TRAVEL: Out of the Loop

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Think Chicagoans only eat deep dish and take selfies next to “The Bean”? Think again. —INGRAIN, Summer 2019

STORY / Goose Brewers & Staff

you haven’t visited Chicago in a while, you’re in for a real surprise. The food and beer, the art and architecture, and the music are literally world-class. Last year, 58 million visitors took to our streets, making Chicago the second-most-visited city in the nation (New York City still leads the pack). Are you traveling to our fair city soon? Those of us at Goose Island want to take you beyond the giant reflecting legume, beyond the Magnificent Mile, beyond the Riverwalk, and beyond the buildings that scrape the sky. We want to make sure that visitors to our hometown actually get to the places where we live, eat, and work. Let us show you what we think you shouldn’t miss. Let us take you inside the real Chicago.


A company town–turned–landmark district, Pullman Historic District (11141 South Cottage Grove) is lined with impressive row houses and surrounded by scenic Victorian architecture—perfect for an afternoon walking tour. Be sure to swing by Argus Brewery (11314 South Front Avenue) and get yourself a beer because, well, why not? If you really want to get to know the history of the city we call home, you would be remiss to not pay a visit to the Chicago History Museum (1601 North Clark Street). Formerly the Chicago Historical Society, the museum is an interactive house of Chicago wonderment. Walk through Chicago’s first passenger car to operate on the L system or take a picture of yourself as a Chicago hot dog (not kidding!). Lincoln Park

Originally founded in 1857 as the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 North Cannon Drive) was the city’s first private scientific museum; twelve years later, it became Chicago’s first public museum. At one point, the academy had one of the largest natural history museum collections in the nation (the collection was destroyed a few years later by the Great Chicago Fire). Nevertheless, the museum and academy are alive and thriving. Be sure to check out the butterfly haven, with more than 1,000 butterflies of various species, as well as the exhibit of birds from the southern hemisphere. Lincoln Park

Maybe you think art museums are “touristy” (you shouldn’t, btw). Consider our many gems, including The Art Institute of Chicago (111 South Michigan Avenue), a world-class institution that is home to iconic works like Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Picasso’s Old Guitarist, and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (as featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ). This museum is definitely worth the wander. The Loop

Spooky and creepy your thing? At the International Museum of Surgical Science (1524 North Lake Shore Drive) you will start your tour in the basement with the wax replica of an old pharmacy. Then as you work your way up, each floor takes you ever closer through the years to modern medicine. At the top, it’s so cramped that it looks like the museum ran out of room and couldn’t decide what to leave out. It’s charming in a B-movie budget kind of way. Gold Coast

Cleverly named, the Second Friday’s Pilsen Art Walk (1945 South Halsted Street) goes down every second Friday (imagine that) of the month. Start at the Info Center, grab a map, and start wandering. The lineup and programming are always changing, so you’ll be sure to see some cool shit. Pilsen


From indie rock shows to live podcast recordings, The Hideout (1354 West Wabansia Avenue) is your textbook intimate venue. The former Prohibition-era speakeasy up front will remind you of the one in your Uncle Al’s basement, only without the booze and stage just beyond the walls (that would have been nice). Lincoln Park/Bucktown

Whether you wear skinny jeans or prefer to rock a pair of cowboy boots, Empty Bottle (1035 North Western Avenue) has been ready to impress since 1992 with honky-tonk happy hours, sludge metal shows, and dance-all-night soul spun on vinyl. Grab something to eat next door at the club’s sister grub station, Bite (1039 North Western Avenue), before a show. Bring cash; plastic ain’t accepted here. Ukrainian Village

No Chicago list is complete without at least one mention of Al Capone. The Green Mill (4802 North Broadway Avenue) is a jazz spot that Scarface used to frequent because the joint had access to an underground network of tunnels to aid his notorious getaways. Nowadays you can pop in for tasty craft cocktails or some live big-band tunes with some accompanying swing dancing. Cash only! Uptown

When you want a REAL Chicago jazz experience, you’re doing it wrong if you’re downtown. Rosa’s Lounge (3420 West Armitage Avenue) is an authentic, family owned (when do you hear that these days?) top blues venue in the middle of one of Chicago’s uber-hip neighborhoods, but don’t let that fool you. Rosa’s has been around long before the area was considered up- and-coming. Near Northwest Side


The Music Box Theater (3733 North Southport Avenue), one of the city’s best theaters, still brings in the crowds after ninety years. Film buffs: The theater focuses on independent and foreign films, with plenty of specialty screenings. Cross your fingers that you’ll even run into the ghost of “Whitey,” the theater’s manager from opening night in 1929 until 1977, who supposedly still lingers in the aisles. Lakeview

Some of the best comedians got their start at Second City (1616 North Wells Street), a Chicago institution, and this place is still overflowing with talent. Go see a show, as you never know who will make it big and you never know who may drop in for a quick set. Old Town

Remember Shakespeare in the Park? Brave the tourists (but not you, you’re cool) and trek over to Navy Pier for Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 East Grand Avenue), an indoor version of those park performances of old. With more than twenty productions a year, along with special events, there is plenty to see (some shows are free). If you’re there on a Wednesday or Saturday night, stay for the free fireworks at the Pier at nine o’clock all summer long! Navy Pier

Too Much Light Makes Baby Go Blind began in 1988 as a series of thirty plays performed in sixty minutes by the unconventional theater collective Neo-Futurists (5153 North Ashland Avenue). It became the longest-running show in Chicago. While that production has been retired, the Neo-Futurists are still at it with The Infinite Wretch. Edgewater


In the 234-square-foot concrete jungle that is Chicago, the Garfield Park and Lincoln Park conservatories serve as lush botanical oases. The giant glass enclosure at the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 North Central Park Avenue) includes plant species from around the world (tip: the tropical temperatures are a godsend when you’ve spent the day hitting the streets in freezing cold temps); explore the outdoor gardens as well. You can also check out the Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 North Clark Street). Afterward, head over to the Lincoln Park Conservatory (2391 Stockton Drive) to see the Victorian-era glass house (built between 1890 and 1895) and large formal gardens that actually predate the conservatory itself. Like the zoo (!), both conservatories are free. Garfield Park & Lincoln Park

For cemetery types, the Rosehill and Graceland cemeteries on the North Side are sprawling Victorian-era burial grounds. Known as “sister cemeteries,” they include multiple architectural structures that are on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds of each are meticulously landscaped parks dotted with memorial markers that read like a who’s who of historic Chicago figures. If you’re on the North Side at Rosehill Cemetery (5800 North Ravenswood Avenue), walk over to the Fireside Restaurant (5739 North Ravenswood) across the street (the building that the tavern-style hangout occupies has also been around a while; it has housed a saloon or restaurant since 1904). If you’re at Graceland Cemetery & Arboretum (4001 North Clark Street), walk a few blocks south to the Gman Tavern (3740 North Clark Street), for a beer and some lively times (this building has also been here since the early 1900s). North Side

Rent a Divvy bike and ride around the fifteen-acre North Pond Nature Sanctuary (between Fullerton Parkway and Diversey Parkway and Stockton Drive and Cannon Drive) that surrounds a 130-year-old pond along the Lakefront Trail. It’s a great way to explore Lincoln Park. Just don’t sneak onto LSD (Lake Shore Drive). Lincoln Park/North Side

Part of the Chicago park and boulevard system (a collection of historic parks connected by boulevards that extend through the north, west, and south sides), Humboldt Park (1440 North Humboldt Boulevard, West Side) is the ideal place to have a picnic, rent a swan paddle boat, or take a stroll along a nature trail. At almost 200 acres, the enormous hangout also has plenty of spots to plop down a picnic basket and take in the skyline. The surrounding neighborhood of the same name is filled with fab restaurants and shops (see Intersection/Foodie Tour below). Humboldt Park/West Side

Known by locals as “the point,” Promontory Point (5491 South Shore Drive) is a man-made peninsula on Lake Michigan (south of downtown) that also offers amazing views of the city and skyline. A nice bike ride from the center of the city, it is just a skip across the road from the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 South Lake Shore Drive). Hyde Park

Just north of Chicago but totally worth the drive, Lighthouse Beach (2611 Sheridan Road) in Evanston sits just beyond a gorgeous mansion that houses the Evanston Art Center (1717 Central Street) and an adjacent lighthouse. It’s incredible to visit in the winter when the shore is covered with gigantic ice formations that you can climb. While you’re there, drive up a bit farther to the Baha’i House of Worship (100 Linden Avenue). It’s one of only ten Baha’i temples in the world that for some reason ended up in Wilmette, Illinois. Regardless of your religious affiliation, take a relaxing stroll around the beautiful and peaceful outdoor gardens. Evanston


Whether you’re here for a quick visit or hanging for a while, keep our “best of” list by your side.


California and Augusta

With plenty of shopping nearby, you could spend an entire weekend on this quintessentially Chicago block and never get bored. In between, refuel at Café Marie Jeanne (1001 North California Avenue), an all-day French- inspired bistro; Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar (954 North California Avenue), a fun hangout with excellent small plates; Dante’s Pizza (2759 West Augusta Boulevard), a NYC slice spot with a dive-bar aesthetic; Spinning J Bakery & Soda Fountain (1000 North California Avenue), a revitalized circa-1928 soda fountain with incredible pies (check out the online BYOB mixer suggestions for the sodas, floats, and shakes); or C.C. Ferns (2806 West Augusta Boulevard), an adorable coffee and tea shop that stocks treats from sister hangout Doughnut Vault (401 North Franklin Street). At night, check out the The California Clipper (1002 North California Avenue) for live music and a cocktail. Humboldt Park


Green City Market (1817 North Clark) is the largest farmers’ market in town. In winter, the indoor market is held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Check the website for the market pop-up schedule, a family-friendly museum with both live animal exhibits and nature-inspired art and interactive exhibitions. During the warmer months, an outdoor market is hosted on the south end of Lincoln Park. Go early to rub elbows with chefs; this is where the best in the biz source their local ingredients. Keep an eye out for the produce from Mick Klug Farm, Mint Creek Farm, Green Acres Farm, and Nichols Farm & Orchard. Lincoln Park Summer Market: May through October, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Logan Square Farmers Market (Logan Boulevard between Milwaukee Avenue and Whipple Street) takes up a large section of Logan Boulevard on Sunday in the summer and early fall; go for the produce, stay for the people watching. In addition to typical vendors, there are plenty of restaurants slinging prepared dishes. Bring a blanket, grab some grub, and listen to a rotating selection of live music. After the market, head to Lula Cafe (2537 North Kedzie Avenue) for the fantastic brunch (and dinner) dishes and an early cocktail, or wander north on Milwaukee to Hopewell Brewing (2760 North Milwaukee Avenue) for a few beers. Logan Square Summer Market: May 12 through October 27, Sundays (rain or shine), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Though not exclusive to Chicago, Eataly (43 East Ohio Street) is pretty much Disney World for people who love to eat and is worth a visit. Hit up the cheese counter and ask the cheesemongers for their most exciting recent finds. (Samples, samples!) River North

Make the trek out to Hagen’s Fish Market (5635 West Montrose Avenue) if you have the time; you won’t be sorry. The Hagen family has been operating this hidden gem since 1946. The shop features one of the last natural hardwood smokehouses still in operation in Chicago (as in many U.S. cities, new operations are illegal; only those grandfathered in still exist). Order a sandwich and some smoked lake trout and pickled herring to take home. Portage Park

One of the coolest concepts in Chicago, Plant Chicago (1400 West 46th Street) is an educational nonprofit housed inside The Plant, a former 93,500 square-foot pork-processing facility that is home to more than a dozen small businesses, including Whiner Beer (1400 West 46th Street) and Pleasant House Bakery (2119 South Halsted Street #1). Each Saturday you can take tours of the site’s aquaponic farm (where fish are raised and plants are grown in water), and a community farmers’ market is held once a month. Be sure to pick up a pastry and beer afterward! Back of the Yards/New City

Chicago has these magical places called slashies (when said out loud, it sounds slightly murder-y) that are part liquor store, part bar. Our world is a better place for them. So if you’re stopping in a liquor store to get some beer to go and decide that you’d like a cold one immediately, you can do that here. If you’re in Wicker Park, try Rite Liquors (1649 West Division Street); in Bridgeport, Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar (960 West 31st Street) (check out our interivew with Chef Won Kim) is a must; and in Humboldt, head over to Ola’s Liquors (947 North Damen Avenue). At GO Tavern & Liquors (3219 West Armitage Avenue), people are chasing their beers with endless shots of Malört, and if you’re stuck downtown, fear not. Rossi’s (412 North State Street), one of the world’s finest dive bars, is slashie enough to make it on this list. Multiple Hoods


The Chicago Brewing District, as it’s affectionately known by locals, is a mecca for beer fans, as it has so many local breweries (many of which opened in the past two years) all within walking distance of one another. Start at our Fulton Street Brewery & Taproom (1800 West Fulton Street) for a taste of the new beers the innovation team is cranking out, then walk over to Great Central Brewing (221 North Wood Street) for a lager with brewmaster Andreas Miller. On Tour Brewing (1725 West Hubbard Street) always has a tasty selection of brews pouring (former homebrewer/founder Mark Legenza is a PGA pro), while All Rise Brewing Brewpub (235 North Ashland Avenue) has that burger and other beer-worthy fare you’re craving. And don’t forget the new kid on the block, Burnt City Brewing (417 North Ashland Avenue); the unfiltered pilsner is always a solid choice. Get your steps in by swinging by Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery (1746 West Chicago Avenue) for a nice botanical-inspired beer, then head to Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taquería (904 West Randolph Street) for a tour wrap-up taco and a “ModMex” beer (stick around for the Aussie stories told by assistant brewer Todd White while downing one of head brewer Jacob Sembrano’s masterful creations). Near West Side

The North Side is also home to many top-notch breweries and taprooms. Get yourself some proper German beers at Dovetail Brewery (1800 West Belle Plaine Avenue), play some Skee-Ball at Begyle Brewing (1800 West Cuyler Avenue), and then hit up Half Acre Beer (4257 North Lincoln Avenue) to refuel; try the house-made chips with smoked sea salt and one of the seasonal brews.

In need of a pint of hop heaven? Stop next door at Spiteful Brewing (2024 West Balmoral Avenue) to taste the brewery’s flagship IPA, or if that’s not your thing, the God Damn Pigeon Porter (you may actually come to like annoying city pigeons). And don’t forget Eris Brewery and Cider House (4240 West Irving Park Road), where some damn fine ciders await.

Game for more? Lake Effect Brewing (4727 West Montrose Avenue C) is known for its wild ales, while Alarmist Brewing & Taproom (4055 West Peterson Avenue) offers its award-winning hazy IPA. End that side of your journey at Metropolitan Brewing (3057 North Rockwell Street) for a German-style lager in a beautiful taproom that has one of the best river views in the city. North Side

In the heart of Chicago, we suggest you grab a house-made pizza to pair with that Belgian-style wild ale at Middlebrow Beer (2840 West Armitage Avenue), then visit the folks at The Hopewell Brewing Co. (2760 North Milwaukee Avenue) for their extremely dank and cool creations. Keep the creativity train going at Off Color Brewing’s taproom, aka The Mousetrap (1460 North Kingsbury Street), to see what barrel-aged deliciousness they’re pouring. When you make it over to the Southside, visit the nicest people in the local beer scene at Lo Rez Brewing (2101 South Carpenter Street) in Pilsen, then wash down some oysters and raclette with a “chef-driven” beer at the tasting room at Moody Tongue (2515 South Wabash Avenue). Put your traveling pants on and head down to Marz Community Brewing (3630 South Iron Street) for an off-the-radar brew (made by a group of homebrewers and professionals) on your way to Whiner Beer (1400 West 46th Street) for some of the best beers in town. Central/Pilsen & Southside


How to shop like you live in the greatest city in the Midwest.

For a unique gift or take-home, look no further than Asrai Garden (1935 West North Avenue). Stocked full of artisanal jewelry, ornate flowers for custom bouquets, and distinguished home décor (current want: the hanging ceramic face planter by LA artist Rami Kim, $98), this is the place to find something with exquisite, sophisticated style. Afterward, check out Piece (1927 West North Avenue) next door and treat yourself to a beer and one of the city’s best pizzas. If you can’t make it to Asrai Garden’s North Avenue location, the owners recently opened a second shop inside the Ace Hotel in Fulton Market. Wicker Park

Adams & Son Gardens (1057 North California Avenue) has been our go-to when shopping for anything green. Tony Adams (the man, the myth, the legend, and “son”) is sure to help you find what you need—there’s a stellar selection of both perennials and annuals. The shop is open year-round but is especially lovely in the summer, when all the flowers are in bloom. Be sure to check out the façade by local artist Sick Fisher. Humboldt Park

Located on the same block as Adams & Son Gardens, Humboldt House (1045 North California Avenue) has it all. Whether you’re searching for decorative wall art, “apothecary” bath/body treats, feminist-as-fuck jewelry, or a vintage rug, you’ll find it in this beautiful spot featuring locally made goods. Humboldt Park

If you describe your style as classic and chock-full of staples but you like a touch of flair, swing by Penelope’s (1913 West Division Street). It’s the cute and bright little storefront. Expect affordable, everyday wears for men, women, and children mixed with pieces from small design houses. West Town


Two top-tier locations are Salvage One (1840 West Hubbard Street), two blocks from our brewery (Get hitched! They even host events), and Architectural Artifacts (4325 North Ravenswood Avenue) in Lakeview (Stuart Grannen, the owner, is an architectural-salvage encyclopedia in human form with a fantastic head of hair).

You can get lost in both places. You’d better bring all of your credit cards; trust that you’ll be enticed to use them. In fact, we spent too much cash on some antique tin ceiling tiles at Salvage One a couple of weeks ago. The robin’s egg (yes, probably lead) paint had us hypnotized. Near West Side (Salvage One) & Lakeview (Architectural Artifacts)

North-siders should check out Edgewater Antique Mall (6314 North Broadway). In Chicago, we put the most amount of shopping pressure on this joint, bar none, and their staff is the absolute sweetest. Watch for their winter holiday sale. It’s legit. Edgewater


Village Discount Outlet has storefronts all over Chicagoland. They rule if you’re a picker-on-a-budget type. They can be super scummy, but that’s part of the fun. Pack hand sanitizer.

Strangelovely (2511 West North Avenue) is a cool spot on North, at Western, that’s filled with vintage furniture and clothing. They just sold two stunning green-crushed-velvet chairs that we wanted, and it broke our broke-ass hearts. Humboldt Park

Farther south, Pilsen Vintage & Thrift (1430 West 18th Street) is also a proper stop for digs from the 1920s through the ’90s. Records, too. Lower West Side/Pilsen


If you’re looking for something in the vein of taxidermy, circus, and/or weird baby-creatures-in-a-jar, then Woolly Mammoth (1513 West Foster Avenue) is a must. There’s a ton of really odd shit here, which we mean in the most complimentary way. And if your place doesn’t have a piece or two of taxidermy, it’s suspect. Go during lunch and eat one door down at Taste of Lebanon (1509 West Foster Avenue; cash only). We’re not kidding when we say it’s one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall spots in Chicago. The staff will treat you like family. Order the lamb kefta, lentil soup, and baklava. Andersonville

Caught the travel bug yet? Check out our Travel section for more tips and suggestions.

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