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Try Not To Get Locked In A Vault, Enter The Wormhole, And More In Wicker Park

By Sponsor in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 12, 2016 5:00AM

In case you haven't noticed, it's pretty warm 'round these parts. It's a time where nobody really wants to be working while the summer sun beams in (if you're lucky enough to have windows) and most folk would rather be "anywhere but here." As such, we'd like to think that summer is synonymous with "adventure season." It's a time where we all want to shed our hibernatory habits and go forth into parts unknown. (If this doesn't sound like you or your summer plans, come on, live a little.) The good news is that you don't have to travel far to discover untapped places of beauty and reverie—and while the term staycation might feel like a cop out, in some parts of this great city, it surely is not. Trust us, "here" can actually be mighty fine. So, in partnership with Sanpellegrino® Sparkling Fruit Beverages and their Delightways app, we're rising to the occasion and pleased to give you a little primer on a fan favorite neighborhood of ours—Wicker Park—and a few of the local hidden-in-plain-sight gems that make us tick, time and time again.

The history of Wicker Park reaches deep, from a thriving immigrant settlement at the turn of the century, to a rough artist haven, to the hip, affluent neighborhood that it is today. Wicker Park has had plenty of starring roles that helped shape its personality. One of those was in the 2000 film High Fidelity which was filmed all over the neighborhood, including the much-loved rock venue Double Door. Establishments like this gave Wicker Park it's rock reputation in the '90s when up and coming bands played there and lived nearby. Liz Phair famously wrote her breakout album, Exile In Guyville in the neighborhood, and MTV even filmed a season of The Real World here. There are many recognizable mainstays, but where do the locals really hang? We have a few thoughts. And trust us when we say Wicker Park is the perfect spot for a quick summer afternoon getaway—without having to go very far at all.

(Jim Kopeny/Chicagoist)

Walgreens Vitamin Vault
Why the heck would you want to go out of your way to visit a Walgreens? Because this is the coolest Walgreens around, that's why. How many drug stores do you know of that keep their vitamins in a vault? The old Noble Bank building at the north point of Wicker Park's busy six-corner intersection sat empty for years before the flagship Walgreens store moved in. They kept many of the historical traits during renovation, including the "Vitamin Vault" in the basement, complete with safe deposit boxes and a huge round, steel door propped open with its inner workings on display. It's probably safe to say that these are the best protected supplements in town.

The Wormhole Delorean
Enter The Wormhole and go back in time to a decade when things were simpler. There's all kinds of nostalgia from the 1980s inside this coffee shop, including a real-life Delorean car just like the ones from Back to the Future. We half expect Marty, Doc or (God forbid) Biff to walk in while we're sipping on our Peanut Butter Koopa-Troopa and playing Nintendo in the back. Oh, and the coffee's pretty good, too.

The Violet Hour Murals
There's a bar on Damen Avenue that has no sign and a barely visible door. The one thing you can see is the constantly changing mural on the building's unassuming facade. The Violet Hour is an upscale establishment with strict house rules and an extensive cocktail menu. They've collaborated with many local artists on the mural designs that have ranged from sparse to abstract to cartoon over the nine years they've been open. They're always taking submissions for future murals, too, with a ready-to-go template on their website.

(Jim Kopeny/Chicagoist)

Chop Shop Rooftop Patio
On a warm sunny day, it's hard to find an outdoor patio in Wicker Park that isn't packed to the gills. Chicagoans know that they gotta get out there when they can since we've only got a few months of patio-worthy weather. Instead of putting your name in for an hours-long wait list, head over to Chop Shop's hidden rooftop patio. From the front window, Chop Shop looks like just another deli and butcher shop, but inside is a full bar and restaurant with a colorful outdoor space tucked away on the second floor. Stop in for lunch, brunch, dinner or a little something from their cocktail menu.

Movies in Wicker Park
Believe it or not, Wicker Park is an actual park in the heart of the neighborhood sharing it's name, and every few weeks during the summer, residents lay out blankets and lawn chairs for a movie at sundown. This year the "movies in the parks" series is slated to have a Winona Ryder theme, showing five of the actress's hit films from her heyday like Beetlejuice, Heathers and Edward Scissorhands.

Feeling like having a little adventure? We thought so! Go ahead—because really, Violet Hour is definitely the best Hour. And alongside our friends at Sanpellegrino® Sparkling Fruit Beverages, we encourage you to discover The Life Deliziosa™—the joy of wandering and the art of serendipity. Want to add a breath of fresh air to your journeys to come? Discover Delightways today—it's a curated journey-finding app full of local haunts and hidden gems that encourages you to rediscover the art of wandering—right here, at home in Chicago. Delighways helps you live The Life Deliziosa™, reminding you that delight is not only in the destination, but in the moments of joy we find along the way. Traditional mapping apps, step aside!

If you've got a destination, take a chance on something new and discover the most delightful way there. Keep cool with a refreshing Sanpellegrino® Sparkling Fruit Beverage and find your joy in the journey today.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Sanpellegrino® Sparkling Fruit Beverages and Gothamist staff.