Medium 9781741799026

Lonely Planet Pocket Chicago

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Pocket Chicago is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Gaze out over the city from the heights of the Willis Tower, chow down on local specialties such as the famed deep-dish pizza or join the locals at Wrigley Field; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of the best of Chicago and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Pocket Chicago:

  • Full-color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Free, convenient pull-out Chicago map (included in print version), plus 15 color neighborhood maps
  • User-friendly layout with helpful icons, and organized by neighborhood to help you pick the best spots to spend your time
  • Covers The Loop, Near North, Navy Pier, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukranian Village, Near West Side, Pilsen, South Loop and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalize your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Pocket Chicago, a colorful, easy-to-use and handy guide that literally fits in your pocket, provides on-the-go assistance for those seeking only the can't-miss experiences to maximize a quick-trip experience.

  • Looking for a comprehensive guide that recommends both popular and offbeat experiences, and extensively covers all of Chicago's neighborhoods? Check out our Lonely Planet Chicago guide.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out our Lonely Planet Eastern USA guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

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The Loop


The Loop is Chicago’s center of action – its financial and historic heart – and it pulsates with energy. Tumultuous tides of pinstriped businessfolk rush the sidewalks, while clattering El trains roar overhead. But it’s not all work, work, work here. The Loop is also Chicago’s favorite playground. The Art Institute, Willis Tower, Theater District and Millennium Park are top draws among the skyscrapers.

MThere's lots to see in the Loop. Get an early start at the Art Institute, then wander around and explore the neighborhood's art and architecture. Chicago Cultural Center and Daley Plaza are eye poppers.

RGrab a quick lunch at Oasis or Shake Shack. Active types can rent two-wheelers at Bike Chicago or kayaks from Urban Kayaks and set off on DIY explorations. Late afternoon is usually less crowded for an ascent up Willis Tower to its unnerving glass ledges. Phew. You'll need a drink after that, so it's handy the Berghoff is down the road.

NStop at Pastoral for picnic fixings, then take your spread to Millennium Park for the free evening concert. Grant Park Orchestra zings the strings there three times a week. Lyric Opera and Goodman Theatre are other entertainment options. For dinner, try Gage or Seven Lions for smart gastropub fare.


Near North & Navy Pier


The Near North packs in deep-dish pizza parlors, buzzy bistros, art galleries and so many upscale stores that its main vein – Michigan Ave – has been dubbed the 'Magnificent Mile.' Jutting out to the east is Navy Pier, a cavalcade of kid-oriented shops, rides, attractions and a big freakin’ Ferris wheel. Both areas bustle day and night.

MHave breakfast at Xoco, gobbling the rich churros and chili-spiked hot chocolate. Walk along the Magnificent Mile and ogle the architecture of the Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building in between shopping stops. Resistance is futile: give in to the heavenly smell and buy a bag of Garrett Popcorn.

RMake your way east to Navy Pier. Don't be a sissy: get up in the Ferris wheel for killer views of the city. Or rent a bike from Bobby's Bike Hike and head out on the Lakefront Trail. After all the exercise, you've earned a happy-hour drink at Clark Street Ale House or Henry's Swing Club.

NSup on swine and wine with the crowds at Purple Pig or fork into sustainable fare with a river view at Kitchen Chicago. Later, jazz fans can settle in at Andy's, while blues fans can do the same at Blue Chicago.


Gold Coast


The Gold Coast has been the address of Chicago's wealthiest residents for more than 125 years. Bejeweled women glide in and out of the neighborhood's stylish boutiques. The occasional Rolls Royce wheels along the leafy streets. The cloud-poking 360° Chicago and provocative Museum of Contemporary Art are the top attention-grabbers. At night, Rush St entertains with swanky steakhouses and piano lounges.

MBreakfast at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter is a sweet affair. Afterward take a stroll on Oak Street Beach, then see what head-scratching exhibits are on at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

RBook lovers should check out Newberry Library, while fans of antique hemorrhoid surgery kits should peruse the International Museum of Surgical Science. If you're at the latter, be sure and walk down nearby Astor St and behold the elegant manors, including Hugh Hefner's Original Playboy Mansion.

NNighttime is prime time to take the lickety-split elevator up 94 floors to the 360° Chicago observatory. Then again, you could go higher – to the 96th floor – and see the same view from the Signature Lounge. For dinner, join the chi chi crowd at Gibson's.


Lincoln Park & Old Town


Lincoln Park – the green space – is the city's premier playground of lagoons, footpaths, beaches and zoo animals. Lincoln Park – the surrounding neighborhood – adds top-notch restaurants, kicky shops and lively blues and rock clubs to the mix. Next door, stylish Old Town hangs on to its free-spirited past with artsy bars and improv comedy bastion Second City.

MBegin with a wander in Lincoln Park. You could spend the whole morning communing with lions, tigers and polar bears at Lincoln Park Zoo. For a more tranquil scene, browse the blooms at Lincoln Park Conservatory or meet the butterflies at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

RHead south for fun in the sun at North Avenue Beach. Chicago History Museum is nearby, where you can see the bell from Mrs O’Leary's cow (the bovine that took the rap for starting the 1871 Great Fire). Head into Old Town on Wells St, filled with browsable spots such as Spice House and La Fournette.

NIf 20 courses of molecular gastronomy sounds good, try to score seats at Alinea. If not, make it an evening of improv at Second City, followed by drinks at the Old Town Ale House. Then again, you could do pizza at Pequod's and blues at Kingston Mines and BLUES.


Lake View & Wrigleyville


Lake View is the overarching name of this good-time neighborhood, inhabited mostly by 20- and 30-somethings. Wrigleyville is the pocket that surrounds star attraction Wrigley Field. It’s well mannered by day, with an impish dose of carousing in the countless bars by night. Adding to the fun is Boystown, the well-heeled hub of Chicago’s gay community, chockablock with dance clubs.

MThe neighborhood snoozes in the morning. By 11am places start to open so you can wander Halsted St in Boystown, where shops sell naughty knickers and gay novelties, or browse Clark St for fun shops such as Strange Cargo. Fuel up with an early lunch at Crisp.

RIn good weather, nothing beats an afternoon at Wrigley Field. The neighborhood jumps with high-fiving sports fans spilling out of bars. Even if there's not a game on, explore the historic ballpark on a tour.

NFor dinner, fork into modern comfort food at Home Bistro or pasta plates piled high at Mia Francesca, then get ready to party. Mellower types can drink at Bar Pastoral or Gingerman. Rock fans should check the schedule at Metro, while improv fans should see what's on at Comedysportz. Late at night head to Berlin or Smart Bar to shake your tail.


Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village


These three neighborhoods are hot property. Hipster record stores, thrift shops and cocktail lounges have shot up, though vintage Eastern European dive bars linger on many street corners. Wicker Park is the center, buttressed by slightly fancier Bucktown and slightly scruffier Ukrainian Village. The restaurant and rock club scene is unparalleled in the city.

MHave a Tex-Mex breakfast at retro diner Dove's Luncheonette, then get ready for a hipster shopping spree along Milwaukee and North Aves. Hot spots include Quimby's, Una Mae's and Reckless Records.

RFor a change of pace, rise above the commerce by taking a walk on the 606 Trail. The city converted an old, elevated train track into a groovy walking path. It gives a great feel for the different neighborhoods it traverses.

NSo many choices for dinner: Mana Food Bar and Mindy's Hot Chocolate are in the thick of it. Ruxbin and Irazu are a bit off the beaten path. For drinks, go highbrow with cocktails at the Violet Hour. Or opt for a mellower, beer-fueled evening at Map Room. You're spoiled for choice when it comes to indie-cool live-music venues. Hideout, Double Door and Empty Bottle always have great shows.


Near West Side & Pilsen


The Near West Side covers a large swath including Greektown and the booming West Loop. Here chic restaurants, clubs and galleries poke out between meat-processing plants, and it seems like a new, all-the-rage chef opens an eatery (or two) weekly. Nearby in Pilsen, Mexican culture mixes with Chicago's bohemian underground, and colorful murals, taquerias and cafes result.

MA tough breakfast decision awaits: Lou Mitchell's has Milk Duds and convenience going for it. Sweet Maple Cafe has biscuits and grits, but it's a bit far flung. If it's the last weekend of the month, Randolph Street Market is a big to-do.

RTake the train to Pilsen. The National Museum of Mexican Art has terrific (and free) exhibits, while 18th St rolls out groovy shops like Knee Deep Vintage and Comet Vintage. They share the sidewalk with Don Pedro Carnitas, La Catrina Cafe and other Mexican spots, as well as hipster halls such as Dusek's.

NThe West Loop is one of Chicago's richest zones for dinner. But you won't be the only one with the idea. Try for reservations at Girl and the Goat or Little Goat, or get in line at Avec. Bubbly drinks at RM Champagne Salon is a fine finale.


South Loop & Near South Side


In the South Loop, the world-renowned Field Museum and other top institutions huddle at the Museum Campus. Tranquil 12th St Beach and Northerly Island, a prairie-grassed nature park, offer escapes if the crowds get to be too much. Historic buildings dot the area, including Chess Records, the seminal blues label. Chicago's small but busy Chinatown is also here.

MSpend the morning at the Museum Campus, and take your pick of the big-ticket sights. The Field Museum of Natural History offers dinosaurs, mummies and gemstones; the Adler Planetarium has telescopes and starry films.

RStay on at the Museum Campus and explore nearby Northerly Island and 12th Street Beach. Lou Malnati's makes a fine refueling stop. Blues diehards should make the pilgrimage to Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven. The beer garden at Spoke & Bird is a splendid way to blow the rest of the afternoon.

NIf it's Friday, Saturday or Sunday, put on your dancing shoes and groove to world beats at SummerDance. Share tapas for dinner at convivial Mercat a la Planxa. See who's bending frets at Buddy Guy's Legends, the iconic bluesman's club and the city's best for the genre. If jazz is your sound, head to Jazz Showcase for a top-tier show.


The Best of Chicago


It's hard to know what to gawk at first. High-flying architecture is everywhere, thanks to Mrs O'Leary's cow (who kicked over the lantern that burned down the city in 1871, and created the blank canvas for lofty new designs). Whimsical public art adds to the eye-candy. This tour swoops through the Loop, taking in the best of it all, from sky-high record breakers to art-deco landmarks, a pink flamingo and shiny Bean, plus a visit to Al Capone's dentist thrown in for good measure.

Start Daley Plaza; Blue Line to Washington

Finish Willis Tower; Brown, Orange, Purple, Pink Line to Quincy

Length 1.25 miles; one hour

Fortify with a glass of wine and uber-rich dessert in in the cool, clubhouse-like space of Seven Lions ( MAP GOOGLE MAP ; %312-880-0130;; 130 S Michigan Ave; mains $15-27; h11am-11pm Mon-Fri, from 10am Sat & Sun; mBrown, Orange, Green, Purple, Pink Line to Adams).



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