How to: Visit Chicago Like a Chicagoan

[Ed. note: The below piece of writing is extremely funny. It is also extremely profane. The word irreverent does not go far enough. If you're offended by salty language and off-color humor, please just enjoy our photo today and I promise we'll be back to our usual family-friendly routine promptly tomorrow.]

[Ed. note part 2: It's also really long. Tough.]

[Ed Hirsch is a huge nerd, rap enthusiast, and homesick Chicagoan currently stationed in Dallas. He is the love child of Studs Terkel and David Mamet.]

Since moving out of Chicago, I’m asked about every three months for advice about visiting Chicago: what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and so on. I’ve come to realize in these conversations that either (a) I’m a complete slug of a person or (b) everyone assumes I spent twenty-eight years in Chicago living as a tourist. While (a) is probably true, this article is about (b). People will ask me about a restaurant like Charlie Trotter’s or what I think about the Drake Hotel, and I have to remind people that I was living in Chicago on $40k a year. I make more now ($41k!) and I still don’t stay at the Drake when I fly back home. I guess I just know a bunch of obnoxious WASPs, but I don’t think you learn anything about Chicago by trying to hang around Streeterville and Gold Coast for a long weekend. So below I’m going to compile my true honest-to-god suggestions for visiting Chicago.

Where do I fly into?

I don’t care. They’re both about the same distance from where you’re going to stay. Yes, I know where you’re going to stay.

How much is a cab from the airport? Will the cab driver rip me off?

1. If you take a cab from the airport to downtown you’re a coward. Get on the El. Smell public transportation, you baby.

2. Yes, a cab driver will at some point rip you off. You’re a guest in the city, and you should be happy to overpay our cabbies.

OK, so I’m staying at the Drake…

Hahahahahhahahaha and you’re worried about getting ripped off by a cabbie? You bitch.

Stay at the Tremont. It’s $90 a night, two blocks from the Drake, and nobody worth a dime gives a shit that you roomed where some princess or Oprah or whoever stayed. You didn’t get treated like them anyway.

OK, I’m checked in. Now what do I do?

OK, so here are the things I think I would list as cool things to do in Chicago. No particular order:

1) River tour. If it’s warm out, a historical/architecture tour of Chicago is rad for both tourists and locals. Aside from a nice, breezy trip on the not overly smelly river, architectural tours in Chicago actually have significance. This isn’t your chumpsville city where you paid a bunch of dipshits a cool million to design a glass dildo in the center of your three-block downtown. Buildings in Chicago actually mean something to the history of  the city, and you’ll learn something about the meat packing industry, health and sanitation, immigrant migration, and other cool stuff that you probably won’t appreciate because you’re a fucking uneducated hick. Fuck you.

2) Art Institute. Chicago museums are in general the types of museums you have to commit a day to, and I think the Art Institute probably does that experience the best. If you can figure out a way to get tickets in advance it will save you twenty minutes in a line. The “doll-houses” are downstairs, and you can skip the African and Asian art (you fucking racists) and go through the Greek/Roman section and hit up the American classics. That will kill two hours at least, more likely three. You’ve seen about 20 percent of the museum. Also please consider reading (if you can actually read) things about the art. Art has meaning kinda!

Realize your father is terrible.

3) Get someone over the age of fifty to drive you to Pullman Town. I was lucky enough to tag along one weekend when my dad took a friend of his on a tour of the South Side. See, despite what thirty-something yuppie shitheels in Chicago think, the South Side actually wasn’t always just for black people! You should swing through Bridgeport, over to Bronzeville, down to Hyde Park, through Washington Park to Englewood, and then on to Pullman. Ideally this person giving the tour is Jewish, but I don’t have high hopes for you. Pullman is itself an interesting historic landmark, and there’s a nice little museum.

4) Cubs game. As a Sox fan, it makes me barf to say this, but you’ll get better photos and it’s more interesting to walk around Clark and Addison even though it’s just a bunch of frat guys. Hell, you’ll probably feel pretty comfortable with that.

That should eat up your weekend.

OK, but what I was thinking of doing…

I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE THINKING OF DOING IT’S ALL STUPID THAT’S WHY I DON’T CARE.

1) Shopping on the Mag Mile. Ahahhahahahahahahah you fucking dipshit. You don’t have an outlet store in your state? Believe me, I want your fucking money flowing through the coffers of the city of Chicago as much as anyone, but if you came to Chicago to shop you are human trash and I hope you die.
2) Going up the Hancock/Sears Tower. Wow, you went up high. You were higher up when you flew in. Also, you’re going to spend too much on a drink in the Signature Room while sitting next to some screaming kid. Great move, asshat.
3) Seeing a show. Yeah, you aren’t going to see anything interesting, you’re going to see some musical prepping for Broadway or back touring. Wait for it to come to your dumbass state, maybe? You could go to iO or a million other great improv troupes or small theaters, but risking being in a theater where you might have to have a thought about what you just saw is likely for you pretty scary.
4) See the Bean without a local. Seeing “The Sky Bridge” seems like such a great idea too, right?! Millennium Park is like a park but without all that history and gravitas that real Chicago parks have. If you don’t have a fat half-Italian bitching about Daley as you try to take your stupid reflection shot, you’re incapable of raising children right. Ponder that.
5) The Taste. I hope someone shoots you.

Pictured: three stabbings, eight thefts, and someone eating a stupid thing on a stick

OK, I am properly humbled. Now, WHERE DO I EAT CHICAGO HAS GREAT FOOD RIGHT GREAT FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD STUFF FOOD IN MY MOUTH I NEED TO BE A FAT PIGGIE.

OK, now here’s where we get serious.

Eating like a Chicagoan means understanding you can get good to great food anywhere. Yeah, I’m sure Rick Bayless has had his proverbial knob gobbled by every Food Network person you watch, but it turns out if you don’t go to some rib joint that’s open until 1 a.m. you may as well be a plantation owner. So here are some quintessential Chicago dining experiences.

Chicago-Style Pizza

Yeah I know you went to Gino’s East or Giordano’s or whatever. You did it wrong. First off, you ate at the restaurant. Second, you were probably mostly sober. In no way is that how you approach eating a Chicago-style pizza.

1) Go out to a dive bar on the north side (anything west of Southport and north of Belmont will count, I feel; YMMV) and begin drinking. If they have PBR you should have at least two. Same with Schlitz. If you want to do the beer snob thing, you’re welcome to it. Same with scotch. No wine. Vodka is OK.
2) Keep drinking.
3) Begin talking to locals. They will be the interesting people around you.
4) Become best friends with locals. It should be about 10:30 by now.
5) Keep drinking. Decide if you are going to try to sleep with any of these people.
6) At 12:30, begin talking about how you’re hungry. This will be true as you have not eaten.
7) Convince your new friends to take you to their apartment. It will look like this most likely:

Hello, I am a two-flat.

8) Order a deep dish from Chicago’s Pizza.

9) Fifty minutes later, make a major ordeal about how you are going to pay this delivery guy.
10) Eat a slice of the pizza that you have somehow paid for.
11) Fall asleep on couch, not having sex with locals.
12) Wake up four hours later. At this point the pizza should be sitting on the coffee table across from you. The cheese has congealed and the sauce gone cold. Think to yourself “There is a block of cheese inside of me. It has to get out…right?” Ponder your life failures as you sneak out of this person’s apartment and try to find a cab/el stop.

This is a picture of failure.

This is a picture of failure.

Chicago Meat

Oh you want to go to a steakhouse? Ohhhhhhh hmmmmmm yeah no. Half the places out there are chains, and you aren’t mafia enough to pull off being in the ones that aren’t. Chicago meat to you can be summed up as HogDogGyroItalianBeefSausageBurger. Also ribs.

The shortcut to all your Chicago meat needs is Portillo’s. I know what you’re thinking: did this guy who can’t stop being a prick to me just tell me to go to a chain? First off, it’s no chain you ever heard of so put your dick away. Second, go ask around about Portillo’s and see what kind of reaction you get. Portillo’s is like the only popular thing Chicagoans like that’s not named Derrick Rose.

But, if you want to live it real, avoid Portillo’s and find your own hole in the wall. To do this, first you look for a sign.

Despite never being there, I know this is a reputable establishment.

Despite never being there, I know this is a reputable establishment.

Your keys to spotting this place are:

1) Vienna Beef logo on their hanging sign
2) Their name includes one or more of the following
a. Chicago
b. Windy City
c. Beef
d. Dog
e. Gyros
f. The name of the street you’re on
g. The name of a street you’re not on
h. Any ethnic sounding name followed by an “ ‘s ”
3) Their staff appears to all be related or from the same ethnicity
4) They have any of the following
a. Signed pictures of the old mayor
b. Railroad paraphernalia
c. A picture of a giant hotdog, possibly floating in Lake Michigan
d. A menu hanging above the counter that appears to have ~50 items
e. An elderly lady working the cash register

You should expect to eat here a few times. You will want to try a hot dog (plain), another hot dog (everything), Italian beef (hot peppers), Italian sausage (peppers), gyros (everything, pronounce it “euros” or someone will slap you in a just world).

Chicago Ethnic Food

Chicago is good at ethnicities and racism. It’s a good mix, as it means you end up with very particular neighborhoods and streets (ghettos?) to experience unique foods. Here in Texas, I’m not sure if most people can tell the difference between an African American and a Latino, but in Chicago my old barber (Uncle Joe!) once gave me a lecture on exactly when the neighborhood went to hell: when the Irish moved in.

So while in Chicago, you should at least try to get someplace weird. While I think Andersonville and Rogers Park are two great places to do it, I’m going to send you to Uptown. Uptown works for three reasons. First, it’s accessible, right off the Red Line. Second, it has an energetic corner at Lawrence and Broadway. Third, the Green Mill is there. And fourth, there’s a rad Ethiopian place called Demera. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before, I expect you to go. Do not google anything. Do not be a coward. Do what they do and stop crying. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to see a guy perform guitar there and drink some honey wine. Once you’re done, go across the street to the Green Mill. Pay the cover. Listen to whatever weird experimental Swedish jazz band has flown in to play there and just there. Shut your gaping mouth and just try to appreciate what is happening. Please. Try.

THAT’S A LOT TO DIGEST, LOL.

I get it. A pun.

OK, so this should get you through your weekend in Chicago such that I will give a crap about what you did there. Other things to consider may be:

  • getting into a fight with a homeless man at an el stop
  • having a terrible opinion about sports and sharing it with everyone
  • being involved in a gun crime
  • eating a plate of fries at Clarke’s and wondering how unsanitary the kitchen is
  • going to a Polish buffet on the far northwest side and getting threatened by a three-hundred-pound man in sweatpants
  • freezing your fucking balls off
  • becoming a fan of Rod Blagojevich
  • bitching about Oprah
  • growing a moustache
Ed Hirsch

About Ed Hirsch

Ed Hirsch is a huge nerd and rap enthusiast, recently returned to his rightful home of Chicago. He is the love child of Studs Terkel and David Mamet.

633 thoughts on “How to: Visit Chicago Like a Chicagoan

  1. This was awesome. However, I’d go with Ethiopian Diamond over Demera and Lou Malnati’s has the best Chicago pizza by a long shot. Other than that? Nailed it. I know: you don’t give a fuck.

    • Agreed Ethiopian Diamond is better (I always liked Ras Dashen down the street from them too), but Demera has the location. And the problem with Lou’s is you can’t order at 1am from what I remember…and you definitely can’t also get a chicken focacia for the one person who doesn’t like pizza.

      • Perfect! You should move back to Chicago and become director of tourism. It was a beautiful thing when I realized that the Chicago’s pizza down the street from my new apartment was the one that delivers until 5am. Just knowing it’s there makes me feel safe, warm, and never hungry.

      • I agree that Ethiopian Diamond is superior, but I will concede that the proximity to Green Mill sells Demera in this instance. Unless someone wants to get ripped off by a cab driver going up and down Broadway….

      • Ras Dashen is HANDS DOWN the best Ethopian on the north side. Dishes are better, ambiance is better, art and tables are more authentic, wait staff is better (no offense Demera and Ethiopian Diamond) and they offer live music on Sunday nights. Ras Dashen for the win! You’re right about Demera and the location. But for people who are whiny about traveling maybe a single mile down Broadway on the 36 to go from the best Ethiopian to the best jazz should be punched in the knee.

      • WHA?! Blasphemy!! Their sausage is incredible (and I’m not normally a sausage person), the tomatoes on top are chunky and not just sauce, the sauce is tangy and delicious, and crust is always perfectly golden and buttery and fantastic (unlike that burnt crap above). It’s pretty much the perfect pizza. Although Ed’s right–they’re not open at 1am and they definitely don’t have chicken focacia (though they do have some kick ass cheesy garlic bread). You can bet that when I come visit this summer I’ll be eating at Lou’s at least twice, and getting a frozen one to take home with me. Hopefully it’ll make it all the way to KS… I love the current cost of my standard of living, but there are definitely things I miss about living in Chicago.

      • Lou’s is solid as is Home Run INN. Go to Freddy’s in Cicero (might actually be Berwyn) on 16th St. and a few blocks west of Austin. Try one thick/pan slice and one thin. Then finish with an Italian ice. If you like sausage, there’s none better

        • Freddys is in Cicero. Best gelato in town!
          I’d also like to add that no self-respecting Chicago-born person calls the city “Chi-town”…if those words come out of your mouth I know you’re an import from the suburbs or out of town. And no, I’m not impressed that you want to live in the city where all the action is…this is a city of neighborhoods…if you can’t find fun, you’re a loser.

      • Erin, I really want to make some comment about you not being a sausage person… But you’re dead-on about Lou’s. If it’s earlier than midnight and you can order from them, you should.

      • @Neil – I found myself at Freddy’s – the guy, not the restaurant – in Italy 3 years back. (My now in-laws were friends w/ him and he lives in the town they grew up in outside of Naples). I almost died – I was like, FREDDY? Like THE FREDDY? It was like I just saw Elvis. I showed him some pics and their website, he loved it.

      • @Neil True about the Freddys pizza. I myself love their 31st street location especially after a Sox game. Its a lot nicer now after they remodeled from the fire

      • UGH!! Lou Malnatis is AWESOME especially if you go to the original one, well worth the wait, but another one of my favorites is Due’s downtown. Oh and being in Texas i thought I would have great Mexican food being closer to the border and all, but everything is TEX MEX and everyone loves to put that stupid melted yellow cheese on everything, YUCK! 26th street for all kinds of Authentic mexican is where you want to go in Chicago. And Portillos? yes it is good but I would much rather go to a mom and pop hot dog place anytime. So much more I could start my own blog! Love and miss my city!..

    • Should probably do an entire list of things to experience the CTA.

      -Ride a car between Fullerton and Belmont where someone has obviously used it for a bathroom
      -Get trapped in a car with the guy with a laminated copy of his resume/prisoner-identification papers
      -Ride from the loop to Addison in the summer sandwiched between a group of fat, drunk and already sweating cubs fans
      -See how long you can stay under the 1 set of heat lamps on a January morning before someone somehow edges you out

      My greatest el experience was having to talk a guy out of jumping in front of a pink line train because he was off his meds.

      • I once saw a guy pull the emergency stop, open the doors, and then jump off the train (after he threw his WALKER out the door) because he missed his stop. This was where the brown line is at-grade, but it was still impressive.

      • I saw someone do that at Belmont. No walker, but he managed to jump across the three foot gap onto the tiny sliver of platform that was at the very edge of the station. I was impressed.

      • I’d add to that take the Red line to the very end (95th or Howard will do) at 4 am on a Saturday and play Dodge the Crazy Homeless Man Who is the Only Other Poor Soul Left On the Train. Had to sprint out just before the doors closed at Jarvis once and run for my life. Dude was pounding on the windows and screaming at me as the train pulled off.

      • Fall asleep after 2am on the Red Line, and wake up at Howard. Fall asleep again going southbound, and wake up somewhere beyond Garfield. Stand in order to stay awake heading back north, cause what you just saw scared the bejeezus out of you, get off at North and Clybourn, and take a cab back to your place in Uptown/Edgewater/RoPa, and don’t care that he is going to rip your drunk ass off cause it’s almost 6am and you realize you’re about to repeat the vicious cycle if you stay on the train.
        -Also, that dive bar/dining experience should involve Malort.

  2. Great post, you had me playing the role my Fiancé insists I do every time anyone talks about entrepreneurism/being self-employed… Black Woman in Church. Nodding, amen’ing, rocking back and forth, waving my arm side to side.

    Yay for improv!

    Others non-touristy thoughts -
    - Pequods for pizza
    - Bike tour
    - Chicago DeTours, http://www.chicagodetours.com/
    - Read a book in a coffeehouse! Filter, Star Lounge, my fave Starbucks (Roscoe/Damen’ish), Sip, Café Mustache, Wormhole, Bridgetport Coffee House, Cafe Jumping Bean, the Maproom (coffeehouse during the day!)
    - Creative events in bars: Craft Bar, 2nd Story, Pecha Kucha, Get Mortified, Write Club, Paper Machete*, The Moth
    - MeSoFar [for those looking to get a date while in town]
    - Dabble, try various classes taught by and with real Chicagoans, http://bit.ly/QiLBgx
    - Dance Dance Party Party
    - Ignite Chicago

    *Paper Machete is at the Green Mill and FREE, so you can still go to the GM but avoid the cover charge. And not have to listen to jazz.

  3. To get the lasting impression of Chicago eats, and by lasting I mean bringing the shits home with you, get the beef/sausage combo. Now you can let everyone know in your hometown where you’ve been…without speaking.

    • I took some Pittsburgh friends to Al’s beef (the real one, on Taylor) and ordered the combo (with hot peppers). There’s a sign on the counter that explains what a combo is and what it isn’t. One of my friends ordered the combo and then got angry when they “forgot” her fries. I had to explain what the combo was.

    • Any of the supposed “Original” Maxwells will do justice. I personally favor the one off 31st Street but the one off Roosevelt is good too.

  4. Hilarious and true. I love that you included the Green Mill. However, I’d pick Pequoid’s over Chicagos Pizza. But everyone has their opinion. And yes, art institute over the MSE. but either would suffice I think.

  5. Ha ha, I know exactly where Mangi’s is and yes, that place is legit. Also, don’t be afraid to spill the beans on Portillo’s; the place is a soulless, crappy representation of Chicago food. Yes, it’s better than you’re average chain but it’s nothing compared to the mom and pop places that litter the city. Easiest way to tell if someone is actually from the city or if they’re some poser suburbanite who claims Chicago despite the fact that they’re from Naperville or Mundelien is to see if they like Portillo’s

    • Not true. I lived in Chicago for seven years and ate at all kinds of places, but mostly independent restaurants (not chains). Portillos is awesome. Great hot dogs, and absurd chocolate cake.

    • I returned to my old Chicago stomping grounds a few months ago. When I was a lad growing up at 69th and Western there was no deep dish Chicago Pizza, strictly nuovo Chicago. Portillos is a rather boring run of the mill joint with dull tasting food. Opening one here in Phoenix, I will not attend. Have found a cupl of places here opened by ChiTown expats with very tasty Italian beef sandwiches.
      Miss the Cubs, Da Bears and the museums, even though the Cubbies do spring training here.

    • Yeah, Chicagoan here, and Portillos is just GOOD. Ain’t no hype. They earned their reputation through sheer rock solid quality of food.

  6. White Palace -late night – pretty good stop too. Stopped there around 4am after a trip to the Horseshoe. Straight out of Chicago Central Casting and waaaaay outside my comfort zone. Makes it easier to hit some of your GAC “interesting” add-ons.

  7. Another special treat is a ride up the CTA #36 Broadway bus, aka the Fellini bus aka the Vomit Comet. Great venue to engage in conversation with the homeless, or better yet a debate. Avoid standing or stepping in any puddles you may see.

  8. The Tremont is a despicable hellhole that you should never go to. Unless of course you like dirty uncomfortable beds, shitty people treating you like an asshole, torn wallpaper, moldy bathrooms and a single elevator the size of a phone booth that Thomas Edison probably rode in. The Tremont is what I imagine a nice hotel in Fallujah would be.

    But I do agree that you’re a moron if you spend all that coin on the Drake.

  9. I’m not a huge fan of deep dish… But I do love me some thin crust Dags pizza!!! (D’ágostino’s) It’s in Wrigleyville… With that being said I moved to STL 3 years ago and miss that pizza dearly along with italian beef :(

    • +1 for Too Much Light. I first saw it in 1990 or ’91, then semi-regularly for a few years. I still try to go every time I’m in town on a weekend.

  10. Oh. Hell. Yes. This article has the tinge of a true Chicagoan who knows better than to order anything from the Punkin Donuts at Clark and Belmont but stay for the floor show. Or who still calls the Sears Tower the Sears Tower (and makes references to Wesley Willis when someone calls it the Willis Tower). Or who knows the difference between hanging out at Wicker Park and– as the Trixies in Lincoln Park proclaim– “do” Wicker Park like some foray into Adventureland for the white, drunk and sheltered.

  11. Tourist: Get on the Brown Line on any weekday morning. Somewhere near the Merchandise Mart, deeply inhale the aroma (bad cologne/egg fart). WELCOME TO CHICAGO.

  12. I’m from the NW suburbs of Chicago and also live in Texas! I’m going to send anyone that asks me that to this page. This is hilarious. What part of Texas do you live at?

  13. I think everyone who visits should take a trip down to 26th Street and pick up a Breaded Steak or Breaded Eggplant Sandwich from Ricobenes. Great thing now with the 26th Street location is their is a late night venue place 2 or 3 doors down, and don’t worry about getting robbed in your drunken stupor, the 9 district police are probably enjoying a Breaded Steak with you and will happily make sure you are safe

  14. I’m with the Ethiopian Diamond crowd, but if you really want to get someplace weird, it doesn’t get much weirder than vegan Korean food at Amitabul way up on Milwaukee Avenue — and I mean that in a good way. I’m a carnivore, but this has long been one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Every time I eat there I feel incredibly happy because of its awesomeness. I recommend the Tibetan High Noon or the Yin and Yan.

  15. YOU HIT THIS SHIT STRAIGHT ON THE HEAD! I would also like to add going to get a Maxwell Street Polish at 3am and taking in the color or taking a running tour of Lower Wacker Drive. You have a new fan in me!

    • Yeah, fuck the salad-on-a-hot-dog routine, that’s for tourists. Get yourself a Maxwell Street Polish with the mustard and the grilled onions and the grease on a crappy bun and eat it outside the stand in the snow at 3am. Boom, ten Chicago points right there.

  16. After the flu derailed dinner at my daughter’s girlfriend’s parents in the burbs my son and I (who escaped the crud but were grocery challenged in Pilsen) discovered the cultural and culinary joys of Xmas day in China Town. Just sayin.

  17. Great article–enjoyed it very much. Agree on the river tour, Art Institute, and Green Mill. Disagree on the beer thing: the people who insist on drinking PBR and Schlitz are usually self-conscious, mustachioed hipsters who do it as part of their silly “culture.” Chicago has become a fantastic place for local beers, and it’s definitely worth trying some. No need to be a beer snob.

      • Because their is a growing trend in Chicago, where drinking any other beer but PBR or Schiltz is sacrilege. Also don’t forget Old Style, that’s an upcoming one

  18. Forget all the chains for pizza, Ian’s in Wrigley is open super late, you can just order a slice (they are the size of a person) and they have every weird combo of pizza ever. Drunk people need creative pizza! Plus its right by a bunch of bars and the cubs! It is an experience.

  19. Bravo!!! I lived in Chicago for 7 years and echo this COMPLETELY. I can’t tell you how many people would say they love Chicago then tell me all they did when they came to town was go shopping at American Girl Place and at the Fucking ESPN Zone. Fuck you indeed.

    One little add on. Chicago has more bars per capita than any city in America. If you’re not drinking when you’re here then you’re either some kind of AA deity or you’re doing it wrong. PLus the 4am closing time thing is kinda nice when many times at home you’ve thought. “What IF the bars didn’t close at 2″. When you hang around and drink till 4 and race back to your bed to beat the sun coming up you’ve lived it.

  20. That ” polish buffet on the far north side” he speaks of we reffer to as The Red Apple. There are a few locations to choose from but i suggest milwaukee and devonish. They’ll look at you weird and talk shit in polish but ignore that and stuff your face with potato pancakes and other assorted random meats they have to offer, don’t leave until your ready to explode. Its mildly expensive but its so worth it.

  21. Great stuff. Very funny. I was pleased to see the first “touristy” recommendation was to take a river tour. As a river tour guide, I can totally vouch for the educational quality of the tour. There is so much history on the main branch of the river alone. One small problem though…the link to the tour company…don’t get me wrong, they are a great service…but there are at least 3 other company’s operating superb tours and it’d be nice if they were all represented; Wendella, Shoreline and the other Chicago line.

  22. Pingback: How to: Visit Chicago Like a Chicagoan « laceloveaffair

  23. Chicago Pizza doesn’t deliver north of Devon, which is a goddamned shame. I once offered the guy an extra $20 just to drive one mile further north, but it was not to be.

  24. You forgot to add Johnny’s over in Forest Park at midday. The line still goes around the block. Or walking down Clark St at night when there’s a concert at Metro (even better if it’s punk night). Or if you’re really desperate, most any Golden Nugget at 2am.

    • johnny’s is technically in Elmwood Park, but close enough. it’s on north ave just west of harlem, for the uninitiated. And Rosa’s Blues lounge on Armatige and Kedzie. Nothing like watching Blues in a neighborhood where you can’t get a cab after 11pm.

  25. The last time I was at the Green Mill there was a poetry/ story thing going on. It was cool though some was fucking Weird and some was shitty. But, they have Guinness so fuck it.

  26. I took my out of town guests to Max’s Take Out after a visit to the Art Institute. We had Chicago style hot dogs, polish and some awesome fries. I would definitely go back. Max’s Take out is located at 20 E Adams St (between Wabash Ave & Dearborn St) within walking from the Art Institute. It’s a small place (take out) so you really have to look for it, but the food is great!

  27. I forgot to add a non-touristy hotdog joint. A lot of tourist spring for a Chicago Style dog from SuperDawg, the place with the caveman red-hots on the building, but head on over to Gene & Jude’s for a real authentic Chicago dog at a very reasonable price

  28. TROJAS in little village for the best shrimp in the world and freddies pizza in cicero for the best italian deli outside of italy.

  29. This is brilliant in every way. I hope, however, it doesn’t go viral, as I live a block from Lawrence & Broadway, and the last thing we need is a bunch of lost, hopeless tourists wandering the neighborhood asking stupid questions. That’s what Wrigleyville’s for!

  30. I eat my deep dish pizza with water, as I do with all of my meals, because everything else (especially beer) just drowns out the taste of good food for me. I guess this makes me some weird kind of water hipster or something.

  31. I’d also recommend Emporium if you like old school arcade games and beer, although it’s next to impossible to enjoy both at the same time because once beer drinking time hits (around 9 or so) it gets too PACKED to get much game time in. Also it is full of hipsters. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. But it’s fun to show up early and play play play.

    • Have to go with Beecade over Emporium. Less crowded, fewer hipsters, the arcades are free, and a full menu of local craft beers. Plus the bar is cool with letting people pick up Lou Malnati’s down the street and eating it at the bar.

      Definitely agree with the comment earlier that there are too many local breweries in or around Chicago (Revolution, half Acre, 3 Floyds, etc.) to settle for PBR.

  32. You forgot Gene’s and Jude’s hotdog stand by O’Hare. Come on now. And going to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture tour in Oak Park. Tons of more things I can’t think of at the moment. Go see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra too. That ain’t bad either.

  33. I can’t believe chain restaurants are being hailed as the best pizza in town. You want the real deal? Gino’s North in Edgewater. Take the red line to Granville and walk east 50ft, sit at the bar, order a pizza and a beer, marvel at the fountain in the middle of the bar, and enjoy! The place is art deco and easily the second most beautiful bar on the north side. As for the pizza, it’s made by the same woman for the last 50+ years. That should be enough to tell you it’s amazing.

    As for Portillo’s, I’m not going to knock it. It’s not bad. It isn’t where I would take somebody for their first Chicago dog, but it isn’t the worth idea either. If it were me, I’d take them to Hot Doug’s. Amazing.

      • Gino’s North is not a chain. Gino’s East is a chain. There are many Gino’s East – there is only one Gino’s North. Go there, eat there, stop eating shitty pizzas.

        I’d also accept Pequod’s. There are two of them, but the other is in Morton Grove so it may as well not exist.

      • There may be at least three Gino’s but Gino’s North isn’t one of them. It’s an old school pizza place/bar that has nothing to do with any “chain”.

        • Damnit! Forgot about Weiner Circle. Damn good.

          Perhaps the best thing to say is…go to a place that knows not to put ketchup on it, and won’t do it for you, no matter how many times you ask or protest.

    • Gino’s North is a longtime fave! I used to live up off of Granville back in the late 90s, so would stop there on cold nights (or warm ones) to get some of that great pizza, old school cocktails (White Russians, etc.) and service. Her name is “George” if I’m not mistaken, right? And I think Peggy was the primary cook (and probably still is)

  34. you are aboultely right…Mangi’s is the shit and the signs and old lady/or man are major clues. I’d like to also comment that an OLd Style/Special Export/Budweiser sign is also what you should be looking for in a dive bar…if all they have is PBR instead of old style LEAVE and go to another bar.
    Sincerly,
    concerned vereran chicago dive bar bartender

  35. The writer mentions “obnoxious WASPs” and refers to the Gold Coast and Streeterville. Would he/she have dared to mention “obnoxious Jews”?! Because THAT’S what you will find plenty of in those parts of Chicago! I’d advise tourists to avoid the Southside altogether since there are “obnoxious Blacks” there. Unbelievable!

  36. This was solid. Dead on with everything you said.

    And I always order Chicago’s Pizza (thin crust) LATE at night after coming home drunk from the corner bar, right before I have an appetizer of numerous bong rips too. They deliver until 5am! Can’t beat that. Or if you are not out too late, have your cab go through the drive through at Niko’s Gyros at Elston and Diversey!

    And glad you didn’t suggest doing a shot of Malort b/c that is NOT a Chicago thing, it is a hipster thing here in Chicago.

    • Hi, there is a huge difference between a “hipster” thing and a TREND. Malort is a Swedish-style liquor produced in Chicago. So it is technically a Chicago thing…but it’s also a really irritating trend.

      • Malort is actually made in Florida for Chicago. Go figure. We’ve been drinking Malort for ten years at Lakeside Inn in Lake Summerset. I’m kinda pissed its turned into the “Hipster” thing to do because we’ve been pulling that trick for years and its turned into a tradition whenever someone new comes to the lake house with us. Malort has been in Chicago for years. Why it’s popular now is beyond me.

      • Please. I did a Malort (aka “earwax in a bottle”) shot decades ago. It’s about being young, not a hipster. While I agree with your late night food suggestions, I would also say that if you are near Ashland and Division, you need to try one of the three La Pasaditas that are on the block. They serve the best tacos ever. The trick is to figure out which one serves Chicken. (you will have to find that out for yourself, earnest tourist)

    • Well then apparently I have been a hipster for 20 years….thanks Simon’s in Andersonville. Malort is most definitely a Chicago “thing”

    • Alcoholism.

      I really don’t have any great suggestions. Jimmy’s meat market in (Deep Ellum? Deep Ellum-ish?) is the only small Italian grocery store I’ve found, and they do a pretty legit Italian beef.

      • Jimmy’s is in my ‘hood, in the historic district near Swiss Ave., at Fitzhugh and Bryant. As another displaced Chicagoan, I find comfort in Jimmy’s continued existence in this city.

  37. I take issue with the thoughts on the theater scene here – obviously the author he has no idea that Chicago has the best medium-sized and storefront theater in the country, but otherwise, spot on!

    • Go back and read it again. He gives props to the storefront theaters and improv groups. He’s ragging on the “broadway in Chicago” type shows.

      • Yeah- Chicago has amazing theater. Sadly I don’t think anyone on a first visit will pick up a Time Out Chicago or Reader or whatever and find something smaller or unique. And I probably shouldn’t hate on all the big-productions. I mean if you end up going to the Lyric then big-ups bro, and a lot of the large-scale renovations are beautiful. I just don’t get why someone would fly in from another city to see Wicked unless there’s nowhere nearer to them it would tour to.

  38. I approve of the Malort suggestions in the comments. I was there in January of last year, and done the usual touristy-sorta stuff (really I was just there for the Blackhawks, but I love the whole feel of the city and how everyone from there is just so proud of the place), but Malort in a dive bar was one of my best experiences over there..

    • The “atmosphere”? I lived two buildings from the Weiner Circle for a year. It’s not funny or cute or a joke, it’s fucking racist. That place is AMAZING and the people there rule, but I avoided that whole stretch of Clark after 11PM because that’s when all of the stupid fucking ex-frat boys came to ask for a “chocolate shake”. Fuck that. No.

      • I was going to add a whole thing on not going to the Weiner Circle! Yeah it’s kind of a fun gimmick, but you’re either (a) going to be the guy who gets clammed up and tries to order perfectly so you don’t piss them off (ME!) or (b) the guy who takes it too far and tries to like whip a ketchup bomb and the staff. If you’re (b), I hope they still have the guy who will kick you outside and whip you with a broom handle.

        Basically you can enjoy WC if you’re Dave Attell or Dave Attell is there ordering while you watch.

  39. Tourists, don’t go to Englewood (all that Chicago murder rate talk can be blamed on this and 3 or 4 other neighborhoods), and if you go to Hyde Park, enter via Lake Shore Drive, and don’t go further west than where you see a cop car every 10 yards, hence you enter another one of “those” neighborhoods in Washington Park. Lou Malnati’s is good, Giordano’s is good, don’t care if they’ve added enough branches to be “unhip” and look for an “Old Style” sign if you’re looking for an authentic “local” bar. Don’t drink the Old Style though, it’s pisswater. When you do get an italian beef, get it “dipped” w/ hot peppers. For a true “goodfellas” feeling dinner, go to the block one street north of 25th and 1 block east of Western Ave. where you can find “Ignotz’s”, you enter through the side door, the owner greets you, don’t feel special he greets everyone, fill up on the awesome bread and whole roasted heads of garlic, try to stuff the oversized garlic filled dish in whatever space is left, then take him up on an afterdinner drink should he offer at the highly undersized bar at the place, then feel special. I never felt like I lived in Chicago my whole life until I ate there a couple years ago. I repeat, don’t go to Englewood….

    • Don’t be that guy who’s afraid to go to Englewood. Yeah if someone starts shooting in the middle of the street you could get shot, but that’s true anywhere. Chicago gun crime MOSTLY has to do with distribution of drug profits amongst elements of the Gangster Disciples. Unless you happen to be a tourist who is also a high level captain in the Gangster Disciples you’ll live.

      Also, Drink Old Style.

    • even though i’m a white female hick who grew up in a town of 300 people, i was still totally fine working in englewood for seven years. just like anywhere in any urban environment, be aware of your surroundings (read: don’t stick your nose in your smart phone while walking down the street or pull out a wad of 100 dollar bills to pay your train fare) and be polite and you’ll be just fine.

    • I go to school on 63rd and Halsted aka Englewood. Never been shot at, or robbed on the train there or had any problem. No one is gonna shoot at you. I don’t think the author was suggesting to go hang out in Englewood, at least I hope not cause really there isn’t shit to do there, merely pointing out that you’re gonna drive through on you’re way to Pullman. Unless you’re in a gang or invoved in some other elicit shit down there you’re fine. So relax. In fact you’re just as likely to get robed by 25th and Western.

      And you should definitely drink Old Style.

    • I doubt any tourists would just mosey into Englewood but if they did Ed is right on the money. Tourists, however, really shouldn’t go into K-Town. You’re way more likely to be approached/get into trouble there.

    • Ignotz was disgusting. The place was dirty, the service was slow, and my meal was–no joke–a split chicken breast poached in wine. No vegetables, no starch. Just a plate of meat. So was my date’s. He had a plate of pork. And they put cheese on top of bruschetta to “keep the tomatoes from falling off”. GROSS.

      And Hyde Park is incredibly safe from LSD to Cottage Grove. But yeah, white people are pretty safe in Englewood, although I hear they get stopped by cops who think they’re there to buy drugs.

      “Chicago is good at ethnicities and racism.” Yep, that’s 100% true.

    • Umm totally wrong on the South Side. I’ve lived in Washington Park for over 20 years, am white (for the record) and have never been the victim of a violent crime. There’s a ton of great food and pretty old buildings down here. There is also the Du Sable museum and lots of other cool stuff to do. Also, Englewood doesn’t even crack the top 4 murder rates and is beat out by some areas on the North Side.

  40. Pizza Castle at 55′th and Spaulding, Palermo’s on 63′rd and hamlin, Do go on a boat tour, preferably a booze cruise that docks at Navy Pier, see the museum of science and industry. also, its a good town to get laid! Have fun in Chicago!

  41. A river tour does give you the history and a short jaunt on the lake, but if it’s just the view you want, the Chicago Water Taxi is only $7 for unlimited trips all day and it will take you from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown and stops in between. Besides being a beautiful ride, it’s worth the trip to Chinatown to see Ping Tom Park and to get an avocado shake. Plus the water taxi offers discounts for seniors and those with disabilities, and it’s free for active military.

    • My aunt took me to the Surgery Museum when I was in 5th grade, and told me a story about how excessive leeching led to George Washington’s passing. I told that to my history teaching in class and she told me I was full of it!

      I love MSI, but for a first time visit I hate telling people how to get down to Hyde Park. Even though Hyde Park is beautiful!

  42. Here’s the real scoop on Chicago. I couldn’t disagree more with so many of your ignorant and idiotic points of view. Disclaimer, I am born and bred in Chicago’s southwest side and travel the lengths of Chicago’s corners and various neighborhoods frequently in my 21 years of life.

    1. No cabbie will rip you off. They may bitch about you paying with a credit card, but be persistent. They would lose your business and lose to competition if they ripped you off.

    2. Never take public transit from the airport to the city, unless you want to increase your probability of being shot or stabbed by 75% in your lifetime. No one does that…

    3. The Drake is nice, especially in the summer as the viewing and waterfront are gorgeous during the summer time. This author is bitter he decided to be a cheap hipster who unfortunately was forced into a job nicknamed famously by Michael Lewis as “Equities in Dallas”. His job is literally in Dallas. Stay at a nicer hotel and treat yourself in a top tier city in the best country in the world. I recommend the Westin, Marriott, Four Seasons, or the W. Yes they are more expensive than the Days Inn; but its very worth your money.

    4. DEFINITELY GO SEE A SHOW. Some of most fantastic theatrical and musical performances make their way through Chicago. I recommend a matinee and having a tasty and classy dinner in the theater district. The author mentioning neither of those points makes me question if he grew up in Chicago or Gary, Indiana. Famous comedians and actors started in Chicago. Conan O’Brien to name one. Go see a show at Second City and laugh hysterically.

    5. This next section struck me the most and made me want to stop reading at the thought of the author’s pure ignorance for heavy Chicago food. I love food, especially Chicago food and I will give you the CORRECT State of the Union on where to wine and dine. His suggestions were sub par at best.

    Where to eat deep-dish pizza.
    Gino’s East – very tasty, and you can scribble on the walls with pen / crayon and make your mark in a great restaurant.
    Lou Malnati’s – front runner for deep dish pizza in Chicago. SImply phenomenal.
    Duey’s – another great pie.
    Giordanos – delish

    Where to eat Italian Beef
    1. Al’s Beef on Taylor St. in Little Italy. I’m guessing the public trans happy hipster never made it to the proclaimed ethnic ghetto of Little Italy. After dinner, unbuckle your belt a notches and walk across the street to Mario’s Italian Ice for the best italian ice you will ever enjoy.
    2. Portillos – The author got this correct – but Al’s is better. Portillos gives you that chain feeling and dont get me wrong, its very good.
    ***GET YOUR BEEF “DIPPED” – that means dunked in house au jus. Also get sweet and hot peppers****

    Where to get Hotdogs
    -anything that sells Vienna beef.
    - I recommend Fat Johnnies on the Southside. Great dogs.

    Go to Greek Town and enjoy authentic southern europa food just west of the city. OOOH PA!

    Go to China Town and enjoy incredible authentic asian food. If sushi is your thing, Chicago has that too.

    Head to the north side and go to Weiner’s Circle. Just do it. Dont go with any children whatsoever and dont go before 2 AM.

    And for Chicago Steakhouses…. excellent.
    - Lawry’s is expensive yet excellent
    - Fogo De Chao. Delicious endless servings of premium meats at a great Brazilian Steakhouse
    - Ditka’s – great food and a better icon
    - really anywhere with a wait time of > 30 mins has great chops

    Activities –

    Yes the architecture tour is awesome. Go on the lake, the river, and the locke. Simply cool.
    I firmly disagree on elevating to the top of the Willis Tower. Great views and cool experience to step out of the enclosed glass ledge. All the museums are top of the line. I really enjoy millennium park and grant park. I have been to the taste of Chicago and although its busy, its a fun time. If you can withstand the heat and don’t mind paying premiums for a sample of many Chicago foods, it should be a fine day. I also love Lollapalooza. Great music, food, friends, and the skyline at night with Red Hot Chili Peppers rocking the night away is a truly exciting sight. Catching a sports game is also incredible as Chicago sells out every game. (except Sox games– I am a Sox fan too). Bears don’t sell out either probably. Chicago is friendly, exciting, fun, energetic, tasteful, and beautiful. The way the author talks about Chicago makes us seems like a bunch of fat racist hicks with an infrastructure similar to Detroit.

    Author, Please stay in Dallas and visit only in cases of business.

    • I stopped reading after you said no one takes public transit from the airport to the city, because a ton of people do. The orange line from Midway to the loop is just fine and so is the blue line from O’Hare.

    • Everything you just said was pretty much wrong. Shut up. Also, you’re fucking 21. You think you know everything? Because I’m 20 and I sure as hell don’t, so I know you don’t either.

    • Dude, no one gets shot or stabbed on the Blue Line from O’Hare. There are a million suits on that train every day with their giant suitcases preventing me from sitting down. It’s fine.

      • One word: suburbs. When that kid says “southwest side,” he means La Grange or Brookfield, as is clear from the public transportation comment. ACTUAL locals literally cannot get around the city without the CTA. We use it every day, not only to, you know, go to work but also to–GASP!–go to the airport! Basically everything he wrote is wrong, but a couple of the most egregious thoughts: 1) For “Chicago” steakhouses he suggests two chains and Ditka’s?! Hahaha! Idiot. Clearly never been to a place worth eating. If a tourist were willing to spend that much on food, an actual local would direct them toward restaurant row on Randolph, not some over-priced, sub-par steakhouse that their daddy took them to when their family was spending the afternoon in the city. 2) Out of all the numerous famous comedians that actually DID get their start in Chicago, he chose Conan O’Brien who isn’t from here, definitely did not get his start here, and–even by a quick google search–only hung out here one season here when he was on a writer’s strike in the 80′s. John Belushi is rolling the fuck over in his grave.

      • I agree. Definitely the burbs. Also when it comes to Beef, it goes Johnnies, Jay’s, Mr. Beef, Roma’s, and Portillo’s is up there. All better than Al’s. Also why has nobody recommended the stand-up comedy scene in Chicago. Way better than improv. Also I grew up in the city. Portage Park.

      • Dumbass 21 y.o., wait a few years before you speak up.
        try getting tickets to a Bears game, The El is fine everywhere, and Al’s beef is so tiny and therefore a ripoff.

    • You lost me at no one takes the L from the airport, and I wanted to kick you in your teeth when you called it the Willis Tower. Get Chicago, young buck.

    • You lost me at “Never take public transit from the airport to the city” and “Go to China Town and enjoy incredible authentic asian food. If sushi is your thing, Chicago has that too.” and then at “… the top of the Willis Tower.”

      Also this “… an infrastructure similar to Detroit.” — fyi; downtown Detroit is abandoned and mostly empty.

    • Ummm, you’re insane if you think anyone BUT tourists and rich assholes takes a cab to or from either airport. And Bears games most definitely sell out. You know nothing.

    • Yeah..lost you on point 2 as well. Disagree with almost everything you said.

      Mr. Beef – And order a “Combo..hot, sweet and wet”

    • Totally agree! Whoever wrote this is some idiot hipster. Like it’s so ‘hip’ to take a ton of bags on the el the ohare. At least there is someone out there with some normal sound advice. Thanks for the post.

    • Dear Mr. Jerry Moron Idiot

      If you grew up on the SWSide you would have grown up taking AT LEAST the Orange Line, and would know you would not get shot.

      Yes, the cabbies might rip you off – It was probably hard to tell, since your parents were paying…

      Did you really reference Sushi and China Town in the same sentence?
      Try saying “OHH PA” to one of the bus boys in Greek Town.
      And “Ethnic Ghetto” of Little Italy? Is this a joke? If UIC students are really that scary…

      Al’s Beef IS a chain…

      Exactly where did you grow up and what are these corners of the city you’ve been fumbling through?

      By Southwest Side did you mean Naperville? Joilet? Fucking Sandwich, IL?

    • I can’t believe you fucking referred to it as the “Willis Tower.” I bet you call Comiskey “The Cell” too. And I’m not some cranky old-fart Sox fan. I’m a 23 year old born and bred Chicagoan/Cubs fan and I know a whole helluva lot more than you seem to.

    • Dear moronic snob,

      Read Oh’s response below. Taking the ‘L’ from either airport (or any other public transit in the city) will not automatically make you a crime statistic. Hell, I lived for 2 years on the North Side before moving to another city, but would often trek to the South Side without a car (no, not always via Metra), at least half the time via the Red Line then a bus to get over to Beverly/Mt. Greenwood, where I grew up.

      Number of times I ended up a crime statistic: Zero

      And before you say I must be a really intimidating looking person, please realize that I’m a 20-something white guy who uses a wheelchair. In physically good shape, yes, but you can’t see that under my thick winter jacket when it’s single digits out.

  43. 1) Take the Red Line to Chinatown. Walk west on 22nd, then south on Wentworth. Skip the Chinese food because you’ll be too intimidated to try and order in English when no one understands you and you’ll never ate the weird goodness they put in front of you anyway. Keep going south to 26th. Make a right and hit Ricobene’s and get their classic beef sandwich. Marvel at how they can serve 90 orders in an hour with half the orders being for the boys in blue. That joint will never be robbed.
    2) Get a Halsted bus south – from the West Loop or Orange line – get off at 31st and go west to Maria’s for beers. After a few, walk the 10 minutes east to Freddie’s and order anything. It’s all good. You’ll be fine, the cop shop is nearby, hell….it’s Bridgeport fer cryin’ out loud. Get a bus back. Or a cab if you’re feeling rich.
    3) Chicago bus west to Ashland. Hit Loop Tavern for a few and then cross the street and walk five minutes west to Taco Veloz for late night Mexican goodness. Cab ride back east won’t be that much dosh. You’re welcome.

  44. so, in other words, Chicago is pretty much like every other shitty town that thinks it’s the best one ever, except everyone is fat as fuck and the weather sucks.

    no thanks.

    • I’ll agree with this except I honestly think Weiner’s Circle is kinda tired. The food is fine but I’m a little over the sideshow. I heartily endorse your other choices provided you mean the Al’s Beef on Taylor. The others generally suck. Twin Anchors, Original Pancake House and La Pasadita? Hell yeah.

  45. First, thanks for making me laugh out loud multiple times. My cube mates must have thought I was losing it.

    That said, you tripped when you recommended hipster douche beer (Pabst and Schlitz). While I actually like Pabst fine, that you can get in any hick town. If you’re going to drink beer in Chicago at least make it one of the couple dozen Chicago area brews that are available in pretty much even the smallest bar. Worst case, get Goose Island, which is owned by Bud these days, but still Chicago.

    And Portillo’s is a Chicago chain, but I’d aim them at Al’s or send them to Clark Street Dog at Clark and Halsted.

    Major kudos for the Green Mill recommendation too!

  46. Susie’s on montrose and elstonfor late night hammered eats! Also make a bum sing and dance for you in the middle of the night…memories for a lifetime

  47. Yeah, let’s drink PBR and Schlitz to be ironic. You fucking hipsters are annoying and you are contaminating Bridgeport. It’s okay to be successful and to enjoy some of the upscale qualities of the city. Not all about dive bars and your stupid PBR.

  48. Reblogged this on a mile high and then some… and commented:
    Spot on – Portillo’s is one of my favorite places on this planet. And so is the Bean. You can judge me all you want for that – but the Bean is the best. My two cents: go skinnydipping in Lake Michigan – not for the faint of heart. Lots of bodies and nasty water, but so worth the adrenaline rush. Even better if you do the polar/icy/winter plunge in a costume.

    • I’d love to see people take up skinny-dipping into the river on St. Patrick’s day. Probably even more unsafe than being in the Lake on any given day :)

  49. Somebody should find this guy, beat the shit out of him for calling himself a Chicagoan and send him the fuck back to Schaumburg or Naperville or wherever the fuck he is actually from!

  50. Love it..don’t forget Polish with onions from the stands on Roosevelt off the the highway entrance..Eppels for the best damn breakfast in Chicago… the biscuits taste like your grandmother from Mississippi made them…and anything in Greek Town!

  51. For pizza, I endorse Pizano’s on State. There’s also a nice hot dog place two doors down from them (I forget the name). The service at the hot dog place is always dubious, but the grub and the prices are good. I’m also a fan of Navy Pier if for no other reason than you can kill a lot of time there entirely free as long as you’re content to window shop and do some people watching. (And the people watching in Chicago can be very nice indeed!)

  52. Pequod’s has the best deep dish. Order sausage.
    Go to Frances’ on Clark for brunch for a handspun nutella banana chocolate shake or order the Egg B.L.A.T.
    If you have money to spare on a nice night out or want sophisticated dining, head over to the West Loop. Eat at The Publican, Avec, Girl and the Goat, Blackbird, Nelcotte, or BellyQ.

  53. Perry’s Deli on Franklin and Lake. Call your buddies while inside to tell them about it. If You get any sandwich with no russian dressing, go home! Open on weekdays only, stop crying.

  54. Although I approve of Demera, Ethopian Diamond is pretty damn tasty as well and only a short walk north of Lawrence on Broadway. I would also suggest Pequod’s for pizza. It’s tasty.

    Oh..and if you must stay downtown/river north for some strange reason, go to the Blue Frog. Best hole in the wall bar in that area. The one at Lasalle and Huron, not that Local 22 bullshit. Get yourself some Malort.

  55. Awesome commentary on Chicago, but misses so much… you are young. Logan Square, Taylor street, Andersonville, North Center, gyros at Athenian room, twin anchors for burgers and ribs, second city, all the Bucktown/Wicker park restaurants/bars, Butch McGuires, stumbling down Rush Street drunk, Orso’s, Mario’s, Francesca’s, Pancake House on Bellevue, vodka martinis, Bears tailgates, vodka martinis, biking to Navy Pier, Bar Louie, Village Cycle, Gaslight Pub, Music, Music, Gay Parade, …riding the EL, taking a chance on not getting shot and walking home from wherever you are, knowing your daugher will kill you for this reply. Loving Chicago.

    • Kelley, how about you shut the fuck up and write your own article instead of a shittily punctuated list of things wrong with this one

    • Good response by you, Kelley. Ignore the clods that moved here 18 months ago and are now experts on everything north of Congress and south of Belmont.

    • Kelley, really? Butch McGuires – Tourist Trap! Rush Street – more tourist crap unless you are having dinner and getting out of the Viagra triangle, but, most of the places on Rush suck anyway (Carmines is gross, etc.) and getting drunk anywhere in public is best left to the 21 year olds at the ball games. No adult, especially one who mentions their daughter being old enough to be upset with this reply should be drunk in public anyway. Not unless you are a miserable alcoholic and then you should just stay home and drink.

      Bar Louie – really, McBar de Greenfield?

      Gaslight Pub – do you mean the Gaslight Bar and Grille on Racine? Get your shit together and learn the names.

      Twin Anchors is an institution but the fact remains that their ribs are kind of gross, overboiled and not very tasty.

      Lived in Chicago all my life, never been to Second City. No one I know has ever been to Second City.

      Did you just move here?

  56. This dude is a fucking idiot. First off, he tells you not to eat at Gino’s East or Giordano’s, then tells you to order a Chicago’s Pizza? What about Pequods? Art of pizza? Pie eyed? Second, the good dive bars are south of Belmont and west of Ashland (i.e. Ukrainian village, Logan Square, West town). Third, If you’re serious about getting a Chicago style hot dog, Portillos is good but corporate annnnnd they dont even use Vienna Beef! Just go to the Vienna Factory on Elston and Fullerton… but it’s south of Belmont :( Hot Doug’s is the best, no questions. If you want to have a good time, do the opposite of everything this douche said. He dosent live here anymore for a reason. If he has a problem or if you want real info on the real chicago mcdumbshit@yahoo.com

    P.S. Walk down the Mag mile. Go up into the Sears or Handcock. It’s beautiful.

  57. You are A1, 100% on the money. Left out a few things but the spirit was true. But you forgot one more indicator of a good gyro/dog joint: Signed head shot photos of local news anchors. My favorite place has an entire wall covered in Linda Yu, Mary Ann Childers, Allison Rosati, Mark Giangreco, Steve Baskerville, et al. Dating back to the eighties, framed. :)

    • Don’t forget the mandatory faded Kronos Gyros poster depicting a sexy ’80s woman with a giant perm who’s about to eat a gyros the size of her face.

  58. These Chicago homers are as bad as frat boys to me. By FAR the biggest beer snobs on the planet are those that claim only pbr, schlitz and old style should be drunk, or that by only drinking those you are somehow morally superior to others. Demera is like a big white comfort zone for rich white hipsters, go to Devon if you want an authentic brown experience without being actually frightened. Also shop your ass off on the miracle mile. It’s true that an entire sub culture of Chicagoans define their individuality by their disdain for American Girl Place but fuck them, you do you. One thing you can say about Chicago is that almost no one there is an authentic Chicagoan. Almost everyone there came from somewhere else (forest park is somewhere else.) and if you do one damn thing in Chicago, go to the lake, walk by the lake, smell the lake, allow the part of yourself that has the capacity for experiencing awe to be awed by that big ass lake. If you want to have this guys experience if Chicago, move there in the early 90s. All experiences of Chicago are equally valid. At all costs do not allow your enjoyment of the greatest city on this continent to be marred by all those damn jeering “locals” (from Schaumburg) or the self imposed purists (from Omaha). And the view from the sears tower is awesome, I took my sister there once. My Chicago bar: the long room. My Chicago late night food spot: the diner grill. My Chicago experience 2002 – 2011. I lived in Palmer square, the little village, that’s right, 21st and Cali, tour that south side bitch. Then sanely north center and Lakeview. Best tots on earth at the skylark but its hard to get to.

    • I’m sorry, but you didn’t come from Chicago, either. And I’ll correct you, most of the people who I know have been in Chicago either their whole lives or for forty years of them. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up, but the 90s are having a resurgence, so it’s like, trendy to go to dive bars again wearing spiky leather.

      • I’m sorry, did you grow up in lakeview? I bet you went to parker, did you get dropped off there by a BMW or a Mercedes? Are you scared of people outside of the safe haven that is your life? Then only speak for yourself and not for an entire city. Some carry protection for their survival, you carry a visa card.

    • no, no, no….my great, great grandparents moved to Chicago from various places like Poland, Ireland, and Norway…settled in this lovely city. Married, had families, and 5 generations later…no one has ever left. Well, one aunt moved to Buffalo…but we have accepted that. Chicago is a vortex…and one you (happily) never have to leave.

    • I was born and bred in Chicago for all but 1 (2010-2011) of my 39 years. I am a native Chicagoan through and through. You need to leave Lincoln Park. Most people I know are 100% native Chicagoans. Who are you hanging out with?

      • First of all, I agree with isaiabh3. Leave your comfort zone of Lincoln Park. Every city in the western world has its own Lincoln Park and, with few exceptions, they’re pretty homogenous. Second, I can vouch for isaiahb3 being a fellow native based on his exceptional ability to end a sentence with a preposition. The corrected version of that question would read “Who are you hanging out with, jagoff?” Chicago is where he is from by. Trust me.

    • I’m a 3rd generation Chicagoan, South Sider by birth, now North Sider, etc. I find the original article amusing, but agree that it sounds like some uber-bro perspective. This cuthead06 makes very valid points, and is dead-on regarding the Long Room and the Diner (conveniently located within spitting distance). And having a drink at the top of the Hancock is perfectly OK – not something you can do most places, right? Fantastic views, day or night.

  59. What would be a great follow-up post is one that is for people who just moved to Chicago. I’m planning on moving there in the next few months, and would love some more pointers on where to go, what to do, good places to meet locals, etc.

      • I’m arriving in late March/1st of April. I will be moving to Edgewater Glen – lease signed, no going back! I will be doing lots of improv. Would love to meet new people.

    • If you’re going to live in Chicago, you’ll have time to do NFT stuff (not for tourists) and learn that whatever your tastes are, Chicago probably has it. Who cares, anyway, how your tastes are labeled. If you want to be a real Chicagoan, understand that we’re too cool in Chicago to get wrapped up in how cool or uncool you are.

      Some awesome Chicago not in this piece:
      Any real Chicago theater (not Broadway in Chicago – those are tours)
      Fancy: Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Writers (burbs)
      Awesome and cheap: Red Orchid, Theatre Oobleck, Gift Theatre, House Theatre, TMLMTBGB, TJ&Dave (don’t skip that)
      The CSO is one of the best in the world and if you think you don’t like live symphonic music let them change your mind.
      Don’t skip the modern wing at the Art Institute
      On a Friday night do a gallery tour through River North. Free wine & cool art
      The Hideout for music
      Food: Hot Doug’s for hot dogs
      Hema’s Kitchen for Indian
      Marie’s for thin pizza
      Topolobambo for extremely expensive
      Kuma’s for burgers
      Tank Noodle (and the whole Argyle strip) for Asian food
      Chinatown for Chinese
      Get some polish food on the Northwest side
      Ignore Lakeview (and don’t live there)
      Ignore Division Street
      Ignore Lincoln Park (not bad for strolls for out-of-your-pricerange 3 flats) and you could to to Riccardo’s for good Italian there
      Ignore the Mag Mile (OK go once)
      Don’t spend too much time in Wicker Park and don’t believe anybody who tells you it’s “artistic”. The rent’s too damn high for any artist to live there. That all stopped in the early 90s.
      Do spend time at the lake (the entire length of the city), Millenium Park, Botanic Gardens (Glencoe), Garfield Park (go with your street-smarts)
      Gotta run. That should get you started. Good luck!

      • Topolobambo? for “extremely expensive”? How about alinea or moto or G&G? Next? Oh yeah this is coming from a born and raised chicago cook.

        • I’m giving my personal thoughts. You’re free to give yours. I don’t get your point. Are you suggesting Topolobambo not expensive, not great, or just not your choice or are you just arrogant? Alinea would not be my first choice to drop a paycheck on. If you want the Alinea experience without the Alinea wait or price, try Goosefoot around Lawrence and Western.

      • These are all great. Garfield Park Conservatory is a gem. Argyle (and Furama nearby for dim sum) is another road less travelled. And I just had a similar conversation re: CSO. Well done, 4th G.

      • Brilliant! This is the list I’d use. Explore. Chicago is a sprawling collection of ethnic neighborhoods and has a diversity you won’t find too many other places. As suggested above, go to the ‘hoods. Polish, Asian, Mexican (about 20 different areas), Indian. It’s all good, lots of trial and error. Drop a note now and then, let us know how you fare. We’ll be waiting…

      • Ignore Lakeview….great advice, should they never go to a Cubs game either? As far as theatre goes, if you live in Chicago and want to see Book of Mormon, you should absolutely do that.

  60. Find the Pick Me Up and order your servers favorite. They always have at least three. JUST TRY to locate LaSalle St Station. Visit Lower Whacker Drive just so you know what its about. Ask a bum if rocks are alive. Navy Pier is good for the ferris wheel to get neat-o pics of the city, but so is the lakeshore bike path. AVOID PAULINA. If you’ve seen it more than once, you’re lost. Hollywood Grill is a lot like Clarkes except it has a place to park your car, and if you drive in Chicago you better know someone with a driveway or you’re effed. Southport Lanes is one of the best bowling alleys in Chicago. The Alley “shops” are not worth it. Walk a block to Hollywood Mirror
    and check THAT out. Don’t look at or try to talk to any Chicago police especially if you don’t have to.

  61. author, u suck. leave chicago. dont come back. your disdainful attitude is annoying. u arent even from here. wtf. what do you know? lol

  62. Pingback: Breakfast Links - Points and Figures | Points and Figures

  63. Since a friend passed this along to me yesterday, I’ve read and re-read it at least a dozen times and laughed myself to sleep. Bravo, Author! And I passed it along to some friends who did the same. This is all dead on. I must take issue with just a few items…
    1) Chicago’s Pizza. Yes, if you’re out late with a bunch of us rummies north of Belmont and west of Southport, you need sustenance. And Chicago’s Pizza is open late w/ several locations but that’s about all it’s got going for it. They serve up a mediocre pizza with a healthy dose of hangover preventing Vitamin G (grease) followed by the runs for the next 36 hours. 72 hours if you were drinking Old Style. (But crapping rusty nails is fun and a true Chicago experience.) Opt for a burrito instead for the same effect and you’ll have a better chance of not sleeping alone. You won’t necessarily get any ass, but the homeless crackhead you bring back to the Howard Johnson motor lodge near Ed Debevic’s will keep you warm. And you spent all your cash the night before so there wont be anything for her/him to steal aside from your salvation. If you really want Chicago style pizza, you need to get the deep dish at Pequod’s or hit up a Malnati’s for same. Then try either D’Agostino’s on the north side just west of Wrigley (one near ORD on Higgins, too) or Vito & Nick’s for their thin crust on the far south side in one of the safer neighborhoods–a few blocks north of 87th on Pulaski. Ask one of those f**ktards you met the night before to drive you down there in their mom’s Buick. They probably have a cousin down there who is an easy lay (for them) and/or who owes them money for Superbowl squares so they’ll reluctantly drive you down there if you pay for the pizza. And don’t mistake thin crust for that floppy, foldable crap they call pie out east that you can get at any Domino’s Pizza down the street from your bail bondsman, payday loan place or Olive Garden back home. There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of skinny people in Chicago. We’ve cornered the market on eating.
    2) The only skinny people you’ll see in Chicago are hipsters who moved here from far off lands like Schaumburg or Overland Park, KS. To the table they bring nothing but a sense of entitlement and obnoxious experiments with facial hair. Their population needs to be quelled and can be done so with your rental car or greasing your cabbie an extra sawbuck. The hipsters make it easy by blasting through busy intersections on their little sister’s Schwinn fixie against the light. They deserve to die. A side benefit to less hipsters, ultimately, should be less demand for skinny jeans and hopefully that horrible trend will finally end.
    3) Speaking of horrible trends, hipsters and malort, save yourself the airfare… go to your corner drugstore back home and buy yourself some nail polish remover. Open the bottle and huff it and/or chug it. You can now strike “drink malort” off your bucket list.
    4) You can’t go to Hot Doug’s until your third or fourth trip to Chicago. Eat at Mangi’s, Manjovin’s or Gene & Jude’s first. Strike that. Just get a hot dog w/ everything at a Home Depot–just not at the one @ Lincoln & McCormick since they don’t sell depot dogs at that one for some stupid reason. By going to Hot Doug’s before you’ve eaten your share of Vienna tube steaks, all you’re doing is making the line longer for hungry, impatient locals on their lunch hour. Don’t be a hipster douche.

    • Dude I totally forgot about the Depot dogs. Something I have been missing here in San Antonio for the past year. I was shocked when I went to a Home Depot and they didn’t have them, I just never thought they wouldn’t have it

      • @Patrick, at least LaGrange is still in Crook County so you get some props. So are Schaumburg and Rolling Ghettos, I guess, but I know people from LaGrange who keep it real. Downtown LG is, by the way, closer to downtown Chicago (via Metra, at least) than far off lands like Beverly and Sauganash–not to be confused with neighboring Edgebrook or Wildwood..both of which are actually kind of cool despite their proximity–that are both “technically” still in the City of Chicago but might as well be Indiana or Wisconsin in terms of character (zero) and culture (double zero). You can easily recognize these twits because people from there still brag about places like Superdawg or Reds depending on the shitty excuse for a Chicago neighborhood from which they hail. At least they aren’t hipsters, I suppose. But you still want to avoid them. While hipsters stink of mothballs and look down their scrawny noses at you as they drink their shit beer, these fucktards are nearly as bad and reek of some indescribable and horrible blend of Kodiak wintergreen dip spit and Polo or Drakkar. Maybe even Axe body spray these days. Yuck. Or even worse, the ones from Beverly brag about going to Bourbon Street which is a horrible warehouse of a sports bar in some crappy nearby suburb named after puppets. Beverly even started allowing, gulp, real black people to live there in the past 3 or so years. And the cracka’ass crackas down in Beverly are still terrified of gentrification despite it being 2013. Thank your parents for being smart enough to raise you in a place that at least gave you respectable public schools like LTHS vs. the horrible CPS school “choices” you’d have as a kid growing up on the mean streets of Beverly or Sauganash. Besides, LaGrange even has some character of it’s own. It’s no Oak Park or Evanston (or even Riverside for that matter), but LG has a ton more character than Sauganash, Beverly and Norridge combined. Which isn’t saying much because so do Berwyn and Stickney or Harwood Heights. Individually. NOTE OF CAUTION: The easiest way to tell if a guy is from Beverly or Sauganash as opposed to more authentic (and much more civilized) neighborhoods of Chicago–is if they are wearing a scapular. Or if they dress like their mom still shops for them. And especially with an Irish Catholic sounding name like yours, Patrick, you need to be more hyper vigilant and set yourself apart so as never to be confused with these mouth breathing shitstains. I say this because a lot of guys from La Grange wear scapulars, too. Just cover yours up if you do. (You can still get into heaven, I checked.) Scapulars on Irish Catholic guys aren’t quite as ubiquitous as yarmulkes are on our Jewish brethren or gold chains and unicorn horns are on guys from Bridgeport and Canaryville, but if you’re Irish Catholic, you can recognize another Irish Catholic if he’s wearing a scapular. And likely surmise that he, too, was touched by a priest at some point while serving as an Altar Boy at SFX or wherever you went to Mass. If you’re not sure, just make a snide remark about Mt. Carmel on the south side or Loyola Academy if you’re up north and you’ll figure it out. Either high school if you’re hanging in any sports bar with options traders or douches with hard-ons for Notre Dame despite the fact that they weren’t accepted when they applied. .

        • Do you have any idea what in imbecile you sound like? If you have a personal issue with the Catholic Church, start a religious blog, but stop railing on every neighborhood you don’t deem “authentic”. Frankly, from your post, you sound like a jealous child who’s parents didn’t have the money to live in Sauganash or Beverly. I personally don’t care where you grew up or how much money your family had/didn’t have. I am just telling you what you SOUND LIKE. Poor, poor you. Grow a pair, stop your whining and offer some helpful information instead of your Nancy-Boy crying. Jeez!

        • Yeah, all those other people you mention with such distaste… THEY’RE judgmental and “look down their noses” at people. [sarcasm font]

  64. Whining about some supposed hipster takeover just exposes you as an insecure idiot. There were people you thought they were cooler than you (and were right) well before cheap beer and Malort had resurgences in popularity. If you wanna drink vodka tonics and bitch about the sand in your vagina and how you could never get a date, do it, but don’t rag on folks for drinking shit they can taste and for liking 16 oz beers for $3. If your grandfathers were still around they’d slap the shit out of all of you.

    • @Justadude… how compassionate of you to stick up for hipsters. Ragging on folks for shit they can taste? You don’t drink PBR or Schlitz or Malort for the taste, you dipshit. Just like wannabe frat guy douchebags like you from Naperville (or Orland Park or Libertyville) like you order shots of Jameson at Sluggers. You don’t do shots of Jameson for the taste, fuckstick. You do it because you are wet behind the ears and ignorant. Taste is typically subjective. But it’s objective when you’re dealing with facts vs. your opinion. If you’re going for taste, enjoy a good beer or sip a Jameson neat. You can get plenty of decent beer or whiskey or bourbon for the same price you buy your shyte PBR or Schlitz or whateverthefuck swill you choose to drink in your misguided attempt to prove to the world you are indeed the douche everyone has always known you to be. Why don’t you go over to Belmont and Clark, buy yourself an ironic corncob pipe and some shitty tobacco, go smoke it to mask the Axe body spray you wear out to whatever the fuck overpriced former dive bar you go to in Wicker Park for your shitty Old Style tall boy. Let me know where you’ll be and I’ll leave a tab open for you so you can drink yourself into a stupor and hopefully remove yourself from thr gene pool. Dummy.

      • Wow, Drew, you just get better and better. You can’t spell, your grammar is atrocious and your syntax, well, what syntax? I just said all that to mess with you. Seriously though, why are you so bitter and angry? You sound like a whining twelve year old, truly. You’ve some serious issues with certain neighborhoods and make references to things that make no sense to anyone but you. Did you mom give you a whole lot of Axe for Christmas, because you keep mentioning it as if you are intimately familiar with the excessive odor it emits.

        You keep referring to everyone else as a poseur, my word, not yours, but in fact you are the one who seems to be quite full of himself. Portraying yourself as “everyman”. “I am Drew, strong, brave and can spot suburbanites at 500 yards. If you are from Wicker Park, do not speak to me, lest some of your overpriced designer taste rub off on me. If you are from Sauganash, best to steer clear so that your well-bred, Irish Catholic charm does not infect my aura.” Give it up, really Drew, you are kind of making a fool of your self. Save the bitter, angry act for someone who gives a damn.

  65. There are alot of good spots. I think about my bro when he comes to town what does he want to do.
    - catch Jim cornelison’s national anthem at a Blackhawks game.
    - hot Doug’s
    - la palapita or la pasadita for a burrito
    - gene and georgetti’s for a steak.
    - Lou Malnati’s deep dish. Supparosa or Perrettas thin crust
    - Al’s beef on Taylor St with Mario’s Italian ice after
    -gyros any shack does a good job
    -go day drinking in Lincoln park, wrigley, or river north. Kingston mines for some blues.
    - go to a late night 5am bar or meet someone who is a member of a key club and drink til 10am.
    -pound out a crave case from white castle on his way home
    - tailgate at a bears game.
    - get some Superdawg.
    - eat at a 24 hr diner. All are pretty good
    Catch some live music at the hideout
    Go to whatever crazy street festival is going on in the summer.
    Get Susie’s cheese fries that come in the burrito bowl
    Drink lots of 312 and Old Style.
    Consider going to a baseball game but then refrain knowing both teams are gonna suck for the next few years.
    Grab an Italian dinner at Sabatinos.
    Pay homeless dude to rap for you for $1
    Pay dude with metal ring on his bike to do a flip in the middle of Clark, Lincoln, Milwaukee etc.
    Be astonished by how good the Bucket players are outside of any Chicago stadium.
    Rent a Trolley and booze while you cruise throughout the city yelling at people.
    Museums, etc are cool too if he has time.

    Just my two cents.

    • No offense, Slam, but your list looks like it was written by an Amish kid from rural Ohio who’s been in town for just a couple months on an extended Rumspringa. Did you pilfer that list from a Fodors book or a back issue of Boring Shit To Do In Any Big City? Ballbusting aside, I must give you props for your nods to Mario’s on Taylor, daydrinking in general and key clubs… all of which are experiences unique to Chicago.

  66. “right off the Red Line. ” Red line? are you sure you’re ‘native’?
    I left Chicago and don’t miss it. I regret the 8 years I spent there… For a city its size, it’s provincial and dull.
    Its got a blue collar beer and sports mentality *even the ‘educated’ michgan avenue might look elegant, but its filled with dumpy women in sweats – the city has no elegance cities much smaller (milan for example) even a small city like Santa Barbara feels more sophisticated and less isolated.

      • Mostly around Southport and Roscoe, sweetheart. Lincoln park for awhile too. The women are dumpy the city is provincial, the Art Institute is over-rated. The lake front is ‘ok’ and parts of Michigan avenue were nice before it got over built..that’s it.

        • Just Me, glad you’ve found your “proper” home in Santa Barbara. The Art Institute is known globally for its collection. Did you think the Louvre was just ok also? And yes, the people walking in sweats down Michigan Ave are tourists 99% of the time. I think you’re the dumb bunny for comparing ANY American city to ANY European city. And yes, Chicago has a VERY blue collar mentality because it’s a city that was built on the backs of blue collar workers. Maybe you should read a book about Chicago’s past.

          • Speaking of blue collar. A tourist should take a drive or find someone to drive them, through the stock yards, whats left, just to get a good sense of where Chicago got its industrial start

        • So everything you said prior is undermined by this comment. Dull and provincial? That is absurd. The Art Institute is a world class museum with renowned works of arts and some great shows. Dominates any museum in the country outside of DC and NY. Michigan Avenue is an over the top tourist shopping spot no better or worse than Union Square in San Francisco or Fifth Avenue or Times Square in NY (though obviously much smaller than the latter).

          But most of all your comment that Chicago is provincial is laughable when you cite the places in the city that you lived, which are the absolute most white-bread, provincial, and least diverse areas of the city. You say Chicago has a beer and sports mentality – sure, but we also have top notch restaurants that compete with the best in the world. Great ethnic street food places like Urban Belly, Tank Noodle and Hot Doug’s as well as fine dining like Alinea, Next, Schwa, and Moto. If you spent 8 years in River North, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, you missed out.

          Andersonville, Uptown, Wicker Park, West Town, West Loop, Hyde Park, Logan Square, Avondale, Pilsen, etc, etc – great neighborhoods with lots happening.

          • The Art Institute is a world class museum with renowned works of arts
            eh, heavy on impressionists who are over-rated. No egyptian to speak of (though the oriental institute is good for that) no greek or roman, light on old masters.
            Dominates any museum in the country outside of DC and NY
            Nope, the MFA and ISG in Boston and the Clark in williamstown blow it away (even if the clark is much smaller)

            that Chicago is provincial is laughable
            I live in New York (not Santa Barbara) I only used it as an example.
            I know, and most new yorkers know that NYC has a LOT of shortcomings – its dirtier than Chicago, for one, though the first thing friends from Chicago comment on when visiting is the lack of fat people here, which you have in spades… – the only people who blindly defend NY are ‘flyover’ foiks who move here and have to validate their choice- I am perfectly willing to discuss NY’s shortcomings, but not one chicago poster yet will admit chicagos. It’s provincial -and not surprisingly you guys respond by defending it in a provincial way rather than actually fix the shortcoming.

            • Where to begin?

              1) I LOVE Chicago. LOVE! I’ve lived here all my life, and I think it is awesome.

              2) Chicago is provincial. Very provincial. We are not as cosmopolitan as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or many other cities. Chicagoans are VERY resistant to change and want things left AS THEY ARE. There are hundreds of examples of this in everything from how we vote to the stores and restaurants which open and close in record time. We are not cutting edge when it comes to fashion, music, and technology (this is changing). One of the only places we are ahead of the curve tends to be architecture and the Green Movement.

              3) The Art Institute is in fact a world class museum. Not everyone loves the Impressionists, that is ok, not your cup of tea. But you don’t really get to say it is a bad museum because you don’t like a certain style of art work. It is lacking in certain styles and periods of artwork. The Masters for instance. But,let’s be honest here … most of the Master’s works are in other museums around the world. Oh, the Louvre, the Met or the National Gallery in London. These museums are all older than the Art Institute and it does help to know that many museums tend to concentrate their main, permanent collections around a few themes and work out from there.

              3) Chicagoans are fat. Americans are fat. You want really fat, go to Milwaukee. Don’t tell me that New Yorkers are not fat. I’ve seen plenty of fat New Yorkers. Just not walking down 7th Avenue. Of course, unless the people walking down 7th Avenue are wearing bright colors it’s difficult to see them at all as most are so thin they fit in-between the raindrops.

              4) You cannot compare Chicago to Milan or Santa Barbara. First of all, Chicago is 3.5 times bigger than Milan. Milan is known for three things. Banking, industry and fashion. It is the hub of international and European trade within Italy and is the capitol of Italian fashion, second in Europe only to Paris. There is a ton of money in Milan and while it is a much smaller city, the wealth is greatly concentrated. Same with Santa Barbara, a lot of money concentrated in a city 22 times smaller than Chicago.. Small area, tons of money. You cannot make comparisons and expect them to be fair. If you want to make comparisons, please do so with cities which can be fair competition.

            • Thanks for responding. I love Chicago and find other cities lacking, but I enjoy the performing arts. For abundance and affordability, you can’t beat Chicago’s scene.

            • Of course it feels small, if you’re hanging out in Lakeview and Lincoln Park. You couldn’t find more white-bread neighborhoods if you tried. Come down to Bridgeport or up to Andersonville and tell me the same thing, you ignorant fuck.

              Santa Barbara is really cultured, if you enjoy paying $4 for a head of lettuce. Let’s see how cosmopolitan it feels when it’s floating at the bottom of the ocean. Which, by the way, is an inevitability. You know that, right?

      • Typical Chicago numbskull comment – Santa Barbara probably has the most beautiful women per capita than any city in the US

          • I don’t live there, moron, but again, you’re just displaying a-typical Chicagoan beer and sports mentality… ughh Santa Barbara… never been it must be homo!
            (funny coming from someone who lives in a city with the most flaming overtly gay neighborhood in country outside San Fran.

            What is ‘homo’ about Santa Barbara, dumb ass?

        • Except that it doesn’t… unless you’re a big fan of soccer moms in tracksuits that drive nicer cars than normal. Try Tempe or Scottsdale AZ for beautiful women per capita.

        • Here are some women who live in Santa Barbara:

          1) He Said He Was Going to be A Rockstar When We Got Married In 1977!
          2) Help! I’ve Fallen and I Really Meant to Go To UC Berkley But Somehow I’m Here!
          3) Yes, I’ve Been Tending The One Bar In This Part of Ventura for 25 Years, And No, I Don’t Actually Know the Difference Between Bourbon and Rye.
          4) My Mother. Literally.

          Secretly, all cities have more or less equal aesthetic distribution. However, Santa Barbara isn’t a city, its a resort with a shitty state college and some track housing around it. But hey — maybe you can make it to LA sometime and develop a greater sense of self-loathing.

        • By all means, let’s base the quality of life one finds in a city on how fat and dumpy or beautiful it’s women are. You’ve mentioned several times that certain cities have beautiful women and I’m not sure why. Is that the most important criteria for you? Does your happiness depend upon how beautiful a woman is or upon the depth of her intelligence, kindness and how interesting she is?

    • Well aren’t you a big old ball of unwarranted pretense. Milan? So fancy and modern! Oh, and the first letter of a city is generally capitalized. I know it can be confusing when it’s a European city. Their rules for grammar and punctuation are different sometimes, but I can assure you they all capitalise- oh, there I go, mixing my British and American spellings- their proper nouns. Fun asterisk, too. Seriously, though, did you, at any point in your 8 years, leave your college neighborhood apartment? Maybe, you felt isolated because you come of as a reprehensible human being, and people didn’t want to be talked down to by someone clearly putting on airs of someone well above their station in life. Keep shooting for the stars, though, and one day you might grow into the words you learned from your calendar.

      • Usually when one results to grammar nitpicking (my goodness! I forgot to capitalize Milan! I lose!) it means they don’t have any response to the original comment. Such is the case here.

        Why not grow up, accept and acknowledge Chicago’s shortcomings and accept that not everyone is going to love your city. Lots of people hate new york (oops, New York) do you think I care?

        • It matters when your original comment belittles the education of a city, and then goes on to show a lack there of. Especially, when your correlation is the number of women in sweatpants near you at any given time. I’m sure Milan and Santa Barbara have a lower sweatpants to women ratio, but I think that might have something to do with the climate and less to do with anything else at all. I’m fine with people (certainly you, specifically) not liking Chicago. Generally, the reasons are based in reality (violence, gentrification, the weather sucks, people drive like assholes, etc.) and not the musings of a shallow cad with an inflated sense of worth.

          • I assure you, Santa Barbara is not nearly as cultured or special as this person is making it sound. It’s the bathroom stop on the way from LA to San Luis Obispo, a city with actual culture.

          • but I think that might have something to do with the climate
            no it has to do with laziness. Russian women dress far nicer and its far colder. hell, french canadian women dress (and look) better (and are far more feminine)

    • Yeah, its provincial and dull if you’re completely fucking ignorant of the culture happening in every other storefront you walk by. In another city that might be excusable — even a native New Yorker doesn’t know where the non-Broadway theater is, or where decent bands play. Luckily, Chicago makes it PRETTY FUCKING CLEAR since it doesn’t have nearly as much TV or film to jerk off over.

      And seriously — Stan Barbara? That’s where aging boomers go to die amongst frat brothers who couldn’t even get into UC Irvine. I guess if you like energy crystals and “vintage” shopping its golden, but otherwise I’ll take Lake Michigan over the Pacific if I also get Chicago’s artistic output over a bunch of people who think about moving to LA.

      • Apparently the OP considers a city where half the locals are hired as staff to wipe the asses of the super-rich to be a city full of culture.

        Santa Barbara gave us Katy Perry, Chuck Liddell, and Motel 6. Thank you, Santa Barbara, for your contributions to culture.

        • I will say that Santa Barbara has a very nice airport, although considering it has about six gates and is built in faux Spanish Mission style, one might be tempted to call it “dull” and “provincial”.

    • Oh yes, I can see how Santa Barbara must be so much better. Let’s compare the two, shall we?

      Chicago has a world-renowned art museum, a phenomenal natural history museum (which still has one of the single most important paleontology finds ever), and a very solid science museum and planetarium, and a decent enough aquarium for not being on a coast (and frankly, they’re fish, who gives a shit? How many times can you look at fucking fish?)

      It also has probably the most important architecture of anywhere in the US. Oh, and both University of Chicago (which is a top 10 law school that compares to the Ivy League, and has a very important place in history) and Loyola. Not to mention the fact that it has tremendous diversity.

      As for the sports mentality you mentioned, sports have maintained a major place in pop culture longer than television or movies, and Chicago has a major market team in all four important pro sports in the US and two of them in the MLB.

      Santa Barbara has… a third rate college for kids who couldn’t get into UCLA, Stanford, or Cal Berkley, and pretty girls (who are probably crappy in bed because it would mess up their hair)

    • really? How could you possibly know he’s wrong when you’ve lived in Chicago for only 2 years? That’s not enough time to see anything. College students live here for longer than that. I’m guessing you like the uber-touristy things that he disses and have decided that you are therefore an “expert”. I’ve lived in Chicago for 12+ and I can affirm that he’s about 95% accurate. Sure, you can add more to the “what to do” list, but he’s right on for the “what not to do” list. Live here a little longer and then come back and review this article. 2 years makes nobody an expert.

  67. Ugh you’re all mostly wrong. The only way to eat is at the most expensive places you can find. I swear by it that in Chicago, the more money you spend on food, the better it is. Honestly. Anywhere else that’s a sick joke, but the expensive food in Chicago is BANGIN’. Just take a look around Gold Coast, Wicker Park/Bucktown the Loop, and Streeterville. When you’re ready to take a break and not interested in spending $150/head on food, go to Andersonville or North (and I mean NORTH) Belmont and chill out with some dive delis and ethic joints.

    • “The only way to eat is at the most expensive places you can find” said no real Chicagoan ever. That is absurd and you sound like either a rich stay-at-home-alcoholic-or-pill-popping-mom in a loveless marriage or a trust fund twat from Winnetka who has never worked a day in his/her life. Alinea, (the former) Charlie Trotters and even Gibsons serve up memorable meals but you don’t have to shell out even $50 for two people if you put some effort into dinner and do a little research. If your balls have finally dropped you should explore west of Racine and north of Fullerton. Or head south to Chinatown, Ricobene’s or Harolds, you sorry dullard. You could go out in a different off the beaten path ‘hood like Albany Park (Semiramis, Noon O Kebab) or Little Italy–the real Little Italy not to be confused with Taylor Street, which stands on its own–(try Bacchanalia), Logan Square (90 Mile Cuban) or Devon/Western for some authentic (and still cheap) and amazing Indian food. Shit, even Tango Sur on Southport in Lakeview is still good and downright cheap (and BYOB). After seven nights in a row, at least five of those meals will be memorable and you’ll still have spent less than you would on one decent meal at one of those places you mentioned (and where your husband takes his girlfriends before bangin while you’re crying to your therapist). That’s Chicago. You can go to New York, LA, Paris or any other town and pay through the nose to have decent food but that’s just dumb.

    • I spent my decade in Chicago in Hyde Park, I would tell family who visited me to take LSD to visit and not get off on Garfield/55th (which took them past the Robert Taylor Homes) and we would not visit Harold’s Chicken even though it is awesome. The thick plexiglass windows at the order counter and the police guards made them too nervous to enjoy the food. We would go to Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap and get cheap beer and cheaper burgers though.

      Out in the burbs now so when people visit I drive them downtown and do the Art Museum, or Shedd, or MSI and then hit Frontera Grill or The Berghoff for dinner.

  68. Ethiopian Diamond > Derma, Hot Dogs suck, deep dish is over-rated, eat a steak at Joe’s (if you’ve got the scrilla), and Harold’s is the bomb and a 1/2…the rest is pretty spot-on

  69. You mention Bridgeport, but not Ricobene’s?!
    Other food stops: Phil’s last stand, Mickey’s, Bari, Maxwell Street, Raw Bar, The Southern Mac’n cheese, and any place with pizza puffs. Half Acre Brewery, Three Floods Pub(Indiana) & Goose Island for local breweries.
    There’s plenty more, but I don’t have all day.

  70. Great article! I suppose this wouldn’t be a true Chicago-style article if it wasn’t followed by comments from a group of hard-ons that think they know Chicago better than everyone else. Hell, even I was making a list of changes in my head while reading this. But at the end of the day, if you live in Chicago you’ve likely been asked this question and you have likely given some shoot from the hip response, like get pizza at Lou’s, a beef at Portillo’s, and go to a Cub’s game. I wish you all a wonderful day, jag-offs!

  71. Okay clearly all of you are overreacting because I’m not really a hateful elitist bitch, but I’d love it if we could hear from someone who’s actually had a diverse experience in Chicago. I most certainly haven’t, though I’ve lived in LP on the lake all my life I only know the west side as far as I can see it out my west facing windows. The last time I went further than 4000 west locally was when I first got my license and had to drop a friend off late at night and then decided west was east so I got lost. Never trust your teenager in your brand new car; I got to 6400 west before I realized I was being dumb and then I found Irving Park and rushed home.

    That said, my restaurant knowledge is vast, from edgewater to Hyde Park to (daring) Stony Island at 70th and Dorchester. If you want euro-infused southern comfort food, go to NaNa’s on 33rd and Halsted. Amazing.

    • You think 70th is daring?

      You get close to daring if you make it to 86th and Cottage Grove for Dat Donut, but only if its after 1am, and only if you took the bus.

    • Stony Island can’t be at 70th and Dorchester… Dorchester is parallel to Stony. Nana’s (no capitalization) is quite good. I lived on Stony Island all my life. Would recommend: Dat Donut, Uncle Remus, Harold’s, Let’s Get Poppin, Miss Lee’s, Cemitas Puebla, Cafe Trinidad, Tropic Island Jerk, Barbara Ann’s, Honey 1, Pollo Express, Lem’s, Uncle John’s, etc.

  72. Holy hell. Did someone put out an all points bulletin to the biggest jag offs in Chicago to come post a reply here? I get it. You are the only one who really knows the city, and everyone who had the apparent misfortune of being born in a suburb is a plague to all you hold dear. The thing is, no one gives a shit about your one man pissing contest. Also, maybe run your rants through a spell check; you’re embarrassing the city. That being said, here are the only things someone visiting needs to know: 1) Do all the touristy things on the first day and then leave downtown. 2) If you need help finding a place to eat, just go on the Check, Please! website and pick one. Everyone is going to tell you places that have been reviewed on there at some point. 3) Ignore the majority of these comments. Ask someone when you’re here; they’ll actually be helpful.

  73. I love how these “Oh let me show you the real Chicago!” type articles are always written by people who most likely haven’t ever been outside of Cook/DuPage/Lake like ever. First of all, if you are “visiting” Chicago for a weekend (and this guy writes like he thinks he’s speaking to the “I sold my mom’s iPad to pay for my Lollapalooza ticket because Freedom” crowd), and you’ve never been here, by all means cab it. You know why? Because schlepping it in trains in new towns is for fucking losers that’s why. Even in cities that have nice subways (DC, the BART in SF), you’d be hard pressed to do that if you’re an adult who like, works for a living and stuff. Oh you’re going to navigate the trains in New York when you fly into JFK for the first time with all that Google Adsense money you don’t really make so you can go see where CBGB’s used to be? Have fun with that champ.

    Also, let’s get one thing straight – this myth that Chicago has the greatest pizza on earth has zero basis in reality (disclaimer- I’ve lived in Chicago for a decade now, so I know from whence I speak). San Francisco is home to Tony’s where they have the world champion Margarita pizza, and the REALLY good pizza places in Chicago mostly fashion after New York style anyway. Not to say there isn’t a distinct “style” but like, really now – for a guy who makes fun of people being touristy for staying in the Drake to expound on his opinions about what a real Chicago pizza experience is…well (I’ll that thought toddle off because that’s a road fraught with peril).

    Other people have addressed the idiotic “drink two PBR’s like you own the place” sentiment…but for anyone reading this who is really interested in proper Chicago Beer, any bar that has Two Brothers, Three Floyds, Metropolitan or Revolution beers on tap is worth their salt. In fact you could do worse than visit Revolution Brewery in Logan Square (and ya know, get drunk with the locals and invitor yourself over to their apartment and order brick-oven pizza). Cos that’s how you do it son.

    • No. Just no. Chicago pizza is deep dish (personally, I like Lou’s). Now, SF — which is my second favorite city on earth, and my favorite when I’m on Lake Shore in the winter because it’s fucking COLD! — has many wonderful qualities and I’m sure they have delightful margarita pizza. But it’s not Chicago deep dish.

      And my husband, who was born and raised in Chinatown, would like to add that any city (SF) that invented Chop Suey does not get to claim food chops ever;) He gets really pissy about Chop Suey…

  74. Part of what makes Chicago great is how excited and opinionated we all are about what’s the best pizza, beef, dog, or steak. I’ve spent large swaths of my life in Chicago, and all of it in the vicinity and I know I can go somewhere any time of day or night and be pleased with the food. Why bother cutting other people down for native points? Calling the city provincial is ignorant, maybe if you’re looking for designer stores and shopping like Paris Hilton or something. Fucking bitch. Go back to Milan.

  75. Everyone should go to Haymarket Square at Randolph and Halsted. Try to get a reservation at Maude’s Liquor Bar or Girl and the Goat. In the loop by EBC, try Gilt Bar, Bavette, or RPM. Sit at the bar at the Pump Room in Gold Coast. There’s also Perrennial Virant on Clark and Lincoln. In Wicker Park, you MUST go to Big Star on a Saturday. You’ll never sit down but their tacos are worth it. Great cocktails. Go west on Chicago to a sushi place called Arami; INCREDIBLE. At 33rd and Halsted is a southern comfort euro-infusion place called Nana’s. In Boystown there’s a great vegan place that’s been around since the 70s called Chicago Diner. Don’t go to dive bars; they aren’t quaint or cute or cultured and they aren’t exclusive to Chicago. This isn’t about food only Chicago serves, it’s about the best food Chicago has to offer. You’ll spend a lot but that’s what vacations and (if you’re lucky) company cards are for!

    • Dive bars aren’t *supposed* to be cultured… that’s kind of the point… but some of them are in fact cute and/or quaint. I’ve been to several places on your list and happen to not be a big fan of them, particularly Big Star, but I respect that someone might want to so I’m not going to belittle the ideas. Everyone’s got different reasons for visiting and different tastes in terms of what they’d like to eat or experience (expensive vs. divey, gourmet vs. comfort, etc…) and that goes for tourists as well as natives/residents. I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and I’m sure there’s plenty of places I haven’t yet discovered. I do know that I’m personally a fan of a simple, local dive bar experience where frankly no one gives a shit what I’m drinking and I don’t have to spend a ton. To each his own, for sure… but I think it’s a shame to summarily dismiss the smaller less ritzy joints (bar, or restaurant-wise)

    • If you eat at The Girl and the Goat, you are a fuckhead. You wait three months for a reservation, spend real money, and leave still hungry. Four tiny pork belly chunks about the size of a child’s finger for $15. For $15, you could probably go over to The Merc and buy a whole hog belly.
      If you do go, look around the room and watch all the people craning their necks trying to see if Stephanie Izard is back in the kitchen. Wow! Is the celebrity chef there?

        • Reservations are ok once in a while, but when you’ve “been there, done that” you realize that all of the Homaro Cantu restaurants, all of the Grant Achatz places don’t mean a thing.

          Real food is where it is at. When I am out with friends we prefer the little ethnic joints where you bring a bottle, have dinner, experience different foods, cultures and traditions. Sure, I’ll go to Gibson’s for a steak now and then. I’ll take in a Lettuce restaurant when the mood strikes, but I’m past the point of “seeing and being seen” at $150.00 a head. Not worth it for me.

  76. Ah, the beauty of Chicago is that we make it a personal experience. No one list is ever “right” because we all have our favorites. I like a lot of the places that have been listed, but there are those fab neighborhood joints that no tour guide or casual visitor will ever likely hear about or visit. Hema’s Kitchen, any Burrito Palace, Manny’s, Aurelio’s, Moody’s Pub, Tufano’s…and, hey! There’s pride on Navy Pier & Michigan Avenue. What makes Chicago great is the opportunity to make Chicago your own.

  77. Pingback: visit Chicago like a Chicagoan // Hyperbolation

  78. I have read all the comments and can’t believe not one person has said going to a Hawks game? Isn’t this easily one of the most fun thing to do in chicago?

    • It would be fun if you could see the puck, the fans weren’t a suicide cult, or they scored at a higher frequency than once-a-period.

      Can we all just admit that Chicagoans only like hockey because the Blackhawks are relatively OK at it?

      • Was thinking the same thing. Chicago sporting events are awesome and loads of fun. And no we don’t just like the hawks because they’re good. Have you ever even been to a game?

  79. EDIT: If/When ordering an Italian Beef (I prefer/agree with the selection of Portillo’s), specify having it “wet” or “dipped.” It’ll be messy, use a napkin.

    If you’re on a date, and she’s the “right” kind of woman, she’ll find this sexy. If not, you’ve saved yourself a night of depression. Boot her and find that dive bar discussed earlier.

    • Personally, I’m not bothered by other people eating them wet, but I like mine more dry — I don’t like the soggy bread feel in my mouth.

  80. Personally I felt like I was reading an article written by a hipster trying to be hipster by busting on hipsters. I’m not hipster enough to hate hipsters. I’d say just visit where you want to visit, enjoy what you want to enjoy, and definitely skip the cab and take the L and buses, a little walking is good for you.

  81. I love all the comments on here

    Starts with “Hey fun article, do all these other things too”
    Which the reply to is “Fuck you, not real Chicago, hipster, tourist, 90′s, divebar,”

    You are all giant fags.

  82. pleasant house bakery on 31st and s morgan – best pot pies ever! GET THE CHUTNEY, for the love of god. right next door to maria’s community bar, they have the cheap stuff but all pages and pages and pages of craft beers.

  83. I’ve been asked this question most of my life. My answer is mostly the same: Dress warmly, try a sandwich at Manny’s, and watch out for pickpockets if you go shopping on Michigan Avenue. Seriously, treat everyone like a potential pickpocket regardless of how nicely they’re dressed, especially around the holidays. Other than that, enjoy YOUR trip. Oh, and don’t move into housing projects to prove a political point. You’ll just end up helping out drug dealers in the long run.

    • Sad to say, but if you were picked, (hi Jane.) if was by a pair of black men, or man and woman. They seem to own the franchise on it. And not just two of them. I have never seen, or heard of, a white pick in Chicago in 40 years.

  84. I lived in Chicago for 21 years. What makes me Chicagoan are the following:

    - Been mugged 3 times.
    - Grew up in CPS
    - Went to a State school in Chicago proper
    - Knows that prior to 773, it was only 312

    I agree with the author. I can tell you’re not from around here simply by how you act. Chicago is a good city with its own charm. It’s a midwestern city so it’s very blue-collar. But I love that blue collar mentality.

    There are some places you just don’t go too. Mag Mile is nice but let’s face it, unless you’re Oprah you ain’t shopping there. Get an Italian Beef from Al’s or Mr. Beef. Portillo’s is okay. Vienna Beef hotdogs are awesome, go find a hole in the wall. Dagwoods is my place for fries and a hotdog. Greasy? yes. Unsanitary? Definitely. Good? H E L L YES.

    Whenever I go back, I still travel the city like I never left? You know why? 21 years and a CPS education makes you forever a Chicagoan. So fuck you if you disagree with me.

  85. Want some real food and excitement – visit any Harold’s Fried Chicken around midnight. Forget the chicken. Get the hot links with hot sauce. Served with white bread and greasy fries.

    All you need to know about Chicago dogs is Suzie’s Beef on Montrose. Best fries in the city. If you are a North Shore asshole, you can hit Suzie’s drive-through on your way back home. It’s not far from the Junction. If you don’t know what the Junction is, go back to Wisconsin and fuck that cow again.

    • If you go to Harold’s, though, the only acceptable options are 65th and Cottage Grove or 53rd and Woodlawn (and the latter only when the relative ratio of University of Chicago students is pretty low — summer or late December are your best bets).

      I have always liked that their philosophy seems to be that if you didn’t get enough bread on your breaded chicken or your breaded potatoes, they throw in some straight bread just for kicks.

  86. If you’re planning on visiting Chicago, you will probably ask multiple people for advice. Here’s my advice for asking for advice: When a person recommends where you should go, make note of it and try it out if you think you’ll like it. If they start telling you where not to go, ignore them (unless they’re informing you of potential threats to your safety). These people are less concerned about you enjoying your trip than they are with impressing you by how “Chicago” they are (whatever the hell that even means). Everyone has different tastes; you might like a place they think sucks. If you’re here and don’t know where to go, ask someone (we’re surprisingly friendly-sort of). If you’re looking for “touristy” entertainment, ask a concierge at a nice hotel. If you pretend to be a guest, they might even set up reservations for you. If you’re looking for “Real Chicago” places, ask a cop (as long as you’re white). When they’re not fighting the large amounts of crime we have or beating confessions out of people, they spend 40 hours a week as basically tourists who get free food. They know good hole-in-the-wall spots.

  87. All these people talking trash to you….write your own damn article and have thousands of people read it and share it on facebook…until then, just give the guy a pat on the back! P.S. this is f’ing hilarous and oh so true (minus the john handcock!)

    • Part of the “deal” with posting something publicly is that you will be criticized. Being criticized is FAR better than being ignored. I know from experience.

  88. I used to regularly eat at Mangi’s about 20 years ago. I’m not sure that place is around anymore. What I remember about Mangi’s is several layers of filth on the floor, nasty food and the only hot dog stand I’ve ever been to where you can buy a can of beer.

  89. Thanks a bunch this makes me miss Chicago. I’ve been away for 5 years living in Northern Virginia and sometimes all I want to do is walk out of my apartment and eat a greasy taco w/ cour cream and cilantro

  90. Deep Dish Chicago style pizza at Pequods is amazing or should i say, it is the shit!! Also I would suggest Aurelio’s pizza in Chicago, and also they have a Chicago Style family location in Naples, FL (No, they’re not a chain.) Other than Pizza, for some sick tacos & outdoor patio, check out Big Star on Damen Ave.

  91. “Tour” Englewood? is that supposed to satire? you need to get your head examined. this was clearly written by a north sider

  92. Grew up on the 32nd floor at 535 N Mich Ave. Graduated from Latin School of Chicago. Got kicked out of the house and moved to a shitty apartment on Wells at North. Still had 312! Apartment jumped every year. Last one was on Sheffield and Waveland. Then moved out to Bull Valley and then to Colorado. Grew up with Doug of Hot Doug’s. Throughout the years I have watched my stomping grounds get decimated by the lack of diversity.

    If you are a tourist, just get the fuck out there and experience the city. Stop and get food at a place that looks interesting. Every one has their opinion. I am in Northern Colorado now (12 years) and I have found wonderful food and things to do. You just have to get out and do it.

    Enjoy!

  93. Pullman Town? I’ve lived, worked, or gone to school there for over 45 years and never once heard it referred to as “Pullman Town.” I don’t know that it was called that when it was a town.

  94. That’s amazing.

    You forgot about going to humboldt park for a chicago original jibarito sammich. Then loose a couple pounds with a good ol’ fashioned stabbing.

  95. And don’t forget about making fun of suburbanites who think living in “the city” is like soooooo cool, when they actually just live in Linkin Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park, or some other shitty gentrified part of what was once a cool neighborhood.

    • You sound like probably the biggest douche bag the world has ever seen. First off, your life must be terrible. Second, how often have you been to “Linkin” Park, Lakeview, and Wicker Park when they were “once a cool neighborhood” and now they are supposedly “shitty”? Where do you suggest people live, in your trash can with you? These areas are apparently not “the city” to you, but where in your pathetic mind is “the city”? One of the douchiest things about Chicago is dildos like this who try to tell other people that they are less of a Chicagoan than them, how truly pathetic.

  96. If you didn’t get a polish or pork chop sandwich with grilled onions on Maxwell St then you didn’t really come to Chicago.

  97. Sitting on my couch at 3am, unable to sleep due to whatever fricking norovirus has turned me into its plaything and laughing my ass off while reading this — also coughing my lungs out as a result, but that’s cool, because it’s for a good cause: the love of Chicago. Thank you!

    • Hey douche, just say “cold”. You sound pretentious with the whole “norovirus” thing, especially since you don’t know what it is. It causes vomiting, not coughing.

  98. I would add that putting ketchup on your Chicago-style hot dog will get you shot in some places.
    …..and the White Sox can lick my balls.

  99. What the fuck am I doing up so early reading this ? Well my NEW fridge is making a siren noise just like the ones right out my window in UPTOWN yes uptown. Love uptown must see a show at the Rivera or Aragon and have sushi at Dibbs.

  100. They should also visit Chicago Diner. Whether you’re vegan or not, everything in there is vegan and surprisingly good as all hell.

      • Sorry to be pedantic, but if you were a true carnivore, you would die of malnutrition and organ failure. Also, the Chicago Diner serves vegetarian food, as in they have regular dairy products and eggs. Great place though.

        • disagree. their food is too salty and expensive. but if you want a good laugh, order a $7 cup of orange juice and watch your waiter waddle behind the counter to pour you a cup of Minute Maid (true story).

          my advice, try Karen’s Cooked if you’re a veg-head, or go to Kopi Cafe if you’re not. same vein of food, but better and cheaper.

          • I definitely love Karyn’s. Cooked for casual nights, On Green for special date nights. Karyn herself is quite a trip, and really nice. Karyn’s also does better with food allergies. I haven’t been to Chicago Diner in ages, since I usually got sick after eating there. Haven’t been to Mana Food bar in awhile either, but I really liked eating (and drinking) there too.

  101. Good deep dish pizza.. Go to Webster and Lincoln… And do not walk around with your camera in hand your just a walking target for robbery jus saying… Good hot dog joint Americas Dog on Adams/Wabash…

  102. Born and raised in Rogers Park. Lou’s is the best for deep dish. But you can’t beat Candlelite on Western near Howard for thin crust–try the garlic, too. For dogz, hit Byrons on Irving Park near the L. The city was the best place for a kid to grow up.

  103. Since this refuses to stop making the rounds, i’ll chime in with a few places you MUST go :

    The Empty Bottle
    Hot Doug’s
    Big n’ Little’s
    The staggering about of breweries.

    Oh, and if you hear crazy noises coming from a basement, walk on down and check it out. If someone asks you for $5, give it to them, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

  104. I know it’s popular to bash Lincoln Park, but I can’t believe that none of these ‘Chicago-insider’ articles have mentioned the Lincoln Park Zoo! Seriously?! One of the best ways to spend a day during nice weather is to bus or bike over to the Zoo, leisurely walk around exploring the totally FREE exhibits, the Lily Pond, the Nature Museum, the pretty Nature Boardwalk with interesting sculptures, the Conservatory… bring a picnic lunch and sneak some wine. Or head over to the Patio, a bar/restaurant directly next to the zoo with a serene and beautiful view, and have a relaxing, tasty cocktail and ice water when you get overheated. They even have a farmer’s market nearby on the weekends.

    To note, I have lived in Logan Square and now Hermosa, and I enjoy walking around Lincoln Park before/after work. Unlike the Loop that is overcrowded and makes me agitated as hell, talking a pre-work walk in the early hours is very relaxing, and I enjoy looking at all of the fancy homes. Even if I’m filled with jealous and hate for the occupants the whole time.

  105. Well, being a guy who was born on the southside and have spent my adult life bouncing back and forth between the north side and other places (currently living in London), I do admire the intensity. Definitely nails the obnoxious relocated folks from Iowa, Wisco, Michigan and Indy who pile into Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park and parts of Bucktown and claim high holiness about the city after 12 months. Then they marry and bail to Naperville or Glencoe to raise their families….

    Food wise, there are way too many options to capture in one blog/article. If someone asks me where to go to eat while in Chicago for a few days, I usually send them to one/all of the following: Pizano’s, Chicago Pizza & Grinder, Mr Beef, (definitely) Portillos, and any hot dog joint that is open within a 2 block walk of their hotel (usually they are in R North, so Downtown Dog is satisfactory….they won’t know the difference). Fancy dinners are recommended, but I usually just tell them to either try one of the steak houses (Kinzie Chop, Chicago Cut, or one of the more popular ones), or just ask their conciere.

    A river cruise is a must, with the added Lakefront option; visitors have to get a glimpse of the city from the lake, its definitely awesome. Neighborhood streetfests are special treats for the adventurous, and depending on timing, Old Town Art Fest is usually high on the list. Followed by Lincoln Sq’s Oktoberfest and Northcenter’s Ribfest.

  106. For Pizza, go to Vito and Nicks on 84th and Pulaski on the Southside! It’s the BEST thin crust pizza anywhere, let alone the city. And the Cubs still suck.

    • Amen to this! No better pizza in the country!!!! And yes, the Cubs suck!!!
      Also, I’d be careful on this trip to “Pullman Town”, you start driving through Englewood to get there and it may be the last drive you ever take!!!!!

  107. If you’re reasonably sober, in Lincoln Park, and willing to squeeze into a tight little hole in the wall for the best pizza Chicago has to offer: Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder. It’s not deep dish. It’s not thin crust. It’s not quite like a pizza pot pie, upside down and filled with pure awesome. You won’t find it’s like anywhere else.

  108. As a real Chicagoan, who moved to Lakeview, stop da bashing!

    Best deep dish in da city, Bacino’s pizza in Lincoln Park or it’s sister, Bella Bacino’s downtown on Wacker, not a bad price, and it works for a date, and is sooo good.

    As far as a dog or an Italian Beef, can’t go wrong with Al’s Beef. Though Byron’s on Irving is pretty darn good.

    And, how, how on earth did the author forget to mention a word about Manny’s Deli? Come on man!

  109. “[Ed. note: The below piece of writing is extremely funny.”

    If you have to tell people what you wrote is extremely funny, it’s probably not.

  110. You’ve made me homesick! I haven’t lived in Chicago for nearly 30 years, so tell me …

    Do all the buildings in the Loop still have diners? Are they all still run by Greeks? Do they all have their own recipes for everything, so you have to go from diner to diner to get your favorite version of spanikopita, dolmades, and avgolemono?

  111. As a life-long Chicagoan, I LOVE this. It is actually my city tour for visitors. Instead of trying to attract tourist by competing with NY and LA, we have to appreciate who we are and share that because it’s wonderful and unique. We have to get over our low civic self-esteem because we live in an awesome city. Ed, you did good.

  112. Not bad, for a late-20′s or 30-something. But someone please find me the editor who put David Mamet in the same sentence with Studs Terkel, so I can punch him in the throat

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  114. This is like a person stole my brain and wrote a blog using it. I like how the author doesn’t pinpoint specific places, but rather enjoy what is around you and meet people. That’s the best part of being in a big city. Every neighborhood has something worth enjoying, let the experience come to you instead of trying to get to “the best”.
    I left Chicago in 1999 and now when I come back I vrbo or airbnb a place in a new neighborhood to try to experience each neighborhood.

    That said.. what I miss most is Villa Palermo or Rosati’s thin crust square cut pizza.. :(

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  116. Back before Lincoln Park had a Gap or a Starbucks, it had an awesome pizza place called My Pi (only it used the symbol). They lost the place but moved to bucktown where it’s essentially carry-out or delivery only. Best pizza in my opinion. Also, I think everyone should sit at Goose Island near Wrigley on a cold icey night and watch dumb frat & sorority kids fall over themselves to try and get into the meat market, I mean Barleycorns. And if you go to Barleycorns, well, there’s nothing that can be done about your condition.

    • I agree–I loved MyPi in Lincoln Park–wanted their pizza so badly when I was back and found out they moved! MyPi and Unos–best pizza!

      • Agree MyPi !!! Note “Pi” being a pun, as original location was on or near Sheridan Road and campuses of Loyola/Mundelein – memory correct?

        and agree too Unos (and then Dues too bc same owner)

        and will sometimes be satisfied with Gino’s East as a substitute.

        BUT love, love Pompeii Bakery sausage and mushroom slices. It all began on Loomis across from Arrigo Park in the little neighborhood bakery…

  117. Fried who lives in Streeterville turned me on to Bacino’s on Wacker. Good stuff. My kid lives in Bucktown, and has for 7 years. He introduced me to the pizza at Piece. His wife is a southsider and keeps telling me about Vito and Nick’s but never been there.

    Anyone need a 2BR, 2BA loft condo in Bucktown. About a 3 minute walk to Western Blue line, less than 10 minute walk to 6 corners Blue line stop. The yuppies are heading out to the burbs

  118. I only take offense at one thing: When you go into a bar, you start drinking Old Style, not PBR. This is Chicago, not Hipsterville. Furthermore, said bar shouldn’t have a name but just say “Old Style on Tap” outside.

  119. “Gino’s North” for Pizza. Get off the Red Line at Granville and take ten steps east towards the lake. The place only has room for about 40 people. It looks like a miniature Green Mill inside. If you are gay, you can hit up the Anvil bar just west of the Granville stop.

  120. As a life long resident (that grew up in the South Loop when it was weird), I went to the stripped down Taste last year after a 20+ year boycott and it was actually decent. It reminded me of the 80s. For that week they moved SummerDance to Columbus and people were dancing to soul music. It wasn’t crowded and it was one of those rare times when all types of Chicagoans get together.

  121. I just shit my brains out b/c I ate at Subway last night (I live in a chain-filled town halfway between DC & Baltimore) and had an 11-inch footlong sub. I read this article, laughed my ass off, and I think I need to order a Mr. Beef Italian Beef w/hot peppers and ship it out here.
    Where is George Ryan staying at now-a-days?
    The Cubs always suck.
    Go Hawks.

  122. You can’t visit ChiTown without a trip to Duk’s on Ashland for some kick ass beef, dogs & the traditional Chicago Pizza Puff.,..

    For a hole in a wall with kick ass food is Dominic’s on Chicago Ave just East of Noble…

    For Tacos go up Noble to Huron between Throop & Elizabeth to Taqueria El Jardin for some amazing tacos de carnitas or a Torta de carne asada and make sure you get their home made Horchata & a Jarritos de Limon’ to wash it all down…

    For Pizza you MUST try the pizza over at D’amato’s Bakery – get a sheet of the sausage – you will NOT be disappointed!

    The ONLY better place for tacos is Aztecas Tacos @ 1836 S Blue Island Ave Chicago – If you go here you MUST try the tacos de carne asada & the tacos de pollo, the Horchata & the little red sugar coated jelly candy in the clear box where you pay for your food… you can NOT miss that!

  123. Where to start, oh, where to start ?

    Michigan Avenue – Correct! If you can afford to shop in the store, chances are you have one in your home town or outlet mall and if you don’t have that particular brand in your home town or outlet mall, you can’t afford it anyway. Stores aren’t museums, the clerks don’t need a bunch of Yahoos with high foreheads walking around gasping over the price tags or purty thangs.

    Lodging – Try Airbnb.com . cheaper than a hotel, more interesting and you’ll be able to see what an honest to goodness railroad flat looks like.

    Food – Italian Beef: Al’s ain’t that great. Too much cinnamon, tastes like cookies. Joe Boston’s on Grand. That is the place for a beef. With Sweet Peppers or Giardinaira. NO CHEESE.

    Hot Dogs: NO PORTILLOS. If you can’t get to Superdawg or Gene and Jude’s, eat at Weiner Circle or Goldcoast Dogs. Never, ever ask for ketchup on a Chicago hot dog. Some places don’t even have ketchup (Weiner Circle) even for the fries.

    Pizza: Gino’s is a filthy, dirty dump. Never go there unless you want roaches with your pizza. Uno and Due are also Un Don’tay. No longer the darlings of pizza they used to be. Lou Malnati’s and Chicago Pizza are safe bets. Vito and Nick’s on the south side is excellent and Burt’s Place in Morton Grove rocks.

    Want a great steak: Gene and Georgetti, Gibson’s (but if you don’t have reservations, don’t even bother unless you want your evening’s entertainment to be waiting in the packed bar with all of the other tourists and cougars waiting for some poor schmuck from Omaha to buy them martinis at $15.00 a pop).

    Bars: If you are going to go to a “Rush Street” bar, which for the most part are actually Division Street bars, go to The Lodge. It’s the only place where locals will go, great jukebox and while tiny and narrow, well worth the entertainment. Hey, where else can you sing Paradise by The Dashboard Lights or Bohemian Rhapsody with 200 strangers?

    Have a great time and if someone tells you to go east on Madison ’til your hat floats, go the other way.

  124. Really?
    Best Hot Dog: Believe it or not, Home Depot $ 2 bucks
    Best Pizza: Renaldis on Broadway
    Best Italian: My favorite is Mia Francesca on Clark Street
    True Chicago Experience: Go to Bridgeport and get a Pork Chop Sandwich
    Best Margarita: El Jardin ( not because of the quality of the drink, but the quality of getting your date ready.
    Best ethnic: Raw Bar, Their Persian influence is amazing
    Best Hamburger: Somewhere in California I here.
    Best Steak: You have to experience a meal at Lawry’s
    Best place to have a real drink at a bar with with real people: The Liar’s Club.
    Best place to meet a celebrity: Somewhere in Hollywood
    Best place for shopping: Anywhere but here, our taxes suck!

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  127. Hilarious choice of writing style! I couldn’t agree with you more on what not to see in Chicago. To tell you people ask me how I haven’t shopped on the mag mile …um because I rather pay less for the same shit!! good ol tourists…I’m sure I do the same on vacation. Good luck and see you back in Chicago

  128. Lots of funny stuff in this. Strange as it sounds, I do kinda miss riding the redline to work, smelling piss and having addicts turn down food after they asked me for money. My wife and I ate at the Ethiopian place he’s talking about and we shat our brains out that night and the next day. And shame shame shame for mentioning Portillo’s. What’s next, go to Five Guys for the best burger? Hit up Freddie’s on 31st in Bridgeport, best Combo in the city. This was clearly written by hipster scum. The one thing he left out was when you’re talking to the “locals” at the bars in the neighborhoods he suggested you’ll actually be talking to other hipster scum (typically from the lilywhite upper class suburbs) that will tell u the music u like is too mainstream, the clothes u wear are too corporate, and unless ur a barista or work at a record store you are “working for the man.” I’ve met many judgemental smug hipsters like the schmuck that wrote this and they’re the only reason I advocate for authoritarian government run “re-education camps.” Did feel a little sad reading this from “the burbs”, had kids and had to bail for good schools (Former CPS teacher so I can say that with some knowledge outside the 9 oclock news).

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  130. I had no intentions of ever visiting Chicago….somehow, this blog puts it on my new “must see” places. And I am 100% serious. Thank you, I think.

  131. This guy is a moron. Guessing he grew up in the burbs and lived in the city for 4years. Go to the steakhouse and enjoy the lakefront. I’ve lived here for all of my 35 years and Schlitz and PBR suck so does half those grease pits. Ginos east along withPequods is the best deep dish in town and polish buffets and im sure every other town has dirty people on their public trans. take a cab.

    • Also if visiting chicago dont waste a precious 4 hours to tour the southside it sucks unless you really took a vaction to drive through shit neighborhoods.

        • Virginia, Pullman is one of the most historic neighborhoods in the United States. If you don’t know anything about it, you really should do a bit of reading. The history of Pullman helped shape the fabric of the United States during the Industrial Revolution in America. It is probably one of the five most important neighborhoods in Chicago. Don’t be a naysayer about things you know nothing about.

          • I think she was simply referring to calling it “Pullman Town” rather than just “Pullman” – don’t think she was nay-saying anything. :) Just my interpretation anyway.

      • Fuck You Bill Vass! Your probally a dumbass cub fan too. Southside has the real baseball team. True blue collar workers. The pizza places sold thin crust pizza or vennia beef sandwich. If you needed help say a jump put your hood up and in no time someone will pull over to help go to north side they will drive by with thier nose in the air like they didnt see you. Go to a bar on the south side people buy you beers and so will the bartender. North side lucky if get the bartender just to buy your own drink! Southside friendly kickass time ! North side stick in the mud rude nose in the air people!! AND IT VACATION!!!

        • Your either 12 years old or or a slightly slow. I know they good values and hard working peoplebut no reason for a tourist to drive around .

          • You both have terrible grammar…it’s you’re a dumbass cubs fan and you’re probably 12. If YOU’RE going to insult each other, at least do it properly. Oh yeah, love the article but definitely catch a sox game for some real baseball.

            • I like you Becca. Chicago is awesome (I apologise for the use of that overused adjective but it is entirely apt in the context I’ve used it). Vass/Beasley – are you keeping up? The your/you’re issue drives me completely nuts, were Becca and I the only ones paying attention in class? So, hey Becca – you wanna catch a Sox game sometime? Maybe when they’re playing the Cubs (see what I did there?). I’m from Roscoe Village (oh shut up Beasely – I like it there).

      • The south side is fascinating and there is a ton of history there. In fact, much of the south side is older than the north side since most of the north side was actually the lake until it was filled in from Western Avenue all the way east. While you may not enjoy the south side, it is a great place to visit. And, I am a life long north sider.

  132. LOVE your guide to Portillo’s. I grew up near the original “Dog House” when you could get a dog, fries and a drink for 25 cents! They still make the best Polish sausage. Lou Malnatti’s has the best deep dish pizza. Don’t forget North Ave beach for the best porn show .. and it’s FREE! I could go on and on but I don’t want to “over-write” you. Your vision is hysterical!

  133. I don’t agree with Portillo’s, but the burger joints, spot on. Lots of good pizza places, but the local ones, Peaquods a bit higher end, but places like The Art of Pizza on Ashland or Durbin’s in the sw burbs, for instance, and you don’t have to be sh*t faced to enjoy it.
    The NW and SW side are exactly alike except the taxes are higher up north. I’m not referring to the area that starts from Chinatown and goes north to Uptown, with fine points inbetween, but the surban-ish like areas, not so ethnic, more mainstream. Anyhow, you have to live here to know what I mean.
    You should see every place possible in the city. It’s amazing, the neighborhoods, the sites, et al. The Cultural Center has two locations south and north of the river, both on Michigan Ave. The one on Randolph has Meeter Greeters, and you can sign up for FREE tours for pretty much anything in the city, with a CTA (public trans) daily pass. These are volunteers, so appreciate it.
    Navy Pier, m’eh, unless you have kids, the museum should keep them occupied, spend you money more wisely and take a water taxi, in the warmer months, or do the double deckers/trolleys and you can get on and off all day long.
    I’ve travelled a bit, and loved everywhere I’ve been, but NO place is like Chicago. Yes, really. Enjoy it!

  134. Wish I had read this before I went to Chicago. Willis tower – worst rip off ever. Hey look over there. If it was clear you could see … But you can’t because it isn’t and f you. Go stand in that clear box hanging off of the building.

  135. You forgot the Chicago Cultural Center – anyone can hang out – free books to read with your kids – all that beautiful old tile work – and the quotes about books from the days when it was the old Chicago library should bring you to tears.

    • Hi Sharon,
      Imagine meeting you here! I loved the architectural boat tour. It was fascinating and gave a whole new view of Chicago. And, I’d been there a million times!

  136. Obviously a frat boy wrote this..Sorry totally lame. Just because you threw a few fuck words in there does not make this funny..

  137. Lived my first 55 years in Chicaga (originally a soutsider) before moving to Phoenix. This made me laugh and brought back great memories. Lou Malnati’s is the place for deep dish, you are either a Cubs fan or a Sox fan. Lived at Kenmore and Waveland for fourteen years (81-94) and lights destroyed the neighborhood a I predicted, it’s Potterville now. Iused to call the Taste, A Taste of Ethiopia because early pictures of the taste reminded of the people crowding the food tents during some African famine in the 80′s.

    The only thing he didn’t cover was how to talk like a Chicagoan with such phrases as Are youse guys commin wit us. I gotta go burn a mule. Tasteful ethnic references such Pollacks, Lugans, Bohacs, Spics Guineas, Potato eaters, Spades, etc.

    My only tip for Chicago, real Chicago, is visit the stand up bar a the Berghoff and order a 14 year old with a wash, then get a corn beef sandwich if it’s lunchtime. Beats Charlie Trotter any day of the week and the money you save will buy a round for the house. Also, try th root beer.

    BTW, Phoenix has the worst food, who puts ranch dressing on a pizza!!!! Chinese food sucks and I have a consensus on this from people I have met from Chicago and the east coast that live here. I like Latino’s but I don’t see Hop Sing in Kitchen preparing my enchiladas so Pedro should not be preparing Kung Pao pork.

    Go Hawks and da Bearz!

    • Um, Dave, the Original Berghoff went out of business and was reopened by Carlyn Berghoff, granddaughter of the founder. It is awful now. No more Annex, no more silver numbers on the waiter’s uniforms, in fact, now there are waitresses. The food is vile.

      Charlie Trotter’s is out of business as well. Closed a couple of months ago. A “Chef” named Cantu is moving his place to the location. Never been to his place called MOTO but I’ve been to his other place and while the food is interesting, it has no flavor and isn’t a place one would want to go again and again. All flash, no substance.

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  140. The recommendations on this page are just as generic as any other tourist guide. The arrogance of the review is strange, given the mundane suggestions. If you want to really experience Chicago, take suggestions from somebody who likes to do the same things as you who has lived here a long time. If you like dive bars and rock music, checkout a show at the Empty Bottle. If you want great food in an “alternative area” stop by Longman & Eagle (the 1.5 hour wait is worth it). If you like good food, but prefer a more mainstream setting, have dinner in the west loop near Halsted and Randolph. If you like frat boy bars go to Wrigleyville. If you like gay bars, go to Boystown or Andersonville. If you like hipster dive bars, go to Logan Square. Have breakfast at Glen’s Diner or Titzal. Go see some jazz at the Green Mill. Get on Yelp and find a good mexican restaurant or taqueria between Cicero and Central Park on Fullerton. Go see art in Pilsen on the third Friday of every month. Go to a white sox or cubs game. Eat at Harold’s chicken in Hyde Park. Go drink Wine at Webster’s wine bar. Go to Wicker Park and have a sandwich at Jerry’s and a smoke in the park. Go to Lincoln Park and eat at RJ Grunt’s for a burger and observe rich families who raise children in the city. Take a drive down lake shore from North Ave all the way to Evanston, and walk around the lakeside parks at Northwestern University. Do all this stuff, and you will begin to understand why people love this city.

    • WOW that was absolutely great, B. Am still puzzled by editor calling the review ‘extremely funny’; the brownstone photo was mild at best, and closest to any kind of wit. YOU should have been paid for that review, B. Hurd.

  141. I have to disagree with the diss of Millennium Park. On a beautiful summer evening, there is not much in this world that is better than sitting in your comfy lawn chair — with good friends and a well-stocked cooler and picnic basket nearby — while enjoying a free world-class concert. Watch the sunset play off Chicago’s spectacular skyline; occasionally glance to the east at the beautiful expanse of Lake Michigan. The music continues and so does the magic as night falls and the skyline lights up against the evening sky. After the concert, wander over to the lakefront path (cross Lake Shore Drive at the light!) and gawk at the sailboats and yachts. Look south to the Shedd Aquarium, north to Navy Pier (which, IMHO, is best enjoyed at a distance). Don’t want to hassle with a lawn chair, cooler and picnic basket? Just grab a sandwich from one of your favorite nearby fast-food joints, sit on the grass (um, it might be damp…) and chill. <>

  142. Not very funny, kind of dorky humor. This is pretty entry level. That stuff is very typical Chicagoan but not all Chicagoans live such typical lives.

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  144. How’d you forget to mention Chicago’s home of chicken and waffles on the South side!! Must eat for the “ambience” ;)

  145. What Chicago really needs is another great fire.

    The city sucks. The people suck. The El sucks. Traffic sucks. The weather sucks. The Cubs suck.

    Everyone always told me how amazing Chicago was, especially in the summer, but I lived there for 1.5 years and have been back 6-8 times over the years. There is no more overrated city on the planet.

    Save your money and visit New York or San Francisco. People refer to it as “Shitcago” for a reason.

  146. Get out of here with anything else. Art of Pizza… all the way. I would seriously ride a 2 am, Red Line CTA train from Portland to Chicago if it means I could get a slice of that.

  147. This is great, born and raised in Uptown, never owned a car until married. Live in Florida, but 3 sons, sister and a friend of 57 yrs live there. Waiting for Global Warming, and I am moving back. Make two trips a year back, spring and Thanksgiving. LOVE THIS CITY.

  148. I’m not sure why everyone is dishing out places locals go to tourists. Soon we will have no safe havens. Is there no sanctity here?! Last thing I want is a family of hillbillies from KY coming up here with their 16 children on the vacation they spent their entire life savings on eating across from me at my favorite joints and ruining my happy place. FOR SHAME!

  149. So one gripe – the Tremont is every bit as ridiculously expensive as the Drake…is there some secret phrase that gets you a room for $90 a night? But you’re right, somehow when I first read this (before going), I missed the advice – Giordano’s pizza is in fact shit. Glad we found a legit Vienna Beef hot dog joint, because they were awesome, and I hate hot dogs.

  150. Lots of douchebaggery-ness going on about touristy spots, lol but I am from Texas and definitely love hole in the wall places. The dirtier the better. Unless of course I get robbed or raped in the alley… It can happen anywhere anytime ya know.

    My fiancé and I are visiting the wonderful Windy City first week of December and I am looking forward to getting frostbitten while I gaze at all the lame touristy shit, but after we Instagram all that jazz, we will definitely consider some of your awesome suggestions!!!

    Super duper excited to watch the bears destroy the cowboys and get wasted at random bars and eat crazy awesome cultural food that our town doesn’t have to offer. I’m pretty tired of debating on steak, burgers, sandwich places, Asian or Mexican, and texmex…… Give me the good stufffffffffffffffffff

    Idk wth I’m saying now, I’m just rambling. Had too much wine I guess. My thumbs get crazy on ze phone after a couple glasses.. Oy

    I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you for the legit post cause all the other posts I’ve searched on Google are LAME. Lol

  151. Great post. Some additions.

    You don’t mention any Mexican food at all, and that needs to be rectified.

    The best and most authentic (like, Mexican families hang out there to eat) is Huaraches Dona Chio, on the line between A-ville and Edgewater, on Elmdale. Tiniest hole in the wall, seems to be run by a family. I’ve had the same awesome waitress for over 3 years. But they’re not open super late. If you need to party, chances are you’re either near Division and Ashland (because you’re in the brand spankin’ new and mostly deplorable Wicker Park – get the hell out of there) or you’re further east near North and Clybourn going to some dance club someone in the Loop told you about. Better to check out Rainbo Room if you need to party and then hit up one of the THREE La Pasaditas just south of the Division/Ashland corner. It is not the most delicious burrito you’ve ever had, but I guarantee you it will be the most satisfying after being out with good people dancing your little heart out to a jukebox and possibly consuming too much alcohol (I don’t necessarily recommend the latter, but I know it happens).

    Since you don’t give much information for those who are musically or dance-ically inclined (and that’s the kind of Chicagoan I am), let me continue…

    If you really want to go to a good club and hang out w/ real people who are not all dressed up in formal attire, and if you don’t need to get so totally obliterated that you don’t even remember your time in Chicago, go a little farther south of Division/Ashland to Beauty Bar, on Chicago. They do a million very satisfying theme nights in a totally non-ironic way and it makes a lot of people really happy. Diverse crowds, predominantly upbeat humans. No, the hippest EDM DJ is not going to be there on the regular – but sometimes, they will be, just to plug their iPod in at Beauty Bar, because that’s how cool Beauty Bar is. The best place to go for some sick EDM – like, actually good electronic music to dance to that doesn’t sound like it is trying to bang your temples into submission – is The Mid. While the vibe there is too cool for school – which I hate with every fiber of my being – the electronic producers they bring there is worth it. Other people can dress like they’re going to a cotillion or some shit. I dress to dance comfortably for multiple hours. This is one of those no-sneakers places (barf), but since I’m a lady, I get away with whatever the fuck.

    Since you’re in town, you might as well check out what is happening at the following music venues: Metro, Martyrs, Empty Bottle, Elbo Room, Schubas, Lincoln Hall. Chances are you will find a pretty kick ass set at one of these venues, depending on your music preferences. I’d bet on Schubas, personally, basically every time. I am fairly certain the best Chicago house music is STILL found at SmartBar, located underneath Metro, which is just insane, because I used to listen to house music there when I was 20, which was a long time ago now.

    I want to say check out the Funky Buddha, but it got new owners a couple years ago, so I cannot vouch for it anymore. It used to be the best place to hear R&B, rap, and pop music – underground stuff to the stuff you hear on the radio, mixing in dusties and motown, and all sorts of awesome shit.

    If you’re going to Chicago in the summer, skip Lollapalooza *YUP SKIP IT* and instead go to Pitchfork just a few weeks earlier. Tamer crowds, smaller size, more interesing music, some insanity, but not so much insanity that you risk going to an institution afterwards. Lolla is a Goliath, mammoth event that will swallow you whole and spit you out the other side with someone else’s shirt on your body and a vague sense that you may have accidentally done shrooms. Real talk, Lolla can be a ton of fun. It’s not the end all be all of Chicago music festivals, though. Get the hell out of the Loop and go hang out in Union Park and make some friends and get very close to the stage for some truly awesome and unique music, and lose your mind just a little bit less.

    If you want to see some great local acts, Ed’s right, don’t bother with Broadway productions or musicals (for the most part). BUT DO bother with anything that the Goodman is showing. Do bother with anything at Steppenwolf. And you sure as shit better check out the main stage show at Second City. And iO offers so many shows you might not know where to begin. Begin with Harold. Or Improvised Shakespeare, if it’s still playing by the time you get yourself up here.

    And finally, if you want to see one of the best and most unique types of shows you will ever hope to see, plan to stay through Monday so you can go to the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill, hosted by the creator of poetry slam himself Marc Smith. You will have the time of your life, I guarantee it.

  152. 3 things I would include:

    1) B.L.U.E.S. on halsted. Very lowkey and polar opposite to Kingston Mines…doesnt serve food, only one stage…its perfect in its basic approach and has a better ambiance.

    2) Pizano’s or Art of Pizza for deepdish….both very tasty and dont leave you feeling bloated like Giordano’s, Lous, or the others…

    3) I am a half Italian (seriously) so I lost it when reading the part about the Bean….hilarious.

  153. The article is an opinion piece, sort it all out and you might learn something new. I recommend you read all the comments, some are dumb, but many have good info.

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