Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.


Sawyer J. Lahr
Sawyer J. Lahr has been touring individuals, corporate clients, educational groups, and senior citizens for over two years as  the sole proprietor of a boutique destination management company, The Friendly Greeter. We specialize in neighborhood walking tours, educational tours, shopping tours, travel guides, and airport greeters. Originating in the Midwest, Sawyer has a love for the region's natural beauty, farmers markets, craft beers, small-batch coffee roasters, antique shopping, thrift stores, vintage fashion, and culinary arts. We invite you to look up, peek inside, and branch out into Chicago's many vibrant neighborhoods. We look forward to guiding you or your group through this awe-inspiring city as you've never seen it before! 


DIY Tours: Chicago's Riverfront by Divvy Bike

River Front

Since the first 75 Divvy bike racks became operational on June 28, 2013, the city of Chicago announced that the Divvy program is the biggest in the country based on the percentage of bikes used. Over 50,000 trips were taken in the first month. Why not take advantage of the 300 plus stations already in place by taking this short tour of Chicago's north loop and riverfront. This tour will show you how to rent a Divvy bike as well as keep you in protected bike lanes and away from heavy traffic.

Four Little Known (But Must-Try) Italian Restaurants


Few Italian restaurants in Chicago maintain the kind of cozy living room ambiance still alive in these four old-timey Chicago institutions. The words "family-owned" may be overused in some circles, but not by Chicago diners. When locals find a restaurant that makes them feel at home, they show their loyalty.

Feasting Through Chicago's Must-Try Chicken & Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

The way to rate a good plate of chicken and waffles is by how big the pockets in the waffle are. The larger the pockets, the more syrup and butter will stick to every bite. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles restaurant chain in Los Angeles was the first to serve this dish exclusively. Not surprisingly, Chicago, the food capital of the Midwest, quickly adopted it. If fried chicken and warm waffles smothered in butter and maple syrup sounds like the best savory and sweet

Three of Chicago's Must-Visit Beercades

Headquarters Beercade

A beer arcade or "beercade" is an arcade that serves beer or a bar specializing in vintage video and pinball games. As opposed to Dave & Busters and Gameworks, these beercades are small and independently owned. It's not entirely a new phenomenon to serve alcohol at an arcade, but these three venues reclaim older machines in good repair like Atari's Caterpillar, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Mrs. Pac Man, Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, Mortal Combat and a dozen pinball

Neighborhood Spotlight: A Day in the Gold Coast

Gold Coast

If you're looking for that local vibe near the Magnificent Mile, visit the Gold Coast. A day is never wasted in this shopping and food haven, which is only a few blocks from downtown Chicago. Feast and browse your way through these six independently-owned storefronts, bakeries, and restaurants. It's a easily doable one-day itinerary that you won't find anywhere else. Let's go!

Home Brew: Introducing Three Must-Visit Coffee Roasters

Home Brew: Chicago's Local Coffee Makers

Chicago microbreweries open brewpubs seemingly every year, so it's no surprise that coffee roasters are opening cafes to sell their grounds by the cup (and the pound). Intelligentsia may have started it all in Chicago in 1995, but these three roasters are rapidly staking out the best corners and corridors of the city.

A Guide to Must-Have (Made in Chicago) Souvenirs

Transit Tees

The average souvenir can be anything from an "I heart Chicago" t-shirt to a refrigerator magnet or a snow globe, but these seven shops take souvenir shopping in the Windy City to a whole new level. In addition to being highly unique, everything you purchase supports these local businesses. If you have room in your suticase, stop by these sports for one-of-a-kind items.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Feasting Through East Lakeview's Newest Restaurants

Wood Chicago

These four new restaurants have top chefs, seasonal menus, and signature craft beers, but they all have one thing in common, you can only find them in Chicago's East Lakeview neighborhood within walking distance of Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre, Laugh Factory, and the Belmont Theatre District

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