Building the Best

Here on the South Side, it’s common knowledge that we’re home to a lot of Best things: Best Baseball Team (the Sox), Best Way To Be Late To Work (the Red Line), and Best Escape Route Out of the City (Midway Airport), to name just a few. What we at the Weekly want to know, however, is what Bests are really treasured in your neighborhood, what Bests make living where you live pleasurable and not just circumstantial. Each summer, our writers and editors hit the streets looking for these Bests, and the result becomes our Best of the South Side issue. This summer, we’re enlisting you to help.

Our Bests, as you might know from previous years, are not quite the same “Bests” that publications like Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader slave over. Whereas those “Best of” lists range across the city, our annual issue focuses on South Side neighborhoods that we typically cover from autumn through spring:

Back of the Yards
Calumet Heights
Greater Grand Crossing
Greater Hegewisch
Heart of Italy
Hyde Park
South Loop
South Shore
Washington Park

Unlike those other lists, our Best of the South Side issue also doesn’t have set categories. We’re not just looking for the Best Restaurant in every neighborhood, we’re looking for “Best Cheap Socks,” “Best Meeting Grounds,” and “Best Sequined Bras,” as we found in Midway, Woodlawn, and Greater Grand Crossing last year. We’re looking for new places, and we’re looking for new categories.

What we’re not looking for is pretense–we know our neighborhoods aren’t perfect. A nomination for a “Best Hope for the Future” is just as acceptable as a “Best Place to Spend Saturday Morning.” In the same way, a Best could be as small as a park bench or as large as a few city blocks.

So tell us: what’s the Best ______ in your neighborhood?

Tweet @chicagoweekly, Facebook us, email our editor-in-chief at, or comment below by September 1.

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