Off the beaten path Chicago: Travel like a local in Chicago's north side neighborhoods



Description:

Though most tourists never make it north of Navy Pier, the north side of Chicago houses many of the city's gems. Staying in smaller neighborhoods, you'll enjoy wandering the streets and shops that aren't jammed with people looking for Chicago key chains. Primarily focused on Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Lakeview/Wrigleyville, your trip will make you feel like a local and might even tempt you to start looking at real estate.

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Author: Meghann


Day 1 - Chicago


Begin your trip by checking into your way-off-the-beaten-path B & B, House 5863, in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Leave your hip and comfy accommodations to take a stroll through your new 'hood. Walk south and west to Clark street, the central vein of Andersonville. On your southbound walk, take note of the many shops, cafes, and restaurants that you'll want to hit before you leave. Make your way down to the Swedish American Museum Center for a fun and educational look at the people who settled the neighborhood. Pick up a few blue and yellow souvenirs before walking a few blocks north to Huey's for lunch (http://www.centerstagechicago.com/restaurants/hueyshotdog.html). Get a true Chicago-style dog or one of their amazing daily burger specials ($6 with fries and a drink- there's also a hot dog happy hour every day!) while you play a round of Foosball. Get a Rockstar Milkshake on your way out, or grab dessert at the Swedish Bakery around the corner. Take a number and enjoy the local flavor of this old neighborhood staple as you wait for your turn to pick a pastry (the rum balls are out of control). Relieve your full belly with a walk through the 'hood on the side streets- Lakewood, Balmoral, Wayne, and Magnolia all offer some amazing looks at historic homes with well kept lawns and gardens. Make your way back toward your lodging, where you can be entertained by the dog park across the street (the front lawn of Senn High School). When you're ready to do more walking, head to Broadway for a browse through some cool antique stores (Edgewater Antique Mall is especially great: http://www.edgewaterantiquemall.com/). Have dinner at the beyond amazing Ethiopian Diamond (http://www.ethiopiandiamondcuisine.com/). Request to sit at on of the "traditional" tables, and be sure to order a carafe of the glorious homemade honey wine. If you're unfamiliar with the cuisine, the friendly staff will help make recommendations. If the weather is lovely, walk down to Moody's Pub for a nightcap on the chill and friendly patio, abundant with trees and picnic tables.


1

Swedish American Museum Center

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Location:

5211 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: +1 773 728 8111
fax: +1 773 728 8870


2

Swedish Bakery

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Location:

5348 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: 1 773 561 8919
fax: 1 773 561 3955


3

Moody's Pub

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Location:

5910 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660

Contact:

tel: 773 275 2696


4

House 5863

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Location:

5863 North Glenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60660


Day 2 - Chicago


Day 2 starts with a classical hatha yoga class at the Sivananda Center (http://www.sivananda.org/chicago/), where north side locals of all ages have been centering themselves for decades. This incredibly friendly and non-pretentious center (there is very little designer yoga-wear seen here) offers a free first class, and all of the 10:30 classes are open to all levels. Follow up your positive practice with bliss cakes and berries at M. Henry, Andersonville's most-beloved breakfast/brunch/lunch spot (http://www.mhenry.net/). Resume your walking tour of Clark Street by visiting some of the shops you had logged from yesterday. Don't miss Women and Children First (http://www.womenandchildrenfirst.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp), A-ville's famous independent, feminist bookstore. Though you will probably be full from M. Henry for many hours, visit Kopi for coffee and a browse through their eclectic boutique and wide selection of travel guides. When you're all shopped out and ready for dinner, it's Hopleaf time. Settle into this neighborhood staple for an overwhelmingly huge selection of Belgian brews, served in their own specialty glasses (Tripel Karmeliet is unbelievable). Order a steaming bowl of mussels for dinner and be sure to have the classic frites. The wait for a table can be long, but it's definitely worth it; eating at the bar or one of the front booths is just as fun, too. If you're up for more drinking and excitement, walk to Broadway and take the 36 bus a few blocks to the historic Green Mill Jazz Club for some killer live music and dancing.


1

Kopi A Traveler's Café

Location:

5317 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: 773 989 5674


2

Hopleaf Tavern

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Location:

5148 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: 773 334 9851


3

Green Mill

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Location:

4802 North Broadway Avenue
At Lawrence
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: +1 773 878 5552


Day 3 - Chicago


Start Day 3 by heading back down Clark Street for breakfast at A Taste of Heaven (http://chicago.metromix.com/restaurants/ice_cream_frozen_yogurt/a-taste-of-heaven-andersonville/136875/content). The cozy little cafe is quiet, so grab a free copy of the Red Eye for a quick look at the local news. Buy a ginger cookie or fruit bread to snack on later, and head east to the lake. Walk to Foster Street beach, and drink in the sparkling lake as you walk north on the huge rocks (painted with tributes and tags by local folks). Arriving at Hollywood Beach, take some moments to sit and reflect; even if it's not a warm day, Lake Michigan's vastness still offers an amazing place for dreaming and contemplating. Head inland again, and stop off at Cheetah Gym on Broadway (http://www.cheetahgym.com/ewater_groupx.html) for a scheduled massage only two blocks from your B & B. Feeling rejuvenated and wonderful, walk to Clark Street and catch the 22 bus north to Devon. Jump on the Devon Bus west to Western Ave, where you can explore Chicago's Indian neighborhood. Poke through colorful sari shops, and grab a snack from a street vendor. When it's time for dinner, Bhabi's kitchen is the place (http://www.centerstagechicago.com/restaurants/bhabis.html). This truly inviting and comfortable spot offers warm dishes with just the right blend of spices and is BYOB (with a liquor store conveniently located across the street). Be sure to order a few of the 20 different varieties of homemade breads (this ain't no ordinary naan). After dinner head back the way you came, and continue on the 22 bus to Foster. Get in line at least a half-hour early for the 11:30 showing of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the Neo-Futurarium. The 30 plays in 60 minutes will give you a simultaneously humorous, touching, and striking look at life, and your "Hello My Name Is" badge with the name that one of the actors Sharpies on for you will be a hilarious souvenir.


1

Neo-Futurists

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Location:

5153 North Ashland Avenue
At Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

Contact:

tel: 773 275 5255
fax: 773 878 4514


Day 4 - Chicago


Day 4 takes you out of Andersonville and into Lincoln Square, another of Chicago's fine northern neighborhoods. A 40-ish minute walk from you lodging, Lincoln Square can also easily be reached by the Damen Bus (catch it at Clark and Edgewater). Lincoln Square offers the same kind of fun boutique and cafe browsing as Andersonville, so plan to spend the day strolling down Lincoln Avenue. Enjoy lunch at Cafe Selmarie, right on "the square," and sit at one of the outdoor tables by the fountain, if the weather is nice. The pastries at Selmarie are too gorgeous to pass up, so save room for dessert. As you stroll up and down Lincoln, make sure to visit the Book Cellar (http://www.bookcellarinc.com/) and Merz Apothecary (http://www.merzapothecary.com/). Welles Park offers a great place to sit and rest, and the gazebo is a lovely spot for a photo op. If the weather is lousy, catch a movie at the Davis Theater (http://www.davistheater.com/), where you can still purchase handfuls of candy from quarter machines before the show. For dinner, head to another BYOB, Los Nopales (http://www.losnopalesrestaurant.com/). The green salsa is magical, and the cactus tacos are extremely satisfying. After dinner, see if there's music at the Old Town School of Folk Music (http://www.oldtownschool.org/). The low-key venue is a Chicago institution and hosts some fine local and touring acts. If music isn't your fancy tonight, walk up to the Chicago Brauhaus (http://www.chicagobrauhaus.com/) for fine German brews and soft pretzels. Lincoln Square Lanes (http://chicago.metromix.com/bars-and-clubs/bar/lincoln-square-lanes-lincoln-square/136009/content) also promises fun with its old-school bowling alley charm situated on top of a hardware store. The Damen Bus doesn't run long into the night, but the "el" or a taxi can safely and easily return you to your comfortable bed.


1

Cafe Selmarie

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Location:

4729 North Lincon Avenue
Between Lincoln Avenue & Oakley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Contact:

tel: 1 773 989 5595


Day 5 - Chicago


On Day 5, you'll pack up and head south to the City Suites Hotel in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Check out the Belmont Harbor, a pretty view of the lake just steps from the hotel. Take a walk up Clark Street, and get your neighborhood bearings. You'll hit Wrigleyville, passing many of the Cubs-inspired bars and finally Wrigley Field itself. Keep walking a few more blocks, passing the Metro, one of Chicago's top underground music venues, until you hit Grace. Enjoy lunch at Uncommon Ground, where the seasonally-inspired menu changes frequently, but always offers solid sandwiches and salads. Walk west to Southport and head south to the Music Box Theatre for a matinee. This old art theater offers a consistently interesting playlist, and the decor makes your viewing even more exciting. After the movie, poke around Southport's shops as you walk south toward Schuba's and the Harmony Grill. Dine at the laid-back and delicious restaurant and then catch a show or DJ while enjoying some of Schubas fine selection of brews. An easy trip east on the Belmont Bus will get you back to your hotel.


1

Uncommon Ground

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Location:

3800 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60613-2812

Contact:

tel: 773 9293680
fax: +1 773 929 0805


2

Music Box Theatre

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Location:

3733 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613

Contact:

tel: 773 871 6604
fax: 773 871 0602


3

Harmony Grill (The)

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Location:

3159 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 1 773 525 2528
fax: 1 773 525 4573


4

Schubas Tavern

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Location:

3159 North Southport Avenue
Between Belmont Avenue & Fletcher Street
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 773 525 2508
fax: 773 525 4573


5

City Suites Hotel

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Location:

933 W Belmont Ave
At Sheffield Ave
60657 Chicago, US

Contact:

tel: +1 773 404 3400 / +1 800 248 9108
fax: +1 773 404 3405


Day 6 - Chicago


Start day 6 off right with an enormous breakfast at Ann Sather's. Recalling the Swedish history you picked up in Andersonville, you'll feast on gooey cinnamon rolls (they consider two of these monsters equivalent to one "side") and savory omelets. Take the rest of your morning and afternoon to digest as you browse Belmont's punky shops. Ragstock (http://www.ragstock.com/index.html) and Hollywood Mirror (www.hollywoodmirror.com) are local favorites and offer hours of vintage and costume fun. If you're feeling edgy, Chicago Tattoo and Piercing Co. (http://chicagotattoo.com/home.html) is a solid place to get inked or penned. Also, Milios Hair Studio (http://www.milioshairsalon.com/) offers affordable walk-ins, if you're feeling inspired to get a rockin' 'do. When you've had enough of the Belmont attitude, take the 77 bus west to Damen for a trip to Roscoe Village. Walk north on Damen to Roscoe, and then stroll west on Roscoe to check out some more cool shops in this hip neighborhood. Have dinner on the back patio (it's heated in cold weather) at the Village Tap. Their pub food classics don't disappoint, and the beer selection is solid. Head back on the Belmont bus, stopping first into the Bleeding Heart Bakery (www.thebleedingheartbakery.com) for an organic, punk rock treat-to-go. Spend the evening catching a hilarious show at the Improv Olympic, a local favorite.


1

Ann Sather

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Location:

929 W. Belmont Ave
Between Clark St. and Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 773/348-2378


2

Village Tap

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Location:

2055 West Roscoe Street
Chicago, IL 60618

Contact:

tel: 773 883 0817


3

ImprovOlympic

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Location:

3541 North Clark Street
Between Addison Street & Eddy Street
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 773 880 9993
fax: +1 773 880 9979


Day 7 - Chicago


For you last day in Chi-town, why not spend it on some extremely conflicting cuisine. First, hit up Hot Doug's for an early lunch of exotic meats served counter-style (everyone says the duck fat fries are the best). Spend the afternoon exploring Halsted street, Chicago's "Boys Town", where there are plenty of fun places to browse or take a happy hour. For dinner, make amends for your meat-filled-lunch with a completely vegetarian dinner at the Chicago Diner. This place knows how to work magic with seitan and tofu; the Reuben is unbelievable, and the raw cheesecakes and cookies are decadent. After dinner, either check out what's happening at Links Hall, an intimate performance space that hosts lots of modern dance and edgy contemporary performance, or head to the Vic Theatre for Brew and View, a movie/beer-fest that is sure to have you feeling like a true local by the end of the night.


1

Hot Doug's Inc.

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Location:

3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618

Contact:

tel: (773) 348-0326


2

Chicago Diner

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Location:

3411 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 1 773 395 6696
fax: 1 773 935 8149


3

Vic Theatre (The Vic)

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Location:

3145 North Sheffield
Chicago, IL 60657-4416

Contact:

tel: 773 472 0366 / 773 472 0449
fax: 773 4723933


4

Links Hall Studio

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Location:

3435 North Sheffield Avenue
Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:

tel: 773 281 0824
fax: 773 281 1915


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