Chicago, Windy City, Chi-Town… Whatever you may call it, everyone’s heard of it. Chicago is one of the most influential cities in America, regarding music, film, and almost every art form imaginable.
But if you’re sick of the same old places everyone goes to, and you want to experience Chi-Town from a different perspective, be sure to check out these special locations.
The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum
The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum is truly one of a kind. It’s the only art museum in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting work by Vietnam and Iraq War vets.
The museum is kept afloat by a handful of dedicated artist vets who regularly ship pieces out for exhibition, and also restore pieces, like a sculpture utilizing the POW bracelets of pilot John Borling, as well as the cup he used while imprisoned at the Hanoi Hilton.
The pieces stand out on their own, but their true power shines within the museum, in a collective message of those who value peace over anything else.
When you go through that red door, try to remember that you’re still in the year you were. The time warp atmosphere is absolutely charming and somewhat comforting. It’s also a bar, so, yeah, that just might be the beer that’s doing all the “feeling.”
If you want to celebrate a special event, like a birthday, call ahead and let them know, and they’ll tape you and your friends for free and at the end of the night, you’ll get a copy on VHS! There’s also food, so no worries if you get hungry.
Reggie’s Rock Club and Record Breakers
You can listen to absolutely anything you want from ten huge collection that found it’s home in Reggie’s Rock Club. In the rock-and-roll-heavenly reading room, there are old issues of KISS Magazine, tear-out Rolling Stones photo books and imported Zappa and John Cale session recordings from the ’60s.
It’s located in the South Loop corridor, which was once a hotbed of clubs like The Shrine, a hip-hop concert venue and nightclub frequented by Questlove, producer and drummer for The Roots.
Judy Istock Butterfly Haven
Imagine a huge room with a wall of windows, vines, a rocky waterfall, and a curving path lined with benches.
The huge quantities of butterflies camouflage themselves so easily and naturally, you’ll probably forget that you were afraid of stepping on to one.
The museum regularly rotates species of these winged beauties; about 80 different types are featured at a time.
And the cutest thing about the museum: just before the exit, there’s a mirror so you can check and make sure there isn’t a butterfly trying to hitch a ride out on you!
The Pick Me UP Café
If you need someone to pick you up, and you happen to be in Chicago, have no fear! But be fearful of this incredibly lame joke. The ’50s vintage-style Pick Me Up Cafe in Lakeview is 24 hours on weekends and until 3am on other nights. It has colorfully lacquered tables and plenty of options for vegans.