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STA Travel Blog

Step outside the Loop: the low down of Chicago’s neighbourhoods

It’s only natural that a trip to Chicago will have you make like Bueller, and take a day off to explore the heart of downtown. From jazz clubs to art institutes, there is something truly captivating about the Loop. However, the windy City is much more than skyscrapers, deep dish pizza and Grant Park. If you are after something beyond-the-norm, then hop on the El train and hit up some off our favourite spot off the beaten track.

1. For foodies and beer lovers: Lincoln Square

Only half-hour ride from downtown Chicago; Lincoln Square is one trendy place. An Old world heritage meets modern charm, with smatterings of its old German roots, the neighbourhood is an eclectic enclave that’s boasts an array of restaurants, bars and boutiques. For a mean pilsner head to Huettenbar and then straight onto Gene’s Sausage Shop. Finish your evening at the Old Town School of Folk Music for some live entertainment.

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Image: Timeout Chicago

2. For Puerto Rican flavour and outdoor space: Humboldt Park

Known for its large Puerto Rican population, the neighbourhood centres on the namesake park, a lovely green space flush with gardens, chirping birds, walking paths and a fishing lagoon. The area is filled with great home stores, fantastic coffee shops and a spot for Japanese food. Be sure to head to the burgeoning intersection of Augusta and California Aves to witness the future of hipster! Cigar-and-coffee shop, a curio-and-zine store and a charcuterie-and-wine bar.

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Image: Timeout Chicago

3. For an epic date night

20 minutes outside of downtown Chicago is one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods; Logan Square. Boasting tiki lounges, arcade museums, dive bars and gastropubs, there is something for everyone. Start your day at Furious Spoon for some amazing ramen, then hit up Emporium to let out your inner pinball wizard, before ending the night with a few bevvies at Revolution Brewing.

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Image: Emporium Chicago

4. For heavy metal lovers: Ukrainian Village

Located on the Near West side, the little Ukrainian Village packs some of the BEST eats in Chicago. We’d recommend Black Dog’s Gelato, Kasia’s Deli and Fatso’s Last Stand. With a mix of Ukrainian, Polish and Eastern European culture, ‘Ukie Village’ is chock-full of attractions, especially the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the onion domes of the churches. End your night in one of the best dive bars for some edgy alternative bands (often for free!) at Empty Bottle.

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Image: Make It Better

5. For pastry and bakery lovers: Bridgeport

Bars, bakeries and a diverse mix of people are bringing the old, working-class neighbourhood of Bridgeport into the spotlight. It’s one of the city’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, birthing five Chicago mayors and is the backyard of the Chicago White Sox. Head to Bridgeport Bakery for maple bacon doughnuts, Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar to taste one of the 450 beers on the menu.

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Image: Chicago Magazine

Have you hit up Chicago, and the local neighbourhoods? What have we missed, and where would you recommend?

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