Come mid-August, the streets of Chicago’s most colorful neighborhood–otherwise know as Boystown–will overflow with revelers to celebrate the 37th annual Northalsted Market Days.
Amtrak makes it a breeze to arrive at the lovely Art Deco-style Union Station–just a short cab or subway ride from Halsted Street–both on time for and in comfort for the festivities.
The Midwest’s largest street festival, Market Days is a two-day, non-stop party featuring live music, art installations, vendors, drag queens and more fun than you can shake a stick at.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable Chicago weekend, we’ve got you covered for the highlights to get the most out of Market Days, starting with your stylish arrival–and ending in a relaxing departure.
1. Arrive in style
Whether you’re traveling to Chicago Aug. 11-12 from Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Minneapolis or another point in the Midwest, ditch the car, forget about cramped airline seats and hop on board Amtrak for a hassle-free journey that drops you in the heart of downtown Chicago. Grab a cold one from the Café Car, choose a window seat and spread out with plenty of legroom. There’s no need for airplane mode, so keep life moving with free Wi-Fi on most trains and power outlets at your seat. You’ll feel the luxury on Amtrak, with no middle seats, and where “first class” legroom comes standard.
2. Stay near all the action
While you can book a hotel room downtown near Michigan Avenue or in River North, wouldn’t you rather stay close to the fun?
- Hotel Zachary — Mere blocks from Halsted and across from Wrigley Field, this fabulous setting has a number of restaurants in the same building, including legendary Big Star for tacos or Mordecai for upscale American fare.
- Wheelhouse Hotel — A roof deck for morning yoga and a subterranean cocktail lounge give you reasons to start and end your day the way you want.
- Hotel Versey — This super hip, design-forward hotel features local art and has a music theme — and there’s Stan’s Donuts just outside the door.
3. Fuel up to keep going
Named Bon Appetit’s Restaurant City of the Year in 2017, Chicago boasts everything from festival vendors selling plenty of footlong corn dogs and chocolate-dipped bananas, to fine dining like you’ve never seen before.
- Coda di Volpe — Wood-fired pizzas, rustic pasta, and refreshing craft cocktails.
- DMK Burger Bar — Whether you want grass-fed beef, turkey, veggie or salmon — and a boozy milkshake on the side — you can’t pass up a burger at DMK.
- Aloha Poke Co. — What’s better than a fresh grab-and-go ahi tuna poke bowl?
4. Party with the performers
Ok, so maybe you won’t get to actually hang out with the stars (unless you’re a seriously persistent groupie), but there’s some incredible talent performing on the numerous stages across the city.
- Betty Who — Catch the electrifying rising pop star and dance to her hits like “Human Touch” and “All Things” featured on Queer Eye.
- Todrick Hall — The multi-hyphenate former American Idol contestant and regular RuPaul’s Drag Race judge will rock your world.
- Martha Wash — Is it raining men yet? It definitely will be!
5. The streets
One of the best things about Market Days is the line of bars and clubs on Halsted. Pop into them day and night for the eye candy and a beverage.
- Sidetrack — With multiple bars and a roof deck — not to mention potent boozy slushies — Sidetrack is a must hit.
- Roscoe’s — If you’re lucky, you might catch a performance from Drag Race stars.
- Elixir Lounge — Looking for a more refined craft cocktail? Pull up a seat at Elixir’s bar.
- Replay — Free video games, a great bourbon selection and a sprawling beer garden out back.
- The North End — Take a breather from the craziness and go play pool or darts — then get back out and onto the street.
6. Relax and release
After the wild weekend, you’ll need time to reflect on all the fun. Ride Amtrak home and unwind in a spacious, comfortable setting with some of your fellow revelers.
The fun is waiting. Book a ticket early and save 25%
Unless noted, photos courtesy of Amtrak