Chicago BrauhausI’m always amazed by Chicago’s support of free green space for runners, walkers and bicyclists. Before moving here permanently, I visited the city multiple times to get a feel for what it had to offer. Running along Lake Michigan is easily one of my favorite activities here.

On my first full day in my new condo, I ran to Lake Michigan and then turned south to pass Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course before turning back around again. The views of the lake and of all the green space in Lincoln Park make it a worthwhile run even in misty, 45-degree weather. But another great thing about running is that I get to explore the area closer to my new home.

Within a mile or two of my condo, in the neighborhoods of Andersonville, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square, I have access to an incredible number of mixed-use local businesses and restaurants. These include Andersonville Hardware, Old Town School of Folk Music, Dolce Casa Café, Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen, Alley Cat Comics, Ruff N’ Stuff Pet Center (a nonprofit pet store), Chicago Brauhaus restaurant, Bikram Yoga Andersonville, Women & Children First book store, the Swedish American Museum and Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, and performance art options like The Neo-Futurists.

Meanwhile, residential buildings seamlessly line the surrounding streets. There’s a blend of stores catering to the Chicago Vietnamese community as well as a Bosnian Herzegovinian American Community Center and the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center. I’m within walking distance of the Metra and elevated trains. Mariano’s, an upscale grocery store, is just several blocks away. Winnemac Park, which includes tennis courts, a playground, a track, and a number of dog-friendly trails, is close by, too. These only add to the vibrancy, diversity, and local feel of Ravenswood, Lincoln Square and Andersonville.

VGrabnerVictoria Marty has written for newspapers and magazines for more than 15 years and recently moved to the Lincoln Square, Chicago area. A frequent runner who loves learning and exploring new places, she has perfected the art of getting lost while simultaneously finding unique landmarks, boutiques and out-of-the-way nooks worth writing about. Her blogs are geared toward the newly transplanted who want to learn as much about Chicago as they can, as quickly as possible.

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