Home to Wrigleyville, Boystown and several other unique areas, the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago has no shortage of things to do. Cheer on the Cubs, find serenity in nature or take your pick of entertainment along the Belmont Theater District. Don’t forget about the diverse dining options in this eclectic area on the city’s north side. With so many places to go in Belmont and Lakeview, you may have trouble deciding where to go first.
You can’t talk about Lakeview without mentioning the Chicago Cubs. After the 2016 World Series win, taking in a Cubs game is even more of a must-do when in Lakeview. Wrigley Field is something you need to experience for yourself. Catching a game in the park is a lasting memory, but if you prefer a different view, plan to take a tour of Wrigley Field. During the tour season, you can see the facility during the daily tours with a tour ticket.
If you prefer to play sports, head to the Diversey Driving Range. The views are amazing, especially the view from the top deck of this two-tiered driving range. You can see the Lake, Diversey Harbor, downtown Chicago and Lincoln Park while you practice your swing. Covered, heated stalls keep you comfortable even when the weather isn’t ideal. For a more relaxed pace, play a round of miniature golf at the driving range.
Another golf option in Lakeview is the Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course right along the shores of Lake Michigan. Mature trees and amazing views of the city add to the appeal of this nine-hole golf course, one of the best in the Chicagoland area. The golf course plays home to the Midwest Amateur, but golfers of any level can enjoy this championship-length course. The Chicago Park District runs the golf course, making it an affordable and accessible way to play golf in the city.
If bowling is more your speed, don’t miss Southport Lanes. This alley has a colorful history, starting as brew house built by Schlitz, turning into a speakeasy and brothel and continuing to evolve to its current state. The facility only has four lanes, but what makes those lanes so unique is the way they operate. The pins are hand-set by people behind the scenes. It makes for a very unique bowling experience. If you want to bowl on the weekend, plan to make reservations earlier in the week to secure a lane.
Hamlin Park is another way to stay active in Lakeview. The park amenities include a pool, football and soccer fields, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts and a field house with gymnasiums, a fitness center, a stage and clubrooms.
Enjoy the Water
With a name like Lakeview, it stands to reason this neighborhood has some amazing views and lake activity options. The Lake Michigan shoreline forms the eastern border of Lakeview, giving residents and visitors easy access to the lake. If you enjoy getting on the water, Lakeview is home to Belmont Harbor. Even if you don’t have your own boat, walking along the harbor is quite a view with all the boats docked.
Connect With Nature
Living, working or playing in the city doesn’t mean you have to forfeit nature. Lakeview does an excellent job of weaving in opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy a natural oasis amid all the bustle of city life.
Wander the trails around the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary to capture a glimpse of a range of local and migratory birds. Wooded land combined with shallow ponds provides an ideal spot for birds to seek refuge. While the fenced in portion of the area is not accessible by the public at most times, you can walk on the trails around the refuge area and enjoy a peek from the viewing platform.
On the south edge of the area, you have Lincoln Park with its acres of nature right in the city. It’s a great place to get away from it all without leaving your own neighborhood. A walk along the Lakefront Trail is another perfect way to relish in the nature offered in the Lakeview area of Chicago.
Take in a Show
When looking for things to do in Lakeview, you’ll discover a diverse lineup of shows and performances, from obscure films to theatre and dance performances. The Belmont Theatre District hosts many of these theatrical venues, with almost 20 different independent performance companies concentrated in one area. This makes Lakeview a key player in the overall theatre and performance scene in Chicago.
If film is your preferred source of entertainment, the Music Box Theatre is a must. With daily showings in a wide range of independent and arthouse films, this theatre is much more diverse than the average movie theater. The Century Centre Cinema is another option for seeing independent movies.
If you prefer live stage performances, check out one of these theatres:
- Teatro Vista, Theatre with a View: This Lakeview theatre features an ensemble of professional theatre artists and focuses on a Latinx angle to its productions. The theatre presents both original works and reinterpretations of existing plays, adding in a Latinx voice.
- TimeLine Theatre Company: The TimeLine Theatre Company shares stories with a historical slant that connect to current social and political topics. The winner of numerous awards, this small, not-for-profit theatre presents provocative productions and educational programs.
- Theater Wit: Another theater option in the Belmont Theatre District, Theater Wit calls itself the “premier smart art theater in Chicago” with a mix of humor, challenges and intelligence infused into the plays. The theater aims to maintain a contemporary voice.
- Anthenaeum Theatre: Head to the Anthenaeum Theatre to enjoy a performance at the oldest continuously running off-loop theatre in the city. The beautiful historic building boasts five different performance spaces plus offices and rehearsal halls where various performing arts groups base their organizations. This not-for-profit theatre emphasizes community and education.
If you prefer humor over drama, head to one of many comedy venues in Lakeview, including:
- Annoyance Theatre & Bar: The comedy at The Annoyance Theatre ranges from original plays and musicals to sketch comedy with a heavy emphasis on improvisation. If you want to try out your own comedic talent, consider one of the classes at this theatre.
- CSz Theater Chicago: Laugh with your whole family at this all-ages comedy club in Lakeview. ComedySportz, the interactive improv comedy show, features a sports theme. Take classes to bring out your inner comedian.
- Chicago Theater Works: Enjoy dinner and comedy at the interactive dinner theater performances at Chicago Theater Works.
- Laugh Factory: We can’t discuss comedy without mentioning the world-famous Laugh Factory. This comedy club receives a lot of attention and hosts many different comedians for your enjoyment.
- Under the Gun: If you’re looking for variety in your comedy show, head to Under the Gun. This theater incorporates a variety of performance styles with a diverse cast of performers. Theater performances include improv, comedy sketches, standup, solo performances and storytelling.
Other theaters in the area host a variety of performances, including musicals, dance and other artistic forms. Some of those theaters include:
- Stage 773: Check the schedule often at Stage 773, a performance and tenant venue hosting a wide range of performance types. The venue includes four different stages.
- Porchlight Music Theatre: The name says it all about this venue. Porchlight presents a variety of musical theater performances with bold, edgy style.
- Briar Street Theatre: Head to Briar Street Theatre for its long-running performances of the Blue Man Group. The popular show blends a variety of elements, including music, comedy and technology, to captivate audiences.
Sample Diverse Restaurants
No matter what you’re craving, Lakeview has an answer. With so many activity options, you’ll need a list of go-to spots to refuel with delicious fare. Many of the restaurants focus on a particular type of food or ethnic foods.
Try one or more of these top Lakeview restaurants:
- Bulerias Tapas Bar, 3656 N. Ashland Avenue: Experience flavors of Spain without leaving Chicago at Bulerias Tapas Bar. The Wrigleyville tapas bar and lounge serves up lots of plate options in a fun, energetic environment.
- Wishbone, 3300 N. Lincoln Avenue: Described as “southern reconstruction cooking,” Wishbone is your go-to spot when you crave comfort food. Essentially, the menu contains all the southern classics with a bit of a healthy update. The restaurant cooks everything from scratch, making you feel like you’re sitting at your grandma’s table.
- New England Seafood Company, 3341 North Lincoln Avenue: This Lakeview restaurant option gives you the taste of fresh seafood without a trip to New England. It works with suppliers to get the seafood to the restaurant as fast as possible for a fresh flavor.
- The Chicago Diner, 3411 N. Halsted Street: While the name and the décor lead you to believe this is a traditional diner, the menu says otherwise. The Chicago Diner serves up a completely vegetarian and vegan menu, but don’t let that stop you from trying it. The food is delicious, even without the meat.
- DMK Burger Bar, 2954 N. Sheffield Avenue: If you just can’t give up the meat, sink your teeth into one of the grass-fed beef burgers at DMK Burger Bar. Hand-cut fries and shakes round out the menu.
- Barcocina, 2901 N. Sheffield: When you want a new take on Mexican, head to Barcocina. The chefs at this Lakeview restaurant incorporate multicultural cooking techniques to give the Mexican menu a modern flair.
- Wood, 3335 N. Halsted Street: Make reservations at Wood to enjoy the dynamic flavors in the American fare offered at this restaurant. The small-plate format lets you sample lots of options, which makes good use of its wood-fired oven. The restaurant uses many local-sourced ingredients based on the season for the highest quality food.
- Dinkel’s Bakery, 3329 N. Lincoln Avenue: Dinkel’s is a Chicago institution, with three generations of Dinkel’s using traditional German baking skills to serve up almost any baked good you could ever want. While the bakery relies heavily on tradition for producing their products, they also focus on a sustainable model, sourcing local ingredients when possible and reducing energy use. Stop for breakfast or lunch at the café before picking up your baked goods.
- Giordano’s, 1040 W. Belmont Avenue: If you live or work in Lakeview, you don’t have to worry about finding your go-to pizza place. We have you covered at our Belmont Avenue location with our famous pies, sandwiches, salads and classic Italian.
- Bobtail Ice Cream, 2951 N. Broadway: No matter which restaurant you choose for your meal, Bobtail Ice Cream is always a good choice for dessert. You get the feel of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor serving up homemade ice cream with an urban energy that keeps you coming back. In the winter, choose from one of their steamers, which combine homemade ice cream, delicious toppings and steamed milk.
Shop the Boutiques
Lakeview offers many shopping options without leaving the neighborhood. Many streets in Lakeview feature commercial corridors full of retail options. Head to Belmont Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, Halsted Street and Broadway Street for a few of these shopping areas. Supporting these local shops means you help your neighbors and find unique gifts or home furnishings.
Check out these Lakeview shopping options to find unique treasures:
- Waxman Candles, 3044 N. Lincoln Avenue: Warm your home with the glow of candles from Waxman Candles. Unlike mass-produced candles you can buy at any store, Waxman candles are hand-poured with intense scents. Stock up for your own home or grab candles for gifts.
- Heritage Bicycles, 2959 N. Lincoln Avenue: If you’re looking for new wheels, head to Heritage Bicycles, where you can pick up a Chicago-made bike while sipping on some of the best coffee in town. The shop sells bikes and bike gear with the quirky addition of a coffee shop right in the store.
- Art De Triumph, 2938 N. Clark Street: Art De Triumph features giclee prints from artist Nancie King Mertz, as well as other Chicago area artists. Many of the works feature Chicago scenes, with prints, coasters and cards available. Hang a little piece of Chicago in your home after a visit to Art De Triumph.
- Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 North Broadway: Browse shelf after shelf of books at Lakeview’s Unabridged. This locally owned bookstore has a knowledgeable staff ready to help you find books that fit your reading preferences.
- Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, 2945 N. Broadway: The Lakeview location of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine is the original storefront for this European-inspired specialty food market. Stop by to pick up artisan-quality foods, with cut-to-order cheeses and freshly baked breads. Grab a bottle of small production wine or handcrafted beefs chosen to pair well with cheese. The shop also serves up a variety of sandwiches and picnics.
- Chicago Music Exchange, 3316 N. Lincoln Avenue: Drool over the vintage, new and used musical instruments at Chicago Music Exchange. The expert team helps you find just what you need.
When you can’t shop any more, head to Giordano’s Lakeview location. Our dine-in option lets you sit and enjoy your pizza while taking a break. If you’re local, opt for delivery or pickup to enjoy our delicious pizza in your own home. With Giordano’s pie, you’re ready to return to the streets of Lakeview for more exploring.