West Town is a well-kept secret in Chicago, but it won't stay that way for long. In the last five years, the community just west of the Loop has been bubbling to the top of the city's cultural scene with new restaurants, bars and shopping options.
While pockets of West Town might overlap with its surrounding Humboldt Park, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park neighborhoods, no one will argue that the stretch of Chicago Avenue between Noble and Damen Avenue and Noble Street is the heart of this growlingly bustling patch of Chicago.
Spend a day along this strip and don't miss these spots:
Get brunch: Flo (1434 W. Chicago Ave.) is known across the city for its weekend brunch menu, which offers classics like French toast and buttermilk pancakes but also pulls from traditional Mexican fare with plenty of huevos and breakfast tacos to go around. Neighborhood newcomer Whisk (2018 W. Chicago Ave.) also puts a Mexican spin on brunch favorites, but it's the burgers - inspired by TV's manliest man Ron Swanson (of NBC's "Parks and Recreation") - with which this place is really making its name.
Get a vintage look: Surprisingly, West Town is a hot spot for vintage and thrift shops. Hit up KrispyFringe Vintage (2130 W. Chicago Ave., pictured above), Tarnish (2024 W. Chicago Ave.), Very Best Vintage (1919 W. Chicago Ave.), Le Thrift (1821 W. Chicago Ave.) and Seek Vintage (1432 W. Chicago Ave.) for your next outfit.
Shop for vinyl: What Chicago neighborhood would be complete without a record shop? Permanent Records (1914 W. Chicago Ave.) is a treasure trove of rarities in rock ‘n roll new and old.
Watch the game: Roots Pizza (above) is a West Town's home base for sports fans. A delicious menu and solid beer and cocktail lineup scores the assist to your cheers. Need something a little divier and less family focused? Cleo's is a neighborhood bar if there ever was one. Aside from a shockingly good bar food menu and the best patio for blocks (during the summertime), this is a no frills, just whiskey type of place for all Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Bears games. That's not all though. It's actually best known as a soccer bar, Fire fans.
Laugh: Bar Deville is known for its classic, perfectly executed cocktails seven days a week. However, on Thursday nights, the back room, filled with comfy couches that may have been lifted from your grandmother's living room, is at the hands of Parlour Car, one of the city's best curated comedy nights. Unlike a lot of comedy in Chicago, this show won't cost you a dime.
Get dinner: Charlatan, from the same folks behind the University Village favorite Three Aces, opened in October and took no time to become of the hottest restaurants in Chicago. Make a reservation in advance! Or don't. The bar is receiving just as much praise as the food menu. A wait would only give you more time to try the cocktails. If you're in the mood for Asian cuisine, there is no better choice in West Town than Yuzu. It's tiny, FYI, but every seat in the place is constantly filled. Try to order something off of the sushi and the robata grill menus because everything is delicious.
Dance (and get your nails done): If it's a wild way to wind down your night that you're after, Beauty Bar rarely fails. Every night a different style of music is highlighted and the dance floor always lights up. Try this place if your looking for something glamorous (get a manicure and martini for $15) or something on the cheap. Sundays are Nickel and Dimed night with 50-cent beers and free pizza!
For more information on Chicago's neighborhoods and communities, visit our Discover Chicago Neighborhoods site.