48 Hours in Chicago

October 16, 2017

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Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Peter Miller.

The birthplace of the skyscraper and home to some of the most famed architecture on the planet, Chicago is not only strikingly beautiful, but a city where dreams come true. Maybe it’s the strong sense of community and support inherent in Midwesterners. Maybe it’s the chip on our shoulder from nicknames like “Second City”, pushing us to strive to be number one. Maybe it’s our tough-as-nails mentalities honed over years of brutal winters. Whatever it is, rather than race to one-up each other, people here want to help each other succeed.

A wise friend once told me that Chicago is the quintessential American city: it’s chock-full of a hard working ethos, that famed Midwestern niceness and the juxtaposition of old and new on nearly every street. With over 70 neighborhoods, it’s home to one of the most diverse populations in the US. It’s the ultimate melting pot, but beyond that it’s a place where people — and their dreams — are welcomed, supported and celebrated.

Day 1

Valois.

9am: Rise and shine with a classic Chicago breakfast at Hyde Park’s iconic cafeteria, Valois. Fuel up on crispy hash browns, tire-sized pancakes and President Obama-endorsed steak and eggs.

11am: Walk it off with a trip to Jackson Park’s Osaka Garden, where you can bliss out amidst lagoons, Asian shrubbery and a picture-perfect bridge poised behind the Museum of Science and Industry.

12pm: Head up Lake Shore Drive and drink in the skyline views as you make your way downtown. Keep your Zen going at Maya Polsky Gallery in River North, one of the art district’s best galleries.

Jayson Home.

1:30pm: Stroll eastward and join the line at XOCO for a scrumptious Mexican lunch. Fill up with wood-fired tortas, chile-laced caldos and pistachio-glazed churros.

3pm: Travel north to Lincoln Park and immerse yourself in the greenery of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The popular butterfly exhibit — fluttering with life and gorgeous flora — has earned the hype and is worth a visit.

5pm: Get your shopping fix at Lincoln Park’s Jayson Home, which is stuffed with awe-inspiring furniture and home décor.

RM Champagne Salon

7pm:  Time for dinner! No better place to be on your first night than Restaurant Row in the West Loop. Your best bet is avec, Randolph Street’s impeccable Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar.

9:30pm: Venture farther down Randolph and then Green Street alley for a bubbly nightcap (and some macarons!) at dreamy RM Champagne Salon, where you’ll want to park yourself for the rest of the night.

Day 2

City Lit Books.

9:30am: Kick-start your day with a cup of house-roasted java at Logan Square’s bustling Gaslight Coffee Roasters.

10:30am: Mosey along Logan Boulevard, admire the greenery and stop off at City Lit Books, an independent bookshop conveniently tucked smackdab in the heart of Logan Square.

12pm: Enjoy brunch at Lula Café, where you’ll find killer daily specials like frittatas with smoked almond pesto, green chorizo sopes and cornbread French toast.

Transit Tees.

1:30pm: Take the “L” two stops from Logan Square to Damen in Wicker Park, and swing by Transit Tees. Inspired by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus and train systems, this store has Chicago-centric everything from housewares to T-shirts.

3pm: Find your afternoon pick-me-up with a glass of quenching agua fresca, a basket of chips and guacamole at Antique Taco. While there, you may as well check out some antiques, too.

4pm: Hail a cab and speed southward to Pilsen. Take in the cultural scenery of the 18th Street corridor, including breathtaking murals.

Antique Taco.

6pm: Walk two blocks to Thalia Hall for your one-two punch of dinner and drinks. Dine at Dusek’s Board and Beer, a restaurant that does contemporary American cuisine mighty well, and settle in for a glass of punch at subterranean cocktail bar, Punch House.

10pm: To continue your night out, walk 20 minutes or hop in a taxi to Skylark. It’s a wonderful dive with an impressive craft beer selection, and, if you’re feeling peckish, phenomenal pierogies.

About The HUNT Chicago Writer: When it came time to move away for college, the choice destination was obvious to New Hampshire native Matt Kirouac: Chicago. After earning a culinary degree from Robert Morris University, he became a food writer. He’s written for various publications and has served as the associate editor for Plate Magazine. Away from his laptop, Matt enjoys bowling, walking his dog around Ukrainian Village and being overly competitive when playing video games with his husband.

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