3 Lesser Known “Must See” Places in Downtown Chicago

Chicago is rich with culture and things to do, but aside from the typical tourist attractions, let’s take a look at a few ”must see” places that are easily missed!

Green City Market

Do you love to cook? Or just love to eat? I love to do both, so Green City Market is the place to be!

During the summer, after my second child was born, we seemed to be the only ones awake at 5 am on a Saturday morning. So, with my little one wide awake and ready to go, we’d head over to my local farmer’s market and load up on basil to make fresh pesto. The one issue I had with my local farmer’s market was the lack of variety. It seemed as if every vendor sold the same items. Well, Green City Market changed all that.

This farmer’s market was founded by chef and author, Abby Mandel, who envisioned a sustainable farmer’s market in her own city. Green City Market began on the crosswalk next to The Chicago Theatre and quickly grew to what it is now – Chicago’s ONLY year-round farmer’s market that supports local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices.

Find the best produce, meats, freshly baked goods and flowers, as well as top-notch food vendors…from Co-op Hot Sauce to Crumb Bread (check out their café, Sauce & Bread in Chicago’s north side, another perfect marriage of divine food!) to ooey gooey grilled cheeses with a perfect buttery crust, to artisan pizzas and crepes bursting with filling. What are you waiting for? The market operates year round, outdoors at the south end of Lincoln Park from May through October, and indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Museum from November through April. If you’re a city dweller like me, take a moment to slow down, use your senses and soak up all the mouth-watering freshness the market has to offer.

Chicago Cultural Center

Located in the Loop between Museum Campus, Millennium Park, The Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center is often the overlooked middle child of must-see attractions. In actuality, the historic Chicago Cultural Center is an anchor for our beloved city and shouldn’t be missed!

Opened to the public in 1897, it was originally built to be Chicago’s central public library and was spared no expense on the country’s top craftsmen, architects, and materials. This stunning landmark is also home to the largest Tiffany-stained glass domes in the world. Housed on an entire city block and offering over 700 free programs a year, this building was established in 1991 as the nation’s first free municipal cultural venue.

When I studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, I loved and utilized the resources and programs the Chicago Cultural Center offered. Not only did I have a few photos showcased at one of their art exhibitions, but I also taught a few workshops. But it was the amazingly talented people I was able to meet that was the most memorable for me. Go for the music, dance, theater events, art exhibitions, or even just bask in the amazing splendor of this architectural showcase; but whatever you’re looking for, I guarantee you’ll walk away inspired and even a little more cultured.

Chicago Pedway

Who’s ready for Chicago winter? I’m not. I’ve lived in the Chicagoland area for over 30 years and I still can’t get used to the winters here! I wear long underwear the second temps drop below 50 degrees and during the coldest months. I oddly resemble Randy from the Christmas Story, stuffed stiffly in his red snowsuit. Needless to say, I’m not fond of going out during the winter which is why the Chicago Pedway has been a nice and warm savior from my winter shut-in madness.

Nestled beneath the surface of the heart of the city, connecting the Loop and Lakeshore East neighborhoods, this intricate underground system of tunnels and overhead bridges links more than 40 blocks of the Central Business District, connects to over 50 buildings and covers about 5 miles. Created for a safe, quick and convenient way for pedestrians to travel downtown, it’s perfect for people like me, who are overly wussy when the temps drop (I am currently wearing 3 pairs of pants). It’s a haven to ward off the harsh elements without feeling like your only option is to hibernate this winter.

The Chicago Pedway system is bursting with places to eat, drink, shop and be entertained, all without setting foot outside. Stop by one of the two pedway locations of Wow Bao and pick up a steamed bao, a Chinese style bun stuffed with meat and veggies, the perfect on-the-go pick-me-up while you shop! If you’re really adventurous, grab a warm drink and check out one of the many guided tours to learn a little more.

Whether you’re new to downtown or lived here your whole life, take advantage of all the ”must see” places this beautiful city has to offer – even the ones you didn’t know about! If you need help finding a ”must see apartment,” give us a shout or check us out at hotspotrentals.com.