CHICAGO (CBS) – If you have out-of-town guests who are looking for some sights a little less predictable than Navy Pier and the Mag Mile – or if you’re just looking to find out more about your own neighborhood – the Chicago Department of Tourism wants to help.
The city has released a new free eBook, Eat, Play, Love Our Neighborhoods. Former Chicago Tribune travel writer Alan Solomon wrote the book, which takes readers on a detailed tour of every part of the city, from neighborhoods to parks, and even simply “the lakefront.”
The book details the architecture, arts and dining options and of neighborhoods from Rogers Park to Morgan Park, from Hegewisch to Edison Park, and everything in between, along with detailed histories and cultural surveys.
In Greektown, the book points out the attraction of “the saganaki and gyros and lamb and Grecian-style whole sea bass and moussaka and pastitsio and other good things.” In Beverly, Solomon focuses on the houses “atop or on either side of the Ridge, a glacial leftover that was once an island (on a long-gone lake) and is now a six-mile-long wooded hill,” including four designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In Old Town, Solomon recalls the days when “the folkies took over Wells Street and then the hippies and then the gentrifiers,” and recalls bars with peanut shells on the floor and an old journalists’ watering hole on North Avenue.
The Mag Mile and the Museum Campus, of course, have their entries, but outlying neighborhoods are treated as equals. For example, while Solomon mentions the celebrated and trendy Alinea restaurant on Halsted Street in Lincoln Park, he gives just as much attention to Fat Johnnies hot dogs on Western Avenue in Marquette Park and its specialty “mother-in-law sandwich” – which involves a tamale on a hot dog.
And while the Englewood neighborhood often makes headlines for crime and despair, Solomon is eager to discuss what he calls the “ups” of the neighborhood, including the new white-tablecloth Sikia restaurant at 63rd and Halsted streets, and the new Kennedy-King College campus.
Accompanying the text are color photos of famous Chicago sights, from the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview to Superdawg in Norwood Park.