Hyde Park is described in our Chicago Life guidebook as among the most desirable places to live in the city of Chicago. For students, it provides the essentials of life, along with enough diversions to keep boredom at bay when a trip downtown is not practical. I highly disagree. There is nothing better to do on a weekend than visit other Chicago neighborhoods and drool over their various, often fabulous, offerings.
Paying the two dollars to get to Wicker Park is well worth the dough, although in the back of your mind you are still wondering why the University refuses to provide us with U-passes. I suppose they consider the diversion of the library to be almost as much fun. Getting to Wicker Park is easy. Just get off the Blue Line at Damen. Take a left turn and cross the street when you come out of the entrance, and you will find Jade, the most beautiful store in Chicago.
While I cant afford anything inside this holy site, I often visit to admire their clothing. The store itself is a jade color, and everything inside is well organized. I usually prefer not to have anyone help me shop, but there is plenty of service to go around if necessary. Jade carries many of my favorite designers, including Missoni, Iisli, and Twill Twenty Two. With diverse offerings from jeans to evening wear, this store will fulfill your every need and make you want even more.
In order to go home happily with something in your bag, I suggest walking to North Avenue and visiting one of Akiras many shops along this street. They have a mens store, a womens store, and a shoe store. Their prices are moderate. They offer a younger, hipper array of clothing, with plenty of boho this season but also some pieces to wear out clubbing. Although their walls seem like theyre about to cave in, due to clothing being stuffed into every conceivable nook and cranny, I usually manage to survive without a headache. Their enviable accessory section is sure to please.
If this store doesnt suit your style, the last store on the list is Silver Moon, a stones throw away from Akira. This incredibly expensive vintage boutique continually provides the most chic used clothing around. This store is dedicated to past eras and extensively researches the clothing they offer. Each piece lists on its tag what year it was madethey even offer clothing from the 1800s. They also offer something to dream about for a little while: new clothing from Vivienne Westwood. With an organized layout and plenty to offer, this boutique is a must, if only to try on their fun, frilly dresses.
If everything is completely out of your budget, try Kiwis Boutique, a metro-fabulous store tucked just inside North Avenue. Her low prices will shock you, and her sparkly iced jewelry will spice up any drab outfit. Mention to her that youre a college student, and shell even give you a discount!
After youre done investing in a new wardrobe, kick back at one of Wicker Parks inviting bars. The Map Room is a fun place to relax with a younger crowd. The dark bookshelves filled with travel guides will almost make you feel like youre still in the Reg. And if beers not your thing, visit Hot Chocolate on Damen. This cute little restaurant has delicious entrees to offer, with the promise of a sumptuous dessert and, of course, a steamy cup of hot chocolate. So, get out of Hyde Park. What are you waiting for?