Pilsen is best known for its colorful murals, and its colorful spirit permeates every part of the neighborhood.
What to do there: Walk around and observe the vibrant street art in every direction; visit the National Museum of Mexican Art; check out Benito Juarez Park; snack on authentic Mexican street food; and check out Pilsen Second Fridays, the neighborhood’s monthly gallery walk.
CTA Directions: Take the CTA Pink Line to 18th Street or Damen.
2. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of Chicago’s most historical and cultural neighborhoods. (In fact, it hosted the World’s Fair in 1893, and our current president lived there.) Today, it’s still home to important institutions, including The University of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry (the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere!), and many prestigious art museums, including the Hyde Park Art Center, the Renaissance Society, and the Logan Art Center.
What to do there: Explore the UChicago campus and take in its architecture, spend a day at the Museum of Science and Industry, and spend a day exploring the neighborhood’s contemporary art centers.
CTA Directions: Take bus #6 to Jackson Park Express, or the metra to 51st/53rd St. or 55/57th St.
3. Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is the perfect place to experience nature and serenity within a big city. The park itself boasts over 1,200 acres of green space, and it’s home to museums, greenmarkets, and a zoo!
What to do there: Relax in Lincoln Park, visit the Lincoln Park Zoo (it’s free!) and the Chicago History Museum, stroll around the leafy boutique-studded streets, and enjoy some fine dining.
CTA Directions: Take the Red or Brown Line to Fullerton or the Brown Line to Armitage.
Home to one of the largest LGBT communities in America, Boystown is colorful, accepting, and full of energy. The area’s got tons of amazingly eccentric shops and fantastic nightlife.
What to do there: Shop in quirky stores and consignment shops, enjoy the hopping nightlife scene, shop at Market Days (huge weekend street fairs), and join the Chicago Annual Pride Parade and festival (June).
CTA Directions: Take the Red or Brown Line to Belmont.