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Neighborhood Guide: Wicker Park

This summer, make exploring the shops, architecture and restaurants of the Wicker Park neighborhood part of your plans. The eclectic neighborhood, which was dubbed one of the best hipster neighborhoods by Forbes in 2012, has a number of places to relax with friends. Where should you go, and what should you do? Keep this neighborhood guide of Wicker Park in mind if you’re looking for a new-to-you Chicago neighborhood to explore. If you plan to take the “L” to Wicker Park, you can depart at the Blue Line’s Division, Damen, and Western stations.

History Of Wicker Park

According to the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, the neighborhood of Wicker Park has been a part of Chicago since 1837, when the city was incorporated. The artsy neighborhood is now known for its plethora of boutique shops, unique restaurants and bars, and art galleries. Wicker Park is also connected to three other neighborhoods via the pedestrian-friendly trail The 606, which opened in 2015.

Eat And Drink:

Big Star
1531 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-4039

If you like tacos and tequila, then keep reading. Big Star boasts a wide range of tacos, including The Walking Taco. Choose from tacos with pork belly, pork shoulder, grilled steak, vegetables and so many other options. On the drinks side, Big Star has a list of tequila that’s about as long as your arm. Cocktails, whiskey and an assortment of beer from around the world are also on the menu. The restaurant also keeps late hours, so you can grab something to eat after a night on the town.

Nick’s Beer Garden

1516 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1155

With a selection of beer that includes Heineken, Half Acre, Two Brothers and Budweiser, Nick’s Beer Garden has something for beer drinkers of all stripes. Currently, the bar’s draft beer selection features more than 15 types of beer, while almost 30 additional types of beer are available in bottles or cans. The bar also hosts trivia night on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m., so round up your (smartest) friends and get ready to play. Nick’s Beer Garden plays host to live musical performances on Friday and Saturday nights, too.

Hot Spot: Double Door
1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 489-3160

So you want to hear funk, R&B, hip-hop, and maybe some up-and-coming bands from the Chicago area. Where should you go? Consider checking out the performance lineup at Double Door. B.o.B. and Helmet are among the musical acts on the schedule in upcoming weeks, with plenty of other acts slated as well. Double Door also has a tavern where you can enjoy a drink or two with your friends. Keep in mind, some shows have age restrictions.

Must-Experience Events:

Do Division Street Fest And Sidewalk Sale
On Division St. from Leavitt St. to Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

For many Chicagoans, it isn’t truly summer without a visit to the Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale. The not-quite-one-mile-long festival boasts an array of musical performances, with shows scheduled well into the night. Festival attendees can also purchase food and beverages from local restaurants, peruse the selection of wares at the Sidewalk Sale, and take part in face painting and more at the Family Fun Fest. This year’s event will be held June 3-5.

Green Music Fest
On Damen Ave. from North Ave. to Schiller St.

Maybe you reduce, reuse and recycle, and perhaps you even bike to work. But do you attend green music festivals? With Wicker Park’s Green Music Fest, you can. The annual event, which will be held June 18 and 19, includes plenty of hands-on crafts and demonstrations so you can learn how to be more environmentally friendly. This year’s performance lineup includes blues and soul band Black Joe Lewis, as well as King Khan & The Shrines, Langhorne Slim, Waxahatchee and Broncho.

Wicker Park Fest
On Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Paulina St.
Chicago, IL 60647

Held July 23 and 24, Wicker Park Fest is a much-anticipated annual event. Local restaurants show off their culinary delights while musicians of all genres take to the stage for live performances. Interactive art exhibits are also part of the festivities. Got kids? Even the youngest festival attendees can find something to do with activities planned just for kids.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

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