Distance from downtown: 9.1 miles Via: Brown Line Best for: German food and beer, unique gifts, hiking Go: Afternoon
KRAUSE MUSIC STORE Built in 1922 and skillfully restored, this ornate landmark building was the final commission of Prairie School architect Louis Sullivan’s career. Two stories of gray terra cotta showcase Sullivan’s skill for symmetry and detail, and culminate in a massive lyrical crest-like folly extending above the roofline. The street-facing window features the Wheeler Kearns-designed conference room of the former music shop’s current occupant, Studio V Design.
GENE’S SAUSAGE SHOP & DELICATESSEN In homage to Lincoln Square’s German history, step inside this family-owned gourmet grocer. You can’t beat the variety of German and Austrian schnapps and marzipan, but the real highlight? More than 40 varieties of cured meats and sausages, all produced in Old World style by three in-house smokers. The rooftop wine and beer garden offers German potato salad and schnitzel on communal picnic tables.
HALF ACRE BEER COMPANY Since Goose Island became AB InBev property, Half Acre has stepped into its shoes as a long-standing and truly local Chicago brewery. Learn and sample on brewery tours on Saturday mornings (11 a.m., $10 per person, first come first served), or just stop in the taproom next door—which is, in German biergarten style, bring-your-own-food—for a draft or two.
NORTH SHORE CHANNEL TRAIL There are only a handful of paths within city limits that offer the opportunity to really stretch your legs, bike pedals, or roller blades. The Lakefront Trail is the obvious choice, but the North Shore Channel Trail is a local secret. From its trailhead on Lawrence Avenue, the path follows the Chicago River northward, offering an uninterrupted run or ride via a series of park trails connected by underpasses. You’ll be rewarded by miles of river views, old cottonwoods, prairie preserves, playgrounds, and suburban sculpture parks.
BOOK CELLAR A holdout hyper-local bookstore with a passionate following, the Book Cellar is arguably the best bookshops in Chicago. They put on book signings, poetry readings, and literary events aplenty—in the shop and elsewhere in Chicago. Sign up for their mailing list to find out what’s coming up.