LAKEVIEW: A Post-Finals Adventure to the North Side

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This story was submitted by first-year SoonKyu Park

Finals were over. The sun was shining, and it was warm outside for the first time in a while. Some people were actually wearing shorts. I hadn't been out of Hyde Park in a month and had to go somewhere--somewhere exciting and different.

So, without a plan in mind, I got on the 55 Bus and started thinking about all the places I could go. Of course, Chicago is a big place, and there were many possibilities: Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Pilsen... But there was another place that I hadn't yet visited that seemed really popular among my friends: Lakeview. So Lakeview it was.

Forty minutes after I left Hyde Park, I arrived at the Belmont station on the Red Line. I got off the train and walked along Belmont Avenue until I came to North Halsted Street, which is the main drag. Although it was a Tuesday afternoon, there were quite a number of people milling about. I could instantly tell that the scene was different from the Loop or the Magnificent Mile. There was no Nieman Marcus or Nordstrom. Instead of skyscrapers stood three-story brick buildings and quirky shops and cafés.

Then I came across a huge thrift store called the Brown Elephant. I had to check it out. (Who could pass on a good thrift store?) The staff was busy, running around sorting the donations that had just come in. I wasn't interested in clothes, but in the kitchenware section I found shelf after shelf of mugs and dishes in great condition and bought a few coffee mugs. Then I saw the furniture section, where I came across a large couch and a reading chair for $35 each. If I had had a car, I would have taken them both back with me. I promised myself that I would come back if I get an apartment in the future. When I was leaving, I learned that all the proceeds went to running the Howard Brown Health Center, a medical center that provides health services to the LGBTQ community. I left the Brown Elephant feeling great.

Then I had dinner at the Chicago Diner, a famous vegetarian restaurant. Even though I am usually not a big fan of vegetarian cooking, the polenta lasagna I got was delicious. The price was reasonable, with most of the entrée around 10 dollars. The best part, though, was by far the peanut butter cookie-dough milkshake. They also had a vegan pastries and cakes, but I was too full to try some.

Overall, the trip to Lakeview was fantastic. It was refreshing to see a neighborhood so different from downtown or Hyde Park. Whether you are looking for a change in scenery or a cheap dining hall table, you will not be disappointed. And, of course, there is great food. After all, it is in Chicago.



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