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5 neighborhoods to explore beyond Rogers Park

5 neighborhoods to explore beyond Rogers Park

5 neighborhoods to explore beyond Rogers Park

By Elise Haas  |  Student reporter

Rogers Park has plenty to offer—and couldn’t be any more convenient. But there’s a whole other world waiting for you to explore beyond Loyola’s bubble. Here are five cool neighborhoods—each rich in culture, food, and color—that every Rambler should check out this summer.

By combining its Swedish roots and small-village charm with some of the city’s hippest stores and restaurants, Andersonville is the perfect place for a weekend afternoon ramble. It’s considered one of Chicago’s brightest neighborhoods and is populated with independently owned shops and incredible brunch places. It’s also the city’s unofficial Little Sweden and dotted with Swedish businesses and restaurants.

What to do: Have brunch, afternoon coffee or tea; shop at the Andersonville Galleria (5247 N. Clark St.); check out the Andersonville Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3–8 p.m. (on Berwyn between Clark and Ashland); visit the Swedish American Museum (5211 N. Clark St.).

Where to eat: Swedish Bakery (5348 N. Clark St.); Big Jones (5347 N. Clark St.); Hopleaf (5148 N. Clark St.); and Acre (5308 N. Clark St.) 

How to get there: Take the Red Line to Berwyn.

Pilsen is a proud Mexican neighborhood loaded with tasty taquerias. Bordered by 16th Street, Western Avenue, and the Chicago River, the artistic epicenter is best known for its vibrant murals and Bohemian architecture. The colorful spirit of the community permeates every part of the diverse neighborhood as well.

What to do: Walk around and observe the vibrant street art in every direction (be sure to stroll 18thStreet and 16th Street along the train tracks); visit the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St.); check out Harrison Park (1824 S. Wood St.); snack on authentic Mexican street food.

Where to eat: Carnitas Uruapan (1725 W. 18th St.); Nuevo Leon (1515 W. 18th St.); PI-zen (1519 W. 18th St.); and Efebina’s Café (1640 S. Blue Island Ave.)

How to get there: Take the Pink Line to 18th Street or Damen.

With nearly 50 restaurants, this South Side neighborhood is a great way to sample some authentic Chinese food. But it’s much more than just an eater’s paradise. You can pick up a souvenir at the Chinatown Bazaar, explore authentic Asian markets, and even take center stage a Chinese karaoke joint. Plus, the neighborhood is packed with unique architecture and home to a beautiful riverfront park.

What to do: Fill up on Chinese food; take a tour with the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute (2121B S. China Pl.); relax or kayak at Ping Tom Park (300 W. 19th St.); check out the view from the Chinatown Bridge.

Where to eat: MingHin Cuisine (2168 S. Archer Ave.); Chi Café (2160 S. Archer Ave.); Joy Yee (2139 S. China Pl.); and Kung Fu Tea (2126 S. Archer Ave.)

(Note: Some places are cash only.)

How to get there: Take the Red Line to Cermak-Chinatown or take a water taxi from the Mag Mile for a more scenic route along the river.

Logan Square
Local is the perfect word to describe Logan Square’s atmosphere—from locally organized farmers markets to local craft brews. Here, you’ll discover a great selection of scruffy dives, artsy bars, great restaurants, and artisanal goods. The area also is known for its bike-friendly avenues and parks.

What to do there: Rent a bike and cruise the neighborhood; enjoy a picnic or “take out” in the park; sample local brews at Revolution Brewing (2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.); watch a $5 matinee at the intimate Logan Theatre (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Where to eat: Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.); Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave.); Yusho (2853 N. Kedzie Ave.); Owen & Engine (2700 N. Western Ave.); Lula (2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.); and New Wave Coffee (3103 W. Logan Blvd.)

How to get there: Take the Blue Line to Western-O’Hare, California-O’Hare, or Logan Square.

University Village & Little Italy
UIC definitely holds sway around here. The area bustles with backpack-toting students, giving it a nice college feel, and the strip along Halsted has been recently revamped. The neighborhood also rubs shoulders with Chicago’s Little Italy, meaning pizza and pasta reign supreme.

What to do: Visit the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (1431 W. Taylor St.), the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (800 S. Halsted St.), or the Shrine of our Lady of Pompeii (1224 W. Lexington St.); shop and enjoy free live music every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the University Village Maxwell Street shopping center.

Where to eat: RoSal’s Italian Kitchen (1154 W. Taylor St.); Al’s Italian Beef (1079 W. Taylor St.); Jim’s Original (1250 S. Union Ave.); and Chilango Mexican Street Food (1437 W. Taylor St.)

How to get there: Take the ­Blue Line to Racine.