Photo by Diane Alexander White.

It’s my duty as a rock’n’roll native city girl to show you a good time in Chicago! Here’s a perfect day-trip worth of gems from the northside to southside best accomplished with driving.

Lincoln Square

Park somewhere on Western and transport yourself to a European-style neighborhood crammed with cool shops called Lincoln Square.  I love getting a Swiss toothbrush from Mertz Apocathery (4716 N. Lincoln), scoping axes at Rock’n’Roll Vintage Guitars (4740 N Lincoln), and visiting Laurie’s Planet of Sound (4639 North Lincoln).

Vienna Beef Factory

Scadaddle down Damen over the bridge to the Vienna Beef Factory 2501 North Damen, the cause AND solution to all of life’s problems, in encased meat form.  Sit in the cafeteria alongside line-workers and get this cheapest, freshest hot dogs in the city.

Alcala’s Western Wear

Continue down Damen past the “crotch” of Wicker Park to Alcala’s (1733 West Chicago) and take advantage of their free parking lot across the street.  You’ll see a big sign with a horse out front and know that you’re at the cowboy emporium of fine boots, pearl-snap shirts, and endless Levi’s with free tailoring.  Tell ’em White Mystery sent you 🙂

Art Institute of Chicago

Haul ass downtown and power through the Art Institute (111 South Michigan), starting at the Modern Wing from your meter parking on Columbus, scope the Renzo Piano bridge on your way in, look at the modern furnishings, American colonial paintings, and big marble statues, knight’s armor, photography in the basement, or Thorne Room Miniatures.


It’s dinner time.  Go to Chinatown (2200 South Wentworth Avenue) and eat, then walk around and buy novelty stuff, loose tea, ginger candy, bubble tea.  You’ll be happy and visually stimulated!


This corner spot in Pilsen is dimly lit, stocks Russian Stout, and boasts padded booths where you can rest your arse in art deco fashion.  Visit the Skylark (2149 South Halsted Street) and get a basket of tater tots to cure the munchies, then walk north on Halsted in case it’s a second Friday of the month when art galleries open their doors.

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