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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.
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Saturday, July 20

Gapers Block

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dave / September 17, 2006 11:49 PM

Hyde Park. I'm a little biased since I live here, but it constantly amazes me. From architectural and "natural" variation to street life, I really enjoy the mix.

Second place is probably a tie between East Side and Pilsen.

lara / September 18, 2006 12:58 AM

well, i do love pilsen as a resident walker. but, i really must admit to a fascination with little vietnam (argyle street), portions of the west loop for its majestic downtown/warehouse views, taylor street, and the sheer lovely diversity that is the loop. i am especially fond of jackson, because it feels most like old school chicago. bridgeport is a hoot, but is more of a biking neighborhood.

dave, hp is a always a solid bet for strolling as well.

oh yeah, and the chinatown stop on the red line takes my breath away every time.

printdude / September 18, 2006 6:23 AM

I really like walking around SouthShore and looking at all the huge houses with their big porches and great windows.
Second that with Andersonville neighborhood where diversity reigns.

111th & Kedzie / September 18, 2006 6:40 AM

Mt Greenwood, baby!

Nothing like a stroll through the 'hood....Cops, firemen, and Chicago public school teachers as far as the eye can see.

daruma / September 18, 2006 8:26 AM

Boys Town and Andersonville - lots of eye candy and fun shops.

J / September 18, 2006 8:53 AM

Clark St. or Broadway from the loop all the way up through Edgewater. A nonstop parade of interesting folks, fantastic shops and a thriving buzz that is the city life.

Marilyn / September 18, 2006 8:56 AM

Chinatown - I love all the markets and zodiac square. I love feeling like I'm not in Chicago.

NSH / September 18, 2006 10:00 AM

Hegewisch, it's like the United States put an embargo on the area in 1963. Nothing has been changed in 45 years. The best part is nobody seems to mind.

Y A J / September 18, 2006 10:06 AM

All Chicago neighborhoods are my favorite to walk in, because there’s some thing to see everywhere.

I like the blocks of bungalows in westlawn, each home trying to have something different from the matching house next door.

Or Lincoln Square with the blocks of stone two flats capped by huge wooden houses on the corner lots.

I love walking up Milwaukee Ave, tracking my progress through different neighborhoods by the changing languages on the store signs.

I miss walking the dog in Wicker Park by those two blocks that only have 4 or 6 huge houses per block, each one an architectural wonder in various stages of rehabilitation.

fluffy / September 18, 2006 10:37 AM

right now, it's the WestTown area. I walk down Chicago ave from Damen all the way to downtown. Sometimes I go down Grand, depending on my coffeehouse choice of the day. I also like to walk around my old 'hood, Pilsen. And of course, downtown.
I love walking around the city.
My marriage counselor was in Hyde Park, but ever since the divorce, I haven't gone back. I think it's time to check it out again. I really liked what I saw.

avant/chicago / September 18, 2006 10:56 AM

West Loop

Bill V / September 18, 2006 11:01 AM

I'll go with the Gold Coast / Lincoln Park by the lake, probably since I'm not over there much. Tall buildings, or shorter very expensive and well kept with various plants all around. I like plenty of the other 'hoods, but walking near all of the shops and the lake is very cool. I'll never live there, it's a very nice walk.

Lody / September 18, 2006 11:32 AM

Jeff Park...

Josh / September 18, 2006 11:38 AM

Downtown and Chinatown. I also love walking across all the beaches in Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown. Technically, the beaches aren't neighborhoods, but they're the only areas of Chicago that haven't changed in my lifetime.

mike / September 18, 2006 11:46 AM

Old Town Triangle area and farther west in Lincoln Park. It's pretty damn beautiful. I also like walking around the Frank Lloyd Wright district in Oak Park.

Oketo! / September 18, 2006 11:56 AM

Milwaukee Avenue - just north of Division and south of Damen - watch the gentrification ebb through the streets!

I like the "urban" feel of that area near Division - discount shoes and furniture abound.

Flors / September 18, 2006 12:15 PM

Rush Street! (just kidding)

Devon Ave.

Blagg the Axman / September 18, 2006 12:31 PM

Since my youth as a kitchen-boy in King Mandrake’s castle, the royal orchards have maintained a peculiar draw upon my person. Though by no means bereft of danger (a bloodthirsty wolf nearly tore out my throat on one of my first visits) a certain calm pervades the perfumed air, and the soft, spongy earth is an agreeable feeling under the bare flesh of a boy’s feet—or the road-worn boots of a weary axman. The quiet still of the wood was a much-welcomed respite from the bustle of the capital during the waning days of Mandrake’s reign, and though it is now somewhat overgrown and lacking in upkeep, the sweet fruit of the royal orchard remains one of the last vestiges of the peace this land once knew before the Dark Lord seized power… though the apples’ flavour now holds the bitter tinge of spilt tears.

jen / September 18, 2006 12:37 PM

walking home from a friend's house last night, i'm sure of my answer:
logan square (full disclosure: i live there)

from the gorgeous mansions on the boulevard to the smaller but still fascinating houses on the quiet side streets (a good mix of greystones and bungalows); seeing the families and kids playing on the sidewalk and riding bikes; walking past the old folks home at sacramento & milwaukee with the little old men that say hello; the meth-addicted woman that's frequently at kedzie & diversey lately (who knows, it could be crack or heroin); the yuppies and their dogs on the grass of the boulevards; the skater kids at the monument and the bike kids at boulevard bikes; the kids in line outside the logan square auditorium (varies depending on the show - sometimes they're in all black, sometimes they're more indie); the churchgoers at the baptist church on sundays; the patron's inside helen's two way lounge...

yeah, i'm in love with my neighborhood.

jgs / September 18, 2006 1:52 PM

I second Hegewisch. i think the fact that there are only two roads that lead in or out of the whole neighborhood just stopped the flow of time through there. such a wierd small town completely encapsulated by the city.

Veronica / September 18, 2006 1:54 PM

I hate to say it, but probably Hyde Park. I always loved walking down 56th St. when I was there. The entire neighborhood just has a really good feel to it. If it weren't for that damned university I might actually go back every once in a while.

Kevin / September 18, 2006 1:58 PM

I like my hood in West town, if only because we walk my dog around there and we get barked at, and then we come up with fun names for all the dogs. There's the Gang of Three, the Pug Patrol, Mr Boffo, One-eyed Jack, and the Barkleys to name a few.

Rachel / September 18, 2006 3:16 PM

The whole North Branch of the river through Ravenswood Manor, Albany Pk, and North Park (my old hood) is really fun to walk or bike through. I love the feeling of the woods in the city loaded with cicadas, raccoons, and opossum. Also many unidentified sounds... is that a chattering squirrel, a mating cat, a duck being strangled and eaten? Hm. Best to stick with the daytime walks.

bartleby / September 18, 2006 5:30 PM

Old Irving Park

big houses, big trees, seclusion from the city

Emerson Dameron / September 18, 2006 6:50 PM

To the areas already repped, I'll add Humboldt. I'd walk down Division (from Western to the park) every day, if the weater would cooperate.

Shylo / September 18, 2006 9:17 PM

Wow, lots of good ideas for some weekend walks in the fall. Now if you can suggest your fave spot for a beer/cocoa after the walk ....

How Low? / September 19, 2006 7:00 AM

>suggest your fave spot for a beer/cocoa after the walk

If the walk is in any of the trendy northside neighborhoods, the choice is obvious:


Don't slam it. There are a million of them for a reason.

missmolly / September 19, 2006 9:05 AM

i am another west towner. i love walking down chicago to california and walking up through the park to north avenue. or just taking different routes through the area...seeing the ukrainian signs, polish, spanish etc.

better than coco is a nice cup of elotes on a cool day!!

fluffy / September 19, 2006 9:26 AM

I like the Mercury cafe on Chicago Ave, I think it's east of Paulina. I also sometimes stop by Love's chicago- I still don't know what to make of that place- but it's at Chicago and Halsted. They have non-fat peanut butter frozen yogurt and cheap breakfast sandwiches. yum.
To get a beer in Pilsen I like the Skylark (not during their busy hours though) and I like to get a very cold Tecate at Alfonso's on Cermak or at Martin's .
That's it for now. I don't want to give away all my hangouts.

Andrew / September 19, 2006 10:12 AM

Lincoln Square is nice, and I love walking in my own neighborhood, West Ridge. But there are several mini neighborhoods that are worth exploring:
- Greenview Ave. north of Irving Park
- Buena Park, particularly the area north of Buena and east of Clarendon
- Alta Vista Terrace

Allan / September 19, 2006 10:24 AM

I don't walk ever except to the train and to work, 1 block to work 3 to the train. The 3 blocks I walk down Addison to the Brownline train suck I pass a flower shop a Taco place and a big boring Catholic school then cross this shitty intersection where Addison intersects with Lincoln. I guess this explains my butt n" gut that and my moderate drinking problem. I would like to go for for a walk with fluffy though

d. / September 19, 2006 11:41 AM

does anybody here skateboard or longboard? i've seen interesting parts of the city very late at night (think between 2-4 AM) while rolling through back alleys and side streets. it can be a little bit tricky in the pitch-black parts, but sometimes you find the most amazing things...

mike / September 19, 2006 12:13 PM

Andrew, there's also The Villa ( I always take visitors there, in addition to Alta Vista, Ravenswood Manor, Lakewood Balmoral, etc.

Allan, I used to have your walk. You should cheer up! I now walk down Thorndale past blunt-smoking high schoolers every day. The area by the el is a dead space, devoid of retail. The station is falling apart, reeks of piss, and leaks when it rains. It makes the Addison Brown area look like heaven on earth. When I lived by Addison, the "shitty" three-way intersection you mention had NO PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SIGNALS.

geekgrrl / September 19, 2006 12:18 PM

i second greenview north of irving. i've gone the distance south of that and it loses all its wonder.

lots of places in uptown in general, actually.. the landmark hutchinson street district, any number of N-S streets north of montrose, wilson in general.. great for architecture, bad for living. sigh.

Loadzone / September 19, 2006 1:14 PM

What is your favorite preposition to end a sentence with?

Allan, you forgot the shitty vet, and shitty empty lot where the tiny lounge used to sit.

I like walking around Pilsen, Chinatown, know, stuff that you wouldn't see in Schaumburg.

Erik / September 19, 2006 3:14 PM

I tend to find myself reasons to walk along the river in the Loop.

Also, walking up and down Milwaukee--for any stretch--si great, but I particularly enjoy walking between West Town and the West Loop, because I get to pass the Gonnella bakery and the Blommer chocolate factory. It might be the best-smelling walk ever.

annie / September 19, 2006 3:17 PM

I grew up in Morgan Park and there are some really great winding cobblestone streets and historic homes to enjoy on a nice walk, especially in Fall. I now walk around my 'hood in West Town and look at old homes and the new condos that have replaced them. sad. Mostly I peer into peoples windows to see how they decorate or what they watch on t.v.

Allan / September 19, 2006 3:41 PM


I was hit by a car at that intersection the one time I tried to save time and ride my bike. It was an old lady that hit me. I thought I saw her wave me to go and as soon as I started to pedal into the intersection she speed up and hit my back tire sending me into a spin. my tire was completely bent and would not spin. The lady said she didn't see me and I believe her she took my address down and sent me money for a new tire but I never got it fixed. It still sits in the back of my closet untouched since the morning I carried it home. I have hated that walk ever since.

allan / September 19, 2006 4:01 PM


I love Chinatown too. Shall we go for a stroll?

Marilyn / September 19, 2006 4:21 PM

What is this--a singles bar?

miss ellen / September 19, 2006 4:30 PM

ok, i too will throw up my current & past 'hoods:

i LOVE walking around Logan Square & get such a thrill taking out of town friends for walks down the blvd. just last month, i had the pleasure of walking with my best friend (now lives in SC) and her mother (lives downstate) & it's so fabulous to see the neighborhood thru the eyes of an outsider, really brings out some of the things you bypass day after day...

i grew up in west beverly, so the streets in both morgan park & "old" beverly -- north near the dan ryan woods -- always brought out the inner-architect in me ;-)

NSH / September 19, 2006 4:37 PM

I second Beverly, particularly East Beverly in the fall. The "scratch, scratch, scratch" sound from everyone raking on a saturday afternoon reminds me of a simpler time.
(Sorry, Miss Ellen I am channelling my inner Fr. Gene)

mike / September 19, 2006 4:43 PM

Allan. Sorry that happened to ya. It's a distracting intersection because of the three streets and the Metra viaduct hanging over the whole thing. A couple weeks after I moved to Chicago in '98, a neighbor of mine was killed (hit and run) while rollerblading through that intersection. A few months later Walter Jacobsen did a "Walter's Perspective" about the intersection not having any pedestrian signals. It really was dangerous. Walter mentioned the nearby St. Andrews elementary school and used his sincerest tone to shame the city and implore the mayor to install signals "for the children." They did shortly after that.

Allan / September 19, 2006 8:35 PM


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