Lincoln Park is Chicago’s premiere neighborhood. When you step foot in the Near North Side hotspot, you feel the buzz of city life along with the pleasures of tree-lined streets, stroller-filled sidewalks, family-filled parks, and manicured mini mansions. Spend 48 hours in Lincoln Park, Chicago and you’ll get more than your fill of top-notch dining, boutique shopping, and world-class entertainment without sacrificing the sweetness of a smaller community.
Friday night, head to Balena, an elegant neighborhood Italian joint. Sip a glass of wine at the bar while you share a simply decorated hand-tossed pizza. Bite into a slice with mortadella and let the dusting of pistachio pesto pleasantly surprise you. It gives a nice crunch in contrast to the chewy crust. If you’re looking for more punch, dip into the side of chili oil that comes with every pie.
Once you’re pleasantly full of Italian fare, head across the street to the award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre. Catch a local play or a first-run celebrity-starring show that may eventually tour around the world. Tony-award winning plays like August: Osage County got their start here, and the theater’s list of ensemble members includes some pretty big names.
Saturday, spend a few of your 48 hours in Lincoln Park strolling on Halsted Street. Admire the storefronts of the high-end men’s and women’s boutique shops, then step inside for some serious wardrobe upgrades. There are even more local and national shops due west on charming Armitage Avenue. Fuel up for lunch at Butcher and the Burger, an elevated take on the classic butcher shop. The build-your-own burger menu is anything but average. It’s not easy to choose between options like sustainably farmed salmon and American bison, and spice mixes like curry-coconut honey and the umami blend, so sharing is really the best strategy here.
Finish the day at Boka, a whimsical dining hotspot with a Michelin star. The evergreen foliage-covered wall and graphic floor are the perfect backdrop for your next dining adventure. It almost feels like you left Lincoln Park, Chicago and fell down the rabbit hole with Alice. The creative American cuisine might read simple at first glance, but there’s always a tasty, unexpected twist—the heirloom carrots are topped with pistachios and smoked goat cheese, and the olive oil-poached cod is finished with razor clams and lemongrass.
Spend the last bit of your 48 hours in Lincoln Park relaxing on Sunday morning. Join the families at Oz Park, a pristinely groomed space dedicated to Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Try to find all four statues—Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion—before indulging in a long brunch. You walk in and immediately mesh with brunch-loving Chicagoans at Summer House Santa Monica. Catch a breath of California living in this airy, light-filled atrium that mirrors the glamorous dream beach house you’d love to build one day. The brunch menu sings with savory delights from short rib hash with crispy potatoes to a chorizo-filled Mission Street burrito in honor of the city by the bay. It’s music to your ears. But don’t miss the baked goods. If you’re a sweets lover, you can’t walk away without a blueberry streusel muffin or a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Between the shopping, entertainment, and cuisine, you won’t leave Lincoln Park any kind of hungry—that’s for sure.