So, you’ve visited Millennium Park, taken a stroll down Michigan Avenue and you’ve probably even visited Museum Campus. You’ve tasted the deep-dish. Maybe you’ll even venture out of downtown to the bars and boutiques of Wicker Park and Bucktown. These are all definitely worth doing. But for a little variety, here are few places off the beaten path— and even some Chicagoans — don’t usually go.

3.  Sidekicks

Back before karaoke was cool, there was Sidekicks. Start by pretending that the vintage marquee outside is glowing with your name rather then  “Open Till 4AM” and “Karaoke Every Night”.  When you arrive,  open the big bright red door and prepare yourself for a time warp. You’ll expect to see the Blues Brothers  jump onstage with you to sing a Bon Jovi song . If you come to Sidekicks to celebrate a special event, like a birthday, call ahead. It will give the bar a heads up, and they’ll tape you and your friends for free — at the end of the night, you’ll get a copy on video cassette. In addition, the bar also has a serious dart-playing contingent; If you are hungry looking at the framed pictures of pizza and onion rings, Italian Beef, don’t worry: There’s a walk-up counter where you can order food until late. Karaoke starts at 8 p.m sharp and goes until about midnight during the week, 2 a.m. on Friday and 3 a.m. on Saturday.

2. Paseo Boricua and Humboldt Park

With the huge threat of gentrification from the east, leaders in the Humboldt Park neighborhood worked to help keep of its Puerto Rican community.  Two huge, arching,  Puerto Rican flags mark both ends of the district known as Paseo Boricua. This pair of engineering feats  bookend a murals, gauntlet of salsa music and vibrant street life. Enjoy a guava-cheese pastry from Cafe Colao.  Visit Coco Restaurant to try the passion fruit martini with fresh-squeezed juice.

1. Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

Before you enter the  the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, you’ll encourter a different museum itself: The rooftop gardens and solar panels, extensive prairie, and water conservation systems make this one of the city’s best examples of green technology. The inside of the building showcases kid-friendly interactive displays and workshops for adults such.  The real reason to pay the $9 admission is the year-round Judy Istock Butterfly Haven.


There you have it folks, a few off the beaten path things to see when you grow tired of fighting the crowds at the Willis Tower