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Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Chicago, Illinois
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Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Hi everyone, I feel a little silly posting here because I am a native Chicago suburbanite (born in River Grove) and I hang out in the city pretty often. I am interested in seeing some really "off the beaten path" stuff. I am all too familiar with Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Sears Tower, museum campus, etc. You know, the usual tourist stuff. I am interested in seeing some less iconic but nonetheless interesting neighborhood haunts, i.e. unique and quirky sites, shops, attractions - local flavor type stuff. Basically, if you live in Chicago (REALLY in Chicago), what are some of your favorite places? Trying to avoid driving around the city since it is awful to do so, so we're really hoping for suggestions near the CTA/Metra stops. I am also consulting Yelp and other resources, but am interested in what people on the forum have to say. Thanks!

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Also, in terms of "weird stuff" we've already done, we have been to the Music Box, Graceland Cemetery, Margie's Candies, and most of the well known food establishments.

Edited: 23 May 2013, 17:46
Illinois
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2. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Check out this book - amazon.com/Oddball-Illinois-Really-Strange-P…

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

You will need a car to get to "oddball" places n the city or take a lot of busses. What do you consider "oddball"? Oddball for a suburnbanite might be generic city fun for us. Wicker Park / Bucktown, Old Town, Chinatown, Southport corridor, Lincoln Square... antiquing on Belmont, tanning on kathy Osterman Beach, Andersonville. (Catch a show at Mary's Attic) ... I know what you mean about someone from Chicago answering your questions about Chicago. So many self identified Chicagoans on TA don't live in The City and their knowledge is limited to tourist traps.

chicago
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4. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

you might get more suggestions if you pick a specific neighborhood and then ask for ideas

wicker park, lincoln square, logan square, pilsen

or just pick a neighborhood and explore on your own, i think pilsen would be fun if you have never been

Chicago
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5. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Yes, the ethnic neighborhoods are certainly interesting...Chinatown, Pilsen or Devon Avenue...or something cultural and off the beaten path like the Swedish Museum or the Surgical Science Museum which is in a mansion on Lake shore Drive...

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Thanks all, we have done Chinatown, Little Italy, and Greektown, too. In terms of narrowing down a neighborhood, usually we wind up in the Loop area, but are open to other areas depending on what people suggest. Really just looking for suggestions of where the "natives" authentically frequent. ;)

Illinois
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7. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

Sign up for a free tour from - http://chicagogreeter.com/

Chicago's North...
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8. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

i guess i fall into the " So many self identified Chicagoans on TA don't live in The City and their knowledge is limited to tourist traps." group, but here's my 2¢.............

http://www.sciplus.com/OurStores

http://www.calumetfisheries.com/

…state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r2/wmpow.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essanay_Studios

the store is closed, but the building is/was an institution, perhaps you can still score a boat:

www.chicagolandcanoebase.com/ralphfrese.html

Chicago, IL
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9. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

I'm one of those " So many self identified Chicagoans on TA don't live in The City and their knowledge is limited to tourist traps" people too but perhaps even us suburbanites (wait no I'm even worse, I'm a Hoosier) have a few idea to offer

There's a great bike ride in the fall in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago

http://www.bapa.org/content.asp?contentid=155

The Four Star bike tour (formerly the Boulevard Lakefront tour) takes you through all kinds of neighborhoods you wouldn't normally see. Usually it goes through Garfield Park, the conservatory there is worth the trip out.

There are tours of Pullman which I find to be a fascinating part of the city, in the fall I believe they still do the home tour and you can see the Florence Hotel which was in "Road to Perdition".

http://www.pullmanil.org/tours.htm

Pack your bikes and drive to the southside, you can park at the South Shore Cultural Center, see where Barack and Michelle had their reception, ride north over the animal bridge, along the way you can see Jackson Harbor, the 63rd Street casino (beach pavilion), McCormick Place, the Balbo Monument, Promontory Point, the sunken shipwreck, the replica statue of the republic, go out near the Adler Planetarium for one of the best views of the skyline. Round trip I'd say it's about 16-17 miles to the Shedd and back.

Grand houses-the Robie House in Hyde Park, the Driehaus Museum on Erie, mansions on Prairie Avenue, you can visit the oldest house in Chicago, the Clarke House or the Glessner House.

Maybe check the CAF's website or the Chicago History Museum, they frequently have tours of interesting neighborhoods, we did a Leopold and Loeb tour in Kenwood last year with the CHM that was interesting. CAF also has a tour of Kenwood, there are lots of really interesting places down there as that's where the rich once lived (and Obama's house is there too), you can see the Nation of Islam house, the FLW designed Heller house, houses where Muhammad Ali and Julius Rosenwald lived

You want to eat some place different? Try Pearl's in Bronzeville for soul food (park and drive, don't use public transport), on the weekends they have an amazing buffet. Go to Szalas out near Midway for Polish food or maybe try Red Apple on Milwaukee Avenue. I'm sure you know about the Maxwell Street market, great Mexican street food on Sundays and those addictive churros. A little outside the city limits in the dreaded suburbs is Grand Duke's, what a hoot going there on the weekends and dancing with the Lithuanians. Turkish Bakery on Clark in Andersonville has belly dancing on the weekends and wonderful Turkish food.

And crossing over that state line into Indiana, why not go to Whiting at the end of July for Pierogi Fest or head out to the Indiana Dunes for hiking or beach time.

And finally you might check out the Open House weekend next fall, October 19-20th, where they open up oodles of fasincating places, last year we visited the mosque down on Stony Island, the Powhowtan apartments, the Driehaus, the Charnley Persky House and a bunch of other places scattered about the city.

Chicago's North...
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10. Re: Non-iconic Chicago sites, shops, quirks, and attractions?

gee, for a hoosier suburbanite, you got some pretty good ideas;-)