Must see attractions in Chicago

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art

    Behold this small museum's collection of naive and outsider art from Chicago artists, including rotating mixed-media exhibits and watercolors by famed local Henry Darger. In a back room the museum has re-created Darger's awesomely cluttered studio apartment, complete with balls of twine, teetering stacks of old magazines, an ancient typewriter and a Victrola phonograph. The gift shop carries groovy jewelry (such as pencil-eraser necklaces), bags and wallets made from recycled material, and art books.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

    Founded in 1971, this collection acts as the westernmost anchor to a string of West Town art galleries. Two rooms display a permanent collection of colorful paintings and sculpture (which rotates a few times per year) as well as provocative temporary exhibits, done in various media. While most artists are Ukrainian, plenty of other locals get wall space, too. The small galleries make for a quick and easy browse. Afterward, keep the Ukrainian theme going by checking out the resplendent churches and the Ukrainian National Museum nearby.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Flat Iron Building

    Galleries, studios and workshops fill the landmark Flat Iron Building, with contemporary painters, realist photographers, digital animators, pop-art printmakers, experimental videographers and metal sculptors all doing their thing here. There’s an open house on the first Friday of every month (6pm to 10pm; suggested donation $5), as well as group shows around the winter holidays. You can usually walk inside and see what's going on any day.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Document Gallery

    Document organizes exhibitions of contemporary photography, film and media-based works by emerging national and international artists. It shares its large space with three other galleries – Western Exhibitions, P•L•HK and Volume Gallery – and its stretch of Chicago Ave holds quite a few more art showrooms to boot. Stroll from 1400 to 2300 W Chicago Ave for further gallery explorations.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Polish Museum of America

    If you don’t know Pulaski from a pierogi, this is the place to get the scoop on Polish culture. Founded in 1935, it’s one of the oldest ethnic museums in the country, and crammed with traditional Polish costumes, WWII artifacts, ship models and folk-art pieces, as well as rotating exhibits from Polish and Polish American artists. Entrance is on Augusta Blvd. The curator can give you a personalized tour, since you'll likely be the only one here. It's a fine opportunity to learn about the Poles who helped shape Chicago, which has one of the world's largest Polish communities. (Casimir Pulaski, by the way, was a Polish hero in the American Revolution, known as the ‘father of the American cavalry,’ while a pierogi is a Polish dumpling.)

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Ukrainian National Museum

    Across from one of the Ukrainian Village's larger churches, this small museum packs in a massive amount of information about the history, culture and politics of Ukraine and its people. Exhibits include dozens of beautiful, intricately decorated eggshells (known as pysanky), plus traditional costumes from various regions of the country, Cossack weaponry and Ukrainian handicrafts and instruments. Somber displays relate the history of Stalin's engineered famine that killed millions of Ukrainian peasants and of the 2004 'Orange Revolution.' Around Easter the museum holds several workshops ($35) that will teach you how to make your own pysanky. Call to reserve a space.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Wicker Park

    The neighborhood's favorite green space is home to softball fields, a children's water playground, a winter ice rink, an active dog park, and indoor and outdoor movies. If you're here anytime from May through September, stop by to see a 16-inch softball game in action. Chicago invented the game a century ago; it uses the same rules as normal softball, but with shorter games, a bigger, squishier ball and no gloves or mitts on the fielders. There's a league that plays in the park on Sundays.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral

    This church looks like it was scooped straight out of the Russian countryside and deposited here. But famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan actually designed the 1903 stunner and its octagonal dome, front bell tower, and stucco and wood-framed exterior. Czar Nicholas II helped fund the structure, which is now a city landmark. Cathedral staff give tours of the gilded interior twice a month on Saturdays at noon.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Monique Meloche Gallery

    One of Chicago's tastemakers, Monique Meloche has an eye for emerging artists, such as Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama's official portrait. Her gallery features provocative paintings, neon and mixed media from local and international artists, with an emphasis on artists of color. Its new, expanded space is down a side street in a former industrial corridor of West Town.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral

    Take a minute to wander past St Nicholas, which is the less traditional of the neighborhood’s main Ukrainian churches. Built in 1913, its 13 domes represent Christ and the Apostles. The intricate mosaics – added in 1988 to mark the 1000th anniversary of Ukraine's conversion to Christianity – owe their inspiration to the Cathedral of St Sophia in Kiev.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Sts Volodymyr & Olha Church

    This church was founded by traditionalists from nearby St Nicholas cathedral, who broke away over liturgical differences and built this showy church in 1975. It makes up for its paucity of domes (only five) with a massive mosaic above the entrance showing Grand Duke Vladimir of Kiev's conversion to Christianity in AD 988.

  • Sights in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

    Nelson Algren's House

    On the 3rd floor of this apartment building writer Nelson Algren created some of his greatest works about life in the once down-and-out neighborhood. A plaque marks the spot, though unfortunately you can't go inside. Algren won the 1950 National Book Award for his novel The Man with the Golden Arm, about a drug addict hustling on Division St near Milwaukee Ave (a half-mile southeast). His short Chicago: City on the Make summarizes 120 years of thorny local history and is the definitive read on the city’s character.