Best Of Chicago

Guide To: Wicker Park

July 2, 2011 6:00 AM

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Intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenue (credit: localities.tv/images/activities)

Intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenue (credit: localities.tv/images/activities)

Walk out onto a sidewalk in this neighborhood without looking, and there’s a pretty strong chance you will get run over by a stroller. No longer just for tattooed hipsters, this area has turned into one of Chicago’s most vibrant, family friendly neighborhoods. Take a stroll down Division Street between Paulina and Leavitt, and you’ll find plenty of shopping, dining and activities for people of all ages.

buildingblocks Guide To: Wicker Park

(credit: Todd McHenry)

Toys

Building Blocks Toy Store
2130 W. Division Street, Chicago
Hours:
Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat. 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
www.buildingblockstoys.com

If you are looking for something for the kids then look no further than Building Blocks Toy Store. This local independent toy store is loaded with the best quality toys, games, puzzles and more. The selection is huge, and you’ll find quality products and top brands like Haba, Plan Toys, Playmobil, Alex Toys, Kettler Trikes and Bruder Trucks. Owner Katherine O’Henry and her staff are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, so if you need help finding what you need they’ll take good care of you. And every Friday through August 26th, you can stop in between 3-5pm and get creative with free Craft Fridays.

himage s17 Guide To: Wicker Park

(credit: Milk and honey café.com)

Brunch

Milk & Honey Cafe
1920 W. Division Street, Chicago
Hours:
Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
www.milkandhoneycafe.com

This casual spot has something for everyone. The menu here is casual and delicious, specializing in sandwiches, salads and pastries. The outdoor patio is a perfect place to park your family, enjoy lunch and do some people watching – and don’t forget to grab dessert before you go! It’s not a dinner spot though, and it’s open only until 4pm on Sundays through Fridays, and until 5pm on Saturdays.

caffe gelato5 Guide To: Wicker Park

(credit: Caffe Gelato)

Dessert

Caffe Gelato
2034 W Division Street, Chicago
Hours:
Sun.–Thur. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
www.caffegelatochicago.com

On a hot summer day, this is the Wicker Park go-to spot for a cold, tasty treat. Caffe Gelato makes their gelato fresh, and you’ll satisfy your whole group with a wide assortment of flavors including chocolate hazelnut, pistachio, tiramisu and stracciatella. The fresh pastries, including cannoli, and small grocery selection might even make you feel like you’ve momentarily stepped right into Italy. Eat inside, or take your treat out to the sidewalk, where plenty of tables and chairs are set up in the summertime.

crust pizza chicago Guide To: Wicker Park

(credit: Crust Pizza)

Pizza

Crust
2056 W Division St., Chicago
Hours:
Sun.-Thur. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 11:30 a.m.-midnight

www.crustorganic.com

This isn’t your ordinary pizza joint! Fresh ingredients are used to create a delicious menu of flat breads, appetizers, salads and sandwiches, as well as the signature wood-fired, organic pizzas. The plain cheese pizza is available for kids under 12 only, so prepare to be adventurous. There are plenty of sophisticated pizza choices for mom and dad, including Grilled Eggplant Pizza, Shrimp Arabiatta Pizza and Stuffed BBQ Brisket Pizza. And mushroom lovers, don’t miss the Shroom Pizza with woodland mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese. Don’t run off if the outdoor seating looks full – in addition to outside seating in front, there’s also an outdoor patio in the back.

wp 302 Guide To: Wicker Park

(credit: localities.tv/images/activities)

Play

Wicker Park
1425 N. Damen Ave.
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

If you are spending the day with the kiddos and need to take a break and get some pent up energy out of their systems, take a turn going north onto Damen and walk about 3 blocks to Wicker Park. This is the neighborhood’s largest park, and has equipment for both big and little kids, including a separate play area for the tiniest tots. In the summer, two bears spray water and provide a break from the heat. There’s plenty of shady spots available, so if you’re hungry you can bring a lunch and have a picnic in the park. And Sunday mornings from 8am – 2pm, you can enjoy a fresh farmer’s market and pick up some fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and other treats.

Sue Zeiler is the founder of ChicagoKids.com, which launched in 2001 and is the Chicago area’s leading online resource for local parents. Her mission is to find the best family events, activities and destinations for Chicago area families.
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