you can. On nice days, you can sit outside on the terrace—doors out are next to the Soundings Café on the top level of the oceanarium. On other days, there are tables along underwater viewing at the bottom level of the oceanarium. Before Covid, I've handed out many snacks on benches around the aquarium; unfortunately you'll often be stopped if you try to do that now.

Restaurants Outside of Shedd

There are also a variety of seasonal restaurant outside from permanent buildings to temporary carts and everything in between, which are only open during the summer. Unfortunately Shedd no longer allows re-entry if you step out for lunch, so this only works well if you're done with your visit or eat before you go in. These often sell basic food (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc) although there is some variety (one stand sells crepes while another has pot pies). Go out either entrance. The most permanent are a couple of small buildings between Shedd and the Field Museum, but you can also wander and find more stands, especially if you turn to the right after exiting. There’s no real seating there, so just find a spot on the grass or sit along the wall by the Field Museum. Food isn’t much cheaper than the food court, but it’s a good way to enjoy the sun on a nice day.


Bubble Net Food Court

This is the main place to eat at Shedd, and it’s reasonably priced ($9-12 for a slice of pizza, $10-14 for many other main dishes; drinks and sides are a little more than you’d expect based on those).

When I have a stroller, I usually bring it with me to get the food, although it’s a little tough to navigate the tight lines. You can normally navigate around tables pretty easily and find a spot near your table to park the stroller without being in the way of others.

There are also refrigerators fruit cups, yogurt and cheese, as well as ready-to-eat salads and sandwiches. There are chips and cookies by the checkout.

Bubble Net Food Court Menu

Kids meals come with a choice of whole fruit or carrot sticks, and a choice of milk or a cup for water. Whole fruit options are usually bananas, apples, and oranges but may vary seasonally.