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The (GLBT) Center on Halsted, Lakeview
At the northern end of the Boystown section of Halsted Street, the Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted St., 773-472-6469) is Chicago's extremely impressive, beautifully designed GLBT community resource center and all-purpose hangout, complete with myriad programs and events. The center's website has tons of information for GLBT visitors to the city, and it's along a stretch of gay-friendly shops and restaurants that include Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club and Leather Sport boutique.Continue to 2 of 50 below.
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Big Chicks, Uptown (North of Lakeview)Continue to 3 of 50 below.
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Ann Sather Cafe, Lakeview
With three locations around Chicago, all of them with a significant if in some cases fanatic gay and lesbian following, Ann Sather restaurants and cafes (pictured here is the 3415 N. Broadway locale, 773-305-0024) serves exceptionally tasty Swedish-American fare in the diner-luncheonette style. Breakfast is arguably the most popular meal - note the humongus cinnamon rolls. Other morning dishes of note include crab cake Benedicts, Swedish pancakes swimming in lingonberry syrup, pecan French toast with hazelnut cream, and eggs with Swedish potato sausage. At lunch, try the chicken-avocado club sandwich, A big reason for the success of these restaurants is the cheerful, proficient service. In operation for more than 60 years, the restaurant is owned by local, openly gay politician Tom Tunney. The cafe is a fixture on North Broadway, near several other cheap and simple spots, such as Melrose Restaurant and Joy's Noodles.
The other Ann Sather locations are 909 W. Belmont Ave. in Boystown... and 1147 W. Granville Ave., in Edgewater.Continue to 4 of 50 below.
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Minibar, LakeviewContinue to 5 of 50 below.
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Progress Bar (formerly Cocktail), LakeviewContinue to 6 of 50 below.
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Unabridged Bookstore, Lakeview
One of the nation's foremost gay-friendly and independent neighborhood bookstores since it was opened by Ed Devereux in 1980, Unabridged Bookstore (3251 N. Broadway, 773-883-9119) has a superb selection of gay and lesbian titles, plus a strong representation of travel, children's, and general literature (both contemporary and classic). It's one of Lakeview's great community gathering spots, and a wonderful asset and resource for Chicago's GLBT population. If in Andersonville, check out the excellent Women and Children First bookstore.Continue to 7 of 50 below.
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Tulip boutique, Lakeview
With the romantically old-fashioned name of Tulip (3448 N. Halsted St., 773-975-1515), this thoroughly modern, women-owned boutique on Halsted Street (there's also a branch in Andersonville at 1480 West Berwyn Avenue, 773-275-6110) sells all kinds of gifts and toys that make lovin' fun - vibrators, dildos, lingerie, lube, books on tantric sex, harnesses, videos, and more. The helpful staff is happy to make suggestions and chat frankly and cheerfully about which cock ring might suit which occasion, or what to look for in pair of latex hot pants. Tulip also does a brisk online and over-the-phone (877-70-TULIP) business.Continue to 8 of 50 below.
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The Closet gay bar, LakeviewContinue to 9 of 50 below.
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Best Western Hawthorne Terrace hotel, Lakeview
With reasonable prices, a friendly staff, and a great location in the heart of Lakeview, the Best Western Hawthorne Terrace (3434 N. Broadway, 773-244-3434) is one of the best lodging options in the city for gay travelers. The attractive 59-room hotel has plenty of perks - refrigerators and microwaves in rooms, free Wi-Fi, relatively affordable parking. Just keep in mind that the hotel tends to book up quickly, especially in summer when baseball's Chicago Cubs are in town, as the hotel is a short walk from Wrigley Field. The hotel has a great location on North Broadway, not far from The Closet, Unabridged Bookstore, Ann Sather Cafe, and Joy's Noodles.Continue to 10 of 50 below.
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Firefly bistro, Lakeview (closed)Continue to 11 of 50 below.
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Anteprima Italian restaurant, AndersonvilleContinue to 12 of 50 below.
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Las Mananitas, Lakeview
Head to festive Las Mananitas (3523 N. Halsted St., 773-528-2109) for inexpensive, well-prepared Mexican food. The cheery, always-busy restaurant that often features live music doles out fairly standardized Mexican-American favorites, and in good-size portions. Other nearby affordable eateries include the Chicago Diner, Pie Hole Pizza, and Nookies Trees.Continue to 13 of 50 below.
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George's Ice Cream & Sweets, Andersonville
Easily one of Chicagoland's best bets for homemade ice cream, George's Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N. Clark St., 773-271-7600) sits along Andersonville's main drag and is a favorite stop following dinner at one of the neighborhoods many excellent restaurants. The stellar ice cream served here is actually produced by the renowned Madison, Wisconsin-based Chocolate Shoppe company, which has been around since 1962 and has a huge following throughout the Midwest.
Formerly known as Sweet Occasions, George's has that nostalgic feel of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and serves such vaunted Chocolate Shoppe ice cream flavors as strawberry-banana twist, maple nut, peanut-butter cookie dough, blueberry cheesecake, and Zanzibar dark chocolate, plus wonderful sundaes like the Grasshopper (with mint-chocolate chip, Oreos, and fudge). The shop also serves excellent panini sandwiches and crepes, specialty coffees and lattes, and a wide variety of cakes, cupcakes, homemade fudge,... and other sweets - it's a nice dessert option following dinner at Anteprima or Hamburger Mary's. For tasty ice cream in Lakeview, try Bobtail.Continue to 14 of 50 below.
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Halsted's Bar + Grill, Lakeview (closed)Continue to 15 of 50 below.
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Roscoe's Tavern and Cafe, LakeviewContinue to 16 of 50 below.
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Swedish Bakery, Andersonville
Andersonville has been one of Chicago's traditional Swedish strongholds for generations, although it's becoming less the case these days as the neighborhood's population continues to diversify (and gentrify). Swedish Bakery ( 5348 N. Clark St., 773-561-8919) is an old-school, long-running Andersonville institution that opened in 1929 and, like Ann Sather, carries on the tradition of tasty Scandinavian food (although, in fact, the sweets of every ilk are prepared here). Check out the fruit-topped cheesecakes, raspberry buttercream cakes, cardamom sugar rings, zucchini bread, and toska tortes. It's up the street from some other good sources of sweets, including A Taste of Heaven.Continue to 17 of 50 below.
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He Who Eats Mud, Lakeview
Cleverly named and irreverently stocked, He Who Eats Mud (3247 N. Broadway St., 773-525-0616) is one of the many fun boutiques along North Broadway (also check out Unabridged Bookstore, Coffee & Tea Exchange, and Wiggleyville) catering to Lakeview's fun-loving, witty customers. Shop for silly cards, quite sophisticated stationary, offbeat T-shirts, and other amusing novelties and gifts.Continue to 18 of 50 below.
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Home Bistro, LakeviewContinue to 19 of 50 below.
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Bobtail Ice Cream, Lakeview
On the southern edge of Lakeview, the Broadway outpost of Bobtail Ice Cream (2951 N. Broadway, 773-880-7372) is a great little spot for a sweet treat - Bobtail produces a number of tasty flavors, from merlot (try it with dark-chocolate chips) to peanut-butter-chip. Bobtail has four locations around the Chicago area, including two branches in Grant Park.Continue to 20 of 50 below.
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Chicago Diner, LakeviewContinue to 21 of 50 below.
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Berlin dance club, LakeviewContinue to 22 of 50 below.
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Hydrate Chicago, LakeviewContinue to 23 of 50 below.
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Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, LakeviewContinue to 24 of 50 below.
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Jackhammer leather bar, AndersonvilleContinue to 25 of 50 below.
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Coffee & Tea Exchange, Lakeview
In 1975, back when little Lakeview was just becoming known as one of the great gay neighborhoods in the country (and certainly well before coffee-drinking became part of the de rigueur American social experience), Coffee & Tea Exchange (3311 N. Broadway, 773-528-2241) opened as an alternative to the crappy bulk coffee sold in most grocery stores and even restaurants. As Starbucks, Caribou, and other chains (and other indies) have sprung up in the area, Coffee & Tea Exchange has continued to thrive. It remains an excellent choice for premium (often fair-trade and organic) coffees and teas from around the world, and you can also order online or by calling the toll-free number (866-266-1936). If you're serious about java or tea, this place is a must. Other good shopping in East Lakeview includes Wiggleyville, Unabridged Bookstore, and He Who Eats Mud.Continue to 26 of 50 below.
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Women and Children First bookstore, Andersonville
One of the preeminent feminist bookstores in the country and a longtime fixture of the Andersonville community, Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark St., 773-769-9299) has an excellent selection of titles and a knowledgeable, helpful staff to recommend just the perfect read. It's also open til 9 pm many nights (6 or 7 on others), making it a nice spot to linger and browse while you wait for a table at a nearby restaurant. The bookstore does a brisk online/mail-order business and hosts plenty of author events as well as community functions of interest to lesbians, families, and others in this diverse neighborhood. It's near Reza's and A Taste of Heaven, and it's one of the city's best indie bookstores (along with Unabridged, in East Lakeview).Continue to 27 of 50 below.
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Tapas Gitana (formerly Arco de Cuchilleros), Lakeview (closed)Continue to 28 of 50 below.
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Reza's Restaurant, AndersonvilleContinue to 29 of 50 below.
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Melrose Restaurant, LakeviewContinue to 30 of 50 below.
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Harmony Grill (at Schubas), LakeviewContinue to 31 of 50 below.
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Scarlet (formerly Gentry on Halsted), LakeviewContinue to 32 of 50 below.
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Hamburger Mary's bar and restaurant, AndersonvilleContinue to 33 of 50 below.
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Joy's Noodle & Rice, Lakeview
A reliable and affordable, if not especially atmospheric, spot along Broadway for tasty Asian food, Joy's Noodles & Rice (3257 N. Broadway St., 773-327-8330) serves up an impressive roster of mostly Thai and Chinese favorites: spring rolls with tamarind sauce, chicken satay, fried shrimp wontons, coconut curries, cashew chicken, barbecue pork and rice, and so on. Perfect when you're looking to fill up fast and cheaply (for similarly affordable food in the neighborhood, check out Melrose Restaurant and Ann Sather Cafe).Continue to 34 of 50 below.
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Sidetrack gay bar, LakeviewContinue to 35 of 50 below.
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A Taste of Heaven, Andersonville
Andersonville's cheerful A Taste of Heaven (5401 N. Clark St., 773-989-0151) serves some of the best coffee in the neighborhood and also bakes wonderfully fragrant and tasty breads used in sandwiches, brownies, cakes, and other delectable snacks. It's a fun spot for breakfast of lunch, but desserts are the main reason to check this place out.Continue to 36 of 50 below.
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Lakeview East, LakeviewContinue to 37 of 50 below.
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Leather Sport boutique, Lakeview
When it's a leather collar or cockring, or any other accessory or outfit related to leather, S&M, and gay fetishwear, North Halsted's Leather Sport (3503 N. Halsted St., 773-868-0914) boutique is your one-stop. Also check out Beatnix and Tulip, all of which are great retail options along Halsted.Continue to 38 of 50 below.
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Cheetah Gym Chicago, Andersonville
Part of a small local chain of Chicago health clubs with additional branches in Bucktown and Edgewater, gay-friendly Cheetah Gym Chicago (5248 N. Clark St., 773-728-7777) is reasonably priced, well-equipped, and popular with Andersonville's many lesbians and gays. Daily guest passes are available for $12 per day. With the calories you've burned off, you can treat yourself to a tasty dessert at nearby Taste of Heaven or Swedish Bakery (there are plenty of places to gain calories in Andersonville).Continue to 39 of 50 below.
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Nookies Tree diner, LakeviewContinue to 40 of 50 below.
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Fitness Formula, Lakeview
The impressive Fitness Formula Halsted (3228 N. Halsted St., 773-755-3232), a gay-popular outpost of the upscale Chicago health club chain, has some of the finest facilities of any gym in the city - it's also open 24 hours during the week, and until 9 pm on weekends. It's steps from many of the city's trendiest gay bars and restaurants (Sidetrack, Minibar), in the heart of Boystown in Halsted. Non-members may work out here for a fee (which is reduced if you're a member of a health club that's part of International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).Continue to 41 of 50 below.
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North Broadway at West Roscoe StreetContinue to 42 of 50 below.
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Batteries Not Included, Lakeview
Partly a silly store for gay-themed adult novelties and gifts, and partly Chicago's go-to for bachelorette party supplies, Batteries Not Included (3420 N. Halsted St., 773-935-9900) is a fun little stop along any retail browse of Halsted Street, which is also home to such irreverent sources of gay gifts as Beatnix, GayMart, Leather Sport, and Tulip.Continue to 43 of 50 below.
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Beatnix boutique, Lakeview
Drag queens, club kids, and pretty much anyone seeking a cool costume regularly scour the racks of Beatnix (3400 N. Halsted St., 773-281-6933), a retro-fabulous boutique along bustling gay Halsted Street that's packed with flashy attire, wigs, hats, make-up, and assorted glam-wear. Also check out Batteries Not Included, Tulip, and GayMart for fun gifts and novelties.Continue to 44 of 50 below.
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Man's Country bathhouse, AndersonvilleContinue to 45 of 50 below.
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Steamworks Chicago, LakeviewContinue to 46 of 50 below.
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Chicago Male Salon, Lakeview
Chicago Male Salon (3418 N. Halsted St., 773-281-6005) is one of the city's best options for hair care, facials, and body wraps. The sleek shop along bustling North Halsted carries Osmotics, Billy Jealousy, GoSMILE, Truefitt & Hill, and other fashionable products, and men's cuts and shampoos start around $30. Check out some of the other GLBT-oriented shops in the neighborhood, including Ragin' RaeJean's and GayMart.Continue to 47 of 50 below.
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Wiggleyville pet boutique, Lakeview
Browse treats, collars, beds, toys, soaps, and other goodies for your canine and feline friends at Wiggleyville (3337 N Broadway St., 773-528-3337), a cheerful pet boutique along North Broadway's blocks of great shopping and dining (Coffee & Tea Exchange, Ann Sather Cafe, He Who Eats Mud, and so on).Continue to 48 of 50 below.
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Buck's Saloon (closed)Continue to 49 of 50 below.
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Little Jim's Tavern, Lakeview (closed)Continue to 50 of 50 below.
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Spin Nightclub, Lakeview (closed)