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Lakeview East as Hipster Chic? Man Starts Tour for Neighborhood

By Serena Dai | April 18, 2013 8:03am

LAKEVIEW — Step aside, Wicker Park and Logan Square.

Lakeview can be a perfect place for a traveler looking for the "hipster chic" Chicago experience, and Sawyer Lahr has the guide to show you. 

"There are a lot of travelers out there who are frugal but willing to spend money," Lahr said of the "hipster" traveler. "But they want to put their money in something that has value, that is Chicago made, that has more character."

For those tech-savvy tourists with an eye for the obscure, Lahr penned a self-guided tour of east Lakeview: an e-book called the "Hipster Chic East Lakeview Shopping Guide." Starting this summer, Lahr will be hosting free walking tours of the neighborhood, too.

People seeking unique Chicago souvenirs are directed to Inkling, at 2917½ N. Broadway, a shop focused on hand-crafted stationary, T-shirts and gifts created by local artists. Hungry folks looking for a classic local dining experience can head to 24-hour diner Clarke's, 930 W. Belmont Ave., where "the quality is questionable but it's a neighborhood staple," he said. And vinyl-lovers can top off the trip at Reckless Records, 3126 N. Broadway.

Personality of a business matters to the hipster traveler, and Lakeview has a lot of it, Lahr said.

"The point is to show people what the hot hangouts in east Lakeview are," he said. "Where do locals go?"

Lahr runs a tourism business called "The Friendly Greeter," where he takes high school groups on tours that mostly focus on the downtown area. But Lahr saw a need to help travelers who wanted to venture into the neighborhoods so he wrote his first e-book last year, called the "Antiquing Andersonville Shopping Guide."

The e-books are about 30 pages and cost $2.99. The east Lakeview tours that will debut this summer will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays

"The target is people who are interested in branching out," he said. "People who aren’t afraid to hop on the train and explore."