It’s easy to get enamored with the glamour of LA, hipness of San Francisco, and allure of New York, but those who overlook Chicago are missing out. The Windy City boasts a restaurant scene that rivals the likes of San Francisco, nightlife that never seems to slow down, and an eclectic mix of neighborhoods. No matter your vice, Chicago has something for you.
One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is explore new neighborhoods. Some of my favorites are the West Loop, Wicker Park and Gold Coast Each area has its own distinct vibe and is worth getting to know.
West loop is by far one of my favorite neighborhoods for going out to eat. The neighborhood boasts some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. Some of my favorite spots are Au Cheval, High Five Ramen & Green Street Quality Meats.
Au Cheval is a must for any burger connoisseur. The restaurant is known for having the best burger in the city. Yes, it does live up to the hype. If BBQ is more to your tastes, Green Street Meats is a great option. The restaurant has a lively bar and plenty of seating to accommodate large groups. One of the best parts of Green Street is the “secret” ramen restaurant located in the basement. High Five Ramen has about 15 seats and is some of the best Ramen in Chicago. I personally love the “High Five.” Make sure you line up early! The restaurant opens at 6 and people start lining up at 5 PM.
Wicker park is known as one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods and for good reason. The area has excellent restaurants, vintage shops, and a “brooklyn-esk” atmosphere. One of my favorite spots in this neighborhood is Kokorokoko Vintage. Kokorokoko is a 90’s kid’s dream. From Posh Spice Spaghetti-strap dresses to vintage Bull’s hats, there is a piece of nostalgia for everyone! Another great place to find some vintage treasures is Heaven Gallery. The gallery has a curated collection of vintage items mixed with art exhibitions featuring local artists. The last time I was there I found a chic vintage chiffon jacket.
With all the great shopping it’s easy to work up an appetite. Some of my favorite stops in the area are Xoco and Jeni’s. Nothing completes a day of shopping quite like a Caldo at Xoco topped off with Jeni’s ice cream!
Wandering around the picturesque tree-lined streets of Gold Coast is a perfect way to enjoy a sunny Chicago day. For history buffs, a stop by the historic Drake Hotel gives a glimpse into Chicago’s glamorous past. A recent neighborhood addition is a flagship Restoration Hardware showroom complete with a restaurant and rooftop. It’s a great place to grab breakfast with your girlfriends & drink champagne while admiring the lovely show rooms.
I always enjoy discovering new areas of Chicago, but the charm of these neighborhoods and endless array of things to do keeps me coming back.