Re: A Day in Chicago [go Blackhawks]
Agree with all things posted here so far. Fogo De Chao is flat out amazing and Portillo's is a money Hot Dog/Burger spot.
As far as areas near the arena, a bar you MUST go to before the game is West End (Corner of Ada and Madison). I can't imagine how packed it'll be before a Hawks game, but if you're a Hawks fan, it'll be worth it. Huge crazy Blackhawks contigent there, and its a short walk to the arena. Food is good, and the atmosphere is amazing.
Be careful with the train advice given here, as there are no train stops near the United Center, but there are buses in the area.
The water taxi is a great idea, as the city view from the river is truly amazing in the summer time. I take the water taxi to and from my office when I'm on a downtown client just for fun.
If you're around for the weekend, check out Navy Pier for sure, and maybe North Avenue beach to catch some rays. Supposed to be great weather this weekend.
Enjoy! Let me know if you have any more questions.