Zhou B Foundation: At 3302 S. Morgan is the Zhou B Foundation established by the well-known artists, the Zhou Brothers. First walk through the gallery space of the Zhou B Foundation which is tiled in white marble with museum quality lighting and filled with wonderful examples of the Zhou Brothers work. The garden, known as Life’s Garden, was created in 1999 and opened to the public in 2008.
Zhou B Art Center: This is a great loft building housing artist’s studios and galleries. They host regular monthly art walks on the 3rd Friday and special curated exhibitions showcasing works in various media from local and international artists. It is located at 1029 W. 35th St.
Bridgeport Art Center: At 35th and Racine, this is a building that has many artist’s studios and galleries. The 3rd Friday features painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, and more. During October and Chicago Artist’s Month, there are open studios as well.
Midland Building at 1500 S. Western: An older warehouse that now houses many independent, custom furniture makers and designers. There is a design center featuring the works of all the artists.
Our top new restaurant find in the area is The Duck Inn at 2701 S. Eleanor. After getting great reviews, I had to go. Located just south of an industrial area, you can go south of Cermak on Loomis across the Chicago River. It has a warm, contemporary atmosphere in a building that looks like it was a local bar/restaurant for many years. They also have a large patio in back for dining in the warmer months. They are known for their Sunday brunch as well as their rotisserie duck entree. You need to pre-order prior to your dinner. It serves two people, and comes with a salad of roasted potatoes in duck drippings with fall greens, roasted pears and apples in a gooseberry vinaigrette. It was a really excellent dish and was perfectly paired with a cocktail called The Don made with Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Cocchi Barolo Chinato, Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur and Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters.
Nana: Just found Nana Restaurant for brunch after visiting the Zhou B Art Center. Great atmosphere, food and service. The menu features local, organic and sustainable food! 3267 S. Halsted.
I also recommend Bridgeport Coffee for it’s great coffee and atmosphere at its original location at 3101 S. Morgan. Across the street is a fun spot, Pleasant House Bakery which is known for it savory Royal pies. I enjoyed the chicken curry with a fresh salad. 964 W. 31st.
IIT: If you like architecture stop by the campus of IIT, or Illinois Insitute of Technology, which has great architecture by Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, who designed The McCormick Tribune Campus Center under the elevated tracks. Mies’ Crown Hall has recently been totally refurbished and is really exceptional. A two hour tour offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation is quite informative and highly recommended. It is just east of Bridgeport across the expressway. 3300 S. Federal.