Explore Chicago: CAPE Recommendations

We asked the staff at Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) to share their favorite local spots, neighborhood gems, and all-around picks for conference guests looking to explore all that Chicago has to offer. Read on for recommendations!
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Neighborhood: Uptown
Getting there: Take the Red Line north to Wilson or Argyle stations (20-30 mins from the conference hotel).

Amy’s Neighborhood Picks:

Neighborhood: Pilsen
Getting there: Take the Green Line to Bus 21 (30 mins from hotel).

Noé’s Neighborhood Picks:

  • Simone’s | An eco-friendly bar with recycled décor, DJ-spun tunes, craft beers, and Mexican-inspired pub grub
  • Café Jumping Bean | Colorful coffeehouse offering java, gourmet sandwiches, and soup – plus arts showings and occasional music
  • La Vaca Margarita Bar | Mexican outfit in cantina digs, with a spacious patio, serving up modern cuisine and specialty margaritas
  • Honky Tonk BBQ / The Tonk | Plates of apple-and-oak smoked pork and beef brisket (plus sides) flavor the menu at this rustic eatery.
  • Pleasant House Pub | Rustic café with a blackboard menu of farm-to-table fare, baked goods, brunch, and Sunday tea service

Neighborhood: Wicker Park-adjacent
Getting there: Take the Blue Line (15 mins from hotel).

Grace’s Neighborhood Picks:

Neighborhood: West Loop
Getting there: Take the Green Line (10-15 mins from hotel).

Hannah’s Neighborhood Picks:

Neighborhood: Avondale
Getting there: Take the Blue Line toward O’Hare to Belmont or Logan Square stations (about 30 mins from hotel).

Brandon’s Neighborhood Picks:

  • The Brewed + Bric-a-Brac Records | Two businesses under the same roof, with a husband/wife team selling great coffee and slinging records out of this funky horror-movie themed café-cum-record store.
  • The Insect Asylum | A nonprofit taxidermy museum that hosts classes, events, and insect/animal interactions while offering up artist-made goods for sale.
  • Staropolska Restaurant | Enjoy Polish classics in this charming old-world-style decorated bar (situated in a historically Polish neighborhood)
  • Sleeping Village | A mullet space: business in the front and party in the back (or, a bar and music venue, respectively). Curated draught list regularly in rotation and eclectic calendar of music and comedy shows featuring everything from nationally touring acts to local favorites to up-and-comers. Open 6pm-2am.
  • Alice’s Lounge | One of the best public room karaoke bars in Chicago – and recently featured in Season 2 of Hulu’s hit series The Bear. Also great for people watching. Open 7pm-4am.

Neighborhood: Rogers Park
Getting there: Take the Red Line toward Howard (40 mins from hotel).

Teju’s Neighborhood Pick:

Neighborhood: Chinatown
Getting there: Take the Red Line south to Cermak/Chinatown (around 30 mins from hotel).

Marks Chinatown Picks:

  • Joy Yee Noodles | Come here for boba drinks and fruit shakes.
  • Chiu Quon | bao bao bao
  • MCBB | Try everything on the menu (MCBB stands for Modern Chinese Cook Book).
  • Hing Kee | Hand-pulled noodles
  • Xi’an Cuisine | Order flatbread with seaweed and black noodles with lamb.

Neighborhood: Uptown (Argyle)
Getting there: Take the Red Line north to Argyle (around 30 mins from hotel)

Mark’s Uptown (Argyle) Picks:

CAPE, the Chicago affiliate of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, inspires students’ passion for learning by bringing academics to life through original, creative lessons, developed by artists and schoolteachers, leading to improved grades and confidence. Learn more at capechicago.org.