River North Rendezvous
Collected by Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
A world-class city with a multitude of activities at your doorstep, Chicago truly has it all. In this hit list of excursions, you'll find things to do, places to eat and drink, and stores to appease your shopping appetite. Make it a weekend or a week, there's lots to do in this town.
1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Dinosaurs, pyramids, cave paintings, sharks—if you don't like the Field Museum then you must never have been a kid. Home to an extensive assortment of magical displays highlighting all facets of natural history from around the world, the...
N Lincoln Ave & W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
One of the latest and greatest additions to the city of Chicago is the installation of Divvy Bikes. This bike rental program was just launched by the city itself, and boasts 400 locations and 4,000 available bikes. In the constant 'greening' of...
2233 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
You want to go to Fritz's, trust me. Recently relocated to new digs due to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Fritz's is a local neighborhood gem that flies under the radar for now. This cute shop boasts a small, yet delectable array of pastries...
2965 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Carnivores, vegetarians, seafood lovers and vegans can unite in one all-encompassing place called Bistro Dre. With the small plate, family-style, share-it-with-your-bestie approach, this cozy spot will have you coming back for more within the...
2900 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Started in Chicago in 2009, and slowly making its way throughout the U.S., Bottle & Bottega is hands down one of the coolest and unique new ideas to arrive in the Windy City. Founded by two enterprising young women who ditched the corporate gig to...
550 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60610, USA
Take a vacant lot with crumbling buildings overrun with weeds. Remove the debris and overgrowth. Then add passion, volunteers, fresh organic produce and a mission to improve sustainable living, and you have City Farm of Chicago. Located in a lot...
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Home to all things shopping, the Merchandise Mart is the crown jewel of the all-powerful Chicago retail scene. Housed in an historic building (which you can see like above from the Architectural Boat Tour), this market mecca welcomes over 10...
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA
The Crown Fountains are one my favorite Chicago landmarks. I call it the Fountain of the two faces. There are two towers with multicultural faces that change. It reflects the diversity of Chicago. The Crown Fountains in Millennium Parks were...
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Officially open to the public way back in 1927, even after all these years, Buckingham Fountain remains one of THE must-see sights in Chicago. Sitting on the edge of Lake Michigan, and intermittently erupting with spires of water, Buckingham...
2850 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Brimming with all things pulp and ink, and oozing the olfactory enjoyment that is 'old book smell,' Powell's Bookstores are a Chicago institution. Focusing on academic and scholarly works for the past four decades and counting, their three...
365 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
If you happen to be interested in architecture, or even if you are not, the Harry Weese-designed River Cottages located from 357 to 365 North Canal Street in downtown Chicago are something you should see. A native of Illinois, Weese is best known...
2607 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
With a philosophy that their food should be 'flexible,' so as to accommodate the desires of all diners, this new addition to the Chicago scene is doing just that. Located next door to Telegraph (a wine bar from the same owners), Reno is bringing...
505 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Often overlooked because it resides in a primarily residential building at the end of Navy Pier, Cite is the place for foodies in-the-know. From the Lake Point Tower dining room you can indulge in an excellent meal with an equally spectacular...
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Steeped in history, loved my many, loathed by some, and sorely in need of a championship, Wrigley Field is a true cornerstone of the always controversial sporting world. No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to this monument to to...
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
It's enormous, it's full of animals, it's open all year round, and, best of all, it's (gasp!) free. The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the single greatest things to do in Chicago. Visit the monkeys in their house of hilarity, or swing past the penguin...
401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
From the mind of sculpture John Kearney comes 'Moose.' Created sometime between 2002 and 2003, this massive installation was originally exhibited as part of the Artists & Automobiles 2006 public art display featuring creations crafted from...
5947 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660, USA
If you happen to be in the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago, up on North Broadway, you simply must make it a point to visit Independent Spirits. Residing among other boutique shops and eclectic storefronts, this gem of a wine shop is waiting to...
4750 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
Founded in 1927 by two brothers from Poland, this market is a true throwback. When John and Gene started their sausage shop in the city of Chicago, it was still the era of Prohibition. Fast forward a few years, moves, and expansions, and the...
2728 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
Go ahead. Ask the question. Table, Donkey and Stick: What's up with the name of this place? That's exactly what I asked upon arrival. (It has to do with a Brothers Grimm tale that you probably never heard as a child.) The space: intimate, cozy,...
678 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
After the great fire of Chicago, but before the new ordinance was passed saying no more wooden commercial structures, the building that is now the Green Door Tavern was erected. That was waaaaay back in 1872, and the place is still alive and...
435 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
From the folks of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago comes their newest venture: voodoo magic. No, they are not selling dolls of those you disdain. However, you CAN buy incredibly well-crafted drinks that are served in skull-like glasses...
4655 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
Le Cafe is one of Chicago's hidden gems. Located in the quaint, yet happening, area of Lincoln Square, this 'boutique coffee shop' is everyone's idea of the perfect cafe. The space is warm and inviting, and there is more than enough space to...
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