On the north side of Chicago is Lincoln Park, one of the city's most popular neighborhoods, ideal for groups with wide-ranging interests. In addition well-known spots like the Lincoln Park Zoo, the area is also home to several hidden gems, like the ones below. Add any of them onto your Chicago itinerary to give groups a true taste of Lincoln Park.
GREEN CITY MARKET
Chicago's only year-round farmer's market is filled with fresh food, cooking demos and special events — don't let your summer groups miss the picinc-like Chefs' BBQ Benefit (mid-July), when nearly 100 restaurants and chefs partner with local farmers to create a bounty of deliciously upscale dishes. Think: Filipino-style chicken skewers, chilled corn bisque, lamb hot dogs with tzatziki, robata tofu, goat tostadas and cherry-wood smoked duck.
DIVERSEY MINI GOLF
Put your groups' mini golf skills to the test with this 18-hole adventure located off Lake Shore Drive. People of all ages and skill levels putt through the picturesque course, nestled amid cascading waterfalls and footbridges. (Note: There is also an on-site driving range, which can be booked with group lessons.)
J. PARKER ROOFTOP
Housed above the 12-story Hotel Lincoln, this chic rooftop lounge features cabana-style seating, tables with built-in fireplaces, destination cocktails and stunning views of the Lincoln Park Zoo, South Pond, downtown skyline and Lake Michigan horizon. Get the inside scoop: View photos and read what a Chicago Like a Local blogger had to say about his visit to the J. Parker.
LINCOLN PARK CONSERVATORY
Groups will be amazed by the Conservatory's exotic plants, plenty of palms and flourishing ferns. Within this Victorian glass haven, they'll find four distinct display houses, each one blooming with beautiful greenery. The Palm House features tropical plants, the Fern Room houses some of the most ancient species of plants on earth, the Orchid House has a large collection of the pretty flower and the Show House hosts annual flower shows.
Chicago's only sushi/sports bar is located in the heart of Lincoln Park. Itto Sushi's extensive, traditional menu is filled with Japanese specialties, including fresh sashimi, udon noodles, soba noodles, tempura dishes, ramen, teriyaki and, of course, assorted sushi rolls. Order combination dinners or a la carte and settle in to watch sports on the restaurant's TVs.
Emerging artists, popular bands, audience-selected movie screenings — it's all here. As a bi-level concert venue, Lincoln Hall serves as the larger sister venue to Schubas (the club that helped launch the careers of Dave Matthews and Feist, for example). Inside the still-intimate space is a bar on each floor, friendly servers that deliver drinks to the crowd, crisp and clear acoustics, and a relaxed vibe that makes this a true neighborhood gem.
THE PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM
With its live creatures like exotic butterflies and local birds, recreated environments like a prairie and savannah, and interactive exhibits like the Look-In Animal Lab, this Lincoln Park museum is the urban gateway to nature and science. The always-warm Judy Istock Butterfly Haven will become a fast favorite, as groups walk among 1,000 butterflies, including those never-before-seen in this region.
More for travel professionals
Sign up for the monthly newsletter for travel professionals