Better Know a neighborhood: Wicker Park
  • The Angry Crab. Overheard when eating here: “I feel like I’m closer to God now.” Photo by Rita Liu / North by Northwestern
  • Shugga Records. This is not just a house for records, it's a home. Photo by Rita Liu / North by Northwestern
  • Myopic Books. Photo by Rita Liu / North by Northwestern
  • Secret Agent Supply Co. Where all the super spies get their gear. Photo via Instagram: @bienardo
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. When a scoop of ice cream is more photogenic than you are. Photo via Instagram @melodydoremi

According to Buzzfeed (arguably the authority on all things millennial), the most hipster neighborhood in the charming state of Illinois is West Town. Zooming in further, you will find this cozy neighborhood inside West Town – Wicker Park, which is only a Purple-line-transfer-to-Blue-line away. So hop off at Damen Station to find yourself in this land of pop art graffiti and artisan food. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your Instagram page or vintage shopping, this neighborhood will make you feel like a hipster even just for one day.

The Angry Crab

This Zagat-rated restaurant requires a bib, but is completely worth it. If you are a fan of seafood, look no further, as this place sells customizable Cajun-style seafood by the pound. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, the Angry Crab offers a plethora of sides you can get including fried catfish and cornbread. There are no desserts on the menu, but it’s not a problem since you’ll most likely be already bursting from the meal anyway.

Shuga Records

What’s a hipster neighborhood without a good record shop? Shuga Records has a wide selection of tunes, ranging from Nat King Cole to Lady Gaga. Look under the racks for 50 cent deals and other good bargains. If you don’t have a record player, there’s no need to roll on the floor and cry. Swing by to pick up cute keychains, buttons, stickers or posters to spruce up your laptops or your room.

Myopic Books

Myopic Books is a wonderful, complicated maze of bookshelves and creaky stairs. Be prepared to spend at least an hour here, because it’ll take you quite a while just to find your way out of the shop. They have something for everyone: classic literature, fiction, art photography books, comics and even instruction manuals on how to raise hedgehogs. Since this is a second-hand bookshop, the average price is barely above $20. Grab a book and head up to the top floor to lounge on one of their sofas. This is the perfect place to just enjoy taking it slow for a while.

Secret Agent Supply Co.

If you’re feeling philanthropic, or if you’ve ever had the secret desire to be James Bond, drop by the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. It is run by the non-profit organization, 826CHI (geared towards nurturing creative writing in children aged 6 to 18) which will not only keep you supplied in spy gear, but also keep you educated. They sell a variety of independent books, published by 826CHI, alongside a stock of cute novelties, like fake moustaches and emergency bow-ties. All purchases go towards funding the charity, so you can easily justify any money you spend.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Any weather is ice cream weather, and anyone who tells you differently is lying. Stop by Jeni’s Ice Creams for some of the most interesting ice cream and frozen yogurt concoctions that you will ever see. Try their Brambleberry Crisp ice cream, or Sweet Potato Eclair. You can also go all out by forgoing the cup and just sandwiching your ice cream between two huge macaroon shells. No guilty feelings here.

If you still need a stronger argument to be compelled to visit Wicker Park: the fall weather is still beautiful and winter has yet to set in. Walk down Milwaukee Avenue and take in the colorful surroundings or interact with the eccentric people you are bound to meet (the Humane Society occasionally sets up booths and brings puppies!). And discover the true hipster inside of you.


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