Chicago's Top Spots: Real Chicagoans Share Their Favorite Chicago Places.

Chicago's Top Spots: Real Chicagoans Share Their Favorite Chicago Places.
Pastry Chef Mindy Segal's delectable chocolate cupcakes available at her Hot Chocolate Restaurant in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.

Chicago, Monday, February 27, 2012. The countdown to Chicago's 175th birthday celebration continues. Since mid-January, Chicagoans and Chicago lovers have been sharing their favorite Chicago places from the city's exceptional menu of extraordinary neighborhoods, architecture, arts, music venues, restaurants and more on Show Me Chicago.

While, at the same time, 35 Notable Chicagoans are listing what they like about Chicago on the city's Explore Chicago website--in anticipation of the big day, March 4, 2012 when the city reaches its milestone birthday.  On Friday, March 2, in celebration of Chicago's 175 birthday, SMC will showcase the top picks from all of our contributors. Today we have limited the list to city dwellers to give an inside look at city spaces and places.

Here are today's picks.

Marcia I, (Andersonville) who shares her March 4th birthday date with the city says, "One of my favorite places in the city is Marty's Martini Bar (Think Cheers!) they have the best variety of Martini's at affordable prices and the staff is friendly." Marcia raves, "It is the gem of Andersonville!" 1511 W. Balmoral.

Ferd V. (Chicago's northside) says he likes Chicago's friendly people, the best pizza and sports, sports, sports.

Taylor W. (Lincoln Park) likes the Park Hyatt Chicago's Nomi Restaurant especially their outdoor terrace seven stories above the city with its picture perfect view of the Mag Mile.  Taylor says the NOMI terrace can't be beat on warm weather days and is the perfect place to sip a cocktail, relax and mingle.

Alex J. (near West Side) looks forward to the Summer Festivals especially the Chicago Air and Water Show and the great neighborhood fests.

Sean W. (Wrigleyville)  likes Hopleaf  in Andersonville/Uptown for their great selection of craft beers and the food, especially the rabbit. 5148 N. Clark St.

Richard R. (Wicker Park) says his go-to date spot is Hot Chocolate, 1747 North Damen Avenue, in Bucktown because "who doesn't like chocolate". Richard adds, that the restaurant also offers  seasonal and locally-sourced food, an outstanding drink menu and of course, desserts.

The T-Shirt Deli in Bucktown and Andersonville is a favorite of Kristen K. (South Loop) for their customized t-shirts for kids, adults and even dogs.  She says that you can even pick your own font--and the tees are displayed just like a deli.  Kristen recommends the "deli" as the perfect spot to get that one of a kind tee for a gift or yourself.

Robert J. (Hyde Park) says 57th Street Books is the perfect spot for browsing and buying. Robert says that their selection of books is outstanding with titles reflecting the tastes and interests of the surrounding neighborhoods. "They also have a story hour for children every Wednesday at 10:30a.m.", he adds.  1301 East 57th Street, 773 684-1300.

Niki W., (Andersonville) can't get enough of the cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather's (4 city locations).  When she's trying to cut calories she heads to Bob San for the sushi, good service, great food and nice outdoor area for summer. 1805 W. Division St. Niki also looks forward to the Weed Street Summer Fest and Pride Fest.

A possibly more healthy option to Ann Sather's cinnamon rolls might be Letizia's Natural Bakery in Wicker Park where Amy G. (Ukrainian Village) says everything is delish, and adds that it is a great place to just hang out, have a chai latte, a pastry or even one of their pizzas from the wood-fired pizza oven.  2144 W. Division St.

Max J. (Lakeview) loves the comfort food at Kuma's Corner saying their Mac n Cheese is the best in Chicago. 2900 W. Belmont Avenue.

Another Mac n Cheese devotee is Brian H. (North Center) who argues that Northdown Cafe and Taproom has by far the best Mac n Cheese in the city plus an impressive selection of beers. 3244 N. Lincoln Avenue.

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