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Chicago City Guide

CHICAGO, ACCORDING TO TSH

Words by Jess Duffy. Photos by Alex Wallbaum

INTERACTIVE MAP

Chicago, the windy city, a prohibition era gangster’s paradise, home of Kanye West, John Cusack and that guy who’s the president right now…

A City Guide

The heart of Tenspeed Hero operations lies in the West Loop, a former industrial neighborhood on the edge of downtown that houses the city’s declining wholesale meat and produce markets and a smattering of galleries amongst the many converted factories and warehouses. Over the last decade, the area has evolved into a hotbed of cultural activity, new restaurants and bars arriving by the bucket load. It’s easy not to ever leave the area with some of our favorite coffee spots and eateries in walking distance from the studio.

LA COLOMBE

No morning would be complete without a caffeine fix from La Colombe on West Randolph. They make a delicious cup but be warned, coffee is coffee and it comes in one size. Don’t be that guy who walks in and asks what’s the biggest coffee you can get, it’s the coffee shop equivalent of the guy who walks into a bike shop and asks what’s the fastest bike he can buy. Take a seat and use this as an opportunity to plan your day as you lament the last dregs of your smooth brew. Other coffee shops we love – Sawada Coffee, The Allis at the Soho House, Little Goat.

J.P. GRAZIANO

Just down the street, on the corner of North Peoria you will find J.P. Graziano Grocery Co. Founded by Vincenzo Graziano in the early 1900s, fourth generationer Jim has developed the family business into a successful sub shop, Italian speciality store and catering business. The Graziano family have been long time supporters of TSH and our riders, fueling many a hard day with their HUGE sandwiches – we recommend heading there on an empty stomach and going all in with the house favourite Mr. G!

Publican Quality Meats

Evoking the spirit of the meatpacking district, Publican Quality Meats is a gourmet market, butcher shop, bakery and exceptional dining experience in one. The highly seasonal menu is curated by Executive Chef Paul Kahan and despite the name has some of the most delicious vegetarian offerings we’ve had the opportunity to sample. Whether an extravagant lunch or a chance to stock up on home baked bread, PQM is worth the visit. Visit their sister restaurant Avec for delicious shared plates and a great selection of wine!

Walking through downtown is the best way to take in the myriad of Chicago’s architecture, from the concrete brutalism of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina Towers on the north bank of the Chicago River to the French Renaissance inspired Wrigley Building a stone’s throw from the Michigan Avenue bridge. For the architecture die-hards, Oak Park (via the green line train) is home to the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright including his home and studio. It’s a must if you are making a longer trip.

Cloud Gate

As The Loop opens out, you should find yourself arriving at Millennium Park. Home to one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks and sculptures Cloud Gate. It’s reflective surface providing distorted views of the city’s skyline, numerous selfie opportunities and a source of inspiration for many bean based puns.

The Art Institute of Chicago

No trip downtown would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Chicago Art’s Institute to pay homage to the late, great Ellsworth Kelly. A wonderful artist whose body of work fueled the aesthetic joy with which we started Tenspeed Hero. Red Yellow Blue White and Black has long been a resident of this gallery and turned on it’s side allowed us to make a subtle nod to World Champions whilst celebrating the last work this great man created in Paris.

Lakefront Path

Upon exiting the Art’s Institute you will find yourself a few minutes walk away from the lakefront where you can listen to the mesmerizing creaks of the icy plates floating on the surface as water ebbs and flows beneath them. The expanse of water is a beautiful sight to behold on any given day. For those on two wheels, the lakefront bike path is the perfect scenic route going North or if you need to get an interval session in, head South where the path flattens out and becomes less busy. If you wish to venture further, the path links up with various trails that take you into neighboring Indiana.

Milk & Honey

Once you’ve finished with the Loop (a notoriously exhausting venture), take the Blue Line Train and hop off at the Division Street “L” stop. One of our favorite places to take visitors is Division Street, the dividing line between Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park. It is much calmer than downtown, and a welcome breather after taking in the loop. It’s gained popularity in recent years, partly due to it’s close proximity to Wicker Park’s bustling intersection of Milwaukee and Damen, but many original mainstays still thrive. Milk & Honey (Veggie friendly!) is one of those, and a Chicago staple. Delicious, fairly priced, and welcoming, their menu reminds us of our hippy aunt and uncle.

Penelope’s

Penelope’s is a chic neighborhood boutique stocking some of our favorite brands such as APC and Dusen & Dusen. If you have a soft spot for tailoring, fun prints and high quality contemporary pieces this is the ultimate danger zone!

Unison

Next door, Unison is a dreamy homewares store stocking crisp graphic print bedding, towels and well designed gadgets. Well worth a browse just to plot the interior of your future dream house. Unison is a Chicago based company, but is available online as well!

Sprout Home

Plant heaven. Honestly, go. Even if you don’t buy anything, breathing the air in this place is worth the trip.

These are just a few of our favorite things! We have mapped out everything on Google, and added some others we felt deserved a mention. We hope you enjoy Chicago as much as we do!