In Chicago, there are emerging neighborhoods to explore other than the West Loop. Humboldt Park, south of also-on-the-rise Logan Square, is a secret that hasn’t gotten out yet. Start with a walk on the 606, an elevated park that was once a rail line, followed by brunch at Grandma J’s Local Kitchen (1552 N. Kedzie Ave.; 312-982-1630; grandmajschicago.com), known for its fried chicken and crepes. Nearby, An Orange Moon (2418 W. North Ave.; 773-276-6726; anorangemoon.com) sells vintage midcentury modern furniture. Finish with a cocktail at the retro bar the California Clipper (1002 N. California Ave.; 773-384- 2547; californiaclipper.com) and hand-rolled tagliatelle at Rootstock (954 N. California Ave.; 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com).
South of the Chicago River is Bridgeport. Start a day there at Jackalope Coffee and Tea House for iced coffee and a Puffs of Doom cream puff (755 W. 32nd St.; 312-888-3468). Visit the art studios at the Zhou B Art Center (1029 W. 35th St.; 773-523-0200; zhoubartcenter.com) and the Bridgeport Art Center (1200 W. 35th St.; 773-247-3000; bridgeportart.com), a former warehouse with galleries and a sculpture garden. For dinner, call the Duck Inn to reserve the restaurant’s signature rotisserie duck for two (2701 S. Eleanor St.; 312-724-8811; theduckinnchicago.com).
On Lake Michigan, Hyde Park is home to Promontory Point, one of Chicago’s best beaches. Don’t miss the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art (5550 S. Greenwood Ave.; 773-702-0200; uchicago.edu). Order the kalbi short ribs and Gulf prawns from the wood-burning hearth at the Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West; 312-801-2100; promontorychicago.com). The second floor is an eclectic music venue for ending the night.