Chicago Recommendations
December 24, 2021 1:25 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I will be in Chicago at the end of March. Looking for recommendations!

Looking for recommendations for a neighborhood to stay in with easy access to record stores, vegan food, and music venues. We've never been, so general hipster-adjacent recommendations are all helpful. 30s, no kids, we prefer to walk and take public transportation.
posted by kittensofthenight to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (8 answers total)
Wicker Park/Bucktown or Logan Square are the most obvious general hipsters and young people spots. For Logan, check out the Inn at Longman & Eagle. For Wicker Park, check out The Robey hotel. For more adventurousness, you may want to look at the Pilsen neighborhood. Andersonville is pretty cool too, but further from the city center than the others.
posted by Mid at 1:41 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

You'll probably want to check out Milwaukee Ave. between Division St. and North Ave.
posted by amtho at 2:02 PM on December 24, 2021

I will say that as a mid-30s-person I have started to feel old on the Milwaukee corridor. I took my college-aged brother out in Wicker Park over the summer. I live near Andersonville and that would be my preference; lots of great music venues just south of there, in Uptown. (otoh I am old for my age so ymmv!)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 2:25 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Hipster-centric or no, you *must* go to the Art Institute. Period. Across the street, find the Chicago Athletic Association - that's worth considering for your hotel, and definitely worth a drink while enjoying a drink and the view from Cindy's Rooftop. I'd also suggest a meal at The Girl and the Goat - not 100% vegan, but you can put together a nice vegan meal there no doubt. Also...plan to walk the Magnificent Mile and the riverfront at night - one of the most beautiful cities in the world at night. Enjoy!
posted by tmharris65 at 4:44 AM on December 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you have never been to Chicago, I would say you should stay at the Palmer House Hilton, Just Because. For a small place in Wicker Park, the Wicker Park Inn is nice.
posted by diodotos at 12:33 PM on December 25, 2021

If you want that 'really high up view' I suggest the John Hancock building. There was (is? it's been years) a bar on the floor just below the observation deck, so you get the view for the price of a beer/drink. For me it was part of a long walk on the 'miracle mile'

Definitely the Art Institute or the Field Museum.
posted by TimHare at 5:37 PM on December 25, 2021

Downtown (the Loop) where most of the tourist attractions are is obviously not hipster-ish at all. I do recommend the Art Institute if you like art though, and haven’t been. The permanent collection is amazing, and in my opinion only second to the Met (well, and MOMA) in the US. If you want a more quirky art museum, there’s our outsider art museum (Near the blue line). If you’ve never been, I insist you spend at least one day in the loop, seeing the touristy chicago stuff. I’m going to focus on other stuff here, to supplement the other answers above.

The obvious recommendation for neighborhoods with hipster interests are Logan Square, Avondale, and kinda Wicker Park (although the shops are mostly national chains on the main drags in Bucktown/wicker park these days). So you’re looking at riding the blue line (which starts out at O’Hare) with stops at Logan Square (Logan Square), Damen & Division (Wicker Park). The Belmont stop is in Avondale but most of the shops you’ll want to go to are on Milwaukee Ave. and the blue line swerves East North of the Logan stop. If you’re really into walking and it’s nice out you could take a day and start at Reckless and walk northwest Milwaukee through Logan, ending at Record Breakers, popping into shops along the way.

Record shops I’d recommend are Reckless Records (the biggest option) in Wicker Park (they have locations in other neighborhoods too), and Record Breakers in Avondale. You can take the El and walk or jump on the Milwaukee bus between all of that amongst these neighborhoods. Bucket O’ Blood has records and books and is interesting because it has a lot of sci-fi, horror and heavy metal but they do also stock more mainstream stuff. It’s not near a lot of other hipster shops, though right across from a beer store/bar called Beer Temple if you’re looking for unique beers. Bric-a-Brac on the border of Logan and Avondale has records—it’s not my jam, but there’s always a line outside on record store day. They also have a lot of 80s-90s toys, movies etc. I think they’re moving deeper into Avondale soon so check the location again before going this spring.

While you’re in Wicker Park check out Myopic Books too. A lot of music venues have shut down in the past 10 years (RIP Double Door which is now a Yeti store :( ) If you’re into shows I’d check out the listings to see what’s on. The Hideout is a cool, intimate venue you might be into but is not near anything else and not great to get to on public transport (take a bus and walk) so I’d get a car there. If you’re staying in Wicker Park, the place I used to see shows the most after everything shut down was Subterranean, but check out what’s on. I don’t know of any music-specific venues in Logan Square but in general it has more independent shops and a very good restaurant scene (make reservations if it’s on a best of list). If you’re a foodie I suggest checking out Eater Chicago for ideas. The classic suggestion for vegan food is the Chicago Diner (there’s one in Logan Square) and Ground Conrol in the southwest part of Logan (it’s a big neighborhood!). I’m not veg so that’s all I know about explicitly but I’m sure there’s plenty of options around Chicago. My vegan friend’s favorite restaurant nearby is a Costa Rican place called Irazu on Milwaukee in Bucktown (on Milwaukee in between Wicker Park and Logan) FWIW.

There are other neighborhoods hipsters have flocked to after wicker park and Logan square got too expensive (Pilsen and Bridgeport) but they’re on a different train line and not as known to me — just throwing it out there if you want to explore more options. Andersonville is cool, but I would peg it as an older scene than you. My favorite record shop in the city is Dave’s on Clark in Lincoln Park. It’s pricey but he gets great stuff.

You don’t ask, but March in chicago can be snowing or 70 and sunny. Wear layers, check the weather. If you’re coming on weekends adjacent to St. Patrick’s Day beware because a lot of tourists, suburbanites, etc. come in to drink for the holiday. As for places to stay in the neighborhoods above, there’s plenty of Air BnBs, probably some inns, etc. but there’s two I know about — more expensive, but cool are The Robey is a cool hotel (now part of design hotels Marriott) with a rooftop pool in the center of wicker park. There’s also the Inn above a great (not veg) whiskey bar/restaurant Longman & Eagle right in the heart of Logan across from the blue line stop.
posted by Bunglegirl at 3:07 PM on December 26, 2021

+1 try the Hideout if there is any show you are remotely interested in. Really fun place.
posted by Mid at 6:04 AM on December 27, 2021

« Older So Confused and Conflicted. What to do?   |   I'm a new manager, and I suck at it Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.