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    The Westin Chicago River North

    Chicago, United States


    Find and experience great local places nearby.

    With late checkout on Sundays and extended breakfast hours all weekend at participating hotels, you’ll enjoy extra time to explore your destination.

    Find the best of the local area.
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    Optimo Hats
    320 South Dearborn Street
    Chicago, United States
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    The True Chicago Fedora
    By Meghan McEwen

    Chicago’s beloved South Side hat shop, Optimo, recently opened a downtown location in the historic Monadnock building. A favorite of Johnny Depp and former Mayor Richard Daley, the new shop sells handmade felt fedoras and porkpies that appear to float inside custom display cases. (312) 922-2999. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue.

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    Ceres Cafe
    141 West Jackson Boulevard
    Chicago, United States
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    Don't Be Late for this Happy Hour
    By Meena Thiruvengadam

    You could say unmixed drinks are the specialty at this bar on the ground floor of the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Order a rum and Diet Coke and you'll get just that: a glass of rum with a can of Diet Coke on the side.

    This is a Monday through Friday happy hour hotspot that's popular with traders and with locals who work in the Loop. But its West Jackson Boulevard location also makes it perfect for travelers looking for affordable drinks (and snacks) between the Art Institute of Chicago and Willis Tower, two of the city's top attractions.

    Just get there before 8:00 p.m. This is one Chicago bar that pours its $5 drinks stiff and closes its doors early.

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    Three Dots and a Dash
    435 North Clark Street
    Chicago, United States
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    Chicago Tiki Bar - Voodoo Doll Not Included
    By Matthew Keesecker

    From the folks of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago comes their newest venture: voodoo magic. No, they are not selling dolls of those you disdain. However, you CAN buy incredibly well-crafted drinks that are served in skull-like glasses and commiserate over said persons if you like. Three Dots and a Dash is your modern day answer to the old school tiki bar, with a dash of funk. The address is technically on Clark, but you'll have to meander down an alleyway a touch in order to find the entrance. Upon arrival, the courteous staff will guide you to a stairwell (see above), that descends into the underbelly of the city. Upon entering you'll immediately notice that 3D and a D is far more 'lounge' than 'tiki.' Cozy booths circle the perimeter, with romantic tables for a few in the middle, and all is surrounded by thatched walls and a bar that is the token 'hut' of the place. The menu features such libations as Painkiller #3 and Pago Pago, both of which will do just what they say (I'm not sure what 'pago' is, but it sounds inviting.) If you need a snack, there is a menu of gourmet bar fare that will steel you for your next round of creative beverages. Oh, and the name of the place is Morse code for 'V,' as in 'victory,' which is exactly what you'll be saying after an epic night out with friends.

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    Fritz Pastry
    1408 West Diversey Parkway
    Chicago, United States
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    Fresh Fritz Pastries and More
    By Matthew Keesecker

    You want to go to Fritz's, trust me. Tucked away in an unassuming store front on Diversey Avenue in Chicago, Fritz's is a local neighborhood gem that flies under the radar. This cute shop boasts a small, yet delectable array of pastries and baked goods, some of which are even vegan. Should you desire something a bit more substantial, they also have a full breakfast and lunch menu, complete with an assortment of juices, teas, and other crafty-yet-healthy libations to nourish you through the day.

    Read More
    Tavern at the Park
    130 East Randolph Street
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Great Food in Downtown Chicago
    By Chris Chesak

    Tavern at the Park is an amazing foodie destination in downtown Chicago.

    The menu is full of delicious creations, including some nice variations on classic dishes. I found their wings (which are rubbed and then grilled, not fried) to be amazing, their calamari outstanding, and their burgers pretty incredible.

    The service has always been exemplary, both from waiters and bartenders alike. And make sure to seek out the De Castro brothers, co-owners of the restaurant that are always approachable, quick with a joke, and precociously glib.

    The restaurant looks right out on the park and has a comfortable, classy-yet-cozy feel to it. Warmer weather brings not only a sidewalk patio area, but also allows them to open the 'Tree House' a rooftop space with both an atrium and a deck that looks right out onto the park.

    Absolutely a 'must' stop on your next trip to Chicago for fine dining, business meetings, or your event.

    Read More
    Taqueria Los Comales
    2148 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Windy City Mexican That Blows Tex-Mex Out of the Water
    By Joseph Hernandez

    Little known fact: After Los Angeles and Houston, Chicago has the third largest Mexican population in the United States. Unlike those two cities, the praises of its deep Mexican heritage and food have yet to be sung.

    Consider me, then, the fat guy on the corner of the street hollering at you to try the stuff.

    Chicago's Pilsen, Wicker Park, and Bucktown neighborhoods are chock-a-block full of Mexican immigrants and working families making an honest living in new homes. How honest can you get when for years, taquerias and their ilk have been competing for the hearts, minds, dollars and taste-buds of these neighborhoods' growing student and artist classes?

    Sure, I can sit here, mouth full of Los Comales' taco of juicy, perfectly prepared beef tongue—deliciously dressed in pickled carrots, onions and cauliflower—and try to compel you away from the greasy, cheesy Tex-Mex of Houston, the 'California-fied' fish taco, but you'd be hard pressed to believe me. You'd need to see the bright vegetal colors, smell the sharp smack of vinegary aromatics, taste the cool Pacifico hitting the back of your throat, to believe, "Hey! Chicago has great Mexican food." The second, the instant, you hit that point, though? You've already forgotten CA and Texas; it's bigger, it's better, it's tastier in the Windy City.

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    Nightwood
    2119 South Halsted Street
    Chicago, United States
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    Fine Local Dining in the Heart of Chicago's Newest Art District
    By Caitlin Anne

    Chicago, known for its broad shoulders and its International appeal, is also an amazing spot for up-and-comers. The city holds an open forum for the new—be it art, performance, or food, the city promotes an energy for experimentation. Pilsen, located on the Southwest side is a formerly Polish, now Latino, neighborhood. Nightwood is tucked at the end of the Pilsen art drag along Halstead Street. The menu rotates frequently to showcases local and seasonal ingredients. Dinner here is fantastic and offers a wide variety of meal options ranging from pork cuts to ratatouille to their signature burger paired with their the well-crafted cocktails and wine selection.

    Brunch is done to the tens at Nightwood. Fresh hot donuts (pictured) to start things off, followed up with a unique play on eggs, a steaming carafe of pour over coffee, and of course drinks and light wines to accompany your weekend brunch vices.

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    Lincoln and Diversey
    2802 North Lincoln Avenue
    Chicago, United States
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    Bicycle Chicago
    By Matthew Keesecker

    One of the latest and greatest additions to the city of Chicago is the installation of Divvy Bikes. This bike rental program was just launched by the city itself, and boasts 400 locations and 4,000 available bikes. In the constant 'greening' of our metropolitan area, this is yet another way to improve our surroundings, reduce traffic, and see Chicago from a fantastic new vantage point. And with a plethora of bike lanes throughout town, you have plenty of places to safely cruise the streets.

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    Marina City
    300 N. State St.
    Chicago, United States
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    Chicago Corn Cobs
    By Jocelyn Kearl

    Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City, completed in 1964, led the way for a mixed use approach to architecture conceived as "live where you work and play" with the House of Blues occupying the plaza level. Learn a bit about Chicago's architecture on one of the many tours provided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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    Volume Gallery
    Chicago, United States
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    Chicago's Peripatetic Gallery
    By Meghan McEwen

    For their roving, event-based Volume Gallery, Claire Warner and Sam Vintz pluck contemporary American designers like Thaddeus Wolf and Rich Brilliant Willing and set up short-run installations at galleries all over Chicago. One of Chicago’s own, designer and metalworker Jonathan Nesci, created a collection for Volume called The New, which recalled banal forms like curbs and street lamps.

    Read More
    The Field Museum
    1400 S Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Chicago Field Museum
    By Kristen Knape

    The Field Museum is a must-see for anyone who could be interested in just about anything. Choose a topic, and chances are you could learn about it here. The dinosaur skeletons are truly spectacular.

    Read More
    The Green Door Tavern
    678 North Orleans Street
    Chicago, United States
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    The Original Speakeasy of Chicago
    By Matthew Keesecker

    After the great fire of Chicago, but before the new ordinance was passed saying no more wooden commercial structures, the building that is now the Green Door Tavern was erected. That was waaaaay back in 1872, and the place is still alive and kickin'. The name comes from Prohibition times, when establishments that turned a blind eye to the ban had green doors, so as to designate their unsavory (or savory rather) practices. The building even sports a bit of "lean" to it, due to its age. (If you partake in the Prohibition-era drinks, you'll also have a bit of lean upon departure.) In today's world of spotless countertops and mood lighting, the Green Door Tavern is nothing but the bare bones of the city's history. The food is good old-fashioned pub fare, and the drinks are beer and cocktails. Various events, from live music to costume parties, celebrate the time of gangsters and the like. So, while some may eschew going to a simple bar, know that this place is steeped in history and lore. If only the walls could talk...

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    Doughnut Vault
    401 North Franklin Street
    Chicago, United States
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    Go Early, Get Doughnut
    By kaitlyn barrett

    I have two pieces of advice for you regarding the Doughnut Vault:

    1. Go early. They open at 8am Tuesday-Friday and 9:30am on Saturdays and if you want a breath of a hope of a chance of getting a doughnut before they sell out, you want to be there before the shop opens and get in line. People will already be in line no matter what time you get there. It’s okay. The line moves fast.

    2. Get the gingerbread stack, three small cake donuts dusted in spiced sugar. Eat it on the way home and it will change your life. Trust me. Also try the buttermilk old fashioned doughnuts, which are epically delicious, but the gingerbread stack is a Doughnut Vault signature.

    The Doughnut Vault is tiny and easy to miss on the corner of Kinzie and Franklin. Look for the mural on the wall and the long line of people.

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    Gene's Sausage Shop
    4750 North Lincoln Avenue
    Chicago, United States
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    Your Neighborhood European Market of Chicago
    By Matthew Keesecker

    Founded in 1927 by two brothers from Poland, this market is a true throwback. When John and Gene started their sausage shop in the city of Chicago, it was still the era of Prohibition. Fast forward a few years, moves, and expansions, and the European-style market re-opened in Lincoln Square in 2009.

    Upon entering, you will swear you've been swept into a marketplace of a bygone era. Huge sausages hang from the ceiling, the deli is teeming with homemade delights, fresh bread (still warm) is beckoning, and that's just the first floor. Meander past the fresh produce and artisanal cheeses, ascend the enormous staircase, and you'll find yourself in the "spiritual" section. By this I mean a worldwide selection of beers, wines, and liquor that will leave you wanting for nothing. There is also an array of snacks and other necessary kitchen sundries, should you need to fortify your picnic basket before departing.

    When the season is right and the weather is nice, the rooftop beer and wine garden opens up. Food is served, music is played, and the seating is communal, so you'll make friends—guaranteed. It may not be Europe, but it sure does feel like it.

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    Le Café
    4655 North Lincoln Avenue
    Chicago, United States
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    Chicago's Boutique Coffe Shop
    By Matthew Keesecker

    Le Cafe is one of Chicago's hidden gems. Located in the quaint, yet happening, area of Lincoln Square, this 'boutique coffee shop' is everyone's idea of the perfect cafe. The space is warm and inviting, and there is more than enough space to settle in with that great book, or to write that final paper. The menu features such treats as a BLT complete with an egg on top (#perfection), and the selection of sodas and gourmet coffee is more than enough to keep you happily wired for a spell.

    Read More
    Optimo Hats
    320 South Dearborn Street
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    The True Chicago Fedora
    By Meghan McEwen

    Chicago’s beloved South Side hat shop, Optimo, recently opened a downtown location in the historic Monadnock building. A favorite of Johnny Depp and former Mayor Richard Daley, the new shop sells handmade felt fedoras and porkpies that appear to float inside custom display cases. (312) 922-2999. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue.

    Read More
    Taqueria Los Comales
    2148 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Windy City Mexican That Blows Tex-Mex Out of the Water
    By Joseph Hernandez

    Little known fact: After Los Angeles and Houston, Chicago has the third largest Mexican population in the United States. Unlike those two cities, the praises of its deep Mexican heritage and food have yet to be sung.

    Consider me, then, the fat guy on the corner of the street hollering at you to try the stuff.

    Chicago's Pilsen, Wicker Park, and Bucktown neighborhoods are chock-a-block full of Mexican immigrants and working families making an honest living in new homes. How honest can you get when for years, taquerias and their ilk have been competing for the hearts, minds, dollars and taste-buds of these neighborhoods' growing student and artist classes?

    Sure, I can sit here, mouth full of Los Comales' taco of juicy, perfectly prepared beef tongue—deliciously dressed in pickled carrots, onions and cauliflower—and try to compel you away from the greasy, cheesy Tex-Mex of Houston, the 'California-fied' fish taco, but you'd be hard pressed to believe me. You'd need to see the bright vegetal colors, smell the sharp smack of vinegary aromatics, taste the cool Pacifico hitting the back of your throat, to believe, "Hey! Chicago has great Mexican food." The second, the instant, you hit that point, though? You've already forgotten CA and Texas; it's bigger, it's better, it's tastier in the Windy City.

    Read More
    Tavern at the Park
    130 East Randolph Street
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Great Food in Downtown Chicago
    By Chris Chesak

    Tavern at the Park is an amazing foodie destination in downtown Chicago.

    The menu is full of delicious creations, including some nice variations on classic dishes. I found their wings (which are rubbed and then grilled, not fried) to be amazing, their calamari outstanding, and their burgers pretty incredible.

    The service has always been exemplary, both from waiters and bartenders alike. And make sure to seek out the De Castro brothers, co-owners of the restaurant that are always approachable, quick with a joke, and precociously glib.

    The restaurant looks right out on the park and has a comfortable, classy-yet-cozy feel to it. Warmer weather brings not only a sidewalk patio area, but also allows them to open the 'Tree House' a rooftop space with both an atrium and a deck that looks right out onto the park.

    Absolutely a 'must' stop on your next trip to Chicago for fine dining, business meetings, or your event.

    Read More
    Taqueria Los Comales
    2148 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Windy City Mexican That Blows Tex-Mex Out of the Water
    By Joseph Hernandez

    Little known fact: After Los Angeles and Houston, Chicago has the third largest Mexican population in the United States. Unlike those two cities, the praises of its deep Mexican heritage and food have yet to be sung.

    Consider me, then, the fat guy on the corner of the street hollering at you to try the stuff.

    Chicago's Pilsen, Wicker Park, and Bucktown neighborhoods are chock-a-block full of Mexican immigrants and working families making an honest living in new homes. How honest can you get when for years, taquerias and their ilk have been competing for the hearts, minds, dollars and taste-buds of these neighborhoods' growing student and artist classes?

    Sure, I can sit here, mouth full of Los Comales' taco of juicy, perfectly prepared beef tongue—deliciously dressed in pickled carrots, onions and cauliflower—and try to compel you away from the greasy, cheesy Tex-Mex of Houston, the 'California-fied' fish taco, but you'd be hard pressed to believe me. You'd need to see the bright vegetal colors, smell the sharp smack of vinegary aromatics, taste the cool Pacifico hitting the back of your throat, to believe, "Hey! Chicago has great Mexican food." The second, the instant, you hit that point, though? You've already forgotten CA and Texas; it's bigger, it's better, it's tastier in the Windy City.

    Read More
    Volume Gallery
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Chicago's Peripatetic Gallery
    By Meghan McEwen

    For their roving, event-based Volume Gallery, Claire Warner and Sam Vintz pluck contemporary American designers like Thaddeus Wolf and Rich Brilliant Willing and set up short-run installations at galleries all over Chicago. One of Chicago’s own, designer and metalworker Jonathan Nesci, created a collection for Volume called The New, which recalled banal forms like curbs and street lamps.

    Read More
    Fritz Pastry
    1408 West Diversey Parkway
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Fresh Fritz Pastries and More
    By Matthew Keesecker

    You want to go to Fritz's, trust me. Tucked away in an unassuming store front on Diversey Avenue in Chicago, Fritz's is a local neighborhood gem that flies under the radar. This cute shop boasts a small, yet delectable array of pastries and baked goods, some of which are even vegan. Should you desire something a bit more substantial, they also have a full breakfast and lunch menu, complete with an assortment of juices, teas, and other crafty-yet-healthy libations to nourish you through the day.

    Read More
    The Field Museum
    1400 S Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, United States
    Show Map
    Chicago Field Museum
    By Kristen Knape

    The Field Museum is a must-see for anyone who could be interested in just about anything. Choose a topic, and chances are you could learn about it here. The dinosaur skeletons are truly spectacular.

    Read More

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