NFT Chicago Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park's yuppie vibe may strike fear into the heart of the city's hipsters, but with cultural institutions like the famed Steppenwolf Theatre and cultural institutions like the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo's Nature Boardwalk just for starters, the neighborhood is one of the tops in popularity for a reason. High rent and real estate prices make most want to just pay a visit.

While Alinea may get the most attention as the nation's most renowned restaurant, less expensive fare at spots like See more.

>Frances' Deli (Lincoln Park's oldest) keep people coming to eat. Halsted Street's designer boutiques might be too much for some, but the bricks-and-mortar location of online consigner eDrop-Off saves the day for today's recessionista fashionistas.

Post-pub dogs at Wiener's Circle are a Lincoln Park rite-of-passage, where the servers are infamous for their saucy attitudes. Elsewhere on the food chain, raw foodies flock to Karyn's. Meanwhile, Nookies is your greasy spoon option. Visit Hema's Kitchen for Indian fare and Robinson's for barbecue.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
The Little Man

By Jill Jaracz
 Jill Jaracz takes you on a tour of Chicago's tiny convenience stores and explains how good things come in small packages or even small spaces.

Chicago's Amazing Parks

By Kelly Pucci
Aren't public parks the darndest things? Open, available and lush with wildlife. To think there was a time when common laborers knew not such things... Please, allow Kelly Pucci to give you a guided, arboreal tour of the jungle, not the concrete, because this isn't a Bob Marley song. This is real life.

Singin' in the Pain: Where to Find True Blue Chicago

By Douglas DuBrin
Ah, the blues. Nothing like the gruff, dejected drawn-out wail of misery. It came from the South. It takes up residence in the fields of the fertile Midwest. Douglas DuBrin callously categorizes his city's jazz joints by geography and calibre. Determine the rightfulness of his delineations in the article which follows.

Chicago’s Independent Film Community

By Keidra Chaney
So many films, so little time. Am I right, fellas? So true. See tens of hundreds of quadrillions of new films with political, ethnocentric, gender-oriented and underage screenings of films of all shapes and budgets! Chicago: It's so much more than comedy.

The Cheapskate's Guide to Chicago

By Dana Kaye
Dana Kaye sure said it straight when she declaimed: "You don’t have to be gay to enjoy all the drink specials on Halsted." But you do have to be on a budget. Chicago is no city for the thrifty, but Dana Kaye is not one for following the rules. Take heed as she stealthily discloses the secrets to getting by with no money.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Elks Veterans Memorial Building
Though it was renovated this spring, few know that the Elks have their National Memorial (and Headquarters) in Chicago. You may never walk by this stately building, which sits opposite Lincoln Park, but you might have zoomed past it in a bus many times. It reminds me of Ulysses S. Grant's tomb in New York with its grand columns, muscular sculptures, and incredible dome. The Elks basement has a few medals, letters, and miniature parade floats in glass cases, and there's something about those relics that feels a little haunted... You may have no connection to, or interest in, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, but the building itself is free to explore and it's a surprise worth seeking.

Posted By:  Alisha Miranda
Photo:  Getaway Hostel

Getaway Hostel
I'm not much for amenities when it comes to traveling. I just need a comfortable bed for a good night's sleep, nice people to keep me company, and internet to keep me mobile on the go. I was happy to find Getaway Hostel so, well... hospitable as I booked my trip to Chicago. It's like a giant happy family opened up a dorm and invited all us young broke kids to crash. Expect the bare basics when booking a room, but the awesome people you'll meet and beautiful neighborhood make up for it. I highly recommend staying here if you're stopping through the Windy City, and be sure to give them a shout out for me!

Posted By:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya
Photo:  Tatyana Zaprudskaya

Bourgeois Pig Cafe
Fondly dubbed "The Pig" by DePaul's frequent patrons, Lincoln Park's French import is an old-world style coffee house that offers breakfast, coffee and tea, pastries, and a host of delicious sandwiches and salads. The Pig is charming and cozy, filled with rustic touches from the paintings, antique furniture, and the other whimsical knickknacks. For tea enthusiasts, they have three whole shelves filled with huge canisters of varieties of loose leaf tea. Their array of sandwiches and paninis don clever names targeted towards literature enthusiasts: "The Hobbit, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Hamlet." On the negative side, it can be a bit of a stuck up, bourgeoisie experience: the baristas tend to have their nose perpetually in the air, the fare is expensive and Wi-Fi is not complimentary with purchase. Depending on how you look at it, it could mean hours of facebook-free productivity, or simply not worth the extra expense. Also, on most nights, particularly finals and midterms week at DePaul, snagging a spot in the coveted second floor nook is a lost cause. Famous last words: Let them eat cake, and let them eat it at the most charming coffeehouse in Chicago!

Posted By:  Euphenia Cheng
Photo:  Euphenia Cheng

Twin Anchors
Twin Anchors is one of the oldest restaurants in the city of Chicago. They are famous for the delicious baby back ribs. I love ribs, so even when we had to wait for an hour, it wasn't a big deal. Their bar area is large enough for people to have a drink or 2 while waiting. The decor is sailor-like with images of Yachts on the wall along with Batman: The Dark Knight posters--there was a scene in the movie that was shot here. Back to the food. The ribs were so tender and fell off the bone. The barbeque sauce was sweet and spicy. Don't be shy and ask for more sauce if needed. The baked beans were also good, but the ribs are the true highlight. I can't wait to go back during the summer since they have outdoor seating on the sidewalk.

Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!
A tapas dinner always amazes me. I go with a group of friends, we order tons of food and sangria, yet the bill always runs about $25 a person, including tip. Plus, I'm stuffed by the end, even if I only had a few bites of everything. To get in on the magic of tapas, you should go to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. They've got a long list of hot and cold tapas, with several vegetarian-friendly options. The sangria menu has a nice variety too--if they've got mango as the special of the day, it's a must-order. Service here is friendly, and dishes arrive when they're ready, so you have a nice flow of food that lasts for an entire evening of conversation (sometimes the conversation gets a little noisy, so this isn't the spot for a quiet romantic dinner). Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba also hosts special events like a paella cooking class and flamenco dinner shows.

Posted By:  Jamie Smith
Photo:  Matt Ginger

Noble Tree Coffee & Tea
A trip to Noble Tree is like a visit to your eccentric aunt's house, minus the stirrup pants and mothball smell. Comfy, overstuffed chairs bump up against floor-to-ceiling bookcases containing self-help tomes, textbooks, and whatever else they wouldn't buy back at the used bookstore. If you've come without something to do, you'll find plenty to read. Occupying three floors of a grand stone house, Noble Tree is spacious enough that those who want to talk and those who want to focus can co-exist without disturbing each other. The nightly pie special is pretty good, though the coffee and tea aren't anything to write home about. The atmosphere is what sets this joint apart from the cookie cutter coffee houses.

Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

D.O.C. Wine Bar
Romance abounds at this dimly lit neighborhood wine bar, making it a perfect place to either start or cap off a great date. The extensive wine menu covers all regions of the globe--order a bottle to share or opt from a selection of wines by the glass. However, if you can't decide or don't even know where to start, D.O.C. Wine Bar has a rather large selection of flights in a variety of wine styles. And if you get the munchies, you can pair your wines with a number of cheeses and other snacks. The atmosphere here is great--especially in the back room where you can relax in front of the fireplace. Even if you just want to enjoy a glass of wine on your own, you can grab a seat at the bar, chat up the friendly, knowledgeable staff, and unwind after a long day.

Posted By:  Raf Miastkowski
Photo:  Raf Miastkowski

Red Rooster
Originally part of Cafe Bernard, the cozy Red Rooster is now stashed away behind it, catering to patrons for 22 years. Offering a simple, warm, inviting atmosphere, Red Rooster is heavy on the ambiance but still prepares delectable food. It won't burn a (giant) hole in your wallet, either. French classics like smooth duck-liver pate and baked braised beef bourguignon are available, but seafood dishes like salmon with cabernet sauce and steamed mussels are arguably more popular. Looking to impress the little lady? No problem. Take her out for a day of shopping on Armitage Avenue, followed by a fancy French dining experience at Red Rooster. You can thank me later.

Posted By:  Nina Williams
Photo:  Nina Williams

Molly's Cupcakes
Upon entering, Molly's Cupcakes looks like a cross between a child's bedroom and a dream. There are glass bubbles on the walls filled with Molly's childhood memorabilia, swings situated near the coffee bar that act as seats, and bathrooms that look just like the ones you used to use in grammar school. I was turned onto these little cupcakes through another restaurant that has since closed down and I am eternally grateful. They are simply amazing, especially the red velvet cupcake. It is both moist and delicious and topped with the best frosting ever--cream cheese. I promise that you will not be disappointed if you purchase this tiny treat. You also have the ability to create your own cupcake. All you have to do is ask.

Posted By:  Jamie Smith
Photo:  Jamie Smith

It's that time of the year when the crisp fall breeze finds its way under the doorframe and through the window casings into your apartment, where the landlord refuses to turn on the heat because the temperature is not yet regularly below 45 degrees. On a recent Saturday morning, as I sat on my couch enjoying a cup of tea and wearing every sweatshirt that I own, I thought to myself that a quilt might be nice. I thought it might also be nice to make that quilt myself. If only there was a place that could teach me how to do so... I burrowed into my sweatshirts and began googling. Quiltology is the result of that search. Not only do they offer classes in machine sewing and patchwork quilting, they also have a pretty extensive selection of fabrics for whatever you need to make to stave off hypothermia. A homemade quilt may be just the thing to keep you warm and foil your Dickensian landlord this winter.

Posted By:  Max Minor
Photo:  Max Minor

Smart Optical
Glasses are in. No longer fodder for shovings, forceful lunch money removal and/or wedgies, spectacles have been placed on the forefront of cool, particularly amongst a certain breed of young person. The question still remains as to how one acquires a pair without breaking the bank, as these trying times have seen increases in the cost of other scenester necessities, including Parliament cigarettes, moped gas, and beer. Luckily, Smart Optical, located near Clark and Diversey, keeps the prices low, with a focus on cool. Normally, discounted eyeglasses mean smelly, fat-fingered optometrists breathing heavy, sad breath on the face, as you frustratingly squint, waiting for the opportunity to pick from a selection of blocky, plastic frames that weigh heavily on both the nose and soul. This is not the case at S.O., however, as young, friendly doctors and staff (almost entirely Asian, which is supercool, obviously), work hard to make sure you look and feel good, even if don’t have vision insurance or a real job. It’s weird to call an eyeglass place badass, but yes, Smart Optical is that.

Posted By:  Nina Williams
Photo:  Nina Williams

Hidden on the Clark Street Curve is Duke’s, a cozy bar and grill with a very intimate feel. Upon entering this charming little spot, you are immediate hit by its unmistakable log cabin feel. There is a row of clear, plastic deer heads mounted on the walls and a lounge area situated in the back. What stands out in this bar is its extensive list of drinks and inventive food. They specialize in a series of tasty burgers including beef, chicken, veggie, turkey, and portabella with several toppings. Service can be a little spotty at times as there are about three to four guys working on any given day, but they are so helpful and friendly that the spotty service issues seems to melt away. This is a great spot to frequent with friends.

Posted By:  Molly Fergus
Photo:  Molly Fergus

Francesca's Collections
Walking down Halsted in Lincoln Park without a pretty shopping bag in tow is kind of like sitting in Giordano’s picking at salad while friends gorge spinach deep dish. It sucks. But unless Cynthia Steffe is hosting a sidewalk sale, your AmEx bill just can’t take Lincoln Park prices. That’s why Francesca’s exists. This shop rivals Forever 21 price-points but kicks it up about 19 notches in the style department. Jewelry and handbags like this purple one catch the most attention, but don’t disregard the racks of clothes—some marked down to as low as $4.98. Tragically, Francesca’s isn’t a Chicago exclusive (the Houston-based company runs stores in 24 states). But that means the Web site is regularly updated — so you can shop without resenting the beautiful people.

Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Molly's Cupcakes
It seems like cupcake bakeries are becoming a dime a dozen, but Molly's Cupcakes does not your average cupcake make. Named after the owner's grade school teacher who made cupcakes to celebrate her students' birthdays, Molly's lets you create the ultimate cupcake masterpiece with their "build your own cupcake" feature. Do you want a scrumptious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, topped with M&M's? Or will you go for the tasty red velvet with a cream cheese frosting and add your own sprinkles at the sprinkle station? Maybe you'll settle for a strawberry-filled (with chunks of real berry in the filling). Don't worry if you're faced with too many decisions--you'll want to stop here for an after-school snack almost every day so you can try all of the possibilities. The school theme extends to the decor, with school chairs, laminated tables, and a row of swings at the coffee bar.

Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Lito's Empanadas
If you’re really good at something, why not be the best? Lito’s Empanadas knows what I’m talking about. Empanadas, a South American turnover stuffed with a variety of fillings and cooked in oil, are Litos’ sole specialty. The small menu may only consist of eight different kinds of empanadas, but surprisingly, that’s more than enough variety to keep you coming back for more of these addictive things. Particularly tasty are the spinach, filled with spinach, mozzarella, and onion; the chicken, filled with chicken, tomato, onion, and rice; and the barbecue pork. There’s even a chocolate and banana version for dessert. Even better is the fact that they are really filling and pretty cheap, so for $5, you can grab a couple of empanadas and stuff yourself with goodness.

Posted By:  Ianto Everett
Photo:  none

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Chicago winter may only have just arrived, but if you're already sick of the snow and freezing winds, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum may have the answer. Entry is free every Thursday, so skip the exhibits and head straight for butterfly heaven. This miniature tropical paradise is the region's only year round butterfly haven–and to keep their 250 species of butterfly happy, it's kept at toasty warm temperatures all year long. Head there at around 2pm each day and you'll also get to experience the 'First Flight', when hundreds of newly emerged butterflies test their wings for the very first time. Before you head back into the cold though, take a trip to the museum's organic café to grab a coffee and a cupcake.

Posted By:  Annie Anderson
Photo:  Annie Anderson

Chicago is a green city. You can throw that assertion around with confidence these days. In some ways, its blood runs green. Note the ancient boulevards of Logan Square and the massive green spaces of Garfield and Washington parks. In other ways, it’s more of a sod-y, overlaid green city—the planters along Michigan Avenue and the Cultural Center’s rooftop garden. And then there’s a whole other type of green: the indoor, Secret Garden-esque green of the city’s conservatories. A haven for all seasons, especially winter, the Victorian-era Lincoln Park Conservatory sits among the gently rolling hills along Stockton Drive. It was erected in the late 1800s, when Americans began to second-guess rampant industrialization. The palm, orchid, fern and show houses laid out in architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee’s plans remain, and a stroll through them might cause more than the air to get misty and calm. The Victorians were definitely onto something here. The Chicago Park District calls the conservatory a “paradise under glass.” After a visit, you’ll second that emotion and pine for an even greener Chicago.

Posted By:  Josannah Birman
Photo:  Josannah Birman

What do the Chi Town Hustlers and the Cannonball Express have in common? Both will be on stage this June at B.L.U.E.S., a dive bar that features many local bands. So if you’ve spent a year or a lifetime in Chicago, and never heard live blues, it’s time to check out the genre that put us on the musical globe. This narrow spot fills up quickly on weekends, so get there early to stake out your stools. Sundays are a good bet, because your cover at B.L.U.E.S. will let you slide past the bouncers at Kingston Mines as well. The perks continue if you live in the ‘hood. Every Tuesday is good neighbor night which equals gratis entry for anyone living or working in nearby zip codes. Who knows, maybe between blues beats and chugging Fat Tire you’ll meet someone new to borrow sugar from.

Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Forget everything you know about going to a restaurant because Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder does it all differently. Bring cash. They don’t accept anything else. Be prepared to wait, but don’t go looking for a hostess with a list and a stack of pagers. Here they take one look at you, remember who you are and where you’re at in line. Just hang out and look across the street where the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred. Once you’re seated, you won’t need much time to ponder the menu. For pizza make three choices: meat or vegetable, white or whole-wheat crust, half-pound or one pound. Grinder lovers have six options of this large sandwich stuffed with meats, cheeses, and vegetables. You must order the Mediterranean Bread, a warm flatbread smothered with oil and garlic. But save room for your piping hot grinder or the city’s most unique pizza, an individual pot pie served with the crust on top. It’s flipped upside down in front of you to reveal a deep dish sensation like no other. One bite, and you’ll be digging through your wallet to see if you have enough cash to order a frozen one to take home.

Posted By:  David Macey
Photo:  David Macey

Treats Frozen Desserts
Summer time at my house growing up always seemed to involve driving half an hour out of our way to a particular Dairy Queen so my Mom could get a small DQ soft serve cone covered in this mysterious, magical, and delicious concoction called crunch coat. A mixture of salted peanuts, rainbow sprinkles, and a yet to be identified crunchy sweet substance, this ultimate ice cream topping has eluded me for decades. That is until a few weeks ago when I walked into my neighborhood Treats and saw it lying in front of me. Hallelujah! They usually have four to six flavors at any one time, two of which are always chocolate and vanilla. Most importantly, however, they have crunch coat and the highly talented Treats employees use their wizard like powers to stick this magical topping to cups (or cones). The décor and atmosphere of the shops leave much to be desired, but a delicious chocolate vanilla swirl cone covered in crunch coat that is 99% fat free has me coming back again and again.

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Nightlife (18)
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