Lincoln Park, home of DePaul University, is not an atypical “college town.” It certainly is scattered with university buildings, but the impressive brick homes and proximity to the city make it worth venturing to from suburban, more subdued Evanston. Even more, once you’ve explored Lincoln Park, a brown line CTA train will take you to the city in less than 15 minutes.
938 W. Webster Ave
For those who now live in Chicago and have not professed allegiance to deep dish, Homeslice is a departure from multiple inches of crust and chunky sauce. The patio has ample seating for spring dinners, and twinkle lights give off a private ambience. Homeslice cooks up inventive, thin crust pizza recipes, including the “Funky McChicken” (roasted chicken, bacon, spinach, cream cheese and more) or a simpler “Lew-Wow” Hawaiian pie. At night, the atmosphere is very lively and hip, with a good drink menu to boot. Homeslice also offers brunch if a Sunday morning trip is more appealing.
2352 N. Clark St
Lincoln Park’s Urban Surplus carries last season’s styles for a fraction of the price. Don’t be surprised if you find a chunky sweater - formerly $60 - for just $10. Though Urban Surplus is not the most aesthetically pleasing store (it frankly resembles a warehouse), it will be a conversion experience. You can even buy that Ryan Gosling feminism book that you’ve been eying but couldn’t justify purchasing.
2536 N. Clark St
Publications like the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times have sung the praises of Molly’s Cupcakes. Home to Chicago’s “best red velvet cupcake” - according to Chicago Magazine - and succulent homemade ice cream, Molly’s satisfies a variety of sugar cravings. Customers can build their own cupcake, customizing their cake flavor, frosting and toppings. “Center-filled cupcakes” contain filling or sweets within the cake, and flavors like Peanut Butter Nutella and Cookies-n-Cream are ravishing. Hint: the Cake Batter cupcake actually has batter filling. An additional perk to the cream cheese frosting and late-night hours: Molly’s keeps serving until 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The store also has hanging swings to sit on, so nab one after rush hours.
1145 W. Webster Ave
If you’re into thrift shopping, this is a must-see spot. New Elephant Resale Shop of Chicago is jam packed with vintage tchotchke items, fine china and funky clothing for inexpensive prices. Best of all, the proceeds are split among five charities, including Boys Hope Girls Hope and The Jessie White Tumbling Team. Stop by especially if you’re looking for unique furniture or quirky pieces for next year’s apartment.
2408 N. Lincoln Ave
If you’ve fallen into a late night delivery slump - dominated especially by pizza, wings and Cheesie’s – make a well-deserved trip to Allende. Near a stretch of popular student bars like Irish Eyes, Bar Forza and Clarke’s, this small Mexican spot is open until 4 a.m. on the weekends. Though McDonald’s is a couple doors down, support the local food in LP and dive into a super affordable round of tacos and chips and salsa. Service is quick, or you can make a night of it and settle into the comfy booths. *Author’s note: I know a girl who met Chance the Rapper at Allende. Go for the late-night munching and a Dillo Day headliner spotting.
738 W. Fullerton Ave.
Bourgeois Pig opened its doors in 1993 and initially served just coffee and tea drinks. The owner, Forest Mason Green, opened a sandwich shop nearby, with a similarly funky title – The Scarlet Pumpernickel – but merged the two so to offer both experiences in one spot. The cafe is two levels but maintains a quaint atmosphere despite its expanded space. Eclectic furniture and a sizeable patio offer ideal indoor and outdoor studying. Coffee and tea come in mugs that make for prime Instagram capital.