Chicago, we love you, but sometimes you’re too damn big. As much as we want to explore every single neighborhood in the city, it’s such a treat to be able to sink our claws into a couple square miles every so often, and Lincoln Park is the perfect place to do so. This idyllic North Side ’hood boasts diversity, ranging from yuppies to Big 10 grads. Snark aside, it’s home to some of Chicago’s best deep dish pizza, comedy clubs, brunches and cocktails—What more could you want?
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Lincoln Park
Kick the weekend off at Athenian Room a favorite of Lincoln Park residents. The lamb and beef gyros are a must—whether in pita bread, atop a Greek salad or simply piled on a platter. Whatever you choose, make sure you pair your meal with Greek fries: thick-cut fries drenched in vinaigrette.
Tucked away under the Fullerton El tracks, the DePaul Art Museum houses eclectic, rotating exhibitions that are curated with exceptional care. The museum has made a habit of hosting exciting exhibitions culled from the school's personal collection, including photographs taken by Andy Warhol and Jeff Carter's sculptures made from IKEA furniture.
Cap off your long day of eating and exploration with a mini Lincoln Avenue bar crawl. Start out by digging into the impressive cocktail menu at the Barrelhouse Flat. Then wander up the street to Delilah's, a dive whose low-key vibe with extensive beer and whiskey lists you'll be pleasantly surprised to find in Lincoln Park.
Visit Lincoln Park Zoo or, if it’s chilly out, the Conservatory. It’s a stereotypical Lincoln Park activity, yes, but there’s no denying the park’s loveliness. Home to some 1,200 animals, from apes to zebras, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of only a few free zoos left in the country. Don't forget to pop into the Lincoln Park Conservatory while you're there.
All other Chicago deep dish pizzas can take a seat; Pequod’s Pizza indisputably reigns supreme. The no-frills bar is smattered in Blackhawks paraphernalia, making the deep dish hotspot one of the most "Chicago" spots in Chicago. Pequod's signature pan pizza is incredibly popular, so be prepared to wait for a table.
Catch some homegrown comedy at iO Chicago, the home of longform improvised comedy. The Improvised Shakespeare Company is always a solid choice, but don’t forget to check out the complete list of shows. Though frequently outshined by Second City, iO also boasts an impressive list of alumni, from Chris Farley to Seth Meyers to Tina Fey.
French pastries first thing in the morning? Yes, please. Floriole satisfies all your wildest croissant dreams. With an assortment of breads, tasty sandwiches and a popular weekly pizza night in its repertoire, this airy Lincoln Park bakery-cafe certainly has range.
Take a stroll down Armitage Avenue for some window shopping—or, dare we suggest, actual shopping—at spots like Art Effect Boutique and Lori’s Shoes. The stretch of shops surrounding the Armitage Avenue Brown Line stop provides the perfect spot to kill an afternoon (and spend way too much money).
Cap off your weekend with an afternoon cocktail at the J. Parker, situated on top of the Hotel Lincoln. Have your very own “everything the light touches is yours” moment while gazing out over Lincoln Park. By going there mid-afternoon on a Sunday, you just might be able to grab a good seat.