It is my great pleasuree to interview Chicago native and current resident, Lisa Lubin. She is a three-time Emmy Award winning television writer/producer/editor/video consultant who produced an award-winning weekly lifestyles, travel, and entertainment magazine show on ABC Chicago. After 15 years in television, she spent over three years traveling across theworld, with here travels being seen on her site LLWorldTour.com. You may have seen her in my recent compilation post where she shared the one thing that she wished she would have known before she started traveling. Lisa has also been featured on WGN-TV’s Morning News, ABC’s Good Morning America, MSNBC.com, Frommers.com, and has written for The Chicago Tribune, American Way Magazine, The Malibu Times, Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and a variety of other prominent news outlets.
What do you like most about living in Chicago?
I LOVE Chicago
! I moved here 15 years ago from the east coast and was easily smitten. Besides it being a beautiful and world class city, I would say I most like the friendly attitude and small-town feel you can get in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
What’s your favorite Chicago attraction?
There is so much to see in Chicago…hard to pick just one…but I’d have to say the lakefront of Lake Michigan. It has so much to offer! Miles of parks, running and biking paths, boating, wildlife preserves, harbors, sandy beaches, etc. In the summertime, it can feel more like Miami than the Midwest! It surprises a lot of visitors how we have this amazing green “front yard” and huge lake just steps away from the skyscrapers of downtown.
What are some great travel spots that tourists often overlook?
Tourists can often center their entire visit around downtown and River North. I always recommend getting out of the center and into the neighborhoods where regular local live and hang out. My favorite ‘hoods are Lincoln Square and Andersonville; each has charming residential blocks and a main corridor full of shops, restaurants and bars. To me, these areas often feel like villages and communities of their own where you know your neighbors and there are things to do right there, but you can still get downtown easily if you like.
Which restaurants would you recommend?
Ah! Another tough one. Chicago is an amazing food city. And I should know — I covered the Chicago chef and dining scene for 10 years while with ABC TV and now as a freelance food & travel writer. We have everything from world renowned chefs (Bayless, Achatz, the recently deceased Trotter) and wonderful little neighborhood ethnic eaters from nearly every nation (Chicago has more Poles anywhere other than Warsaw; neighborhoods like Ukranian Village, Greektown, Little Saigon; Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, etc.).
If I had to recommend a few downtown: Xoco, Sunda, Girl and the Goat, Purple Pig, Blackbird, Japonais.
A few more off-the-beaten path/local-joint musts: Kuma’s Corner, Big Star, Hot Doug’s, Gene’s Sausage Shop, the Silver Palm.
Do you have any budget travel advice?
Chicago is an easy city to get around. Don’t bother with taxis, public transport goes everywhere! Plus in warmer months, you can just bike around the city – most streets have bike lanes and the entire city is flat…so very easy to get around! Plus now, we have a huge bike share program (Divvy) so you can easily rent bikes all over.
Hotels can be a bit pricey, but Chicago also has many other options for lodging like hostels as well as many hosts on CouchSurfing.com and Airbnb.com, like myself!