Ok, if you haven’t seen The Magnificent Mile, the skyscrapers and the historic hotels downtown (and dive bars!), you should. But when visiting Chicago, be sure to explore the neighborhoods. Here are six favorites:

Words and Photos: Jonas Henningsson


Bucktown / Wicker Park

One of the first neighborhoods that really drew visitors away from the Magnificent Mile. The H-word has a strong bearing here, but nowadays it’s not just bearded hipsters who thrive here. Visitors from around the world flock for vintage shopping, great dive bars, perfected coffee and craft beer.

On our hit list:

La Colombe


Wicker Park Barista, craft coffee on tap.

Ukrainian Village

Perhaps the hottest of neighborhoods. Trendy Chicagoans congregate here and with them even more stores, shops, bars and restaurants open. Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans still put their mark on the culture here.

On our hit list:

Bite Café



Tasty taquerías, amazing murals and a vibrant arts and cultural scene (don’t miss the museums and art galleries) make Pilsen a colorful favorite. Here you can sample great Mexican food and rub shoulders with trendy Chicagoans at the same time.

On our hit list:

La Casa Del Pueblo Taqueria

Mexican home cooking, not fancy but true Mexican grub.



Chicago was once the city with the second highest number of Swedes in the world after Stockholm. Andersonville developed into a Swedish enclave in a city that had lots of neighborhoods marked by the immigrants’ home countries. Polish, Czech, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Greek neighborhoods emerged. Today there are not many Swedes living here, but traces are many, including the Swedish Bakery as well as the Swedish American Museum where the Swedish flag waves alongside the Stars and Stripes.

On our hit list:

Simons Tavern

Simons doesn’t have a website, and if you go there you’ll understand why. Classic Dive, we love it!


Logan Square

Logan Square, northwest of Bucktown and Wicker Park is where you really have to go for a coffee, and for a drink – and for some food and serious vintage shopping. We love the mix of dive bars and contemporary water holes (most of all we love the dive bars). Logan Square is also where we go in search for great music, whether its live or on vinyl, you are sure to find it here.

On our hit list:

Wolfbait & B-girls

Hip store for hip girls.


Fat RIce

Hip restaurant and speak easy next door.  Serves great food with inspiration from Vietnam and a whole lotto other places.




Bridgeport is the next thing, a neighborhood that is still sleepily unprepared for what is to happen. The hub and the epicenter of the development is driven by the Korean-Polish family (so typical to Chicago!) who runs Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar where you will find an outstanding range of craft beer and sausages. The family has numerous projects underway, art gallery, coffee shop and other things which guarantees that the district will continue to evolve.

On our hit list:

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar


Information: choosechicago.com



Jonas Henningsson

Journalist and photographer, founder and editor-in-chief American Trails.