Chicago at a Glance: Lincoln Square

Things to Do, What's New — By adamgauzza on March 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

Chicago’s northwest side has a neighborhood that’s quaint and residential and still replete with incredible restaurants and delightful shops.  Lincoln Square is home to families, long-time Chicagoans, and a growing number of hip young people.

photo by Brad Bretz

Welcome to Lincoln Square!

As you turn south onto North Lincoln Avenue from Lawrence, the scenery immediately changes.  The street seems almost too narrow for cars (it’s just wide enough for parking and one-way traffic).  Here you’ll find the actual square; Giddings Plaza is centered around a bubbling fountain surrounded by benches and trees.  In the summer, you’re likely to find a musician or two playing as part of the Summer Concert Series.

Good food is all around in Lincoln Square!  Stop in at the Chicago Brauhaus where the neighborhood’s German heritage takes the form of delicious food, steins of cold beer, and traditional music and dancing.  Nestled in a seemingly unassuming block of Lincoln Ave, Bistro Campagne is one of the city’s best French restaurants, serving up authentic dishes learned in small towns and rural areas of France with infallible cozy elegance.  On the same block, you’ll find award winning Japanese at TANK sushiwith an enormous menu of small and large plates as well as traditional and signature maki.

Just try walking past this banana eclaire from Cafe Selmarie without drooling (just a little)

 If you’re in the mood for something more casual, find your way into The Bad Apple. Their selection of craft beers is overwhelming, and don’t forget to sample some of their food (think $9 for any burger and fries…make that truffle fries). Tiny Lounge shakes things up with innovative, not to mention delicious, cocktails and gourmet versions of small (tiny) plates in a chic, friendly setting. Cafe Selmarie, right on Giddings Plaza, serves all meals with an eclectic array of flavors and always in the best of taste. Make sure to take some time in their bakery!
Grab a cup of coffee at The Grind and do some shopping.  Check out The Book Cellar for some reading (and maybe a glass of wine). The staff has placed little notes throughout the shelves to help customers make a good selection. Pick up a gift or treat yourself to some fine self-care products from Merz Apothecary, Chicago’s source for natural remedies and herbal comforts since 1875. You might want to stop into Enjoy, An Urban General Store for some eco-friendly items or clever gag gifts.

Family fun in Welles Park

In the summer and fall, keep an eye out for the Folk and Roots Festival brought to you by the Old Town School of Folk Music (maybe you can drop in for that banjo lesson you’ve always talked about taking).  Welles Park is a great place for families, particularly when the Chicago’s Midnight Circus performs during Circus in the Parks every autumn.

Lincoln Square is conveniently located off of the Damen and Western stops on the Brown Line.  For more information about Lincoln Square, visit the Chamber of Commerce’s website at

Tags: an Urban General Store, Bistro Campagne, Cafe Selmarie, Chicago Brauhaus, Circus in The Parks, coffee shop, Enjoy, Folk and Roots Festival, Lincoln Square, Merz Apothecary, Old Town School of Folk Music, Tank Sushi, The Bad Apple, The Book Cellar, The Grind, Tiny Lounge