Happy Thursday and welcome to another edition of the Chicago Neighborhood Guide! Today we are discussing another one of my favorite areas – Bucktown/Wicker Park. It is home to some of my favorite spots including Stan’s Donuts, but I’ll let our local resident tell you about the best places.
Joining us on the blog today is my friend and Wicker Park resident, Cassie. I met Cassie in college through my friend Mandy. Cassie and Mandy grew up together and were friends through high school. Even though Cassie chose to become a Hoosier, we still loved when she would come visit at Purdue! Cassie is a runner and loves Chicago sports. She has even run the Chicago Marathon! Here she is to tell us all about her favorite Bucktown/Wicker Park spots!
My name is Cassie and I am thrilled to have just renewed my lease to live in Bucktown / Wicker Park for another year! After moving to different neighborhoods around the city the past few years, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed Wicker Park the most. Being able to walk 1 block to the Damen blue line to get to work, plus having so many amazing coffee, food & shopping options within walking distance makes it the perfect combination of “all the things!” Conveniently placed about halfway between O’Hare and Midway Airports makes it easy to travel for both work & pleasure. I could go on and on about how much I love the area!
Best Coffee Shop: La Colombe, 1552 N. Damen; right under the Damen Blue Line stop
While it is easy to get lured in to Stan’s for donuts & coffee (the scent is hard to resist), it is well worth the two stops if you must have that delicious donut. Yes, I go to Stan’s for my donut and to La Colombe for my coffee. La Colombe is that good and worth the extra stop.
Best Burger: Umami Burger, 1480 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- Order the cheesy tater tots (on the “secret menu”)
- Order your burger – they are all top-notch.
- Try all.of.the.sauces. Especially the homemade ketchup!
Best Brunch Spot: Kanela Breakfast Club, 1408 N. Milwaukee Ave.
They serve Julius Meinl coffee and have amazing breakfast/brunch options. Bonus is that they also have outdoor seating. Get there early as there will likely be a line. 🙂
Best Date Night Spot: Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, 1747 N. Damen Ave.
The dinner menu rotates and always has solid, delicious options in a cozy environment. Service is always fantastic and you can’t beat the dessert & hot chocolate menu! Be sure to order extra homemade marshmallows – totally worth the extra cost. The brunch here is phenomenal as well!
Best Place for a Night out with Friends: Big Star, 1531 N. Damen Ave.
Margaritas. Guacamole. Patio. Need I say more?
Best Place to Work Out: Bucktown Athletic Club, 2040 W. North Ave.
BACs part of the Chicago Athletic Clubs and was built in March 2014, with an addition just completed this spring. The gym is open & inviting and offers fantastic group fitness classes (I’m looking at you, body pump!) It doesn’t hurt that it is a 30-second walk from my apartment, either. 🙂
Favorite Hidden Gem: Sushi Para M, 1633 N. Milwaukee Ave.
On Milwaukee, just north of the craziness of the North/Damen/Milwaukee intersection. All-you-can-eat for $19.95, BYOB and no corkage fee?! The best. My roommates and I love to go here on Friday nights for some delish sushi and decompressing from the work week with a bottle (or two!) of wine.
If I were to move back to the city, I definitely think Wicker Park would be my top choice! As you can tell there is no shortage of places to go. I completely agree with Cassie about La Colombe coffee and I would practically live at Big Star if I lived that close! Mindy’s Hot Chocolate has been on my list of places to try for quite some time so I’m thinking I now need to go really soon.
Thanks for your awesome list of best places, Cassie!