Five Non-Touristy Spots to Visit in Chicago.




Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. This might not be familiar to many who are coming to Chicago for the first time and have read up or was told by frequent travelers to check out “the magnificent mile”,”the bean”, or “Navy Pier” for example. Or maybe you have visited downtown so many times already and haven’t had a chance to venture out.

Lovely places by the way. Very touristy though.

Many Chicagoland suburbanites are guilty of this too when they actually do come into “the city”. Most likely they will only hit up downtown too, especially the Gold Coast or River North being the two most popular areas.


But Chicago is WAY more than just their downtown, as gorgeous as our skyline is and as eclectic the nightlife can be.

Here are five non-touristy spots to visit when you are in Chicago. Get out of your comfort zone and check out the many other neighborhood spots that make up this great city!

The Guesthouse Hotel:  Instead of staying in a hotel downtown,this is a great alternative option where you would be steps away from the many shops and restaurants that make up Andersonville, a neighborhood gem filled with local shops and restaurants. Choose from one,two,or three bedroom suites that will make you staying here feel like a local. If you recall not too long ago, I went to their MidSommer Festival and captured images of the neighborhood here.

The Swedish American Museum: Situated in Andersonville as well, this place allows you to get a special glimpse of this group of immigrants that once settled here. There is also a Children’s Immigration Museum that is interactive for the kids which I did a review on awhile ago,check it out here. This museum is not as big or as overwhelming as the bigger museums downtown,which makes it easy to navigate so you can get on with the rest of your sightseeing.

The Lincoln Park Zoo: This zoo is located in the hip area of Lincoln Park, a little north of downtown. The best part is that it’s free!  And if you have time, there is a great sweet shop called Vanille Patiserrie that serves yummy French desserts just walking distance from there.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum:  Also not too far from the Lincoln Park Zoo, this museum is also a great alternative to the bigger crowded museums downtown. It features many exhibits including a permanent outdoor exhibit that boasts a 1/3 mile outdoor nature trail that takes you through butterfly gardens,woodland habitats, and an urban prairie.




Water Front Cafe: Attached to one of the last remaining mansions nestled in one of our many Chicago Parks, Berger Park, this outdoor cafe boasts live entertainment 5 nights a week with breathtaking views of the lake. This is a place that definitely makes you feel you are on vacation in the summertime.


There are many other places that are non-touristy to hit up too here in Chicago, but this is a good list to start with. I will most likely make a second version of places to check out in Chicago that are non-touristy. Enjoy!


  1. The touristy parts are beautiful but I love learning about hidden gems in our amazing city! A tip for Lincoln Park Zoo that I learned from a friend’s son who is a horticulturalist there: even though the hours say it opens at 10 you can go much earlier and wander around. Shops and concessions aren’t open but the bathrooms in the Lion House are!
    Mo recently posted…What I’ve Done On My Summer Vacation So FarMy Profile

    • Chi City Mom says:

      Good to know about the zoo-thank you! That is great because sometimes for parents with little ones,it’s better they head out early so they can come back in time for their nap. I will be sure to make a note of this.

  2. Chicago is definitely one of the big cities to visit in America. I never really thought about visiting there, but if I do then I’ll make sure to check out the places you’ve listed. That waterfront cafe area looks inviting.

    • Chi City Mom says:

      Oh you are missing out! It is so lovely here,especially in the summertime. There is SO much to do for all ages. This Water Front Cafe is my favorite and such a hidden gem, it’s awesome because it is also attached to a playground for kids. It’s what I consider my “urban backyard”.

  3. Wonderful list and I only knew about Swedish Amer. Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo, none of the others, and I’ve lived here forever!
    mary beth at recently posted…Jessica’s Summer Birthday BashMy Profile

  4. Chi City Mom says:

    I am not surprised Mary Beth, lots of people don’t know about these hidden gems we have out here. I didn’t even know when I used to live in the South Loop. Chicago is so great for exploring new things!