Eat & tour near Chicago’s universities
After half a dozen campus tours, you’ll be left with a heavy pile of information packets, an empty stomach and the desire to put your mind on something else. Lucky for you, just a short walk off campus you can find good eats and neat sites. Mark these spots down: You’ll be going there every time your friends and family visit you for the next four (or five…) years.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Photo by flickr user Monster Pete
Tour: Madonna della Strada Chapel, 6525 N. Sheridan Road
What did you expect? You’re at a Catholic University, so you should see the pièce de résistance even if you aren’t a regular church-goer. Built in 1938, this concrete masterpiece rises from the ground in all its art deco glory. The architecture carries inside with bright and airy modernism. Recently renovated, it features a 70-rank pipe organ.
For more information: Loyola University Chapel
Photo by flickr user Zol87
It was named one of Time Out Chicago’s “Essential Restaurants in Chicago,” but what exactly is “good wholesome food for the mind and body”? It’s a cafe that hosts political events, jazz concerts and even a radio show. In Rogers Park, the cafe is also connected to the Red Line Tap, which has an open mic night every Thursday and was named one of the Top 100 bars by Chicago magazine. Try a buffalo burger and don’t forget to stop in the general store on the way out.
For more information: http://www.heartlandcafe.com/
Photo by flickr user renee_mcgurk
Eat: Thai Grill,1040 W. Granville Avenue
For a cheap Thai fix, this is the place. Just a short walk to the south of campus (or a one-stop ride on the red line to Granville), Thai Grill is exactly what it says: Pad Thai and noodles. Nothing fancy, just the staples. They also have a full vegetarian menu to offer.
For more information: http://www.thaigrillchicago.com/
Photo courtesy of Thai Grill
633 Clark Street, Evanston
Photo by flickr user Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
Tour: Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
The Block features fine art exhibitions, an outdoor sculpture gallery, even a cinema. Tours are available and there are frequently lectures and workshops to better make sense of the art world. Summer exhibitions include “I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith,” with more than 200 photographs used by Smith as the foundation for her contemporary works, and “Social Mobility,” an interactive installation by Chicago artists’ collaborative Temporary Services.
For more information: Block Museum
Photo courtesy of the Block Museum
Sometimes you’re not looking for something special – you just want a quick sandwich next to your L stop. Welcome to this sandwich joint under the tracks, where the food is cheap and delicious. Try the Verde, on fresh tomato focaccia bread. This is the place where actual Northwestern students go for lunch, so get in the habit now. It’s an especially good location if you’re majoring in engineering, whose classrooms are just down the street.
For more information: http://rollin2go.com/
Photo by Tricia L. on Yelp
Eat: Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop, 825 Church Street, Evanston
Cajun and creole … even at breakfast. If you like a little kick to jumpstart your day – morning, noon or night – this is the place. Crawdads, peel-and-eat BBQ shrimp and catfish might have you stuffed to the gills (cheesy pun intended), but leave room for warm peach cobbler. President Obama even gave his vote to Dixie Kitchen on WTTW’s “Check, Please!” (“The prices are right and the portions are good,” he said.) When the Dixie Kitchen in Obama’s home neighborhood, Hyde Park, marks its last day this weekend, the Evanston location becomes the last bastion for Chicagoans lookin’ for a fixin’.
For more information: http://www.dixiekitchenchicago.com/
Photo by flickr user Eric Guo
1 E. Jackson, Chicago
Photo by flickr user Tony.L.Wong
Tour: Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park
So you think you’re too old for zoos? What if we told you that this zoo was 1) walking distance from campus and 2) free? Lions, ZEBRAS and bears, oh my!
For more information: www.lpzoo.org
Photo by flickr user cortneymartin82
Eat: Bacino’s of Lincoln Park, 2204 N. Lincoln Avenue
This place may look like your straightforward pizza shop, but the food is far from usual. Aside from the pizza (Chicago-style stuffed and thin crust), they have Italian food you’d find at a restaurant with white table cloths. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, try the poached pear and gorgonzola salad or the homemade lasagna.
For more information: Bacino’s Website
Photo courtesy of Bacino’s
This place’s mission is to “overwhelm your senses” and it succeeds. It looks like a mix between a coffee shop, book store and your grandmother’s kitchen. Known for its literary themed sandwiches – The Hobbit (a triple-decker BLT) and The Old Man and the Sea (tuna dill), for example – they also have second-to-none salads like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese. Rachel Ray once visited. ‘Nuff said.
For more information: http://www.bpigcafe.com/
Photo by flickr user _nickd
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago
Photo by flickr user Androfire
Tour: Museum of Science and Industry, South Lake Shore Drive
You’re going to college, so we know you love learning. This museum has something for everyone – anatomy (the “Body Worlds” exhibit displaying cadavers-turned-art), aviation (full size airplanes) and meteorology (the tornado alley may be particularly relevant to provide some insight into what happened in Joplin, Mo. this spring). With a student ID you can become a member for $55 and visit as many times as you want.
For more information: Museum of Science and Industry
Photo by flickr user hibino
Eat: Medici on 57th, 1327 E. 57th St.
Voted one of Chicago’s best burgers, this place has the look of a classy restaurant but with reasonable prices. With one-of-a-kind pizzas (apples on top!) and hearty weekend brunches, you won’t leave hungry. They’re also known for their bakery and unusual assortment of breads and rolls, so get some to go, too. According to Fodor’s “Chicago Travel Guide,” though, the allure is to become part of history as one of the “generations of University of Chicago students who’ve carved their names into the tables.”
For more information: http://www.medici57.com/
Photo courtesy of Medici on 57th
Any restaurant review would be remiss to avoid getting into the fray: Who has the best pizza in Chicago? If you ask the students, Edwardo’s, which has several locations, will make the list. That’s partly because the price is a little lower than its counterparts, and we can all agree college students are stingy by necessity. Known for their deep dish spinach pizza, you won’t go wrong with any of their pies.
For more information: http://www.edwardos.com/
Photo by Greg D. of Yelp
COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Photo by flickr user John Picken
Tour: Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park
At Grant Park, this is the iconic symbol of Chicago, seen in TV and movies and a definite must-visit for anyone new to the city. According to Chicago Traveler, it uses 1.5 million gallons, with 14,000 gallons circulating through each minute, pushed by 134 jets. It’s no wonder that Rahm Emanuel chose this to be the backdrop of his inauguration.
For more information: Chicago Traveler
Photo by flickr user David Paul Ohmer
One of the many firsts to come out of the World’s Columbian Exposition, this restaurant is a keeper, and a staple among the downtown professional crowd (in other words: the people you hope to be someday). While it offers a lunch buffet of fresh carved meats, the dinner menu filled with German staples and inventive takes on classics (try mascarpone mac and cheese) is the true treat. Dinner can get a little steep, so save this trip for when you have Mom and Dad to foot the bill.
For more information: http://www.theberghoff.com/
Photo by flickr user Señor Codo