Chicago’s Lincoln Ave

Lincoln Ave. is a major street cutting through the heart of Chicago. In addition, it’s home to the most popular neighborhoods filled with shops, eateries, and a busy nightlife. It runs from Clark St. on the western border of Lincoln Park largely to the northwest, ending in Morton Grove, Illinois. It leaves the city limits of Chicago at Devon Ave. The total distance is 13 miles. It is the street home to many annual festivals.

My husband and I decided to trot from our neighborhood Lincoln Square, east to Lincoln Park, a 4.68 mile walk. The weather was a little gloomy but we threw on our running shoes and enjoyed the scenic route. We started off at the Western/Lawrence/Lincoln intersection, which is home to the annual Maifest (this week’s adventure). Also home to Gene’s Sausage Shop. A wonderful treat for us to stock up on cheese, wine, and sausage for our weekend snacks.

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We make our way down and pass one of my husband’s favorite place for concerts. The Old Town School of Folk Music.

Founded in 1957, the Old Town School of Folk Music provides a wide range of music, dance, theater, and visual arts courses to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Its Lincoln Square facility opened in 1998. The school owns and operates three facilities situated in Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park that include 425-seat and two 150-seat concert halls, 64 classrooms, two music stores, café and a resource center (http://www.oldtownschool.org/).

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On the corner of Montrose and Lincoln is the Julius Meinl coffee house. With coffee houses worldwide, there are two in Chicago. One on Lincoln and the other on Southport, the only two in North America. One of the best buttery crossaints and vienna coffee and tea in Chicago.

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Our 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar is very active in our community. We usually stop to read all the happenings in the neighborhood and community.

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Since moving to Ravenswood/North Center, my husband’s curiosity brings him to the new craze….breweries and wineries. We were surprised to see so many home-grown breweries in our neighborhood. Our most recent find is Bottles and Cans. They have a selection of fine wine and craft beers not only from the neighborhood breweries but throughout the city.

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We’re super excited for the Chicago Ribfest coming up next week.

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We make our way to Lakeview, at the Paulina Brown stop. The intersection of Lincoln, Ashland, and Belmont. A great neighborhood filled with art, stores, and food. My favorite of all time is Dinkel’s Bakery. Their menu of pastries is excellent. The most recent addition is the cafe.

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A gloomy day but beautiful church. I remember as a child, my parents would bring us to Sunday mass at St. Alphonsus Church.

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After miles of window shopping and picture taking, we finally realize we’re starving. We make it to the intersection of Lincoln, Sheffield, and Wrightwood aka Lincoln Park. Home to many bars, clubs, shopping, and food!! Across the street from each other is Etno Burgers and Barn and Company. Etno Village Grill features gourmet burgers. A small joint but tasty burgers. It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten there but I remember portions are smaller than my appetite. I’ve never been to Barn and Company and I remember this establishment used to be a bar I’d frequent in my 20’s. I really wasn’t sure what is was about but we were hungry. I’d say service was okay (I’m really big on service) but the BBQ compensated extremely. We ordered the Combo 2 platter which came with 1/2 lb pulled pork, 1/2 lb brisket, 1 link of mikeska link sausage, cole slaw, and mac and cheese. The brisket was phenomenal!! I highly recommend them for casual dining, sports watching, and small group get togethers.

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After a big lunch, we noticed we’ve lost track of time; it was almost 5p. As we stroll down, we pass Clarke’s Diner. While I never pass up a moment to have their fabulous cheesy potatoes, my belly was full of BBQ. I remember mornings after a long night working at Children’s, my co-workers and I would run across the street from the hospital to have  breakfast of pancakes, omelets, and cheesy potatoes. Their menu would be what women call the “ultimate comfort food”.

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Right next to Clarke’s Diner is the Victory Gardens Theatre, once called the Biograph Theatre. The Biograph Theatre is infamously known for when the FBI shot and killed John Dillinger in 1934. After years of renovation and $11.8 million, the VGT is home to productions of musical and plays.

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After 3.69 miles, we made it to the intersection of Lincoln, Fullerton, and Halsted. The corner of where DePaul University and the former Children’s Memorial Hospital (my old stomping grounds) sit.

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DePaul University was founded in 1898. It is known as the nation’s largest Catholic university. DePaul, named for St. Vincent de Paul, has deep ties throughout Chicago and a growing international influence.

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The 13 acre Oz Park is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. It sits on the corner of Lincoln and Webster, just south of the Lincoln, Halsted, and Fullerton intersection. The park borders Lincoln Park High School and is home to statues of the characters in The Wizard of Oz. Lyman Frank Baum, a children’s author and the creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a resident of the Lincoln Park area in the 1890s.The park was officially named Oz Park in 1976, and the park district added the statues between the mid-90’s to 2007.In October 1995, the Tin Man sculpture was mounted at the northeast corner of the park near the intersection of Lincoln, Webster, and Larrabee. It is made from old automobile parts. In June 2001, the Cowardly Lion statue was added to Oz Park. It stands in the southeast corner of the park near the intersection of Larrabee and Dickens. Unlike the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion was created out of bronze, which was poured into wax casts to create the forms of the statue. The statue of the Scarecrow joined its companions in the park in June 2005. The statue of Dorothy & Toto was added to the park in May 2007.

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We finally meet the end of Lincoln, were Old Town meets Lincoln Park, a 4.68 mile walk. This area is near and dear to me because I lived in Old Town for almost 10 years. At the very end sits Hotel Lincoln, on the corner of Lincoln Ave., Wells St., and Clark St.

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