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

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

  1. Pingback: Sunday Scraps 93 | rosiesaysblog

  2. Thanks for letting me know I’ve been doing it right this whole time. (I stay at the Palmer House!)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    • None of the locals call it Willis Tower, either. It will always be Sears Tower.

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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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  12. “Chicago’s Pizza” is shit, even while drunk at 4 am. But at least you didn’t shit all over Portillo’s. Well done.

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  14. 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.

  15. 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. <>

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

  19. 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.

  20. Hi, I read your blog on a regular basis. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work!

  21. I am a Chicagoan and pretty much all of this is correct, I am still laughing from it.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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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  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. If by whitest you mean one of the top 7 least white cities in the US then you would be right. No shit we are beat out by El Paso, Detroit, Houston, etc. But I guess you’ve never left Lincoln Park.

  36. 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.

  37. 100% agree…its no different than the thousand other places….my favorite (no one cares) is Pizanos.

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