Neighbourhood guides: Live like a local in Wicker Park, Chicago
9 Mar 2022
As one of Chicago’s trendiest and most creative epicentres, Wicker Park is where you head if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind boutique shops, second-hand or specialist book and record stores, countless art galleries and performance venues, as well as a palate-pleasing dining and craft-cocktail scene.
Given its prevailing creative influence within the city, it makes sense that the nightlife and cultural hotspots of Chicago find themselves here. And why as you walk down the main streets you’ll spot hip cafes, eateries and bars lining the pavements, pedestrianised roads and bike paths – all of which make up the vibrant, welcoming spirit of the ‘hood.
If you fancy some greenspiration, make sure to stroll through the Bloomingdale Trail – or “The 606” to locals.
Here are our favourite spots:
The second restaurant from Edward Kim, Mott Street, is designed around food chefs like to eat after their shift – just so happens it's food we also love to eat. The menu spans a range of Asian-inspired dishes, and highlights include a delicate fish collar, crispy rolls stuffed with sausage and an array of vegetables, and tiny chocolate-dipped bananas.
From the team behind the Publican and Big Star, comes this adorable Mexican diner. In the morning, we recommend the grits and blood sausage, while the red chile enchiladas and chicken-fried chicken are perfect for lunch or dinner. Whatever time you go, however, make sure you end with a Mexican-inspired slice of Hoosier Mama pie. Yes, even for breakfast.
Family-owned Tortello is a chef-driven but casual counter-service restaurant, where they are committed to simple food with the highest quality ingredients, fused together with the traditions of Italy. Above all, they strive to serve plates of love, just like their nonna does.
We’ve been told that you can't venture to Wicker Park and not visit the much-loved Myopic Books. Rightly so. This neighbourhood institution is home to more than 80,000 volumes, and it also plays host to concerts and a poetry series.
Walking into this floral boutique offers a breath of fresh air, literally. Far from your average florist, Elizabeth Cronin decks the space in everything from wildflowers to extraordinary succulents, mixed in with home decor à la faux stuffed moose heads and citrus-scented candles.
Local neighbourhoods are suckers for a hybrid, and Wicker Park is no different. This coffee-shop-meets-art-gallery allows you to grab a latte to go, while also admiring artwork from local artists before going on your way. Who doesn’t like an art chaser to their morning brew?
Wilderhouse specialises in providing home goods with a ‘California, West-Coast style,’ as co-owner Michael Coates describes. Although sustainability and cultural consciousness is also at the forefront of his mind: “We pursue partnerships that empower women, celebrate culture and embrace diversity, all while leaving as minimal of a footprint on our planet as possible.”