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Guidebook for Chicago

Anna

Guidebook for Chicago

Food Scene
A lively spot right in the neighborhood that serves up delicious rustic Italian specialties. Our favorites are the polenta & ragu and the ricotta vasi. It can get a little noisy in the evenings.
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Davanti Enoteca
1359 West Taylor Street
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A lively spot right in the neighborhood that serves up delicious rustic Italian specialties. Our favorites are the polenta & ragu and the ricotta vasi. It can get a little noisy in the evenings.
One of my favorite bakeries, this family-run shop has been in the neighborhood for decades. We love the ricotta lemon cake, and their donuts are delicious. They also serve sandwiches and pan pizza slices.
Scafuri Bakery
1337 W Taylor St
One of my favorite bakeries, this family-run shop has been in the neighborhood for decades. We love the ricotta lemon cake, and their donuts are delicious. They also serve sandwiches and pan pizza slices.
Delicious breakfast/brunch spot. Great pancakes & waffles, fresh squeezed juices and family friendly. A bit on the pricy side.
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Stax Cafe
1401 West Taylor Street
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Delicious breakfast/brunch spot. Great pancakes & waffles, fresh squeezed juices and family friendly. A bit on the pricy side.
Mario's is Chicago's quintessential Italian-ice stand that's been churning out some of the best ice around since 1954. Italian ice is basically shaved ice that's flavored with fruit (and other appealing, albeit not-so-natural flavors) and sugar. It's a must stop on a visit during the warmer months. It's only open from May 1st until Labor Day. Our favorites are lemon, cantaloupe and watermelon. The lines can get really long on the weekends and in the night hours.
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Mario's Italian Lemonade
1066 West Taylor Street
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Mario's is Chicago's quintessential Italian-ice stand that's been churning out some of the best ice around since 1954. Italian ice is basically shaved ice that's flavored with fruit (and other appealing, albeit not-so-natural flavors) and sugar. It's a must stop on a visit during the warmer months. It's only open from May 1st until Labor Day. Our favorites are lemon, cantaloupe and watermelon. The lines can get really long on the weekends and in the night hours.
Local bar & grill offering a large menu and great bar food. The dining room is quieter than the bar area. TV's are also everywhere.
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Hawkeye's Bar & Grill
1458 West Taylor Street
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Local bar & grill offering a large menu and great bar food. The dining room is quieter than the bar area. TV's are also everywhere.
One of our favorite Italian restaurants and neighborhood spots. Their food is outstanding and they have a terrific happy hour! Monday - Friday, 3:30pm to 6pm. $5 plates of food (our favs are the veal meatballs & mussels) and discounts on house wine, beer & cocktails. They even have live jazz music on Thursday nights. All around great spot!
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Francesca's on Taylor
1400 West Taylor Street
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One of our favorite Italian restaurants and neighborhood spots. Their food is outstanding and they have a terrific happy hour! Monday - Friday, 3:30pm to 6pm. $5 plates of food (our favs are the veal meatballs & mussels) and discounts on house wine, beer & cocktails. They even have live jazz music on Thursday nights. All around great spot!
A great little Mediterranean/MiddleEastern restaurant with wonderful vegetarian options and budget friendly prices.
Couscous
1445 West Taylor Street
A great little Mediterranean/MiddleEastern restaurant with wonderful vegetarian options and budget friendly prices.
Our favorite Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. Authentic and delicious.
Golden Thai
1509 West Taylor Street
Our favorite Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. Authentic and delicious.
Fast but very delicious Mediterranean food. A great meal for the budget!
IDOF - I Dream of Falafel
1129 W Taylor St
Fast but very delicious Mediterranean food. A great meal for the budget!
One of the best Chinese places in the hood. It can even give the Chinatown restaurants a run for their money.
ML Kitchen
1138 W Taylor St
One of the best Chinese places in the hood. It can even give the Chinatown restaurants a run for their money.
One of our favorite "fast food" places in the neighborhood. "Upscale" Mexican street food with big flavors but easy on the budget. I personally love the fish tacos and the empanadas!
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Chilango Mexican Street Food
1437 West Taylor Street
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One of our favorite "fast food" places in the neighborhood. "Upscale" Mexican street food with big flavors but easy on the budget. I personally love the fish tacos and the empanadas!
Arts & Culture
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Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
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Informative, educational, fun & fascinating exhibits about Chicago and how it came to be this great midwestern city.
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Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street
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Informative, educational, fun & fascinating exhibits about Chicago and how it came to be this great midwestern city.
Parks & Nature
Our neighborhood park/arboretum. There is a walking path and is a lovely place to stroll in the daytime or dusk.
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Arrigo Park
801 South Loomis Street
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Our neighborhood park/arboretum. There is a walking path and is a lovely place to stroll in the daytime or dusk.
A definite must-see spot in Chicago. Lots to explore in this gorgeous park from public sculptures, music in the Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (The Bean) and so much more. A great place to explore with the family.
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Millennium Park
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A definite must-see spot in Chicago. Lots to explore in this gorgeous park from public sculptures, music in the Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (The Bean) and so much more. A great place to explore with the family.
This is one of our favorite beaches in the city. It's not easy to get here via public transportation so I recommend it to those with a car or who want to take an Uber or Lyft. There's a lovely beach with amenities like food, snacks & showers and even live music in the summer. The adjacent playground is terrific and features a small climbing wall & water fountains that kids are welcome to splash in. The surrounding marina is also a great area to walk around and explore. You can actually walk all the way to downtown using the lakefront bike/jogging path. Just look out for the riders zipping through.
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31st Street Beach
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This is one of our favorite beaches in the city. It's not easy to get here via public transportation so I recommend it to those with a car or who want to take an Uber or Lyft. There's a lovely beach with amenities like food, snacks & showers and even live music in the summer. The adjacent playground is terrific and features a small climbing wall & water fountains that kids are welcome to splash in. The surrounding marina is also a great area to walk around and explore. You can actually walk all the way to downtown using the lakefront bike/jogging path. Just look out for the riders zipping through.
Maggie Daley Park - an oasis of a playground for kids. This place is incredible, though it can get packed in the summer time. Bring a picnic and let the kids run wild, but make sure they know where to find you. There are water features so a bathing suit or change of clothes is a good idea. There is also a rock-climbing wall open in the summer months. In the winter months there is an ice skating ribbon surrounding the climbing wall, which they turn into mini golf in the summer. This park is located just east of Millennium Park. Access by taking the Serpentine Bridge, which is fun to do in itself.
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Maggie Daley Park
337 East Randolph Street
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Maggie Daley Park - an oasis of a playground for kids. This place is incredible, though it can get packed in the summer time. Bring a picnic and let the kids run wild, but make sure they know where to find you. There are water features so a bathing suit or change of clothes is a good idea. There is also a rock-climbing wall open in the summer months. In the winter months there is an ice skating ribbon surrounding the climbing wall, which they turn into mini golf in the summer. This park is located just east of Millennium Park. Access by taking the Serpentine Bridge, which is fun to do in itself.
The Chicago Lakefront Trail is aptly named; it spans 19 miles along the shore of Lake Michigan, going right through downtown Chicago and passing many cultural and tourist attractions throughout the city. It's a lovely stroll or bikeride any time of the year, but summer is especially nice.
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Lakefront Trail
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The Chicago Lakefront Trail is aptly named; it spans 19 miles along the shore of Lake Michigan, going right through downtown Chicago and passing many cultural and tourist attractions throughout the city. It's a lovely stroll or bikeride any time of the year, but summer is especially nice.
Essentials
Our neighborhood Italian deli. They sell wine, bread, coffee, deli items, prepared foods, sandwiches, Italian specialties and more. They make pretty good subs and paninis and the hand-filled canolli is really good!
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Conte Di Savoia
1438 West Taylor Street
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Our neighborhood Italian deli. They sell wine, bread, coffee, deli items, prepared foods, sandwiches, Italian specialties and more. They make pretty good subs and paninis and the hand-filled canolli is really good!
Your typical convenience store. They also have an ATM or cash station machine.
7-Eleven
1524 W Taylor St
Your typical convenience store. They also have an ATM or cash station machine.
This area is also known as the Medical District because we have three major hospitals very nearby. The closest is Rush University Medical Center. I have highlighted the emergency room which is only one block away. Hoping you or your travel mates will never have to utilize this one, but always good to know where you can go if you need medical help.
Rush University Medical Center Emergency Department
1653 W Congress Pkwy
This area is also known as the Medical District because we have three major hospitals very nearby. The closest is Rush University Medical Center. I have highlighted the emergency room which is only one block away. Hoping you or your travel mates will never have to utilize this one, but always good to know where you can go if you need medical help.
This is the main grocery store we do our shopping at. It's got everything, including a gelato stand, espresso bar, wine bar, salad bar, sushi bar and more. You can even grab a glass of wine and shop if you'd like! Aside from groceries, you can also grab a budget meal from the hot & cold food bars, bakery & deli. There are two dining spaces if it's too hot or cold to go to the nearby park.
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Mariano's
40 South Halsted Street
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This is the main grocery store we do our shopping at. It's got everything, including a gelato stand, espresso bar, wine bar, salad bar, sushi bar and more. You can even grab a glass of wine and shop if you'd like! Aside from groceries, you can also grab a budget meal from the hot & cold food bars, bakery & deli. There are two dining spaces if it's too hot or cold to go to the nearby park.
Chase Bank is one of the biggest in Chicago. You'll find ATMs and other bank services here.
Chase Bank
1130 W Taylor St
Chase Bank is one of the biggest in Chicago. You'll find ATMs and other bank services here.
Getting Around
There is a Divvy bike rental station right around the corner from us off Arrigo Park. It's $15 for a day pass. We've personally not used this service, but it is well-liked and highly recommended by those that do.
Divvy
737 S Loomis St
There is a Divvy bike rental station right around the corner from us off Arrigo Park. It's $15 for a day pass. We've personally not used this service, but it is well-liked and highly recommended by those that do.
Sightseeing
My kids love coming here to slide down the iconic Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. Families are welcome to climb up and slide down! There are also various events and markets hosted here throughout the year.
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Untitled by Picasso
50 West Washington Street
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My kids love coming here to slide down the iconic Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. Families are welcome to climb up and slide down! There are also various events and markets hosted here throughout the year.
Right across the street from Millennium Park is the historic building that once housed The Chicago Athletic Association. It’s now home to an upscale hotel. This is one of our favorite places to take visitors to Chicago! Visit the 2nd floor lobby where you can have a drink, relax and have some down time with the kids, and admire the gothic architecture, or dine on casual food in the game room while the kids play Foos Ball, billiards or Bocci ball. Then take the elevator to the 13th floor veranda in Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant. You don’t have to eat there to enjoy the outdoor veranda and take in the incredible views of Millennium Park and beyond. A terrific photo op!
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Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
12 Michigan Avenue
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Right across the street from Millennium Park is the historic building that once housed The Chicago Athletic Association. It’s now home to an upscale hotel. This is one of our favorite places to take visitors to Chicago! Visit the 2nd floor lobby where you can have a drink, relax and have some down time with the kids, and admire the gothic architecture, or dine on casual food in the game room while the kids play Foos Ball, billiards or Bocci ball. Then take the elevator to the 13th floor veranda in Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant. You don’t have to eat there to enjoy the outdoor veranda and take in the incredible views of Millennium Park and beyond. A terrific photo op!
Skip the pricey and touristy river cruise tours and hop on a Chicago Water Taxi. All day pass will only cost you $10. We love to take from Chinatown to Michigan Ave (or vice versa) and back again. make sure you check the schedules so you don't miss the last taxi back.
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Chicago Water Taxi
400 North Michigan Avenue
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Skip the pricey and touristy river cruise tours and hop on a Chicago Water Taxi. All day pass will only cost you $10. We love to take from Chinatown to Michigan Ave (or vice versa) and back again. make sure you check the schedules so you don't miss the last taxi back.
Drinks & Nightlife
This bar/restaurant is located on the top floor (13th) of the iconic Chicago Athletic Association, which is now a swanky hotel. It sits directly across the street from Millenium Park and has sweeping views of Michigan Ave, Millenium Park and beyond from its outdoor patio. You don't need a reservation to go up and have a look around, you don't even need to eat or drink there. Though the food and drinks are quite good, but on the pricey side. I always try to take my guests here when they visit Chicago because of its unique vantage point of the city. The hotel lobby located on the 2nd floor is fun to explore and hang out in as well. They serve a really good Old Fashioned.
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Cindy's Rooftop
12 S Michigan Ave
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This bar/restaurant is located on the top floor (13th) of the iconic Chicago Athletic Association, which is now a swanky hotel. It sits directly across the street from Millenium Park and has sweeping views of Michigan Ave, Millenium Park and beyond from its outdoor patio. You don't need a reservation to go up and have a look around, you don't even need to eat or drink there. Though the food and drinks are quite good, but on the pricey side. I always try to take my guests here when they visit Chicago because of its unique vantage point of the city. The hotel lobby located on the 2nd floor is fun to explore and hang out in as well. They serve a really good Old Fashioned.