Chicago: Tips from the Chicagoist

Bt Thumbnail DefaultBt Thumbnail Default

Margaret Lyons, editor-in-chief of city info site Chicagoist, answered your questions about the Windy City today. Here are some outtakes:

What exactly is Chicago-style pizza and where are some places to get the "authentic" stuff?

Margaret Lyons: Ooooh, boy, that's a good one. Chicago-style pizza typically means deep dish, with a very doughy crust and unlike East Coast pizza, the sauce is on the top (crust // cheese // sauce // toppings, instead of crust // sauce // cheese // toppings). As far as best places to get it, I'm partial to Pequod's and Gino's East. But places like Giordano's and Lou Malnati's, which have spots all over the city, are pretty good, too.

Other "don't-miss" food spots?

Margaret Lyons: I'm nuts about Lula Cafe in Logan Square. The menu changes every week, and I've never been anything less than thrilled with the food there. If you like burgers or beer, Kuma's Corner is fabulous. When I quit being a vegetarian after 10 years, that's the first place I had a burger.

Best architecture tour?

Margaret Lyons: I'd go with Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise tour and skip the Lake Michigan part—I've done it once, and it's cool, kinda', but not at all essential. The foundation runs all kinds of great tours (including a Frank Lloyd Wright one), and its website is also a solid resource for planning a trip. I'm partial to the Robie House in Hyde Park.

Recommendations for live entertainment?

Margaret Lyons: Go see some live comedy! I'm a fan of Second City's etc stage which tends to be a bit more edgy and adventurous than the main stage show. If you like improv, you can see shows at iO pretty much any night of the week, and the later you go, the cheaper it gets.

Best neighborhood to stay in for a youthful girlfriend getaway?

Margaret Lyons: I had friends in town a few weeks ago and they stayed at the Wicker Park Inn, which is a B&B; but isn't like...all up in your business/too cozy. :) If you're planning some quality girls' nights out, it might be worth it to stay more in a night-life zone rather than downtown, where nightlife is pretty limited. Wicker Park (again!) has a ton of bars/restaurants/shopping and tends to be pretty popular. We have the best listings for Chicago entertainment and nightlife at my website,!

Favorite spa?

Margaret Lyons: Continuum. It's relatively affordable, and to me a really quintessential Chicago business: small, neighborhood-oriented, and unfailingly kind. I also got the best massage and facial ever there. :) It's pretty far off the beaten path—way on the North Side—so it's also a good see-the-city trip.


Three hotel packages in Chicago, from $146 a night.

Guidebook Smackdown: We asked a trio of Chicago residents to give us their opinions of three recent guidebooks about the city.

What does your city say? Entrepreneur Paul Graham has posted a graceful essay that's appropriate when thinking of Chicago. Here's the start: "Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder."

Related Content