If you’re like me, getting away for a vacation during the cold winter months is not usually a financially feasible thing. But a day away – a local little staycation – is totally doable. Before all the turkey eating and other festivities began, I got away on Wednesday with some friends and spent the day at NEWCITY Lincoln Park.
NEWCITY is a lifestyle and entertainment district with plenty to keep you occupied for the entire day. There are plenty of restaurants, a movie theater, a bowling alley, and several retailers. Plus, there is parking as part of the district so no need to fight for street parking. (Parking is free for the lunchtime crowd too.)
My day started with a delectable meal at Lyfe Kitchen. Lyfe, which stands for Love Your Food Everyday, is all about flavorful dishes with less than 600 calories. While the menu is full of gluten-free, paleo and vegan options the place is also a fast-casual restaurant and priced as such. Lyfe works with local farmers and suppliers to provide fresh local and organic products. And let me tell you, it was delicious!
I went with three different sides to get a feel for the different flavors. The Brussels and Squash, which was made with dried cranberries and a Dijon vinaigrette, was so delicious. It was the perfect pre-Thanksgiving dish and one I want to make on my own. The Kale and Cranberry salad was the perfect little side salad. And the Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries were hands down the BEST sweet potato fries I’ve ever had at a restaurant, and I’ve had A LOT of different sweet potato dishes.
One of the other sweet things about Lyfe Kitchen is the Lyfe Waters. Forget tap water or soft drinks. You can get a really refreshing and invigorating drink that isn’t filled with extra sugars and such. I got the Cucumber Mint, which was made with fresh cucumber juice, mint, lime and agave.
After Lyfe Kitchen, I spent some time shopping – hitting up the candy store It’Sugar, the contemporary clothing boutique Evereve, the jewelers James and Sons, and the decor retailer Z Gallerie. There are big box retailers too like Off Saks Fifth and Dick’s Sporting Goods. I snagged a super discounted Nanette Lepore watch at Off Saks and Chicago Cubs World Series gear at Dick’s. Yay for knocking out some of my Christmas gift list.
Rather than a movie at the Arclight Cinemas, my friends and I opted for Kings Bowl. This bowling alley is so much more than a cliche old-school bowling alley. No, it’s a whole dining and entertainment experience. Kings has delicious appetizers, that are so much more than classic bar food. We snacked on Loaded Sweet Potato Waffle Fries with bacon, BBQ pulled pork, red onions, bourbon BBQ sauce, jack & cheddar cheese, and then topped with a fried egg. Along with that and a buffalo chicken nacho plate, we toasted with giant mugs of draft beers like Sam Adams Winter Ale, Allagash White, and Angry Orchard.
I’m not the best bowler in the world, but I did break 100 in both games we played and ended up with the highest score of the four of us who played. Maybe a few more practice rounds would be in order. Beyond the 16 bowling lanes, Kings also has a shuffleboard table as well as pool tables. Or, if you prefer, you can grab a table and just eat there.
Dinner options are plentiful at NEWCITY Lincoln Park. Beyond Lyfe Kitchen and Kings Bowl, you can eat at Earl’s Kitchen and Bar, Yard House, Max and Leo’s, Nando’s Peri-Peri, and Adobe Gilas. Since I’m a big fan of Mexican, my friends and I went with Adobe Gilas. The cantina-styled restaurant makes delectable sizzling fajitas, as well as homemade salsa and guacamole. And let’s not forget margaritas and other handcrafted cocktails.
We started the meal with chips and homemade guac. The chips were perfectly salty. The guacamole was fresh and delicious. I grabbed a mango margarita, frozen with salt around the rim. It was also really refreshing. For dinner, I opted with the blackened shrimp fajitas. I love getting all the pieces and putting together my own shell of favorite food combinations. I’m all about the guac, salsa and cheese – hold the sour cream.
Overall, the day at NEWCITY Lincoln Park was the perfect little getaway to recharge and spend a day having fun with friends without worrying about work or the Christmas to-do list.