30 Attractions In Chicago Beyond The Typical ‘Best Of’ Lists | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Morning Shift

30 Attractions In Chicago Beyond The Typical 'Best Of' Lists

The New York Times travel section raised the ire of many Chicagoans when its recent '36 Hours In Chicago' guide ignored the entire South Side of the city and everything west of Damen.

The furthest attraction to the South highlighted by the Times was the Art Institute of Chicago at 111 S. Michigan Avenue.

In a Twitter post, a travel editor from the paper defended the approach.

But over all four editions of "36 Hours In Chicago" since 2010, the Times suggested readers visit dozens of North Side and downtown attractions, but only a handful of South Side spots, most of them in neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Bridgeport.  

Here at the Morning Shift, we believe that ain’t right.

We checked in with three Chicagoans in the know about what to see, do and eat across the ENTIRE city. We also took suggestions from listeners.

Here’s our list, which was compiled from what our guests and listeners said on the air and shared via text and social media. It’s not comprehensive, but it will certainly provide some new options for tourists and locals alike.

Chicago has 77 community areas and many more neighborhoods within them. For our list, we hit about 30 neighborhoods that “best-of” lists typically shun.

Archer Heights: Kazmierzanka Lounge, 4785 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60632 ― Polish fare, darts and a bar known as “Mama’s House”

Ashburn: D&D’s Place, 8324 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60652 ― Donut Fest Chicago 2018 winner

Back of the Yards: Plant Chicago, 1400 W 46th St, Chicago, IL 60609 ― Non-profit focused on cultivating “circular economies” with an indoor aquaponics farm, net zero classroom and more

Beverly: Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655 ― Dance, visual arts, music, film and theater in a 40,000 square-foot space

Bridgeport: Marz Community Tap Room And Kitchen, 3630 S Iron St, Chicago, IL 60609 ― Cloudy IPAs, other artisanal brews and a great tagline: “What’s Marz Is Yours”

Brighton Park: Crawford Steel Company Mural, 3141 W 36th Place, Chicago, IL 60632 ― Graffiti and street art from around the world brightens an industrial building

Bronzeville: Peaches Restaurant, 4652 S King Drive, Chicago, IL 60653 ― Pancakes galore, biscuits and gravy, duck bacon and other creative Southern brunch options

Canaryville: Union Stockyard Gate, 850 W Exchange Ave, Chicago, IL 60609 ― Iconic reminder of Chicago’s history as “Hogbutcher for the World”

Chatham: Essential Elements Chicago, 1640 E 87th St, Chicago, IL 60617 ― Women’s designer clothing, hip jewelry and a shoetique

Chicago Lawn: Mind+Hand, 5400 S Pulaski Rd 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60632 ― Maker space, career-training facility and ed-tech company

East Garfield Park: Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624 ― One of the largest botanical conservatories in the nation

Englewood: Kusanya Cafe, 825 W 69th St, Chicago, IL 60621 ― Non-profit coffee shop and roastery, community events hub

Galewood: Mars Candy Factory, 2019 N Oak Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60707 ― Ever eat a bite-sized Snickers? This is where it was made.

Greater Grand Crossing: Brown Sugar Bakery, 328 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619 ― Cobblers, cookies, sweet potato pie, the signature Caramel Cake and a whole lot more

Hegewisch: Wolf Lake + William W. Powers State Recreation Area, 12949 S Avenue O, Chicago, IL 60633 ― Hiking, biking, birdwatching and more on a 804-acre lake that straddles Chicago and Indiana

Humboldt Park: The 606 California Access Point, 2800 W Bloomingdale Ave, Chicago, IL, 60647 ― Any access point to this elevated trail is nice. Entering at California gives you access to the Western half of the trail, which tends to be less busy but just as beautiful.

Hyde Park: Promontory Point, 5491 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615 ― One of our guests says the Point offers the best view of the Chicago skyline hands-down.  

Irving Park: WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, 3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618 ― Public access point to the Chicago River for kayaks, boats, et cetera

Jefferson Park: Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W Higgins Ave, Chicago, IL 60630 ― Drawings, painting, prints and more by Chicago artist Ed Paschke in a beautiful space

Little Village: Dulcelandia, 3253 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623 ― Pinatas, bulk candy, and many other colorful treats

Montclare: Radio Flyer, 6515 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60707 ― More than 100 years after it was founded by an Italian immigrant to Chicago, this homegrown business is still family-owned and still flying.

Near West Side: The Water Hole, 1400 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60608 ― Live music three night a week from local and national acts

North Lawndale: Martin Luther King Fair Housing Museum, 1550 S Hamlin Ave, Chicago, IL 60623 ― Explore the history of Martin Luther King Jr.'s time in Chicago 

Pilsen: National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608 ― Showcase of Mexican art and culture featuring 5,000 works 

Pullman: Pullman State Historic Site, 11111 S Forrestville Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628 ― Notable architecture in the old factory town turned Chicago neighborhood

Roseland: Old Fashioned Donuts, 11248 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60628 ― Some of the best donuts in town served up for more than 45 years

South Deering: Big Marsh Park, 11559 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60633 ― Eco-recreation, biking and more on Chicago’s far South Side

South Shore: Surf’s Up South Shore, 2236 E 71st St, Chicago, IL 60649 ― Hennessy wings, fried perch, lobster and other seafood delights   

Uptown: The Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 ― North Side club for traditional, bebop, contemporary and improvisational jazz   

Washington Park: Currency Exchange Cafe, 305 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637 ― Hot spot for American/Mexican/Filipino food that’s being re-concepted this fall   

If you have a suggestion for something to see, do or eat that's off the beaten track in Chicago, tweet us at @WBEZMorning or leave the show's producers a voicemail at 855-848-5551.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.

CLOSE X