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Avondale Bowl alleys
Photograph: Sean Henderson

The best things to do in Avondale

Avondale’s rich cultural history has cultivated a neighborhood with attractions that feel distinctly Chicago.

Emma Krupp
Written by
Emma Krupp
Contributor
Grace Perry
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Located just north of Logan Square, Avondale offers a slightly quieter, more residential feel than its southern neighbor—but that doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of ways to explore this historically Polish and Latino enclave. Tour neighborhood landmarks like the stunning St. Hyacinth Basilica or the brewing facilities of craft beer bulwark Revolution Brewing, or get schooled at educational centers like The Insect Asylum and Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (both of which offer regular classes, if you’re looking to hone your skills). Plus, don’t miss out on the neighborhood’s killer selection of restaurants and a burgeoning nightlife corridor along Milwaukee Avenue. There’s more than you can tackle in one day on this list, so check out some of the best things to do in Avondale. 

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Avondale

Attractions and things to do in Avondale

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Avondale
  • price 2 of 4

Walk through one of the largest breweries in Illinois during Revolution Brewing’s 45-minute guided public tours, which take place every Saturday afternoon at the brewery’s 90,000-square-foot facilities on Kedzie Avenue. For $15, you’ll get 12-ounce “walking beer” for sipping throughout the experience, a sample at the Revolution’s Innovation Station and a keepsake glass, plus tons of newfound knowledge about the iconic brewery’s history and significance to the Chicago craft beer scene.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Avondale

The retro vibes are strong at this eight-lane bowling alley located in the former home of Northwest Bowl, a neighborhood staple that originally opened in the 1940s. And although the decor leans old school—and scoring is manual—the bar’s beverage menu is decidedly contemporary, with a strong showing of craft cocktails and draft beer. Don’t miss out on weekly happy hour specials, including half off frozen White Russians on Wednesdays.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Avondale

For nearly a quarter century, this arts and music nonprofit has highlighted Puerto Rican culture with a robust schedule of art exhibitions, live performances and music classes. Swing by to wander through free art shows (past exhibits have centered on everything from the Puerto Rican experience in the Midwest to a showcase of the artist Héctor Rafael) or sign up for classes to learn how to play guitar, violin or cuatro with instruction that focuses on a Latin American repertoire.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Bars
  • Avondale

Located at the sprawling Rockwell on the River complex near Avondale’s eastern edge, Judson & Moore is a family-run craft distillery that creates whiskies with local flair. Founded by entrepreneur Judson Bergman alongside his daughter (designer Elise Bergman) and her husband (distiller and engineer Collin Moore), Judson & Moore distills spirits using Midwestern grains and Lake Michigan water before aging them in Minnesota white oak barrels. At the riverside distillery space, visitors can purchase bottles, sip craft cocktails curated by operations manager Colleen Malone (Violet Hour, Superkhana, Lula Cafe), book hour-long tours through the production facilities and catch live music on Thursday nights.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Avondale

Local climbing gym First Ascent has four locations throughout Chicago, but the massive Avondale outpost offers an especially strong showing for roped climbing—including auto belay, top rope and lead climbing—with terrain stretching up to 60 feet tall, plus a smaller bouldering area on the second floor. Test your skills with a day pass (note that first-time climbers will need to sign a waiver and receive a short safety briefing) or opt for a membership, which includes free yoga classes and access to the three other First Ascent locations.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Bars
  • Avondale

Part bar, part music venue, Sleeping Village boasts a lengthy list of craft beer and cider on draft as well as a 300-person venue tucked in the back of the building, where you can nab tickets for a wide array of intimate concerts and comedy shows. But even if you’re not seeing a performance, Sleeping Village is a worthy hangout destination—especially if you can take advantage of the bar’s adjacent patio, which fills to the brim when the weather’s nice. 

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Avondale

The Basilica of St. Hyacinth is a historic, Polish-style, Roman Catholic Church in Avondale. It’s been a longtime home to Polish-Americans in Chicago, ever since its founding in 1894. St. Hyacinth embodies elements of American church architecture, Baroque design, and many statues of various Catholic Saints within the church itself.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Avondale

Pretend like you own a boat—if only for a few hours—with the help of Chicago Electric Boat Company’s Avondale outpost, where you can launch a number of vessels for a leisurely cruise along the Chicago River. Unlike other local boat rental outfits, Chicago Electric Boat Company lets you drive your own boat (provided you’re over 21 and have a valid driver’s license) and is BYOB, though you’re also free to book a tour guide if you prefer to sit back and sip a drink or two.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Avondale

Visitors can see preserved insects dating back to 1910 at this fascinating museum and educational center, which boasts a collection of more than 2,500 taxidermy and insect specimens collected by founder Nina Salem. Come by during regular hours to look around and shop a small store stocked with taxidermy, bones and art, or book a class on topics ranging from butterfly pinning and owl pellet dissection to wild foraging. FYI: The museum also offers sensory-friendly hours on Fridays.

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Emma Krupp
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Art
  • Arts centers
  • Logan Square

The Hairpin Arts Center is a non-profit arts center established by the Logan Square Chamber of Arts in 2011. It resides in a building built in 1930, which was once home to the Hump Hair Pin Manufacturing Company. The Arts Center offers year-round arts and cultural programming for the neighborhoods of Logan Square and Avondale. 

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