Our Guide to the Near West Side

Our Guide to the Near West Side

Legend has it that the Great Chicago Fire started here. Today, this area continues to sizzle, and many of the roots of iconic Chicago staples were crafted here, including deep-dish pizza, the Blues Brothers and the Chicago-style hot dog. Head out to Near West Side to discover all the neighborhood has to offer.

Jane Addams Hull House Museum 800 S. Halsted
University of Illinois Chicago was built on the original Hull House. But they made a museum to honor Jane Addams. Addams was a writer and reformer who helped people in need to get back on their feet in Chicago. She offered housing, programs and food to immigrants in Chicago. The museum is dedicated to her, which includes two buildings she used in her efforts.  It features exhibits on local history and social justice throughout its history. This is a great place to learn about the history of Chicago and one of our city’s great activists.

Primitive Art Works Gallery
130 N. Jefferson St
As a four-floor artwork gallery, this place could easily kill two hours. With a ton of modern furniture, hand-made artifacts, textiles, jewelry and fashion, this place has more than its fair share of art. With artworks from 100 cultures all over the world, this is the place to experience international culture without leaving the city. Beyond being a store, this place is pleasing to the eye and has amazing details everywhere you look. This gallery gives store-goers the opportunity to explore the world in different shapes, colors and designs. Any world traveler or art coinsurer would love this place.

Aloft Loft
2041 W. Carroll #306
Have you ever wanted to be a part of the circus? Well, now is your chance. The Aloft Loft offers circus-training classes. On top of that, they offer performance space, which leads to amazing contemporary circus shows around the world. Trapeze bars and rings lead to a more accessible show than other circuses that are complete with animals. They definitely put on a show for all ages. Head out to Aloft to gain circus experience or sit and be amazed by the acts.

Artopolis Bakery & Café
306 S. Halsted St
With a European style, this is not a bakery that you could go wrong in. A modern loft-style, with a traditional spin on food, this place has a ton to offer. The café serves a variety of breakfast foods and sandwiches. On top of the café, there is the bakery, which offers cakes, desserts and their famous bread. They claim that the scent of their freshly-baked bread smell is irresistible and I quite agree.

Mars Gallery
1139 W. Fulton Market
Since 1988, this gallery has been a staple for Chicago artists. The gallery houses a variety of art, from contemporary to modern pop art to figurative art. With three stories, the art is packed into the building. Most of the artists call Chicago home and keep it local. If you see a piece that you have to have, the gallery will frame it and you can walk out the door with it, making it a valuable and productive experience.
By Jessica Lynk