Best Of Chicago

A Day In Chicago’s Lincoln Square

August 30, 2014 7:00 AM

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Skyline of Chicago taken from Willis Tower. (CBS)

Skyline of Chicago taken from Willis Tower. (CBS)

Lincoln Square, known for its German influence, has grown to be an eclectic community filled with both old and new establishments. You can walk down the sidewalks of the Square itself and feel almost as if you’re in a smaller town. Easily accessible via the CTA on several bus routes including Lawrence and Western as well as the Western brown line stop, the neighborhood is easy to get to. Here are a few places to try if you’ve only got one day and want to get a great Lincoln Square experience. Once you’re through, you’ll probably decide to come back for more another time.

Cafe Selmarie
4729 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-5595
www.cafeselmarie.com

First stop is breakfast or brunch at Cafe Selmarie. Don’t let the entrance fool you; it may look like a small bakery or coffee shop, but it’s quite roomy in the back. On a nice day, sit outside and enjoy the view of the Lincoln Square Fountain and maybe the music of a street musician. The menu has something for everyone whether you’re in for brunch, lunch or breakfast. The sweets are what the cafe’s known for, so have a little dessert. Be prepared for a bit of a wait at peak times. You can always just get a coffee and pastry to go if you decide not to wait and then sit out in the Square.

Enjoy, an Urban General Store
4723 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 334-8626
www.urbangeneralstore.com

Warning, don’t try to visit Enjoy without spending any money. It would be difficult to walk in and not find something small that you must have. It’s the perfect place for small gifts and gift cards, even if you don’t think you know what to get the person you’re shopping for. Don’t wait for something to go on sale if you see something you like, as the merchandise is always changing. The staff is friendly and will do free gift wrap if you’d like. There is even a great section for children in the back with the most adorable rain outfits you may have ever laid eyes on.

Quake Collectibles
4628 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 878-4288
www.facebook.com/Quake-Collectibles

It may look intimidating at first, but although this store is stuffed with action figures from ceiling to floor, rummage around for five minutes and you’ll begin to learn the lay of the land. A nostalgic adventure awaits for anyone over the age of 10, and anyone 10 or below can rummage through the bins of action figures that are only $3 a piece. The owner is down to earth and willing to haggle a bit over prices for the vintage items. If you’re not looking to buy, you could spend an hour or two just looking around before you become aware that the time had passed.

Related:  Date Night Guide to Lincoln Square

Old Town School Of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 728-6000
www.oldtownschool.org

There’s always something going on at the Old Town School. Before you go, check out the schedule to see what concerts may be going on during your visit. The acoustics are great for any kind of music played and both the old and new buildings (across the street from each other) still have that friendly ‘scholastic’ feel to them. If you don’t want to take in a concert or buy a musical instrument, the staff will have no problem letting you just look around inside. Grab a class list while you’re there. You may be inspired to enroll in music or dance.

Himmel’s
2251 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 784-8777
www.himmelschicago.com

For dinner, try Himmel’s on Lawrence Avenue, just outside the main square. The oven-baked, thin-crust pizza is perfect if you want to get a couple to share, but at least try an appetizer or two first. The menu is mainly Italian, but there is something for everyone. The wine list is good and there are a few European beers on there also. You may feel like you’ve stepped into a perpetual Christmas-time with the twinkly lights set in fronds above, but it makes the atmosphere warm and inviting. There is now an outdoor seating area as well. While it is right on Lawrence Avenue, there are bright flower boxes and large umbrellas that make you feel much farther from the street than you are.

Related: Oktoberfest In Chicago: Exploring Lincoln Square

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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