Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Welcome to My Chicago Hood, Blogtrotters!


Welcome, Blogtrotters! I'm MEP and honored to be one of the first Blogtrotting tour guides. CaraBee said to keep this post under 500 words so I'm directing you to the tabs above (Who's MEP?, Worth the Trip, and Favorite Things) to learn about me and my blog and to link to some of my best posts.

I'd prefer to spend my words telling you all about my Chicago neighborhood. If you have visited Chicago, you know that there's so much to see and do downtown. Shop the Magnificient Mile, go to Millenium Park, have tea at the Drake, enjoy a drink and view at the top of the Hancock Building, eat some Chicago-style pizza, and definitely take an architecture boat cruise . . . just to name a few.

Downtown Chicago is a wonderful, friendly, easily navigable place, but I think the heart of Chicago is the fact that the city has so many unique neighborhoods.

The general neighborhood that I call home is Lakeview, but within this general area are more specific zones. If I walk a couple of blocks east, I'm heading into Wrigleyville, home of the historic Wrigley Field, party-ready twentysomethings, and bars as far as the eye can see. If I walk a couple of blocks west, I hit the main drag of the Southport Corridor, home of restaurants ranging from sandwich shops to sports bars to higher end ethnic spots, more nail salons than seem necessary (yet all stay in business), coffee shops, more bars, and hundreds of strollers.

I grew up outside of Cincinnati and never really imagined myself as a "big city" dweller. Some unique aspects of city life for me include: being a one-car household (hubby takes El to work), being told that my 15 x 15 backyard is "huge," having to street park regularly when doing errands, and depending upon public parks and playgrounds more than I thought possible. Chicago has three seasons and during summer and fall, I love to walk my boys everywhere -- to the store, the school, the park, playdates, etc. I'm a little less walk-ready in winter, but it is nice knowing that I can always get somewhere interesting without having to get in the car.

This past Friday, a good friend and I bundled up our kids to walk Southport and document the neighborhood for this post. Check it out . . . And we're off . . . cruising a typical neighborhood street in a typical Southport stroller. No idea why Bub brought the broom along.
Dairy Queen is mighty popular in my neighborhood, to the point that when explaining to other Chicagoans where we live, we often start with, "Do you know the Southport Dairy Queen . . . "

There are tons of great bars in Chicago neighborhoods where you can grab a drink and a good meal. This one is kid-friendly and has great taste in football teams.

Our neighborhood hardware store, where the staff is friendly, eager to help, and knowledgeable (and they don't wear orange shirts or hide from customers).

Iconic Music Box Theatre where they screen artsy-independent type movies and host special events like White Christmas and Sound of Music Sing-A-Longs.
Not unique to my neighborhood, but boy do I love CVS. I'm there at least three times a week.
The Wrigley Field experience is one worth having, whether the Cubs are winning or losing. I will warn you that they serve Pepsi products inside (but unless the new owners have changed the rules, you can bring in a Diet Coke from outside). I will also warn you that the majority of the fans there are not there to drink soda pop.
I feel the need to point out that my home McDonalds is right across the street from Wrigley. Some days I go through the drive-thru and think, "Wow, I just bought a breakfast burrito right across from Wrigley Field." NTB.

Chicago is laid out on a convenient grid that it took me years longer to figure out than it should have. What I recommend to you is that you visit Chicago (in the summer or fall when everyone here is so, so happy), get yourself to 3600 North/1400 West by train, bus, or taxi and then explore what's North and South of you. Today's tour didn't cover South of Addison, but the fun and excitement on Southport only continues. One highlight includes the world's best cheese fries (truly glorious) at Southport Lanes.

My Little Bit, one of the four cutest kids cruising Southport last Friday.

Special shout out to Sara, ace photographer and friend and to her kids and mine, absolute troopers during this winter walking tour.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my Chicago neighborhood. I am so looking forward to all the Blogtrotting to come! Bloggers, please visit Blogtrotting and sign up to show off your little corner of the world. Readers of blogs, please keep visiting Blogtrotting and Not to brag . . .

I'll see you this summer on Southport!

Please leave a comment and share any of your own Chicago memories or questions . . .

(I'm too tired to figure out why all this white space is down here so please scroll down to leave some comments. Thanks.)

































23 comments:

CaraBee said...

Oh, mep, this is just the perfect first Blogtrotting post! So well done. I already did all of my gushing in my email, but again I just love it! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your neighborhood.

PS - My word verification is dudahrac, which I am pronouncing: Dude, I rock. (in sort of a southern twang) :)

Sunday said...

I have never been to Chicago so this was great! Just what I would want to know about a city before I travel...especially with kids in tow!

I'm a little nervous about my blogtrot tomorrow.

Heather said...

You make Chicago seem so friendly! I've never been, but it always sounded so intimidating to me, visiting such a big city that I would be lost in instantly. Now I wanna pay a visit. You're only five hours north of me; maybe I WILL see you this summer :)

Great Blogtrotting debut!

Vicki said...

You said "soda pop"! As a southerner I find that to be the most amusing thing :) Your neighborhood sounds great with everything you need in probably in walking distance. That's the great thing about big cities (well, not the only thing).

Shelley said...

Hi,
Thanks for sharing your lovely neighborhood with us. I have never been to Chicago, but have always had the impression that it was a "hard" place to live. Don't know why, just did. What a lovely place to live.

E... said...

This little tour has made me homesick for you as always. Can't wait to plan the next trip to visit you, hopefully before you leave this neighborhood!

Babe in Babeland said...

Great tour! Loved it! Makes me want to go to Chicago.

Found you via Blog Trotting!

Actchy said...

I myself was never able to figure out the damn grid system during the span of two years when we lived in Chicago. I think there is something wrong with me?

kenz said...

Oooo MEP - I love that you are doing this! And I must say...something about that DQ is better than any other DQ I have ever been to. Must be because it is in Chicago and I love that city. Also, the pics of the boys are so cute - Lil Bit is growing up so fast! I love how you and the boys make Chicago looks so wonderful...even when I am sure it is freeeeezing!

Ill work on sending sunshine and 60 degree weather from NC ;)

Sara said...

Great post, per usual MEP. Loved the tour; in fact, I almost felt as if I was there with you.

Thanks for the shout-out. Julia liked her cameo too--and in typical kid form, was looking for more of herself.

And yes, I love me some Chicago. My kind of town.

PITA said...

Love it MEP! It was a great representation of the a place I love to visit and see those faces in the pictures! I still lust after attending the White Christmas sing-along. I mean we did attend the Sound of Music sing-along at Orchestra Hall. NTB.

Amy said...

I love Chicago! Have never seen your part of it, thanks for sharing it.

Ben and Michele said...

MEP- It's Ben Helmers' wife Michele those pics bring back so many wonderful memories for me! My first apartment in Chicago was at Southport and Grace... the Dentist I worked for her husband is part of Access Reality group and they were on Southport and part owned I believe Blue Bayou. Also NTB but Ben and I met at Justin's and most of our courting took place between Roscoe and Grace haha! Loved the pics and the blogtrotting and any wait in that DQ line is way worth it :) Your creativity is so much fun!!! Keep it up plus your boys are so cute!!

Shannon said...

I've never been to Chicago... and now I want to go!

I've often wondered about living in a big city... sometimes I think I could do it, but other times... I'm not so sure!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I KNEW that you were in Wrigleyville, but didn't realize just how IN it you were. VERY COOL. We will be parking in front of your home the next time we visit that area because PARKING IS A BEEEYATCH.

Also, the last time I got seriously drunk was at a bar not far from your home. NTB.

Kat said...

What a wonderful neighbourhood. :) I'm a day late, but better late then never. Great post, I really enjoyed your pictures and wonderful descriptions. Almost felt like I was really given a tour. Great job!

April said...

Oh, I want to visit!

American in Norway said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE CHIcago... great tour, makes me want to go back! : )

Nap Warden said...

OMG...I totally would have done this with you! Next time, shoot me an email;)

Brandy said...

I've never been to Chicago but it seems we have a mutual love of CVS!

Jessica said...

I have been to Chicago many times, having spent half my life in the Midwest, but I haven't had the pleasure of a truly great experience there.

My husband and I have just never understood Chicago. It has always seemed too difficult to live in, despite its great public transportation - which is lacking in every other city I've lived in.

You've done a great job of introducing your neighborhood and making it look attractive to live in and I have to admit I'm warming up to the city. I'll keep it in mind the next time Chicago comes up in conversation.

Great walking tour photos!!!!!

Steph said...

Love the neighborhood!

A. @ A Changing Life said...

Coming in *very* late as I work my way through all the Blogtrotting posts! I really enjoyed this look at your neighbourhood. So often travel-style posts show the famous tourist sights and you never get a flavour of what it's like to live there. Thank you. :)

 
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