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Five Hidden Places in Chicago that Can Make You Say Oh

 

Interesting would be too weak an adjective to describe the architectural delights, both imaginative and historical, running aplenty in Chicago. Imagine yourself walking around, stumbling across place after place that surprises and awakens your senses — places that can make you giggle, smile like crazy, laugh, squeal, or jump.

Here are five of the amazing places worth checking out when you find yourself in Chicago.  

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Photo by Yelena Galstyan via Trover.com

The Plant: A Project Worth Exploring and Supporting

It is not just your ordinary garden. The Plant is an initiative to make use of an old building and transform it into a charming vertical farm where organic greens and cultured fish live together harmoneously. Check its official website for upcoming events that you can be part of, such as spring volunteerism or the advanced aquaponic series wherein you can design your own aquaponic system. Visit this green utopia at 1400 W. 46th Street.

The Beer Baron Row: A Look into the Past

Fun fact: Chicago used to be a star in the brewing industry, and the patriarchs of the business built their austere homes on Hoyne Avenue, an area not far from Pierce. But when Prohibition and the Depression arrived, the industry collapsed. The mansions were left unattended until some urban advocates called for their preservation in the 1980s. Now, walking around the Beer Baron Row gives you a glimpse of the remains of the grandeur.

Nelson Algren: A Look on a Writer’s House

This writer and his cat lived in Chicago in the mid-20th century. His novel The Man With The Golden Arm won the first National Book Award given. You might not be interested in this writer and his work, but he was really cool. Even the Simone de Beauvoir — mother of feminism and the partner of the existentialist Jean Paul Sartre — fell for him, and immortalized him in the novel The Mandarins. You can actually visit the house where Nelson Algren last lived in the city. It is a well-preserved house that carries the memories of this underrated yet highly intelligent man.

Chicago Temple: An Unusual Sanctuary 

Located at 77 W. Washington Street, this temple is as towering as the buildings in the area. For a religious sanctuary, the First United Methodist Church of Chicago is an unusual site. It carries the principles of Gothic architecture. Aside from the interesting façade, you can check out the stained glass and the central sanctuary. Do not forget to visit the Sky Chapel, the world’s tallest church, which is located on the topmost part of the building.

Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

How to make yourself more comfortable with the idea, with the truth of dying? A couple in Chicago had a rather literal take to it: surround yourself with images, remnants, and objects that remind you of death. From urns to bones, Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities has a lot of curious and maybe icky things. But then again, this curious shop is indeed curious, and if you are one curious fellow, then visiting this place is a must.

Walking around Chicago is a delight for lovers of anything wonderful.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. Find me somewhere else!

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