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Chicago Like a Local Blog

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

In Chicago, brunch is a sport that ranks right up there with the Bulls, Bears and Sox teams. Discovering the perfect brunch spot is a serious thing, and the city's restaurants scramble constantly to meet all the requirements for menus, drinks and ambiance. But beyond the perfect mimosa and ultimate avocado toast (more on those brunch trends here), some diners want dishes that will satisfy their healthy appetites while also displaying culinary creativity. So for foodies searching for a well-crafted and belly-busting brunch, check out these picks for summer mornings.

A trip to Navy Pier always promises a day of fun; but this summer, Chicago's No.1 tourist attraction ups the ante with a brand-new, 13-acre green outdoor space that's packed with amazing (and free!) programming. Polk Bros Park will now serve as the Pier’s gateway and the city’s unofficial front yard. Two performance and picnic-friendly lawns, located at the south end of the park, will offer free arts and cultural programming throughout the summer and beyond.

Starting next week Sunday, Chicago will be home to everything soccer. Culminating in the anxiously awaited showdown between the best of the MLS and Europe’s premier club, Real Madrid, at Soldier Field, MLS All-Star week is full of free family events being held across the city. From Toyota Park to North Ave Beach, the PrivateBank Fire Pitch and Soldier Field, Chicagoans and fans from around the world will see Chicago transformed into soccer city.

If you’ve been to Millennium Park, you’ve probably looked up at the stunning fountains at the northeast corner of Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue. They are, of course, the wonderful Crown Fountain designed and executed by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. Since their installation in 2004, millions of people have played in the water that surrounds the fountains in the summer and enjoyed watching a rotating cast of Chicagoans projected on the screens that add a bit of whimsy to these amazing pieces of art.

Lovely Lake Michigan is the lone Great Lake located entirely within the United States and is the fifth-largest lake in the world. 307 miles long by 118 miles wide, with a shoreline 1,640 miles long, the lake is our city's deep blue gem. While you can always stroll along the beautiful lakefront or swim at one of the many city beaches, why not hop into a kayak, step atop a paddleboard, snorkel, scuba or even surf Lake Michigan? Here are five unique, active ways to experience Chicago's beautiful stretch of Lake Michigan. 

Summer is flying by, Chicago! July is now over halfway done and if you haven’t had the chance to experience a craft beer event, this weekend is a perfect opportunity. Friday Night Flights continues downtown and Chicago Craft Beer Festival is joining with a music and garden event in Lincoln Park. Beer is not the only thing being highlighted this weekend. A Michigan Avenue art fest and a River North tasting event will be open to visitors of all ages. Add the list of events below to your calendar and don’t forget to check out our July list of festivals and August list of festivals to look forward to for the rest of the summer!

No one embraces summer like a Chicagoan: sunny days call for as much outdoor time as possible, and picnics are the way to dine. Here are four picnic + park recommendations that promise to make for a memorable summer afternoon in Chicago.

Drinking in the Vice

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:00 PM by Liz Garibay

In the late 1800s, all of Chicago was booming. The city was re-building and growing in ways that were unthinkable. No matter the industry, opportunity was available for any and all. And as much as the good was thriving, the bad did too. 

Vice districts flourished in all major urban centers, and Chicago had her fair share. The most infamous of them all, The Levee, was located in modern day South Loop. It was here that Chicago would come to gamble, drink, and visit an assortment of brothels. Aldermen Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin ran the successful First Ward and advocated for its existence. Thanks to Karen Abbott’s insightful book, Sin In The Second City, you can read all about the unique cast of characters that once were. And if you want to throw back a few where some of this history sultry history happened, head on over to Vice District Brewing (1454 S Michigan Ave). 

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