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Chicago Ideas

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51 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Chicago’s beloved South Side hat shop, Optimo, recently opened a downtown location in the historic Monadnock building. A favorite of Johnny Depp and former Mayor Richard Daley, the new shop sells handmade felt fedoras and porkpies that appear to...
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4001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
This one of the many fantastic monuments in Graceland Cemetery, the who's who of Chicago history listed on the National Register and world renown for the beautiful landscaping. This is the monument for William Hulbert (1832-1882), one of the...
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5014 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Just steps from the colorful Argyle CTA stop in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, Ba Le Bakery specializes in Vietnamese food—efficient, fast and tasty fusion food. You can’t go wrong with the Bun Thit Nuong ($7.95)—piping-hot grilled pork, cold rice...
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2100 W Roscoe St, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
Victory's Banner is a lovely establishment tucked away in the Roscoe Village area of Chicago. It's zen-like vibe and cozy atmosphere will entice anyone to come for a coffee and end up staying for a full blown meal. VB also is totally vegetarian,...
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2519 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
B.L.U.E.S. is not a big bar, but they play plenty of great blues (and have been voted best blues club on Chicago's North Side). Primarily local artists play in this comfortable, intimate setting. If you want a seat, push way in past the stage and...
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2656 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
It's called Goosefoot. It's up in Lincoln Square. It's far away from the 'food scene' of downtown Chicago. It's run by a lovely couple. He cooks, and she runs the place and makes you feel like you are at home. It's spectacular. Chef Chris Nugent...
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4839 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
Tucked away behind an unassuming storefront you will find a shop with a misnomer of a name: Ravenswood Used Bookstore (it's located in Lincoln Square, not Ravenswood). Our hero and proprietor, Jim, has gathered such an incredible collection of...
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2148 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
Little known fact: After Los Angeles and Houston, Chicago has the third largest Mexican population in the United States. Unlike those two cities, the praises of its deep Mexican heritage and food have yet to be sung. Consider me, then, the fat guy...
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2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Playing live blues music until 4am every night of the week, featuring all of Chicago’s talented local musicians and now newly renovated to take up 3 storefronts on Halstead, Kingston Mines is one of Chicago’s best bars. Go for the 3...
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2959 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Heritage Bicycles General Store is so many things: a coffee shop, a general store, and a place to buy a few key items for your hip closet. Most importantly though, it's a place to grab a cup of joe and watch art being created that you can ride...
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3868 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Sola is a Hawaiian-inspired brunch spot in Chicago's trendy Lakeview neighborhood, but I don't ever recall having food this good in Hawaii. Try the sour cream pancakes with blueberry, lemon zest and lemon ricotta (my personal favorite, pictured...
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5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
For 50 years, it has been growing in the basement of the seminary located at 5757 South University Avenue. Back in 1961, 17 book lovers each pitched in $10 a piece and founded The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. When you arrive, you won't think you're...
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2391 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Lincoln Park is a wonderful green area nearing Lake Michigan in Chicago. It has a Zoo free to the public as well as green lawns and flower beds. Near the North end is the multiple room conservator. Like the rest if the park it is open free to the...
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1417 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Sprout was a suggestion from dear friends who had just returned to Chicago after years living and eating in NYC. Sprout has a menu that notes tastes not necessarily ingredients. Ask your server to explain what is what. This is not your standard...
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1400 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
This drink was amazing, as always, with Peter V behind the stick. The man with the plan behind beverages collaborating with the marvelous Chef Bill Kim, BellyQ has been popular since before it opened! Artfully devised drinks, a sensational...
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1551 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610, USA
I've been to most of Chicago's well-known wine bars, but this one surpasses the rest. In the fashionable Old Town neighborhood just north of downtown, Flight 1551 pours more than 250 wines by the glass and by the flight. Burger flights, hummus...
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820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Stephanie Izard puts together a great restaurant. The Girl and the Goat has been hard to get into since it opened and Little Goat had a 90 minute wait when we went last month. 90 minutes for diner food! That's impressive. Other things that were...
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809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
West Randolph Street in Chicago’s West Loop has become a new home to the city’s culinary talents. Stephanie Izard first drew crowds cooking dishes like roasted pig face at Girl & the Goat (the restaurant pictured above)....