Neighbourhood Feature: Wicker Park
Named after an epicentre of four parts, Wicker Park became part of Chicago in 1837 and has now grown and diversified over the years making it a local favourite and a must-see for all visitors.
What attracted young artists and musicians in the late ‘80s has remained and is now a community known for its galleries, boutique shops and music venues.
With only a day spent in the Wicker Park neighbourhood, we barely scratched the surface of just how interesting and multicultural this neighbourhood is. Follow along on our one-day adventure as we uncover some of the area’s hot spots.
After settling into our hotel and dropping off our bags, we immediately made our way towards Wicker Park. On the way, our first stop was Bangers & Lace. This pub-grub themed bar had more than a fair share of various house-made sausages, delicious sandwiches and over 30 types of draft beer to choose from. Thankfully, our waitress was able to help us settle on which beer would go best with our lunch.
After settling up, we decided to make Wicker Park itself our first stop on the list of places to visit. The park is perfect for a sunny day hangout. In the centre, people gather around the fountain and enjoy their lunch or catch up with friends. The park isn’t very big, so walking through only took us a few minutes.
Wandering up N. Damen Ave, we passed a few places that were definitely worth stopping at to eat. Big Star has a beautiful outdoor patio and delicious tacos. If you’re craving something a little sweeter, Stan’s Donuts is a must-try for their classic doughnuts and shakes.
A trip down the main strip on N. Milwaukee Ave. was a great way to work off our delicious doughnuts. Taking in the locals mixing and mingling with others, we couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sense of pride and enthusiasm residents have for their neighbourhood.
We ducked in and out of a few places that we had on our list. One of them was Tapster, a self-serve beer and wine joint that lets you pour and taste various beers. The way it works is, you pour as much or as little as you want with the ease of a card. From various wines, beers, ciders and cocktails, we had our fun pouring our own drinks and sampling some local favourites.
Leaving Tapster, we noticed a number of funky clothing boutiques and interesting cafés. We stepped into one that caught our attention, The Wormhole Coffee. This ‘80s-themed rustic coffee shop, featuring a DeLorean hanging from the ceiling, pays homage to an era full of nostalgic movies dating back to, well, the ‘80s.
Continuing on, we noticed more eye-catching buildings like the Flatiron building that was established in the ‘60s and was a hotspot for visiting and local artists. We also passed floral shops and interesting wall art painted down alleyways and over top of buildings.
Our day spent in Wicker Park was almost at an end with Mahalo being our final stop. Complete with surfboards, wooden slat floors, swings, hanging palms, and a gorgeous rooftop patio, this new Hawaiian-themed restaurant was a surfer’s paradise.
We indulged in Poké Bowls made with fresh ingredients, served over your choice of carb. Of course, we had to try one of their delicious cocktails. The Maui Mule made with Pau Maui Hawaiian vodka, blue curacao, ginger beer and lime juice was just what we needed to end the day in this beautiful neighbourhood.
We highly recommend putting Wicker Park on your list of places to visit the next time you’re in Chicago.