April 2, 2012
Liz - Writer and Editor - Chicago, ILThe place I always eat: Taco Veloz. It’s a bit gnarly-looking in there, but it’s the best real Mexican I’ve found.Where to stay for the night: If you can, stay with a friend or a friend of a friend. Chicago is very much about the people, and getting a room for the night in a hotel just isn’t the same.The one place I take everyone: The city is more or less split in two, North side and South side. There is a place on each side I never miss on trips back home: the Hideout and Maria’s.Best local product you should try: The art! Chicago has so much amazing art—especially music and photography… and graphic design, screenprinting, independent publication, even some local fashion that’s gone actual runway (look up Creatures of the Wind, who’ve stuck it out for YEARS in a city that has no garment district and is not hospitable to high-end ready-to-wear)…actually everything there is fantastic. Reasons why Chicago is so great for art: 1. The constant influx of kids who’ve escaped from their prisons of Middle-America normalcy who’re hungry for the opportunity to get weird in a big city (and believe me, they do). 2.  Unlimited resource. There is tons of room, everyday living expenses are reasonable, and people are constantly dreaming and scheming and opening new live/work/play spaces… there is access to materials, to land, to water. There is encouragement from the city to live modestly and sustainably, which, for anyone with imagination and curiosity, activates potential.  3. It’s not wrecked by outside influence. Chicago, ultimately, could care less about celebrity or trend—people are out there on their own trip. And the ingrained sense of blue-collar modesty (which can sometimes be a bit self-defeatist, or even outright hostile to ambitious types, to be honest) means there are no art stars, and it all stays pretty much local. Lots and lots of hidden secrets.4. The insane weather gives plenty of time for people to hole up, develop a vision, and get stir crazy enough to create something that serves as its own reference point. The 2nd best kept secret: Chicago has the best summers in the country. Residents wait so, so long for nice weather—and it’s fleeting—that they absolutely make the most of it. Towards the end of August, watch out—everyone’s blowing off the last bit of “yay! we have hot weather” steam, and it gets wilder and more debaucherous in some circles than you could ever, ever imagine.

Liz - Writer and Editor - Chicago, IL

The place I always eat:

Taco Veloz. It’s a bit gnarly-looking in there, but it’s the best real Mexican I’ve found.


Where to stay for the night:

If you can, stay with a friend or a friend of a friend. Chicago is very much about the people, and getting a room for the night in a hotel just isn’t the same.


The one place I take everyone:

The city is more or less split in two, North side and South side. There is a place on each side I never miss on trips back home: the Hideout and Maria’s.


Best local product you should try:

The art! Chicago has so much amazing art—especially music and photography… and graphic design, screenprinting, independent publication, even some local fashion that’s gone actual runway (look up Creatures of the Wind, who’ve stuck it out for YEARS in a city that has no garment district and is not hospitable to high-end ready-to-wear)…actually everything there is fantastic. Reasons why Chicago is so great for art:


1. The constant influx of kids who’ve escaped from their prisons of Middle-America normalcy who’re hungry for the opportunity to get weird in a big city (and believe me, they do).

2. ¬†Unlimited resource. There is tons of room, everyday living expenses are reasonable, and people are constantly dreaming and scheming and opening new live/work/play spaces… there is access to materials, to land, to water. There is encouragement from the city to live modestly and sustainably, which, for anyone with imagination and curiosity, activates potential.¬†

3. It’s not wrecked by outside influence. Chicago, ultimately, could care less about celebrity or trend—people are out there on their own trip. And the ingrained sense of blue-collar modesty (which can sometimes be a bit self-defeatist, or even outright hostile to ambitious types, to be honest) means there are no art stars, and it all stays pretty much local. Lots and lots of hidden secrets.

4. The insane weather gives plenty of time for people to hole up, develop a vision, and get stir crazy enough to create something that serves as its own reference point.


The 2nd best kept secret:

Chicago has the best summers in the country. Residents wait so, so long for nice weather—and it’s fleeting—that they absolutely make the most of it. Towards the end of August, watch out—everyone’s blowing off the last bit of “yay! we have hot weather” steam, and it gets wilder and more debaucherous in some circles than you could ever, ever imagine.

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