Local Lens: Exploring The Best Of Chicago

Originally posted on AirBNB

Going “local” in Chicago can be almost as easy as showing up. (Almost.) This city is rich with diverse neighborhoods, each featuring distinct cultures and flavors from all over the world. So it’s not necessarily about where you live, but how you choose to explore these everyday experiences. Whether you call Chicago home or are just passing through for a few days, you can easily take in what each community offers–from world-renowned restaurants and acclaimed museums to sprawling green space and up-and-coming breweries. Chicago is quite the playground of local goodness. And this guide is our way of helping you find the most authentic gems that make Chicago so fantastic.

Our Chicago Local List was pulled together from our local host community’s own personal recommendations, so we’re proud to feature their Chicago favorites in a limited-edition printed guide illustrated by local artist Mikey Burton as well as right here in digital form, organized by neighborhood.

Whether you live here and are looking for something new to explore or you just flew from the other side of the globe, it’s easy to see why Chicago is a city where we all can feel at home. Happy exploring!

MOST LOVED COFFEE SHOP: The 3rd Coast Cafe & Wine Bar (Gold Coast)

ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS AND BREWS: Three Dots and a Dash (River North)

BEST KEPT SECRET: The Drifter (River North)

AUTHENTIC BITE OF CHICAGO: Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse (Gold Coast)

ARCHITECTURAL GEM: Chicago Water Tower (Magnificent Mile)

LOCALLY LOVED LIVE MUSIC VENUE: Jazz Showcase (South Loop)

TOP SPOT TO CATCH A GAME: Weather Mark Tavern (South Loop)

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD PATIO: Bridge House Tavern (River North)

LEGENDARY BRUNCH: The Bongo Room (South Loop)

MOST LOVED COFFEE SHOP: Intelligentsia Coffee (Wicker Park)

ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS AND BREWS: DryHop Brewers (Lakeview)

BEST KEPT SECRET: Half Shell (Lakeview)

AUTHENTIC BITE OF CHICAGO: Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern (Lincoln Park)

ARCHITECTURAL GEM: Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo (Lincoln Park)

LOCALLY LOVED LIVE MUSIC VENUE: Lincoln Hall (Lincoln Park)

TOP SPOT TO CATCH A GAME: Benchmark (Old Town)

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD PATIO: Big Star (Wicker Park)

LEGENDARY BRUNCH: Lula Cafe (Logan Square)

MOST LOVED COFFEE SHOP: The Growling Rabbit (Rogers Park)

ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS AND BREWS: Hopleaf (Andersonville)

BEST KEPT SECRET: Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary (Montrose Beach/Uptown)

AUTHENTIC BITE OF CHICAGO: Budacki’s Drive In (Ravenswood)

ARCHITECTURAL GEM: Graceland Cemetery (Uptown)

LOCALLY LOVED LIVE MUSIC VENUE: Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (Uptown)

TOP SPOT TO CATCH A GAME: The Norse Bar (Edgewater)

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD PATIO: Bistro Campagne (Lincoln Square)

LEGENDARY BRUNCH: Tweet Let’s Eat (Uptown)

MOST LOVED COFFEE SHOP: Bridgeport Coffee Company (Bridgeport)

ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS AND BREWS: Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar (Bridgeport)

BEST KEPT SECRET: Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Pies (Beverly)

AUTHENTIC BITE OF CHICAGO: Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria (Ashburn)

ARCHITECTURAL GEM: Pullman National Monument (Pullman)

LOCALLY LOVED LIVE MUSIC VENUE: The Promontory (Hyde Park)

TOP SPOT TO CATCH A GAME: Good Time Sports Bar (Bronzeville)

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD PATIO: Plein Air Café & Eatery (Hyde Park)

 LEGENDARY BRUNCH: Norman’s Bistro (Kenwood)

MOST LOVED COFFEE SHOP: Big Shoulders Coffee (West Town)

ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS AND BREWS: Goose Island Brewery & Taproom (West Town)

BEST KEPT SECRET: Garfield Park Conservatory (Garfield Park)

AUTHENTIC BITE OF CHICAGO: Nuevo Leon (Pilsen)

ARCHITECTURAL GEM: National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (Humboldt Park)

LOCALLY LOVED LIVE MUSIC VENUE: The Empty Bottle (Ukrainian Village)

TOP SPOT TO CATCH A GAME: The Ogden (West Town)

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD PATIO: Homestead on the Roof (West Town)

LEGENDARY BRUNCH: Wishbone (West Loop)