Rainbow pillars line Halsted street
in East Lakeview, while businesses and residences proudly display their flags,
Human Rights Campaign stickers, and Equality Illinois support. Chicago’s
Boystown was the first officially recognized gay neighborhood in the United
States and from this rich history comes a vibrant, prosperous, and proud
community that offers some of the city’s best shopping, entertainment, dining,
and nightlife. If you haven’t explored Boystown yet, not is the perfect time.
It’s Pride month (yes, we have a whole month of Pride), so it’s the perfect
time to get going!
For real, you won’t get much better
shopping than in this gorgeous neighborhood. Pick your montage music and decide
whether you want to start: vintage or boutique. The neighborhood has some top
notch shopping, especially along Belmont and between Sheffield and Halsted. In
that tiny stretch, you will discover Ragstock and Hollywood Mirror for some amazing
vintage and Fashion Tomato, and Belmont Army Surplus for boutique
fashion. Head north on Halsted to Beatnix to stock up on wigs and platform
heels and to Brown Elephant for some of the best thrift shopping in the city.
When you start to feel a little naughty, check out one of Boystown’s adult
shops like Taboo Tabou or Cupid’s Treasure.
Chicago is truly a diner’s paradise,
and Boystown is certainly no different. Check out classic favorites like Mia
Francesca, Yoshi’s Café, and Socca for delicious variety, or hit up the legendary
vegan paradise, The Chicago Diner. The Chicago Diner has been vegan since 1983
(you can get real cheese there, if you choose) and specializes in American
classics gone vegan. Save room for one of the amazing vegan desserts on your
trip. Hearty Boys is another legendary Chicago company and their main
restaurant is located on Halsted in Boystown.
Boystown is a nightlife mecca with
dozens of bars and clubs lining its streets. Personal favorites of mine are
North End, Bobby Love’s, and Roscoe’s, while places like MiniBar,
Halsted’s, Taverna 750, and Buck’s offer delicious food along with their
cocktails. Not ready to go home at closing time? Don’t worry. Many Boystown
bars are open until 4 A.M. like Hydrate and (my personal paradise) Berlin.
If all this wasn’t compelling enough
to get you to Boystown this weekend, let me tip the scales a touch more. This
weekend is the second weekend of Chicago’s Northalsted Pride Festival. The
neighborhood is guaranteed to be packed all weekend, while the month-long
city-wide celebration culminates in the Pride Parade on June 30. Grab your
feather boas, sunglasses, and rainbow flags, friends, and start lining those
streets with your Pride!
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