Time Out Chicago asked me to weigh in on my favorite Logan Square neighborhood spots for a roundup article they were doing (click the link). I was honored to provide eight selections for the article. At the time of my submission, I didn’t realize they were just looking for a list, so I crafted detailed paragraphs for my choices. With the publication’s permission, I’m including my original, more long-winded list of favorite neighborhood spots.
1. The Boulevards. The Boulevard system is one of the most fascinating attributes of Logan Square, and Chicago’s, history. Conceptualized by urban developer John S. Wright, the network of scenic boulevards, nicknamed the “Emerald Necklace,” offers beauty, scenery and nature. Today Logan Square is home to 2 1/2 miles of the original system—a unique feature to this wonderful community. Personally, it’s my favorite running route in the city, next to the Lakefront path.
2. Culinary exploration. Being gluten free limits my culinary options, but there are plenty of options in Logan for me. For breakfast, I can stop by Cafe con Leche for their Huevos a la Mexicana and a cup of cafe con leche. For lunch, the Brown Sack has me covered with their entire sandwich menu offered up on gluten free bread options. Grab dinner at any of the amazing Mexican restaurants—tacos from L’Patron are a big fave. And you’ll find it hard to be disappointed by the cocktail options—margaritas at Parsons, mojitos at Paladar, beer at Rev Brew.
3. Diversity. Recently, Logan Square has been pegged the new hipster mecca of Chicago. Although the neighborhood boasts a very artistic, expressive community—common characteristics for hipsters—one of my favorite things about Logan is the vast diversity of those who have chosen to make this ‘hood their home. From recent graduates to retirees, from artists to 9-to-5 professionals, from Latinos to Millennials, from arts nonprofits to business organizations, the people, organizations and businesses who move to Logan share a passion for living here, building here, staying here. There’s a sense of shared community that I haven’t encountered anywhere else.
4. Small, long-lasting businesses. One of the things that makes the area great are the number of small businesses, and business owners, who have set up shop in the area with the intention of truly growing with the area. A number of these business owners own more than one business, and continue to choose Logan as their home base. From Shop 1021 and Fleur to Lula’s Cafe and Miko’s Italian to Liberty Bank.
5. Art, art and more art. If you’re looking for art, you’ve come to the right place. Logan is home to I Am Logan Square, South Logan Arts Coalition, Any Squared, Beauty and Brawn Art Gallery and Think Space, Comfort Station, Gallerie F and more. Walk the streets and you’ll walk past graffiti art homages to Frankie Knuckles, art installations and pop up art. Frequent some of the restaurants and coffee shops and their walls feature local artists. Bars and bookstores offer their space to comedy shows, film previews and open mic. This is a community that embraces art in a big way.
Bonus item: LoganSquarist. Although probably not the most unbiased “favorite thing,” I can’t pass up an opportunity to highlight LoganSquarist—an organization that I started three years ago on a whim that has transformed into a 30-person, volunteer-staffed hyperlocal news website. In addition to news articles, the LoganSquarist staff organizes monthly neighbor events, promotes local happenings and participates in the neighborhood. I never imagined the Twitter handle and eventual blog would turn into so much more and help serve this amazing community.
What are your favorite parts of Logan Square?