Walkable Chicago Neighborhoods, Hip Boutiques, and More with Justin E. Arnett

In this week’s Seek Like a Local, Justin E. Arnett shares his list of community organizations to support, hip boutiques specializing in clothing and apothecary, and the best way to explore Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. *hint: you’re going to need a good pair of walking shoes.*

Explore Chicago Like Justin E. Arnett 

Justin E. Arnett – Graham is an all-around creative who has a passion for the arts, media, and hospitality industry. He also is known to tell some of the worst—and best dad jokes that you never wanted to hear. 

Justin E. Arnett // Image by Rick Hernandez

Justin E. Arnett – Graham is the creative director of beCo, a creative agency anchored in blending the art and media industries with the hospitality platform. He also co-hosts the industry narrative, Terms of Service. Alongside Nariba Shepherd, the podcast focuses on real industry and real talk with none of the bullshit in between. Their conversations explore the “dark side of the plate,” which finally brings to the forefront the human cost of the hospitality industry. 

Stay up to date on the moves of this invigorating creative by following him on Instagram.

Where Are your favorite Neighborhood Shops in Chicago?

Una Mae’s and Asrai Garden in Wicker Park – trust me. 

Meena Osei-Kuffour founder of Vintage Royalty at Asrai Garden // Image via Instagram

What is the best way to explore Chicago?

The thing I love most about Chicago is how truly walkable it is. It may sound odd but I love to discover gems within the city in its different neighborhoods. The Loop is fine but Chicago is a culture of neighborhoods and if I had hours to spare, I’d spend every damn second getting lost in all of them. It’s fantastic to be able to uncover different identities and experiences within the context of the same city. I suggest taking a train (or walk you dynamo you) to a neighborhood you are curious about and simply getting to know the authentic aspects of this city – it’s vast, but it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Who has the best pizza in Chicago?

Hands down, John’s Pizza at Armitage and Western. They have some of the best pizza in town. If you want an adventure, then check out Vito and Nick’s on the South West side, they have been killing it for 100 years. You can’t go wrong at either location but the giardiniera pizza at Vito and Nick’s is just *chef’s kiss*. Also, The Matchbox is perfection – everyone gets the margarita but no one makes a better mezcal negroni (get it served neat). GTS – #GetThatShit.

What Community Organizations do you support?

I support Grocery Run Club, The Simple Good, and Todos Ponen Project.

Runners with Grocery Run Club // Image via Instagram

Who are your favorite Chicago Artists?

  1. Dont fret: A brilliant Chicago-bred artist that has a hyper-realistic commentary on the evolution of the culture of the city and its inhabitants.
  2. Edra Soto: Puerto Rican artist and overall badass that has brought her unique talents and POV to the Chicago market.
  3. Christine Tarkowski: Chicago-based artist who works in a variety of including sculptures while ranging in scale from the ordinary to monumental.
  4. Chef Won Kim: The chef behind Kimski x Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream. He’s a super talented no bullshit chef and also mesmerizing on a plethora of canvases.

Seek Like A Local and discover things to do, places to dine, and more of what the city of Chicago has to offer this week. Check out more guides from influential Chicago locals at Seek Like a Local.

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