To sum up @brentknepper he's immensely enthusiastic and inspiring, with two very obvious loves - photography and travel. Best of all his work and spirit makes you want to go live life. And I have to admit, his very awesome Rail Pass project was definitely an inspiration when it came to starting With the Locals. Trust me when I say it’s going to be a good week in Chicago with this travel expert. #outwithlocals #localxChicago
Thanks for following! @campwilson
Oh hey guys. I’m @brentknepper and I want to welcome you to my Chicago. I’ve come to find that this city is actually a million different things depending on who you ask. Hidden in this uniform flatness are many unique neighborhoods, and I can’t wait to show y’all around!
Downtown Chicago was taken over by @lollapalooza this weekend. I, @brentknepper, ain’t the type for big, sweaty music festivals, but I can get down on a lolla after show with @officialdeltron performing in block37 with @obeygiant art on display.
Tons of Chicagoans commute via the El (elevated train) every morning into downtown. Since I don’t have a real job, I took it there to take someone’s portrait. But where better to start this city’s tour than the loop? (Bonus points if you can identify the iconic building in the background) @brentknepper
Each side of the Harold Washington Library exterior reflects a different generation of Chicago architecture. This library is HUGE, with an amazing glass ceiling on the 9th floor where you can sit and read all day. During college, I would frequently come up here to study in total tranquility. For reference, Harold Washington was mayor when Ferris Bueller came out in theaters. We haven’t had a mayor since who put on as many parades throughout the year as Harold. Granted, the ones today also don’t get taken over by a charming high school kids skipping class. @brentknepper
Of course, if you’re downtown in Chicago you need to take advantage of the amazing shafts of light and take photos! @antiheroine and I bounced around Dearborn St, which doesn’t have any shopping and few restaurants, so you can actually find open spaces without any folks getting in the shot even in the middle of the day! @brentknepper
Every block has as amazing view downtown, but as good as they are I’m really excited to start showing y’all around the neighborhoods! @brentknepper
Ugh, what a dreary day. Uncharted Books is a great spot in the northwest neighborhood Logan Square to spend an afternoon searching through used books and publications from local writers AND get maximum dog snuggles from Ramona, the owner Tanner’s dog. The store’s open late, and in the evenings hosts readings, stand up, and a game night. Also I can’t stress enough that a big, fluffy puppy is there all the time. @brentknepper
(at Uncharted Books)
The weather cleared up, so it’s time for some evening adventuring! First, a pint at The Maproom in Bucktown. This place is real quiet (my preference) until 8pm, but it’s a great spot to plan future travels if for no other reason than the copious amounts of actual maps everywhere! @brentknepper
(at The Map Room)
Please please please if you come to Chicago do yourself a favor and catch some beach vibes. While most of the northside beaches are crowded and developed, a huge prairie restoration movement is happening along the southside beaches. Here at 31st street beach families mingle on the sand, barbeque next to butterfly gardens, and run trough protected bird habitats. @brentknepper
(at 31st Street Beach)
My favorite spot in the city is just south of downtown. It’s 62 acres of undeveloped land, completely fenced off, that I absolutely love sneaking into. My friends @janakinsman, @lizrugg, and our Warm Showers bike-touring guest @jurolmos came here to have a picnic as the sun set. This parcel of land doesn’t have a name, but check the address if you’re feeling adventurous and want a truly unique view of Chicago. @brentknepper
This morning I want to take y’all out of the city for a minute. Chicago’s the Midwest hub for train travel, and if you want a real escape from the city life our regional trains are a cheap way of getting out into nature preserves in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. @brentknepper
Five dollars and a thirty minute train ride gives you an opportunity to slow down, breath in, and feel tiny. I’ve been going to these woods for years now and I’m happy one of my travel bros, @ba_ahdae, could join me. @brentknepper
After all that crazy trail running in the woods, an easy bike ride in my neighborhood sounds ideal. I met up with @Elbarton312 and we rode along the 16th street murals in the southwest neighborhood Pilsen. This strip features arguably some the best street art in the city, and gives you just a taste of how colorful every wall and building in this part if town is. @brentknepper
Today I’ll take y’all up the northside of Chicago, I think. First, a stop at my favorite northside coffee shop @heritagebicycle. In addition to the caffeine and pastries, this place is full of rad bikes and has a full bike shop in the back. @brentknepper
The Music Box is just this amazing classic movie theatre that plays only indie and foreign movies both new and old. With velvet-lined seats, it’s also probably the best place to sit in Southport. @brentknepper
Do yourself a favor and stay east of Wrigleyville going north unless you like drunk sports fans and bro-vomit. Boystown, by contrast, is full of interesting shops, restaurants, and bars. This weekend is Market Days, the neighborhood’s second-largest street fest; the largest street fest being the Gay Pride Parade, naturally.
Personal note: If I’m ever feeling down, one stroll through here and I’ll have gotten enough compliments to keep me stoked the rest of the year. 😉 @brentknepper
The Argyle stop on the el’s red line puts you into New Chinatown in the Uptown neighborhood. Don’t be confused with the south side’s Chinatown, this one is way up north! It’s a different spin on things, but there’s still plenty to see and shabu shabu to eat. @brentknepper
(at Argyle (CTA station))
Hartigan Beach in Rogers Park is maybe the last beach on the northside that you won’t find swarms of people on. Separated by two piers on the northern end and big rocks to the south, this beach is a locals-only spot that even has tree-cover separating it for the roads. A small side street is it’s only entrance, so pay attention when trying to get to it unless you like scaling big ol’ rocks. @brentknepper
(at Hartigan Beach)
Hope y’all enjoyed the official @brentknepper tour of the northside, but let’s go south this evening alright? Starting with what like all of my friends say is the best restaurant in Chinatown (on the west end of Chinatown Square), Lao Sze Chuan. The two-level square itself is incredibly fun to walk but this is the spot to eat.
Head straight west to Bridgeport and you’ll find one of the weirdest parks in the city. Locals call it Mount Bridgeport, since it’s the only place with hills north of 95th street. You would never see it from the street, but hidden behind those hills is an old, old quarry with a sketchy hiking trail going around it. I can’t stress this enough- don’t swim here. Instead, take pictures of the crazy cliffs you can crawl across. @brentknepper
I’ve been doing all this touring for this week on my bicycle, so being able to cool off is really important. Just south of Brownsville and Fuller park this complete oasis of a public pool exist. Whereas every other public pool I’ve experienced in Chicago will be chock-full of people on any summer day, this one more often than not is empty! Nothing like having your own private pool in the middle of August. @brentknepper
As a vegan who grew up in the south, Soul Veg is like the most important restaurant in the city to me. We’re talking legit bbq, without any piggies involved. Their yellow cake with chocolate icing makes me feel like I’m five and in the country again. @brentknepper
With a little bit of chocolate still on my face, I headed back up to Promontory Point, a beautiful chunk of land shooting out of the lakeshore with great views of downtown and the insane waves right now. I love taking risks, but even I wouldn’t swim in water that choppy so props to that lone dude out there. @brentknepper
I checked out Hyde Park’s new bar/restaurant/music venue @promontorychicago for the first time tonight and holy crap is it awesome. The drinks are… impressive, and looking at all the jazz names and southside-based Chicago bands slated to perform here makes me very hopeful that this spot will be an a great part of the neighborhood/community. @brentknepper
(at The Promontory)
I thought maybe I’d show y’all some more quirky public art stuff happening in Chicago right now. New York street artist #hanksy came through and this is now my most favorite pun ever. (Spotted in Logan Square outside Gaslight Coffee) @brentknepper
Uh, yeah. A local sculptor in West Town was so tired of no one cleaning up their dog turds in front of his house that he commemorated the phenomena (which still happens, probably in spite of the statue) in this functioning fountain. @brentknepper
Down in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, this 24ft wide installation of old velvet paintings from thrift stores makes absolutely no sense. I don’t really know who the artist is, but I love the idea of installing large art where no one will see it. @brentknepper
Lastly, the friggin’ DELOREAN inside Wormhole. I’ve been going here for tea and vegan doughnuts since they opened in June of 2010, and they’re the last spot I can tolerate in Wicker Park that hasn’t been taken over by chains, baby strollers, and Northface. (Ugh, that @brentknepper and his undeniable hipster cred) The whole shop is quirky, but on any given day I’m sure to bump into other freelancers working or bike messenger friends enjoying coffee in between runs. It’s not really a gimmick when the food and drinks (and reviews and publicity wow) are as good as they are.
(at The Wormhole)