Settle in and Discover Chicago’s Hidden Gems

Marching to its very own beat, Chicago has a style — and vibe — all its own. Whether you’re an avid food lover,  a shopaholic or a member of the literati, the city is full of options, like these, which are sure to entertain and engage your senses.  

Roaming eloteros hawk Mexican-style corn laced with butter, mayo, Parmesan cheese, a spurt of lime and chili powder. Keep an eye out for their rolling carts in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and the stretch of Clark Street in Rogers Park.A cocktail experience akin to four-star dining, the libations at Grant Achatz’s The Aviary arrive in artful vessels that play upon the creative beverages within. The Office, situated directly below the West Loop lounge, is an intimate speakeasy, where a precious few imbibe classic cocktails and vintage spirits. 

Stroll the labyrinthine Chicago Pedway, underground pedestrian tunnels that stretch 40 blocks below the Central Business District. Connecting to public CTA stations, the commuter rail system, hotels and other public and private buildings, it’s lined with subterranean bars, restaurants and shops. The longest continuous section of the Pedway runs east-west from 120 N. LaSalle Street to Millennium Park, near Columbus Drive and Randolph Street, with offshoots that extend north and south. 

Visit Montrose Point in Lincoln Park, where a chill section of Montrose Beach is both a dune habitat and a 15-acre bird sanctuary. The quiet Lincoln Park preserve is also one of the best spots for trail hiking in the city, especially since it’s backdropped by killer skyline views. When refreshments are in order, a pretty great, on-site beach bar is up to the task. 

Ask any local: while deep dish is all-but-synonymous with the city of Chicago, ultra-thin, tavern-style pizza is where it’s at. The pie served at Vito and Nick’s is the best of the best. 

Plan ahead because, twice annually, hip Chicago designers and boutique owners gather for Cheap Thrills at Emporium (@cheapthrillschicago on Instagram). While the arcade-bar is built for day-drinking and Pac-Man, it morphs into a pop-up shop during the event, once known for its assemblage of local apparel, accessories, housewares and beauty items, sold at a discounted price. 

Featuring the largest concentration of art galleries in the United States with the exception of Manhattan, River North’s Gallery District is situated around the intersection of Franklin and Superior Streets and bounded by Wells, Chicago, Orleans and Huron Streets. Chicago Gallery News offers free gallery tours that start at 714 N. Wells Street, though you can easily stroll independently, too. 

No matter how long you’ve lived in Chicago, there’s always something new to discover. Walking tours and river cruises from the Chicago Architecture Center are a great place to expand your knowledge, whether it’s about Art Deco structures or the mid-century architecture of Mies van der Rohe. 

Looking for more things to do in Chicago? Or ways to settle into your new digs? Be sure to check out our blog for tips and tricks to help you feel at home. 

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