5 Things to Do in…Wicker Park and West Town

Browse thousands of used books at Myopic Bookstore in Wicker Park.

From vegetarian dining to used books and record shopping, there’s so much to do in Wicker Park and West Town! Plus, try our free interactive trek for your mobile phone!

- Eat your greens: If you’re vegetarian, or just want to enjoy a delicious meatless meal, then Wicker Park and West Town have restaurants perfect for you, no matter your budget. If you’d like to grab something light, like a few small plates to share, or even a freshly prepared juice packed with nutrients, try MANA Food Bar (1742 W. Division St.). For lunch or dinner, dining inside or on a beautiful patio, try Handlebar at 2311 W. North Ave. (where you get bonus points for riding your bike) which has a vegetarian menu and an impressive beer list. If you’d like a snack in a bustling part of the Wicker Park, slide on in to the oddly named, though always popular Earwax Café & Grill (2311 W. North Ave.) to grab a sandwich, wrap, or a great cup of coffee. If you’re into vegetarian fine dining, then James Beard award winning restaurant Green Zebra (1460 W. Chicago Ave.) can’t steer you wrong.

- Enjoy a night of theater: These neighborhoods are riddled with great theaters of all sizes and styles, and you could practically walk into any of them and enjoy a night of entertainment. At one of Wicker Park’s busiest intersections, try the Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.) which has been staging productions since 1990 to much acclaim. If you’re into a spectacle, catch the Redmoon Theater (1463 W. Hubbard St.) on the night of one of their mass theatrical productions, sometimes set at elaborate locations around town, even outside. The Free Street Theater (1419 W. Blackhawk Ave.) is the site of not only theater but also dance performances, including shows showcasing local youth talent – all since its founding in 1969.

- Get a little funky at AKIRA: Local stores under the AKIRA name have brought their unique, contemporary fashion sense Chicago for years. The stores carry clothing and shoes for women and men, along with accessories and an air of modern inspiration at a price point similar to H&M or Forever 21. Stylists help you find looks that are right for you, at no additional cost. For an easy afternoon of shopping for a look that’s definitely in fashion, try the three AKIRA stores in Wicker Park all in a row: AKIRA Men (1922 W. North Ave.), AKIRAWomen (1837 W. North Ave.), and AKIRA Footwear (1849 W. North Ave.).

- Grab a new groove: Wicker Park and West Town have some of Chicago’s best stores to find a new record, CD, poster, or some cool music-oriented ephemera. For a great selection of soul records (new and used), try Dusty Groove (1120 N. Ashland Ave.). For a wide variety of contemporary and classic indie rock records, as well as CDs and posters, try the Wicker Park Reckless Records location. At Permanent Records (1914 W. Chicago Ave.) you can find everything from psych rock, the best from local bands, contemporary world music – all with plenty of insight from the helpful staff’s album notes. While there you might even meet the store cat, Zaireeka.

- Dive into a book: Two bookstores you can find in this eclectic neighborhood contain books you can’t find anywhere else in the city. At Quimby’s (1854 W. North Ave.) you can explore the world of comics, graphic novels, and independent zines (small-run, sometimes handmade magazines of various sizes, shapes, and on a variety of topics). If you’ve got someone picky on your list, or just want to surprise yourself with something new, just ask their helpful staff for recommendations. Stop in on certain nights (check their busy store calendar) and you can see an author read and even get a book signed. At Myopic Books (1564 N. Milwaukee Ave.) you can attend poetry readings, music performances, and also explore multiple floors of independent fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. They even host a chess club on Wednesday nights for all skill levels.

- Find hidden treasures off the beaten path: Locate a British telephone box, discover Charles Bukowski’s dying breath, and sit in a seat from an historical nickelodeon. Find these hidden treasures and more by playing the Explore Wicker Park Trek for SCVNGR, a free game for your mobile phone.

For more information on neighborhood, including detailed attractions, shopping, and dining listings, check out our printable neighborhood guide and interactive Google map. For even more self-guided neighborhood treks, click here.

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