Known as the Windy City – for its politics, not the weather – Chicago has a rich American history unlike any other US city. Filled with live music, street art, and lakeside beauty, you’ll find endless opportunities for a unique travel adventure that naturally supports the planet and its people.
Rent a bike from the locally-owned small business, Bobby’s Bike Hike, and take in the beauty of Lake Michigan as you cycle along the Lakefront Trail. When it’s time to refuel your belly, stop for lunch at one of President Obama’s favorite hometown spots, Valois Restaurant. Call it a day or
continue south on the trail to the South Shore Cultural Center. Don’t miss the hidden beach behind the building, known by the locals as the “jewel of the neighborhood.”
Skip the pricey, crowded shops on Michigan Avenue and head to locally-owned boutiques and thrift stores on Milwaukee Ave., where you’ll be surrounded by locals perusing the goods. Just grab the Blue Line right around the corner from the hostel and get off at the Division stop. Get your caffeine fix at Intelligentsia, one of Chicago’s favorite local coffees. And if you bring your own cup, you’ll get a discount for being green! Start your shopping adventure by walking northwest on Milwaukee Ave. and check out all the fun shops. If you’re by Logan Square on a Sunday, you can’t miss the Farmers Market – one of the best in the city. For eats, check out Lula Café, a seasonal, local, farm-to-table cafe that also boasts an amazing brunch.
Explore the South Loop, one of the hottest, most up and coming neighborhoods for a hyper-local afternoon. Take a short walk south of the hostel and you’ll find the Wabash Arts Corridor, where dramatic murals drape the buildings created by local artists. Keep walking until you hit Vice District Brewing, one of Chicago’s newest local breweries. Located in the old vice district, favorited by gangsters and politicians alike, the brewery celebrates Chicago’s seedy past. Vice District features more than 2 dozen beers, but it doesn’t sell food. So ask the bartenders for their favorite local spots when you’re ready to chow.
Discover one of the most secluded and beautiful parks in Chicago, which many locals don’t even know exists! Ping Tom Memorial Park is located just outside Chinatown and right by the river. It’s a perfect spot for relaxation, and in the summer, the park’s boathouse offers kayak rentals. Explore the neighboring Chinatown, being sure to grab a smoothie at Joy Lee. When you’re ready to head back to the hostel, instead of grabbing the Red Line, take a Water Taxi for a fun (and inexpensive) tour of the river.
Renowned for its world-class Jazz and Blues music, Chicago offers a variety of venues all over town to experience a live show. (If you’re around in the summer, ask the hostel staff about where to enjoy a free outdoor concert.) Just steps from the hostel is Buddy Guy’s Legends, a restaurant and bar showcasing a variety of live music every day of the week. On Friday nights, join a hostel-led group to check out the Green Mill Jazz Club, where you can sit in the notorious gangster ‘Al Capone’s’ favorite booth! Night owls will enjoy Kingston Mines in the trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood, which features live music every day until 4:00AM. You’ll have an immersive Chicago experience, and the proximity of all the venues to public transportation helps minimize your carbon footprint during your say.