Chicago Off The Beaten Path Tips by TRimer
Chicago Off The Beaten Path: 434 reviews and 641 photos
Outside the Mansion
The Dewes mansion at 503 W. Wrightwood is often derided by more discerning architectural critics. The AIA Guide to Chicago refers to it as the "Prussian confection" while others kindly call it "eclectic."
But despite its apparent lack of decorative clarity, the building is impressive. Walk past the mansion and you may experience the odd sensation of thinking you have left Chicago and suddenly been transported to Munich or Berlin.
Architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz designed the Dewes mansion, and it was completed in 1896. The Dewes mansion was built for Francis J. Dewes, a brewer.
Taken as a whole, the building is an unusual example of a German inspired style, influenced by the neo-Baroque architecture of Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. The exterior of this lavish gray-stone is decorated with carved stonework and ornamental cornices and lintels. The entrance to the mansion is flanked by caryatids, tall female figures acting as columns, supporting a balcony over the doorway. At night the entrance is illuminated by floodlights, adding to the impression that you have stumbled upon a European embassy.
Inside, the mansion is a virtual catalogue of European architectural styles. German Gothic Revival competes with Rococo and neo-Baroque motifs. Each room is more grandiose than the last.
Francis J. Dewes lived in the mansion until his death near the end of World War I. Afterwards, the building served for a time as the headquarters of the Swedish Engineers Society of Chicago. But today the Dewes mansion is a special events venue, available to rent out for lavish weddings and the types of parties you and I don't get invited to.
Other Contact: 503 W. Wrightwood
Phone: (773) 865-6819
This adorable little street has lots of boutiques and restaurants that the everyday people of Lincoln Park frequent. Some of the must see shops include Lori's Shoes (referred to as chick heaven by former boyfriends), Findables, and Endo Exo (which is actually on Halsted). One new find is Stinky Pants- a great place to purchases high end baby clothes. Also on Armitage, the Benefit Store, Paul Frank, Benetton, All She Wrote (stationary), Barker & Meowsky (pet clothing), and Out of the West which has a great selection of jeans.
If you get thirsty, there is a Starbucks on Armitage at Sheffield and an Argo Tea.
Also check out the farmers market at the Lincoln Park High School during the summer!
Joe at Ravinia
Experience a concert under the stars at Ravinia.
Ravinia consists of an amphitheatre and lawn where people of Chicago and the North Shore go to hear classical music, jazz and pop concerts. Attendees bring everything from elaborate dinners with candelabras and tablecloths to your basic picnic fare. Ravinia also sells food and alcohol at a premium. And you can rent lawn chairs and tables.
You can take the train from downtown but they will be crowded and you will still have to drag your picnic stuff through the train station. You can drive and park in one of the remote lots (Botanical Gardens and Port Clinton). Ravinia runs shuttle buses from these lots to the park.
Check out the schedule of performers. This summer's schedule includes such variety as the BoDeans, Gypsy Kings, and the CSO performing ABBA tunes.
Remember to bring along (in addition to your picnic fare): a jacket as it tends to get cool in the evening, comfortable shoes as it is a hike whereever you park and bug spray.
Go hear some authentic Chicago Blues!
2548 N. Halsted St. (Lincoln Park)
Voted Chicago's best blues club 8 years in a row by the Chicago Music Awards, this small little storefront (now 3 storefronts) is the place to go to rub elbows with the greats of Blues plus a few celebrities (Mick Jagger is reported to be a regular). The place is small and smokey but in a great location. Cover price $15 - you can also buy tickets online in advance. You can take the EL (Brown or Red) to Fullerton. http://www.kingstonmines.com
736 N. Clark St (River North)
This is the place to go if you want to dance. The line-up is heavy on generic blues performers. On weekends, the cover is higher and there's usually a two drink minumum. Cover Charge: $8 Sunday through Thursday. $10 Friday and Saturday. Take the El (Red) to Chicago. http://www.bluechicago.com/club/info.html
Buddy Guy's Legends
754 S. Wabash Ave. (Printers Row- Wabash & 8th)
Owned by a Blues great, this is the place to see nationally reknowned acts like Taj Mahal and Koko Taylor. It is often difficult to get a seat on weekends. From a historical perspective, Buddy Guy's Legends has been the setting for a number of blues documentaries, as well as the location for several live albums, videos, television shows and major motion pictures. http://www.buddyguys.com
Richard Thompson 2001
Jammin' At the Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo puts favorite musical acts onto the wildest stage in Chicago (in front of the Lion House). The concerts are general admission (so bring a blanket) and are held on the South Lawn. Past performers have included The Jayhawks, Joan Osborne, Liquid Soul and The Robert Cray Band. No outside food or beverage allowed but they sell ice cold beers, wine and food. The Kovler Lion House, Flamingo Exhibit and Kovler Sea Lion Pool are all open during the event.
Phone: (312) 742-2283
The Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park is an exciting place to spend an afternoon. With 25 Wright buildings in the neighborhood surrounding the Home and Studio, Oak Park is an outdoor museum of architectural history. The extraordinary Home and Studio complex served as Wright's architectural laboratory from 1889 to 1909, the years that launched his career. Here he conceived the Prairie style of architecture, testing ideas that found their fullest expression in many of the surrounding homes he designed for clients.
Advance tickets ($12) are available for select daily tour departures. They may be purchased online up to midnight prior to the day of tour. Tickets for other tours are available in the museum bookshops on a first-come first-served basis the day of the tour. Admittance to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is only with the scheduled guided tours. Visitors may not walk through this historic house museum on their own.
951 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL
You can take the EL (westbound Green Line) to the Oak Park Avenue stop. Walk under tracks and go north on Oak Park Ave. to Chicago Ave. Turn left (west) and walk 3 blocks to the Home and Studio. It is a 10-15 minute walk.
Phone: (708) 848-1976
Audience reservations for The Oprah Winfrey Show are available almost exclusively by phone. Demand far exceeds supply, so you may receive a lot of busy phone signals before getting through.
The Oprah Winfrey Show taping schedule varies from week to week. There are no weekend tapings. The show season goes from August through November and then January through May. Generally, the morning taping ENDS around 11:00 a.m. and the afternoon taping ENDS around 3:00 p.m.
Phone: 312- 591-9222
Comfortably situated along Clark between Foster and Bryn Mawr, Andersonville is cheaper than a trip to Sweden and better shopping too. This ethnic neighborhood has blossomed as small upstart boutiques, fitness clubs (Cheetah Gym for Yoga), and specialty stores (The Wooden Spoon) sprouting up between the long-standing Swedish bakeries and restaurants. Shop here for unique designer dresses and jewelry, soaps and lotions, or handmade art.
Andersonville's roots as a community extend well back into the 19th century, when immigrant Swedish farmers started moving north into what was then a distant suburb of Chicago. The area is still inhabited by many Swedes, in addition to Lebanese, Koreans and Mexicans. The area is also home to may gays and lesbians.
Old Town Arts Festival
Always the second weekend in June this festival is the oldest juried art fair in the country. Quite an event in itself. Food, art, lots of beautiful people and gardens. (Not the same as the Wells Street Arts festival which is held the same weekend). Place to go to see lots of 30 somethings drink beer, look good and pretend to look at art.
Phone: (312) 337-1938
More Reviews (116)
- See All Amazing Selection of Beers
- See All Public Transportation from O'Hare
- See All Neighborhood Parking
- See All Smith Museum of Stained Glass
- See All Not Worth the Wait
- See All One of a Kind Gifts
TRimer's Related Pages
Chicago Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "The place I call home"
- "Captivating City of "The Big Shoulders": Chicago"
- "Never A Lovely So Real"
- "Chicago - My Favorite City in the United States!"
- "Sweet Home Chicago!"
- "Chicago - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Chicago
- Hotels in Chicago
- Transportation in Chicago
- Nightlife in Chicago
- Restaurants in Chicago
- Shopping in Chicago
- Warnings and Dangers in Chicago
- See All...
Explore the World
- Pasongtamo Hotels
- Yreka Hotels
- Whittier Hotels
- West Palm Beach
- Birmingham Hotels
- Pulau Pisang
Badges & Stats in Chicago
- 125 Reviews
- 129 Photos
- 170 Forum posts
- 71 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (18)
Have you been to Chicago?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Chicago
Photos in ChicagoSee All Photos (129)
Top 10 Pages
- Chicago Intro, 125 reviews, 132 photos, 2 travelogues
- New York City Intro, 55 reviews, 35 photos, 1 travelogue
- Cuba Intro, 34 reviews, 23 photos
- Ireland Intro, 31 reviews, 25 photos
- Venice Intro, 29 reviews, 21 photos
- Paris Intro, 30 reviews, 18 photos
- Rome Intro, 27 reviews, 21 photos
- Cape Town Intro, 13 reviews, 34 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Positano Intro, 23 reviews, 20 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Netherlands Antilles Intro, 25 reviews, 15 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (1)
Latest Chicago hotel reviews
- Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Chicago Downtown
- 551 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago
- 899 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 20, 2013
- Chinatown Hotel Sro Ltd.
- 85 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 10, 2013
- Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
- 790 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- MDA Chicago City Apartments
- 18 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 28, 2011
- Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago
- 378 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 19, 2013
- Habitat Corporate Suites at Presidential Towers
- 13 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 12, 2012
- The Fairmont Chicago
- 851 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- Dana Hotel & Spa
- 740 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 19, 2013
- Park Hyatt Chicago
- 460 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 17, 2013
- Mark Twain Hotel
- 4 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 15, 2012
- The Tremont Chicago Hotel at Magnificent Mile
- 483 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 20, 2013
- Heart O' Chicago Motel
- 74 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 20, 2013
- Chicago International Hostel
- 2 Reviews & Opinions
- Club Quarters Central Loop
- 589 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- Michigan Avenue- 86 Reviews, 140 Photos
- Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)- 107 Reviews, 194 Photos
- John Hancock Center- 100 Reviews, 182 Photos
- Millennium Park- 84 Reviews, 235 Photos
- Navy Pier- 106 Reviews, 223 Photos
- Lake Michigan & Lincoln Park- 52 Reviews, 81 Photos
- Art Institute- 89 Reviews, 148 Photos
- Field Museum of Natural History- 67 Reviews, 118 Photos
- Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs- 34 Reviews, 86 Photos
- Shedd Aquarium- 54 Reviews, 97 Photos
See All Chicago Things to Do