Uptown, Chicago Places

Part of our Chicago travel guide; our list of the best things to see in Uptown, including Black Ensemble Theater, Spacca Napoli and Annoyance Theatre.
  • The best place in Uptown Chicago: Black Ensemble Theater

    Black Ensemble Theater

    4520 N Beacon St
    Committed to building racial bridges through telling stories of African-American history to a cross-cultural audience. If that sounds stodgy, consider how they do it: recent productions have included Memphis Soul, a full-scale resurrection of the sound and story of Stax Records.
    Uptown food nearby
  • Spacca Napoli

    Spacca Napoli

    1769 W Sunnyside Ave
    Tu 5-9PM, W-Th 11:30AM-3PM,5-9PM, F 11:30AM-3PM,5-10PM, Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM, M closed. $15-25. If you're weary of the pizza struggle between Chicago and NYC, side with the Sicilians at this fantastic Neapolitan restaurant and their excellent wine list.
  • Annoyance Theatre

    Annoyance Theatre

    4830 N Broadway St
    The Annoyance began with the long-running Co-ed Prison Sluts, which set the tone for what followed: fun, original shows with equal parts ironic kitsch and cheerful shock, led by Mick Napier, who directed some of Second City's best shows. The Annoyance is also one of the major training centers for comedy students in Chicago.
    Uptown restaurants nearby
  • Foursided


    5061 N Clark St
    M-W 11AM-7PM, Th-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM. An eclectic framing shop with a fun selection of cards, one-of-a-kind treasures, and found-art assemblages by the staff and local artists that's worth a look.
    Uptown food nearby
  • The People's Music School

    The People's Music School

    931 W Eastwood Ave
    M-W,F noon-7:30PM, Th noon-8PM, Sa 9AM-3PM, Su closed. Concerts free, but donations welcome. For a distinctly non-seedy music experience, try the kids-friendly classical and world music concerts at this community-based not-for-profit music school.
    Uptown eat nearby
  • Hopleaf Bar

    Hopleaf Bar

    5148 N Clark St
    Su-F 3PM-2AM, Sa 3PM-3AM. Fantastic selection of beer, with a surprisingly accessible menu for delving into the world of Belgians and local microbrews. The food is great, especially the steamed mussels, but the beer is even better. It's pricey, though. Make sure to come early, The Hopleaf is popular and usually packed. The monthly Bookslut Reading Series [5] is held upstairs.
  • Graceland Cemetery

    Graceland Cemetery

    4001 N Clark St
    Grounds 8AM-4:30PM, office 8:30AM-4:30PM. Free. A stunner. Chicago history lies in rest here, from the major names (Burnham, Sullivan, Field, Pullman, Mies) to the footnotes (Charles Dickens' obscure brother Augustus). Some credit Sullivan's 1890 design for the Getty Tomb as the opening act of modern architecture. (And Inez Clarke's grave is one of the most famous "haunted" spots in Chicago.) The new (and warm) office can supply a map for the grounds, which are quite large. Come with time to wander.
    Lake View food nearby
  • Aragon Ballroom

    Aragon Ballroom

    1106 W Lawrence Ave
    Box office M-F 9AM-6PM. Built in 1926 with an interior that is meant to recreate a Spanish palace courtyard, the Aragon cost more than two million dollars at the time, and the well-preserved interior still has the otherworldly brilliance. It shifted from big-band sensation to prizefight arena and swinging mod disco, but it's been in good hands for more than thirty years now, as promoters for Latin dances and rock shows split nights of the week.
    Uptown eat nearby
  • Hopleaf


    5148 N Clark Street
  • Tweet


    5020 N Sheridan Rd
    let's eat, 5020 N Sheridan Rd (Argyle Red Line), ☎ +1 773 728-5576. W-M 9AM-3PM. Brunch only, with organic materials. Try the quiche platter ($14) or the lox ($12). Free wi-fi and parking. Cash only
  • Inspiration Kitchens

    Inspiration Kitchens

    4715 N Sheridan Rd
    W-F 8AM-10PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-2PM. $9-17, BYOB. Inspiration Kitchens has the longest lines you'll find in Uptown, and that's for a good reason: everything on the menu is prepared and served by former homeless people in a culinary training program. It's organized through the Inspiration Corporation [4] at 4554 N Broadway, which is a great place to volunteer for a day.
  • Ba Le Bakery

    Ba Le Bakery

    5016 N Broadway St
    Specializing in Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches. Cheap and delicious!
  • Early to Bed

    5232 N Sheridan Rd
    Tu noon-7PM, W-Th,Sa noon-8PM, F noon-9PM, Su noon-6PM, M closed. Workshops are $15/$10 students, reservations required. Lesbian-owned, female-oriented sex shop without the sleaze. They hold weekly workshops on topics ranging from erotic writing to strategies for, well, you know. Check the schedule on the website (mostly Tuesdays).
  • A-Z Wallis Army Navy Store

    4647 N Broadway St
    M-Th 9:30AM-5:45PM, F 9:30AM-6:45PM, Sa 9AM-5:45PM, Su 10AM-3:45PM. Has about a dozen names, but the idea remains the same: this is one of the oldest Army surplus stores in Chicago, and a pretty big one at that. It also doubles as a "discount department store," so there are some cheapster watches and the like.
  • Tai Nam Market Center

    4925 N Broadway St
    Hours vary by store. Under the red arch on Broadway near Argyle, this strip mall has outlets for Vietnamese, Chinese & Thai restaurants and groceries, nail & skin care, and imported jewelry, music and videos.
  • Women and Children First

    Women and Children First

    5233 N Clark St
    M-Tu 11AM-7PM, W-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. This is one of the foremost feminist bookstores in the country, with more than 30,000 books and a regular schedule of events and author appearances. (Hillary Clinton is among the roster of guests.) If you have kids in tow, bring them to Storytime on Wednesday mornings (10:30-11AM).
  • The Tattoo Factory

    4441 N Broadway St
    Uptown after dark is the kind of place that inspires a tattoo (or a piercing). According to the owners, this is the oldest continually operating tattoo parlor in Chicago.
  • Uptown Bikes

    4653 N Broadway St
    M-Tu,Th-F 11AM-7PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM, W closed. If you're biking through Chicago, this is a great place for parts, accessories, or quick repair. There are some neat custom bikes for sale, but no rentals.
  • Shake, Rattle & Read

    4812 N Broadway St
    M-Sa noon-6PM, Su noon-5PM. A pop culture emporium and a labor of love for the owners, this store has dense warrens of used paperbacks, pulp novels and vinyl records (78 and 45rpm), mostly jazz, with a sealed-in-plastic selection of memorable news magazines on the wall and porn magazines on a rack toward the back. If you want a peek into the heart of Uptown or just a paperback to last until your next stop, this is the place.
  • Architectural Artifacts

    4325 N Ravenswood Ave
    Chicago has built many of the world's greatest buildings, and Chicago has also destroyed many of the world's greatest buildings. This is where a lot of the pieces wind up — an enormous warehouse full of tiles, furnishings, and exterior ornament from classic skyscrapers and bungalows. (Find the interior courtyard for the biggest pieces.) The prices befit the awe the items inspire, but it's absolutely worth a browse whether or not you plan to buy anything.
    Lake View
  • Neo-Futurarium

    5153 N Ashland Ave
    F-Sa 11:30PM, Su 7PM, closed last two weeks of December. No advance tickets; admission is $9 plus the roll of a six-sided die. Andersonville — and the second floor of the Nelson Funeral Home, to be precise — is the home of the long-running late-night show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and its ever-changing menu of the funny, the profound, and the occasional tongue bath for a 20th century European ethos, intended to be accomplished within the confines of thirty plays in sixty minutes. Arrive early — people are turned away almost every week.
    Uptown restaurants nearby
  • Japanese American Service Committee

    4427 N Clark St
    A social services agency for the Chicago Japanese community with occasional exhibits of interest, such as a collection of photos and art relating to internment camps during World War II. Festivals and cultural events also pop up from time to time.
    Uptown food nearby
  • The Riviera

    4746 N Racine Ave
    Box office opens when doors open for the night's show. Probably the only old Balaban and Katz movie palace that's still in full use as a nightly entertainment venue, mostly for all-ages punk and indie rock bands, but occasionally hip-hop as well. There are seats in the balcony, but the main floor is standing room only. Stay behind the rail to stay out of the mosh pit (should one begin).
    Uptown eat nearby
  • Swedish American Museum

    Swedish American Museum

    5211 N Clark St
    Tu-Fri 10AM-4PM, Sa-Su 11AM-4PM. $4 adults, $3 kids. Celebrates Swedish-American heritage and Swedish immigration in all its forms, including Buzz Aldrin's temporary immigration to the moon.
    Edgewater restaurants nearby
  • Tweet


    5020 N Sheridan Rd
  • Lady Gregory's

    Lady Gregory's

    5260 N Clark St.
    From the owners of Wilde Bar & Restaurant and Beckett's Public House comes Lady Gregory's in Andersonville. Stay tuned for updates and more information!
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of places in Chicago uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.