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‘Reporting times 500’: A Chicago guidebook that points you toward adventure


Lauren Viera’s city guide to Chicago doesn’t read like a typical guidebook – no 72-hour itineraries or explanatory advice on how to ride the CTA.

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Chicago,” which was published last fall, is mostly just lists of unique places. Five dance clubs, five farmers markets, five nature outings, five small museums, five high-end cocktail bars, five city myths – totalling up to 500.

“I'm not a fiction writer,” Viera said. “I'm very bad at making stuff up. So this is really just in my mind reporting times 500.”

In this episode, Viera explains her favorite “hidden secrets,” how she chose the places she chose to include and how writing this book changed the way she thinks about Chicago.

This episode was originally published on Nov. 22, 2023.