Looking to escape the tourist jumble on Michigan Avenue during your visit to Chicago? Travel over to nearby Wicker Park for the day. It's within minutes of downtown yet it couldn't be more different. Widely known for its youthful and hipster vibe, Wicker Park is home to some prime dining and drinking spots that have a much more local feel that many of the places you’ll find in other parts of the city. In addition to being a great spot to grab a bite, this neighborhood is also an excellent place to browse boutiques or catch a show at a music venue.
Breakfast Bites: Bongo Room
Chicago is serious about breakfast and brunch and Bongo Room manages to remain one of the top spots in the city year after year. Dishes are tempting thanks to fun and inventive twists on the familiar dishes like pumpkin carrot cake flapjacks and a BLT Benedict. Weekend brunches are popular, so stop by on a weekday morning for shorter lines.
Lunchtime Nosh: Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
This local pizza place is a favorite among neighborhood residents. Unlike the ever-present deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, Piece offers up something lighter that’s perfect for a lunchtime stop. Picture a thin-crust pizza with crispy browned bubbles lining the edges. Even better, you can wash it all down with one of Piece’s award-winning brews.
Delectable Dinner: Schwa
For a sophisticated dining experience, make a reservation at Schwa. Chef Michael Carlson creates a new nine-course menu each season that reflects culinary influences from around the world. The plates are just as beautiful as the food is delicious, making each visit a memorable experience. Don’t forget to BYOB!
Drinking Time: Hideout
Hideout has a bit of something for everyone. On nights when a special event is being held, whether it’s a dance party or live music, the bar can be packed to the brim with hip locals. On quieter nights, visitors will find that Hideout has a welcoming low-key vibe. Either way, a night here is a great way to soak in a unique Wicker Park experience.
Late-Night Snack: Big Star
Satisfy those post-bar cravings with a bite from Big Star (open till 2 a.m. Sunday through Friday, 3 a.m. on Saturday). The al pastor tacos are especially popular, and if you’re stopping by on a reasonably warm night, don’t miss the outdoor patio. The bar is also a highlight with margaritas by the pitcher and a list of well-mixed cocktails.
For more info about traveling in Chicago, check out our Chicago City Guide.