Maria's & Pleasant House


| 960 W 31st Street 
Pleasant House | 964 W 31st Street 

Maria’s is our local, friendly dive bar in Bridgeport, and Pleasant House is a cool little restaurant next door that serves fancy pot pies. The cool thing is that you can order your pie and then have it delivered to the bar, even though the businesses have different owners.

Maria, the mother of the actual proprietor of Maria’s, works the door and greets patrons, and has become something of a neighborhood icon for Bridgeportians. And yes, her makeup and hair are that awesome.

Andy Gregg | Designer/Illustrator
2 Years a Resident of Chicago

Are you going to Bandung anytime soon, but only interested in arts and to just hang out in cool artistic cafes. The best person to check out is our vacationer @chapitology , he just came back from Bandung and his feeds are not your typical Tangkuban Perahu kind of feeds. Do check him out guys! Promise he will not disappoint you ;) #projectvacation #pvweekendgetaway #travel #vacation #bandung #indonesia #coolspots #vsco #vscocam (at


I recently visited the super cool 798 art district. Formerly the site of a bunch of electronics factories, the massive space has since been transformed into a sprawling art compound. This place is an escape from the craziness of Beijing where you can weave in and out of sidewalk cafes, installation art, galleries, bars and cute little boutiques selling everything from furniture, music and clothing. 

It’s a good 30 minute drive from downtown Beijing on one of the outer ring roads, but you can spend the entire day there and at times get confused about where exactly in the world you are (Berlin? China?). 

Here are a few photos of some of the installation art pieces we saw. Ever in town? Go visit! (We’ll be heading back there this weekend for this party).

RJ Grunts


RJ Grunts | 2056 N Lincoln Park West

RJ Grunts is a all American restaurant. They have everything from malts to cottage fries. You really can’t go wrong with anything you order off the menu,  the service is great, and the environment is casual. The only  place that can pull off a salad and dessert bar in one! There is no better burger in the world than the Grunt Burger at RJ Grunts! It’s a real Chicago restaurant gem that I hope never goes away.

Omega Dyson | Intern
Lifelong Chicago Resident

Quimby's Bookstore


Quimby’s Bookstore |
1854 W North Avenue

Quimby’s Bookstore is Chicago’s premier indie comic/graphic novel/art book shop. It houses a treasure trove of amazing local and national indie comics, many of which could represent the platonic ideal of their art form. I can get lost in there for hours just poring over all of the eye candy, let alone becoming ensnared in the text of one of the books. Readings are often held at a small stage in the back, and the space also houses a fun (if barely functioning) photo booth. As a bonus, all of the signage - both interior and exterior - was designed and hand lettered by Chris Ware, Chicago’s (and possibly America’s) best known graphic novelist. Prices are reasonable, and the staff is always friendly.

Andy Gregg | Designer/Illustrator
2 Years a Resident of Chicago

Watch on

The Making of the Bob Marley @dorestaurant! #drinks #hotspot #food #iPad #coolspot #food (at Do [dough] At The View)

American Science & Surplus


American Science & Surplus | 5316 N Milwaukee Avenue

It’s like an army surplus store, but for school and science equipment. I’m talking beakers, bottles, goggles, skeletons, anatomy charts, all the way down to frogs in formaldehyde baggies. It’s great for random everyday stuff as well (rolls of masking tape for 50¢!), and lots of oddball things for decorating/organizing. Also, there’s a giant dancing squid.

Shelby Rodeffer | Designer
6 months as a Chicagoan

Puppet Bike


Puppet Bike

It doesn’t have a physical address. It moves around the city unpredictably. You never know when or where you’ll encounter Puppet Bike. That serendipity is part of the fun.  It’s a puppet show theatre booth attached to a bicycle. Someone just rides around the city putting on free puppet shows. It’s incredibly charming. The person’s identity is unknown; they’re like the Banksy of puppet shows.

Nate Winter |  Senior Copywriter
8-year Chicago resident.

Garfield Park Conservatory


Garfield Park Conservatory | 300 N Central Park Avenue (near Central Park Avenue and Lake Street)

A not so hidden gem on the wild west side, Garfield Park Conservatory makes for a transformative Saturday/Sunday 1/2 day trip. It’s lush and quiet, kids love it, a true oasis in the city. It’s free but you’ll want to give them money anyway. We’ve lived here less than a year and been four times. Don’t miss the landscaped gardens outside and the Mexican walking fish.

Lewis McVey | SVP, GCD
Have been in Chicago less than a year.

Also recommended the Garfield Park Conservatory:

There is so much to love about this place: it’s over 100 years old (originally built as a flowery refuge for city dwellers), it has an amazing collection of plants and trees, and it’s always warm and sunny, even during winter. And it’s FREE.

Andy Masur | Senior Copy Writer
Chicago resident for 10 years.