Exploring Chicago Like A Local

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Over Labor Day Weekend, my Internet husband and I flew into Chicago early Thursday, August 30th, 2018 for the highly anticipated ALL IN wrestling event. To give a little context… ALL IN was spurred on Twitter as somewhat of a challenge. I can’t translate this dialogue word for word… but Dave Meltzer a “journalist” in wrestling mainstream media said on Twitter: “I bet you can’t fill a 10,000 seat arena” to Cody Rhodes and Cody replies: “I’ll take that challenge.” WELL, and here we are now. Cody, Matt & Nick Jackson (The Young Bucks) put not only 10,000 butts in seats, but 11,000 butts in the Sears Center Arena for a collaborative pay per view combining independent wrestlers from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Ring of Honor (ROH) and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Thus, the Woodstock of Wrestling.

Adam heads to STARRCAST. Hailey heads to the CITY.

When we got into Chicago, Adam my Internet husband and I parted ways. Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but THANK GOD. I like wrestling, but I can’t stay out in Chicago suburbia where ALL IN and the STARRCAST convention were held. It was, pardon my French, in the bum-fuck middle of nowhere. I need to to be in the city, exploring. And maybe shopping for my next home away from home. Plus, my friends have a two bedroom place in Logan Square, one of the most walkable, hipster-ist neighborhoods, how could I not!? I’ve seen Chicago inside and out. I have family from the ‘burbs, I’ve seen the city, The Bean yada yada yada. But, I really haven’t been there on my own to really take it in as if I was living in this neighborhood of Logan Square, which is in the Northwest part of the city near Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lincoln Park. This area all connects via train to the main part of downtown Chicago “The Loop” or central core of downtown Chicago.

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I stayed in the highlighted part. As you can see there are tons of little district outskirts of the main part of Chicago.Β 

The coolest thing about the neighborhood of Logan Square and especially up towards Lincoln Park was the architecture of the buildings. These are all old brick and Greystone buildings, some even covered in ivy with giant stoops and patios. Historical I think?Β  A lot of these buildings have been passed down by generations of families that probably laid the ground work for the neighborhood is what I gathered from my mini history lesson. I just had to gawk at some of these buildings (unknowingly to the people who lived there I hope) on our walk around the neighborhood.

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It’s no secret that Logan Square is a Portlandia pocket of cool bars, breweries, bomb Mexican fare, Puerto Rican food, and shops. And is one of the more affordable areas to live, while keeping that city vibe. You do have to take a short walk to the train stop, but hey, the more time you walk, the less you spend on living. When you get near Wicker Park and the main drag of Milwaukee Avenue, the rent starts to rise.

So here is a little bit about my weekend with the wonderful husband/wife duo: Kristina (Stina) & Tom and let’s not forget their cats: Gypsy and Norman Bates.

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 1.39.49 PMFun facts: These two got married in Las Vegas (before I was living here!) and renewed their vows at Emporium Popups, a cool bar that changes its decor and drinks monthly.

Pro Wrestling Tees, Logan Square & Wicker Park

Let me preface this day as being a STRUGGLE to get up and get excited to get on a plane, because the night before I went to a show in Downtown Vegas at the Bunkhouse Saloon. I bought the tickets without realizing that we had a 7AM flight the next morning, but I’m gonna say fuck it! Because there is no way in hell I’m missing one of my favorite bands Rooney play locally. So, I was running on about two hours of sleep and attempted to nap on the plane. Tom and I took a stroll down to a Twin Peaks inspired coffee shop and I got the largest goddamn cold brew.

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Photo: @damnfinechicago

There was red curtain (not pictured) near the window, a full black and white chevron wall behind the espresso bar and the coffee was damn FINE. So, with coffee in hand and me finally having a second wave… heres to the rest of the day. I had no real plans of destinations besides a few bars AND duh, Pro Wrestling Tees.

Tom lead the way to the train stop and we headed to Wicker Park, where the main drag of Milwaukee Avenue connects the two neighborhoods. We wandered into a few shops, like Crossroads Trading Co., Buffalo Exchange, Ragstock Vintage… and a record/game/film store Reckless Records.

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Photo: @recklessrecords

I found a few original Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire vinyls, but I don’t know how I would have packed those bad boys into my carryon. I was already hoarding clothing as it is! Before we left the neighborhood to meet up with the wifey ‘Stina, had to take a short Uber to Pro Wrestling Tees and see all the action… and MERCH!

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Photo: @prowrestlintgtees

Thursday was the only day I could really go to Pro Wrestling Tees. There was no one famous booked to do a signing and the next day (Friday) would be TOO CRAZY. CM Punk would be there signing all freakin’ day. He’s a big name pretty much anywhere he goes, but this is Chicago, his namesake. The legendary straight-edge Punk would have lines all the way to downtown Chicago, ESPECIALLY during ALL IN weekend. To my surprise, it’s a pretty small storefront! I think the printing space is attached, but the brick and mortar shop itself is almost boutique like. They even have a computer to look up prints and they will print them in one hour, (they are simultaneously One Hour Tees & Pro Wrestling Tees) It wasn’t too crowded when I went in. You can peep my short vlog (before my damn camera died!) and I’ll show you a little bit of inside and out. I made it out of there with not a Being The Elite shirt, or even any Young Bucks merch… but a Razor Ramon shirt.

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Photo: @prowrestlingtees This is The Outsiders take on Razor Ramon

No Bury The Business Bear in sight… I was on a mission to snag one of those for Adam’s desk set for the Ten Pounds of Podcast. We shall see at ALL IN if there are any for sale! C’mon Kenny! I know you have those stock piled.

There is a lot to unpack about this Chicago weekend and the neighborhood I stayed in, but I want to keep it simple and show you the spots I went to with the young kid-less married couple in a couple of different blog posts so that we’re not reading one giant journal entry. Dear Diary…

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And I’ll leave you with that moment of zen. Come back soon for more Chicago blog posts on where we ate food, drank beers and shopped for the fashions!

 

 

 

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