Chicago Weekender: Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park, Chicago

Things to do in Lincoln Park this weekend!

Just north of Chicago’s historic Gold Coast neighborhood along the shore of Lake Michigan is one of the Windy City’s most enchanting enclaves: Lincoln Park. It is home to the Steppenwolf and Second City theaters, the Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and scores of must-visit restaurants and shops. Lincoln Park has attracted a wave of young professionals and families in recent years who are drawn by the diverse mix of amenities, cultural attractions, and beautifully preserved turn-of-the-century architecture. All these great qualities make the area a joy to visit, even for a day and a half.

Breakfast: Eleven Lincoln Park | 2301 North Clark Street

Start your day at local hotspot Eleven Lincoln Park, where the Black and White French Toast made with braided challah bread is a favorite among regulars. The interior is an Instagram-worthy homage to the golden age of Jewish delis and soda fountains, a motif that owner Brad Rubin hopes makes patrons feel right at home. Choose from classic offerings like corned beef sandwiches or bagels and lox, or opt for something a bit lighter like a protein scramble or a veggie Cobb salad. Either way, you’ll leave Eleven Lincoln Park fortified for your next adventure.

Lincoln Park Cultural Center | 2045 North Lincoln Park West

A tour of the Lincoln Park neighborhood is not complete without a visit to the very spot for which it’s named, verdant Lincoln Park bordering Lake Michigan. The 1,200-acre oasis, named after Abraham Lincoln, is filled with attractions ranging from the Chicago History Museum to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool to the famed Lincoln Park Zoo, where outdoor sculpture tours in the gardens are offered in nice weather. The Farm-in-the-Zoo area gives city kids an up-close look at what gardening is really like, while the Edible Garden provides tasty evidence. The Zoo’s resident red panda cubs have just recently made their debut, and over a dozen different animal habitats and special installations are designed to engage and educate visitors of all ages.

Bricks | 1909 North Lincoln Avenue

Lincoln Park suffers no shortage of exceptional pizza places, and in Chicago, where crust connoisseurship is serious business, the stakes are high. Bricks, a favorite of locals, offers not only a unique variety of pizza options but also a sophisticated array of appetizers and a surprising selection of wine and beer choices, plus salads and classic Italian sandwiches. It’s a great place to stop for lunch so you can refuel for some fun retail therapy.

Aaron’s Apothecary | 2338 North Clark Street

No stranger to luxury retail, Lincoln Park offers a surprising mix of marquee names and high-end independent boutiques. A must-stop during your afternoon of shopping is Aaron’s Apothecary. Harkening back to the days when pharmacies could actually be described as glamourous, Aaron’s strives to combine elegance and touches of luxury with all the staples that a modern drug store offers. In addition to an impressive array of bath and body products, fragrances, and cosmetics, Aaron’s has a section of charming “curiosities.” Here you’ll find unique items such as whimsical Jonathan Adler coasters and kitchenware to creative Fornasetti candles and incense boxes. If you’re looking for a unique gift or just want to be entertained, don’t miss this gem.

Alinea | 1723 N Halsted St

On the very high end of dinner restaurant choices in Lincoln Park is Alinea. Known as not only the best restaurant in all of Chicago, Alinea is on the short list for one of the best restaurants in the nation. Menu items here change with the season and are known to play with textures, temperatures, and presentations. The art that arrives on your plate is almost too beautiful to eat, but regulars will tell you to dig in, as dinner at Alinea is always an unforgettable sensory experience. It also requires reservations months in advance, so be sure to plan ahead.

North Pond | 2610 North Cannon Drive

A more affordable choice for dinner is North Pond, a restaurant located steps away from the North Pond in Lincoln Park. Chef Bruce Sherman updates the menu regularly to keep his guests’ palates refreshed with seasonal dishes made from locally sourced, organic ingredients.

Kingston Mines | 2548 North Halsted Street

At Kingston Mines you can choose from not one, but two live blues performances that are staged in separate rooms and feature local bands as well as visiting acts. Get ready for a late, late night as this historical venue keeps the music playing until 4 a.m., seven days a week.

Toast | 746 West Webster Avenue

After catching some sleep to recover from a long day and late night in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, continue your adventure with a visit to Toast on West Webster Ave. This local favorite serves up traditional breakfast items in remarkably irresistible ways. Their Mexican chocolate-filled French toast and highly rated coffee will delight and re-energize you.

Dave’s Records | 2604 North Clark Street

Dave’s records on Clark is vinyl from floor to ceiling – the sign on the door says “no CDs,” and they’re not kidding. You may not have brought your record player with you on this trip, but you’ll rarely see a store with such a unique collection of favorites and rarities.

Lunch Options | North Clark Street

Cap off your tour of Lincoln Park with a lunch of your choice at one of the numerous eateries near Dave’s Records on North Clark Street. Options range from delicious traditional stand-bys such as burgers and beer at Dunlays on Clark or sandwiches at Frances’ Deli to “Korean fusion fast food” at Del Seoul or unique Mexican-Caribbean fare at Tarascas International.

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Chicago Weekender: Gold Coast

Chicago, Illinois in the United States. City skyline   with Lake Michigan and Gold Coast historic          district, North Side and Lincoln Park.

Gold Coast: Things To Do This Weekend

Perched on the shores of majestic Lake Michigan, Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has been one of the city’s most exclusive and architecturally impressive enclaves since the late 1880s. An eclectic mixture of mansions from different periods as well as elegant rowhouses make this the perfect place to peruse local landmarks with impressive histories. The area is also home to a diverse array of some of the city’s finest restaurants. As you pick and choose from among the following culinary and architectural highlights to create your own Gold Coast tour, be sure to leave time for a little retail therapy along the Magnificent Mile, which is within easy walking distance.

Gold Coast Restaurants

The 3rd Coast Cafe  | 1260 North Dearborn Street

3rd Coast is an inviting coffee and dining outpost that will help you start a day of sightseeing and shopping off right. Choose from an inspired breakfast selection that includes omelets, breakfast tacos, Chicago-style smoked Polish sausage, coconut oatmeal, and Texas cut French toast. If you’re lucky enough to happen by on a weekend, indulge in the 3rd Coast brunch. Offered Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., it features a broader range of omelets as well as sandwiches, salads, and “Brunch Specialties” that include Eggs Florentine as well as Lox Eggs Benedict.

Chicago Q | 1160 North Dearborn Street

Chicago Q is the Midwest’s outpost for Southern barbecue par excellence. A Zagat-rated restaurant channeling the family-style tastes and luxurious pace of Savannah, Georgia, Chicago Q offers the Gold Coast the finest-quality meats with house-made dry rubs and an array of irresistible sides. Chef/Partner Lee Ann Whippen draws inspiration from the distinct flavors of Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee barbeque, making Chicago Q a welcoming destination for all. Stop by for lunch any day.

Nico Osteria | 1015 North Rush Street

Nico Osteria, an authentic Italian-inspired seafood restaurant, can be found tucked in the lobby of the Thompson Chicago hotel. Inside, the popular eatery is spacious and modern and boasts an energetic vibe. In addition to an expansive wine list, Nico Osteria offers incredibly unique and delicious options such as lobster lasagnette, salt-crusted branzino, and friulian-style ravioli. A nightcap can also be enjoyed at Salone Nico, the establishment’s connected bar.

Le Colonial | 937 North Rush Street

You’d be forgiven for daydreaming about the film Indochine while sampling the food at Le Colonial, where the tastes of Vietnam’s colonial period are alive and well (not to mention delicious). With it’s ultra-glam, 1920s-inspired decor, Le Colonial’s atmosphere perfectly mirrors its fusion of classical French cooking and bright Vietnamese ingredients, sauces, and spices. The bar at Le Colonial is an elegant and intimate space in which to unwind after a busy day of urban exploration, and in warm weather, the terrace overlooking Rush Street offers an oasis that’s perfect for people watching.

Gold Coast Chicago Architectural Gems

Lake Shore Drive

 When Potter Palmer, a local dry goods magnate who was one of the first wealthy Chicagoans to buy land in the city’s north end, began building his mansion on Lake Shore Drive in the early 1880s, many industrialists followed suit. Though the Palmer mansion was demolished in 1950, many other expansive and ornate homes designed by the Gilded Age’s finest architects, including McKim, Mead, & White; Benjamin Marshall; Howard Van Doren Shaw; and Holabird & Roche, remain. Between the 1200 and 1500 blocks of Lake Shore Drive, you’ll find prime examples of Italianate and Beaux-Arts architecture in states of remarkable preservation thanks to the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.

Astor Street

Named for New York real estate tycoon John Jacob Astor, Chicago’s Astor Street is a designated Chicago Landmark with beautifully preserved late-19th-century and early-20th-century homes lining its leafy thoroughfare. Highlights include the Cyrus McCormick Mansion at 1500 North Astor; the former home of Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, at 1525 North Astor; the 1929 Art Deco mansion at 1444 North Astor; and the Joseph T. Ryerson House at 1406 North Astor, which was built in 1922 and inspired by the hotels of Paris. Consider planning your tour of these gems to coincide with a guided tour at the impressive Charnley-Persky House described below.

Charnley-Persky House | 1365 North Astor Street

For fans of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Charnley-Persky House is a must-visit destination. Designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan, who was assisted at the time by junior draughtsman Frank Lloyd Wright, the Charnley-Persky House was completed in 1892. Unlike the Beaux-Arts, Gothic, and Renaissance-revival mansions and rowhouses that populate much of the Astor Street District, the Charnley-Persky House is animated by bold, geometric forms reminiscent of Japanese architecture. In time, this type of architecture would influence the emerging Prairie School style that would ultimately make Wright a household name. Located on North Astor at East Schiller Street, the Charnley-Persky House is the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians. Guided tours are offered on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10 a.m.

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