Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 25

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew Huff / April 23, 2010 12:38 AM

In other words, what do you make sure friends and family check out when you play tour guide?

These days, the Bean is a gimme, but I like to point out the important architecture nearby, too -- the Cultural Center, the Smurfit-Stone Building (aka the "vagina building"), the Carbon Carbide Building (my fave), etc.

jen s / April 23, 2010 9:24 AM

yes, millennium park, definitely, and the art institute. if yr on the south side, promontory point. the conservatory is great, and let's not forget gastronomic points-of-interest (for me, gluten-free.) i make people go to lula (in logan square) pretty much as a rule, and i also round out visits with a trip to rotofugi - and the lego store, for kids.

The Box Factory / April 23, 2010 9:25 AM

If the weather is good, I always like to take people to the 95th floor bar at the Hancock tower. You get a great overview of Chicago and the lake for the cost of an overpriced drink, but it works out the same as a ticket to the regular observation decks.

Helen / April 23, 2010 10:04 AM

Chinatown for bubble tea at Joy Yee's (or where ever). Navy Pier's Wed & Fri fireworks, anywhere on the lakefront. Cruise "through the flags" of Humboldt Park/ Division and get a Jibarito at Borinquen. Up to El Cid in Logan Square for a large Horchata with a shot of espresso! Yum! All I can think about is food.

Tracie / April 23, 2010 11:32 AM

I always try to take people to the University of Chicago Campus, because it's so beautiful, and it's my Alma mater. Other places:
-mag mile for shopping
-Chinatown for Dim Sum
-Wicker park for the retaurants
-Hopleaf for beer
-Boystown for gay visitors

Marcus / April 23, 2010 11:42 AM

I hit up the Signature Lounge in the Hancock Tower, too. Usually one of the food stops: Hot Doug's, Kumas, etc. And the Architecture Riverboat tour is a great way to spend a few hours if you're blessed with good weather.

Also, there are so many great local arts events to take folks to (Neo-Futurists, venues like Schuba's or Beat Kitchen or Empty Bottle or...).

pantagrapher / April 23, 2010 11:45 AM

Millennium Park is a must. I also take them to the beach. Just about any beach. Our lakefront is big, beautiful and free. You'd be surprised that many out-of-towners 1. can't believe we have such great beaches and 2. those beaches are open to everyone.

Brew & View / April 23, 2010 11:47 AM

Brew & View!

Ace / April 23, 2010 11:50 AM

i always recommend an architectural boat tour as a great way to see the city and its buildings.
most people want to try deep dish pizza, even if they are skeptical, and i try to steer them towards the original lou malnati's in lincolnwood.

Dan Kelly / April 23, 2010 11:54 AM

First I pull them out of the Loop and explain that the city isn't bordered by Chicago, State, Congress, and the lake. Next, I usually take them to the following places:

Graceland Cemetery

Oak Woods Cemetery

Margie's Candies

All the remaining Louis Sullivan structures


I used to take friends on a serial/mass murder site tour, but I've mellowed in my old age.

Kelly / April 23, 2010 12:04 PM

When I was in high school and college I delighted in driving visitors/new riders in my car past the Crazy Horse Too strip club on Kingsbury ("it's like Vegas in the middle of Chicago!") and Billy Corgan's house in lakeview.

Leah A. Zeldes / April 23, 2010 12:49 PM

I always try to take visitors for a Chicago-style meal -- pizza, hot dogs or Italian beef if they haven't had them before; other Chicago specialties such as shrimp DeJonghe or chicken Vesuvio; or the ethnic foods our city excels in. Chicago is rich in cuisines.

Leah A. Zeldes / April 23, 2010 12:55 PM

Oh, and I also usually try to get visitors to see a play! Preferably at one of the more intimate theaters.

Carlotta / April 23, 2010 1:48 PM

Most of the time my visitors are limited to the downtown area, so I give a tour of beautiful interiors like the Marquette Bldg., the Rookery, Chicago Board of Trade, Marshall Fields (don't refer to it as Macy's!!!) and the Cultural Center.

Karen Young / April 23, 2010 2:58 PM

Sadly, I don't live in Chicago anymore. But when I did, I would take visitors on one or both of the walking tours of Downtown architecture, and the Chicago Cultural Center (former library). Also the Mexican Fine Arts Museum. And live local theater is a must, especially Second City, or the Neo-Futurists. Restaurants: Yen's Chinese, Reza, Wishbone.

amyc / April 23, 2010 3:39 PM

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Ethiopian food, and the Bean.

Cheryl / April 25, 2010 12:25 PM

The cemeteries.

Carlotta / April 25, 2010 2:02 PM

Another place I like to take people, if they've never been to it, is the University of Chicago campus. There's two free (donations gladly accepted) musuems, the Oriental Institute and the Smart Gallery. I'd also take them inside the Chicago Theological Seminary, especially before it becomes the Milton Friedman Institute, who knows if access will be restricted. Also many nice interiors (if you're there during school hours) and interesting architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House.

Monica / April 25, 2010 7:17 PM

The HWLC (mostly for the books), Ann Sather's, Chicago Bagel Authority, and a play at an off-Loop theater

gate / April 26, 2010 4:00 PM

The ukie village shit fountain is always a crowd pleaser.

Jim / April 26, 2010 4:51 PM

Millenium Park
The Rookery
2nd Presbyterian (run, don't walk there)
The Marquette Bldg's lobby
The Palmer House lobby
Intercontinental Hotel Historic Tower
Chicago Hilton and Towers Lobby and Ballroom
The Monadnock Bldg
Madonna Della Strada at Loyola U
Hutchinson St District
Alta Vista Terrace
Driehaus Museum
Holy Family Church
Bond Chapel at U of Chgo

KT / April 26, 2010 5:31 PM

The Botanic Garden and the Heller Nature Center:

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15