As Chicago’s northernmost neighborhood, Rogers Park is the quickest route for Northwestern students eager to go exploring to make it into the city. Beginning at Howard Street from the north, where the Red and Purple Lines meet, the neighborhood stretches as far south as the Loyola Red Line station. Given the expanse of the neighborhood, this guide focuses specifically on sights right off of the Loyola stop. Now get exploring.
6753 N. Sheridan Road
A cozy, overstuffed bookstore, serving Rogers Park since 1994, Armadillo’s Pillow beckons stray passersby to venture in and lose hours of their day discovering new books. The store doesn’t have any particular specialties in its selection, but it does offer one key advantage: shockingly low prices. I came home with a Hunter S. Thompson novel for $2 and a comprehensive guide to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3.50. You’ll never want to go back to a Barnes & Noble again.
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave
One of Rogers Park’s biggest draws is its miles of pure, scenic coastline. Positioned between Northwestern’s campus and downtown Chicago, a pier jutting from the beach allows unparalleled views of both, a wonderful reminder that our campus really isn’t that far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. During the summer, Heartland Cafe operates a beachfront burger shack, the perfect complement to a relaxing summer day spent chilling on the shores of Lake Michigan. Studying is overrated, so head to the beach instead.
Quiet and unassuming from the outside, Royal Coffee brims with authentic Ethiopian coffee and cuisine inside. Inexpensive items like chicken, beef, lamb or vegetarian wraps ($3.75), made with authentic Ethiopian bread, make dining an inexpensive option. The highlight of the restaurant, however is the coffee. As the world's fifth-largest coffee provider, Ethopia has a reputation for producing some of the most flavorful, unique beans available. All that's stopping you from finding out is a short L ride away.
6749 N. Sheridan Road
Flatts & Sharpe has served Roger’s Park music lovers for nearly 40 years, and their passionate dedication to music shows. Focused primarily on bringing in musical newcomers, the store has a variety of musical instruments available for loan and for instruction. If nothing else, the store is a pleasant walkthrough, a chance to admire the store’s wide selection of guitars and lament your own lack of musical talent (and simultaneously curse all your Bienen friends).
6746 N. Sheridan Road
In our modern age of sprawling suburban multiplexes, the notion of a neighborhood movie theater, screening only a few films at a time, seems quaint. That hasn’t stopped the 400 Movie Theaters, which opened its doors as a vaudeville and movie theater in 1912 and continues to screen films today. While the theater’s name may conjure up images of 400 screens, stretched out across acres, it actually refers to a term used to describe high society’s top 400 people in 1930, a curious decision given that America was in the throes of the Great Depression at the time. The best part about the theater? Matinee tickets are only $6, and shows after 6 p.m. are just $7.50 for students.
Begun as a gallery space for Chicago artist Andy DeLaRosa, Gallery B1E has become so much more. Today, the shop serves as an inexpensive workspace for aspiring artists, as well as a public exhibition of some of DeLaRosa’s best works. While the storefront keeps irregular hours, if you happen to come in at the right time, you’re treated to some of the city’s finest up-and-coming artists busy at work. Even if the store itself is closed, the adjacent lot has been transformed by DeLaRosa’s vision, making it a worthy destination within the neighborhood.