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How to survive a zombie apocalypse in Chicago

Written by
Laura Baginski

If you’ve seen the last few seasons of The Walking Dead (the show’s fifth season premieres this Sunday), you know it’s not easy to find a place to hide when the majority of the world’s population has become flesh-eating zombies. Rick, Carl, Daryl and the rest of the gang have tried holing up in a farm house and a prison block, but they’re still looking for a safe place to avoid roaming hordes of walkers. That got us thinking about where we would go if the dead began to rise in Chicago. Time Out Chicago editors use their braaaains to come up with some places around the city where they would be able to survive an undead outbreak.

Block 37
Think about it: a nearly empty four-level mall. So many places to hide! Even zombies, with their limited cognitive abilities, would take a look at Block 37 and say, "Gaahaaraahhahah gaaagh graaaugh." (Translation: "Wow, this desolate mall couldn't possibly house any humans. Let's go to The Gap.") Also, Block 37's outpost of Magnolia Bakery should have enough banana pudding to keep you going for a few days.—Laura Baginski

The Metra
Though using the pedway from Block 37 to race to the Blue or Red Lines would be a convenient way to get away from the Loop (where, surely, the zombies would concentrate their brain-eating efforts), I have no doubt that a zombie horde could stumble down State or Dearborn Streets faster than the rickety El. And who would want to be trapped underground with the undead? Nope, I'm taking the lightning-fast Metra from Ogilvie Station to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I can eat kringles, drink Spotted Cow and chill out till some hero kills all those zombies.—LB

The Hideout
In Edgar Wright’s 2004 zombie spoof Shaun of the Dead, the film’s protagonists hole up in a local pub called the Winchester. If the dead began to rise in my neighborhood, I would take a cue from Shaun and make a run for the Hideout. Not only does the bar have a fitting name for a tucked-away refuge, it’s also situated near the Chicago River—perfect for an eventual nautical getaway. You could grab a few charcuterie plates from Ada St., barricade the place with garbage trucks parked in the lot next door and wait out the apocalypse while drinking beer and listening to music.—Zach Long

Wicker Park Walgreens
On some weekends, the number of people losing their minds (and their lunch) in the streets of Wicker Park makes it seem like a zombie outbreak is already underway. Why not escape the walking dead by hiding in the neighborhood’s fanciest pharmacy? The flagship Walgreens store at 1601 North Milwaukee Avenue has all of the amenities you’re looking for in a bunker: shelves full of food, coolers stocked with beverages and enough household supplies to create an arsenal of improvised weaponry. With three floors, there’s plenty of room for friends, but if shit hits the fan, you can lock yourself (and your BFF) in the subterranean vitamin vault, a giant walk-in safe from the building's former life as a bank.—​ZL 

Metropolitan Correctional Center
The problem with the prison on The Walking Dead was that it was at ground level and, eventually, the surrounding fences were breached by zombies and evil humans. That's not an issue here, given that it's 28-story high-rise. Modify the rooftop exercise yard into a garden and maybe we could actually grow some fresh food. Plus, we think it's kinda pretty.—Jessica Johnson

U.S. Cellular Field
It's a bit more barren than some of the city's other sports complexes, so it shouldn't be too overrun with undead fans. Plus, there's pretty green grass, lots of good food to raid and we'll surely be helping ourselves to the large supply of blunt objects in the clubhouse. Baseball bats are perfect for bonking a zombie's brain in.—JJ

The harbor
The thing that really gnaws my brain about The Walking Dead is how nobody on the show understands the geography of Georgia. The Peach State has an Atlantic coastline with several lightly to hardly populated islands. Likewise, when I think of immediate escape from an undead apocalypse in Chicago, my thoughts turn to all those fancy yachts parked in Lake Michigan harbors. You suckers can scrap it out in the subway tunnels while I'm on a boat, sailing for Manitou, Mackinac Islands.—Brent DiCrescenzo

Art Institute of Chicago
An easy-to-defend fortress with access to the Millennium Park gardens and rail tracks, the AIC will also keep my spirits up with its collection of mankind's great aesthetic achievements. I will be surrounded with reminders of what I'm fighting for. Oh, and 16th-century German knight armor. How badass will it be to blow off some crawler's head with antique flintlock pistols? Plus, I will take sick satisfaction in keeping warm with bonfires of Marsden Hartley's oil works. I never liked his stuff.—BD

The sprawling Italian mega-store has several things going for it: lots of places to hide and lots of things to eat. Fend off zombies with baguettes, hide under counters and snack on all the gelato you can possibly eat until the coast is clear.—Amy Cavanaugh

Three Dots and a Dash
First, there are no windows and you have to enter through an alley, so good luck, zombies, in figuring out how to get in. Then, there’s a massive collection of rum, so you’ll be able to drink away all the zombie-related stress.—AC

The Pedway
The labyrinthine underground walkway that connects more than 50 buildings in the Loop is great for escaping winter winds and the walking dead. Master the map and you’ll have a seemingly unlimited number of nooks and crannies in which to hide out. And the numerous restaurants, bars, coffee shops and convenience stores dotting the Pedway will keep you nourished (and, if necessary, drunk).—Kris Vire

With iO moved south to Lincoln Park, the stretch of Clark Street between Roscoe and Addison has officially become the perfect zombie apocalypse hideout—nobody on the hunt for brains would ever think to look here.—KV

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