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Insider Tips to Chicago for Museums and the Web 2015!

When you’re not immersed in one of MW2015’s scintillating sessions, you might want to take some time to explore Chicago. Here are some off-the-beaten-path places (on recommendation from our hippest, most culturally-savvy Chicago friends!) to visit. (Note, “The Loop” is what locals call the downtown area…)

Best hole-in-the wall joint

Pleasant House Bakery (in Bridgeport neighborhood, south of downtown)
Booze Box (in the Loop, basement of Sushi Doku)
Oasis . (a middle-eastern food in the back of a jewelry store on Wabash in the Loop)
Bottom Lounge (live music, West Loop)
Exchequer Pub (a Chicago classic, in the Loop)

Best place to go for a breather from the big city

Northerly Island .
North Pond Café (a beautiful restaurant in the city’s Lincoln Park/Lakeview neighborhood)
Caldwell Lily Pond (Lincoln Park)

Best touristy thing in Chicago (all walking distance from the Palmer House)

Chicago Architectural Foundation boat tour
River taxis from Sears Tower to Navy Pier and Museum Campus
Segway tour around Grant Park, Millennium Park, Museum Campus
Gehry Bridge in Millennium Park
The Bean
Wendella boat rides

Best pizza that's not deep dish

Coalfire (West Loop-ish)
Roxie's By The Slice (in hipster-nabe Bucktown)
Pequods (West Lakeview)
Piece (Bucktown)
Bar Toma (Gold Coast)
Pizano's (Loop)
La Madia Pizza (Downtown)

Best dive bar

Happy Village (hipster Ukranian Village, west of downtown)
Liar’s Club (West Lakeview)
Friar Tuck (Lakeview )
Hideout (amazing small music venue , Bucktown area)

Best fancy bar

Billy Sunday (Logan Square)
The Langham Hotel bar (Downtown)
The Aviary (West Loop)
'16' at Trump Tower (Downtown)
Siena Tavern (West Loop)
Maude's Liquor Bar (West Loop)

Best non museum art experience

The murals in Pilsen, a neighborhood just south of downtown
The statuary in Millennium Park
Chicago Cultural Center
Hyde Park Art Center (Hyde Park, natch)
Packer Gallery (West Loop)
Sculpture walk (Loop)

Best schlep away from downtown

Oak Park neighborhood (Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust tours !)
Mies van der Rohe campus at IIT

Best place to escape on a blustery April day

Garfield Park Conservatory (west of downtown)
Asrai Garden florist (Bucktown)
Russian Tea Time (Loop)

Best vegetarian/vegan

Native Foods (Various locations)
The Chicago Diner (Lakeview or Logan Square )
Mana (Wicker Park, sort of)

Best paleo

Tango Sur (Lakeview)
Publican Meats (West Loop)
Gene and Georgetti (north of downtown)

Best place to grab a coffee downtown that's not Starbucks

La Colombe (West Loop )
Intelligentsia (Loop)
Toni Patisserie (Loop )