You can do pretty much anything you want in a city like Chicago. It’s like an idea jungle; it’s a city with discoveries to be made at every corner. Ben Britz and I recently spent a week in Chicago. We’re happy we gave the big town more than just a night. Our explorations took us around the block–a few times. Our readers and fans on Facebook and Twitter chimed in to give us some recommendations of spots to hit up. Those recommendations, combined with some spots we more or less accidentally bumped into and liked, make up this list. The list of what to do in Chicago, in case you don’t have a clue where to start.
1. Kuma’s Corner. If you like heavy metal and you like eating cow, you’ll love Kuma’s. Recommended initially by a trusted friend, all we had to do was see the menu online and we were sold. With burger choices like Slayer and Mastadon, Kuma’s is well worth the wait you’ll inevitably have to suffer through to get in the door.
2. Sushi Para M. A friend and Chicago local took us to Sushi Para M on Milwaukee for lunch one afternoon. All of us were strung out and exhausted from the night before, but the literal boat load of sushi we were served combined with the case of beer we were permitted to bring in woke us right up. This place is all you can eat sushi for $20 (not pre-made sushi–they make it to order on the spot). It’s also BYOB. The catch: you have to pay for whatever you don’t eat, so eat it all.
3. Ray’s Bucktown Bed and Breakfast. If you don’t already have a place to crash in Chicago, Ray’s is soooooo worthy of your time and money. I don’t know how to adequately describe this b&b, so here are some words that come to mind: photography, giant world map, sauna, steam room, breakfast made to order, vegan options, garden out back, washers and dryers available, top notch rooms, jacuzzi bath tubs, wireless, gigantic pottery collection, eccentric and fun owner, amazingly awesome staff, and convenient location.
4. Dublin’s. Someone told us to check out Dublin’s in Old Town. We did. We ate ridiculously good french fries while listening to a live Phish album that was being perpetuated by a young man determined to have Phish and only Phish on the jukebox all night. Somehow we liked all of this.
5. Dude, I Forgot. If you like smoke shops for tobacco or, um, non-tobacco recreational interests, Dude, I Forgot on Milwaukee avenue is THE SHIT. All of the beautiful hand-crafted pieces are locally crafted. The staff can tell you all about the artist behind each magical piece and the stuff is reasonably priced. Although primarily a smoke shop, this place also sells candles, incense, earrings, and hollowed out pens for your packing pleasure.
6. Delilah’s. She’s not just a song. Or a talk show host. She’s also a pretty cool punk bar you should check out. Not sold yet? Ok. They have over 400 types of Whiskey. How about now.
7. Kingston Mines. Ever wanted to just go watch some live blues music for the hell of it? Kingston Mines is the place to go. With more or less nonstop blues music, Kingston Mines has become a legendary venue in Chicago worth the admission dollars for anyone who likes to hum along, emotionally and heartfelt, to Miles Davis and Muddy Waters.
8. Foster Avenue Beach. It’s pretty. We liked it. We took some pictures we’ll hang onto forever. The water was cold, obviously, but not intolerable.
9. Angels & Kings. Although owned by Pete Wentz and friends and present in NYC and LA as well, Angels & Kings hasn’t lost its charm. We went to a party there our friends were hosting and the place was packed with people who weren’t at all unfriendly. In fact, a beautiful model changed her shirt on stage just for charity! Generous! A great DJ, DJ Abducted, was spinning and some bands we couldn’t turn away from held the stage. All for free.
10. Weiner Circle. Want weiners? Chicago weiners? This is a good place to grab onto some.
11. Cascade Drive-In Movie Theater. We had to drive 45 minutes to West Chicago to get to this recommended drive-in, but man, it was worth it. This place was fully functional, cheap ($9 for two movies), and this all came with the innate privacy and comfort of our own car.
12. Icosium Kafe. Recommended by a reader, promoted by us because of the crepes.
13. The Burwood Tap. This corner bar is old. It’ll remind you of Cheers. Mixed with a lot of cool shit Cheers didn’t have.
14. Ashkenaz Deli. For all your Jewish-Deli-food craving needs in Chicago.
15. Bistrot Zinc. Want French Toast? Go here.
We hope this helps.
By: Elizabeth Seward, The Better Photos By: Ben Britz