2100 W. Division St.
Cafe con Leche
2714 N. Milwaukee Ave.
1700 N. Damen
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When Liliana Salamanca was growing up in the Wicker
Park/Bucktown neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, a factory
sat across the street from her family's home. Another factory stood
just down the street. It was a neighborhood filled with
hard-working middle-class families.
Fast forward a couple of decades. Liliana still lives in
the home she grew up in, this time with her husband and two sons.
The factory across the street is now condos; the one down the
street was converted to lofts. The mom-and-pop stores have given
way to trendy, upscale boutiques.
"It's brought in nicer restaurants, a lot of nicer stores.
... But not all the stores are these expensive stores; you still
have others that you can shop at that are economical. And there's a
lot of resale shops, which are great. So it's not all Marc Jacobs,"
Liliana shared a few highlights of the area:
What do you like to do in Wicker
Park? There are a lot of great stores. One of
my favorites is Psychobaby (1630 N. Damen Ave.). ... They have a
play area for the children while you shop, so the kids can be
entertained. And one of my personal favorites, since I'm a
stay-at-home mom, is going out and staying out with them all day.
There are a lot of wonderful parks in the neighborhood. We go to
four different kinds.
The parks you're talking about aren't just regular
parks? No, the parks we go to, in my opinion,
are different. The one a block away is part of Drummond Elementary
School (1845 W. Cortland St.). They have a garden that the children
from school are growing. ... The younger kids can walk through
that; it's like a little maze.
Walsh Park (1722 N. Ashland Ave.) is more toddler
oriented. ... It has the foam padding throughout the park. It has a
large field where you see a lot of parents picnicking with their
Wicker Park (1425 N. Damen Ave.) has this large
fountain and you see a mixture of people. Senior citizens playing
checkers, you see high-schoolers and adults playing basketball.
They have a little sprinkler system.
Do you and your husband have date nights? Where do
you go? We rarely get to go out, but when we
do, there are a lot of places we like in the
There's a new Argentine restaurant called Folklore
(2100 W. Division St.). It's a nice romantic restaurant
We've gone with the kids to Cafe con Leche (2714 N.
Milwaukee Ave.), a Latin-American restaurant that's very
family oriented. We've gone on a date night there in the summer,
and they have a flamenco guitarist. We go there and have tapas,
listen to live, free music and then come home.
What's a can't-miss? I would
say movies in the park. They show movies once a month, starting in
June until August at Churchill Field Park (1825 N. Damen
Ave.), which is across the street from us. We can sit on our
steps and watch a movie. It's really nice.
And don't miss Silver
Cloud (1700 N. Damen). It's actually a bar restaurant.
They have a good menu and it's like southern food. We like going
there with the boys.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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