This particular walk from Belmont to the Lincoln Park Zoo area and beyond is one that goes through some very nice neighborhoods, works its way towards the Zoo and also, offers some options and pit stops. This post generally outlines the "frame" of the walk and some highlights. Hopefully others will offer their own favorite restaurants/stops along this route.

The start of the walk is the Belmont "L" stop, which is easily accessible from downtown by taking either the Brown Line "L" or Red Line subway from the Loop heading North. For more information, maps and fares, check transitchicago.com.

Once you arrive at the Belmont station, head down to the Street and start heading East towards the Lake. If you're heading through the area early in the day, the famed Ann Sather restaurant on Belmont, with its tasty cinnamon rolls and great breakfast choices, is a first-rate option. With the restaurant's large portions, you may find the long walk that awaits welcome.

After Ann Sather, keep heading East until you reach Belmont and turn South on Belmont. On the East side of the street just South of the intersection of Belmont and Broadway, you'll come across Reckless Records. The record store sells a mixture of new and used CDs and movies. However, their selection of music is pretty spectacular, as they stock not only a very wide variety of genres, but often have rare/imported CDs, as well. Additionally, the store offers occasional live performances.

From Reckless, it's another 6 blocks South on Broadway to the corner of Broadway, Clark (Broadway becomes Clark going further South) and Diversey. At this corner, you'll find the Century Centre Mall (2828 N Clark St)l, which is a good place to take a break if needed. The Mall also houses an art/foreign movie theatre, as well.

Afterwards, keep walking South on Clark approximately 10 blocks to Fullerton. At Fullerton, walk approximately 2 blocks East to Fullerton and Stockton. On the North side of the street, you'll see a large, sleek glassy building. That is the Peggy Notabert Nature Center, whose main exhibit is a beautiful live butterfly room, where visitors can stand in a large room with plants and trays of food while butterflies fly about the room. $7 admission/Thursdays free.

If you decide to skip the Notabert or after your visit, continue South on Stockton for less than a block. You'll come across the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which houses an incredible array of plants and often has flower shows (free.) A few steps East of the Conservatory is the entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo (also free.)

Make your way through the various exhibits of the Zoo and then head to the South end of the Zoo (Farm in the Zoo.)

From there, walk West through the park until you get to Clark St. Head South on Clark for a brief walk until you get to North Ave. At that intersection, you can:

  • A:Head a few blocks West to North and Wells and check out the shops and sights of Old Town (Second City, the Old Town Aquarium, The Spice House store, etc.)
  • B: Visit the Chicago Historical Society (although that is currently being renovated and will not open again until Fall of 2006.)
  • C: Continue South on Clark through a very nice residential area until you get to Clark/Division.

At Clark/Division, you can:

  • A: Take the Red Line subway at Clark/Division South to other stops in the River North or Loop area.
  • B: Walk East on Division to State, walk South to Rush, walk a couple of blocks South on Rush to Oak (boutique shopping), a block East on Oak to Michigan and then walk down Michigan Ave. back towards your hotel.
This walk would take up much of a day, but it's a very nice neighborhood walk that goes through the Lincoln Park area, the Zoo and then back to the North Michigan Avenue or Loop areas.