5 of the Best Spots in Chicago According to Locals

5 of the Best Spots in Chicago According to Locals

If you are planning to travel to Chicago soon, you’ve probably been busy researching the top neighborhoods, attractions, and destinations. One of the best ways to get to know a new place is to see which spots are the most popular amongst the local residents. That way, you can avoid the touristy locations and discover what the city’s atmosphere is really like. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best spots around Chicago according to locals to help you decide where to go on your next visit.

Wicker Park

The Wicker Park neighborhood is home to a lively and unique shopping scene, with vintage clothing shops, used bookstores, and record stores. There are even bigger brands with outposts there too, like Adidas, Levi’s, Burton, and Chrome Industries. If you’re looking to add to your vinyl collection, you can browse the music at Reckless Records in Wicker Park. To find vintage clothes, baubles, and other treasures, visit Kokorokoko in the area. Pop into another neighborhood shop, Penelope’s boutique, to discover trendy clothes and unique goods. Wander over to Myopic Bookstore, one of Chicago’s oldest bookstores, to search for a new book to read. Wicker Park is full of both trendy and quaint boutiques and shops which will pleasantly surprise you. 

Wicker Park also provides access to the elevated 606 trail, a unique pathway that takes you through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and Bucktown. It was formerly an elevated railway track but was renovated in 2015. In total, the pathway is 2.7 miles long, and you can walk, run, or ride bikes on it while seeing the city from a different perspective.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park has something for everyone, including an actual zoo, golf courses, baseball fields, a skate park, and paths for walking, running, or riding bikes. The entire park is about six and a half miles long and goes from Ohio Street Beach to Hollywood Beach. The most famous attraction within the park is the Lincoln Park Zoo, where visitors can experience a 35-acre zoo—one of the oldest zoos in North America—and see 200 unique species from around the world. Along with visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo, you can also go to see the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. 

While you’re visiting Lincoln Park, you’ll also want to stop by a few other local hotspots. Pequod’s Pizza, known for its pan-style pizza with caramelized crust, has started a cult following amongst locals. Or, if you want to try another one of Chicago’s famous foods, you can go to Chicago’s Doghouse, which serves an array of gourmet hot dogs. You’ll have the opportunity to try a classic Chicago-style hot dog, with mustard, tomato, onion, relish, pickles, sport peppers, and celery salt.


Today, Streeterville is a destination known for its great restaurants, luxury retail and department stores, breathtaking views, and historical architecture. It includes The Magnificent Mile, and other notable landmarks, such as 875 N. Michigan Ave, formerly known as the John Hancock Center, and Water Tower Place.

If you choose to visit Streeterville, be sure to book a room at Hotel EMC2, a 195-room luxury hotel. Hotel EMC2 presents itself at the intersection of art and science, and has rooms that feature inspiring art and technology. The hotel even has robots named Leo and Cleo that deliver amenities to guests. While staying at Hotel EMC2, you can also take advantage of the Albert, the hotel’s restaurant. the Albert emphasizes quality and refined taste, and its carefully crafted dishes and cocktails are sure to take you on a culinary adventure.

The Loop

Even though many people view the Loop as a tourist destination, it still has many attractions that locals flock to. One destination that locals and tourists all enjoy is the Lakefront Trail, where you can see stunning views of Chicago’s skyline. During the wintertime, take advantage of the less crowded pathways on the Lakefront Trail. You’ll probably see ice formations along the trail on the water, and maybe even an ice fisher or two. Discover some of the best views on the trail near Museum Campus, outside of Adler Planetarium. The trail juts out into this lake at this point, making it a perfect spot to see the city’s entire skyline. 

Stop by Revival Food Hall if you’d like to grab a bite to eat while you’re in the Loop. Revival Food Hall is an all-local dining concept spotlighting the best of Chicago’s acclaimed culinary scene under one roof. The massive, 24,000 square foot marketplace is located on the ground floor of The National—a restored, historic building. Within Revival Food Hall, there are 15 fast-casual stalls featuring many of Chicago’s favorite neighborhood restaurants.


Walking around Chinatown, you’ll experience one of Chicago’s most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods—it’s also the second-largest Chinatown in the U.S. You’ll be able to experience the lavish culture, art and view historic landmarks. One popular spot in Chinatown is the Chinese American Museum of Chicago. Other popular attractions in Chinatown are the Nine Dragon Wall, Ping Tom Memorial Park, and the Chinese American Veterans Memorial. 

If you’re feeling hungry, you can order authentic, handmade dumplings from Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings. QXY Dumplings also has a dumpling making class that you can take. Or, you can grab a bubble tea from the walk-up window at Joy Yee while exploring Chinatown.

Planning your visit

Whether you choose to visit Chicago now or later in the future, you’ll have a unique and thrilling experience, not to mention all of the stunning landscapes that you’ll be able to see. After you’ve selected your travel dates, you’ll need to decide where you’ll stay on your trip. Consider booking a hotel located in the heart of the city, close to nearly everything. Next up, pack your bags with essentials like warm clothes and a face covering to keep you safe and healthy. Now you’re ready for your upcoming trip to Chicago filled with breathtaking adventures and spectacular sights. 

Need a place to stay when visiting Chicago? Book your reservation here.