Chicago

The Freshest Farmers Markets in Chicago

Indulge in grass-fed lamb, artisanal cheese, and freshly baked breads at Chicago's local farmers markets.

Wicker Park Farmers Market
Wicker Park Farmers Market
Wicker Park Farmers Market

The birds are chirping, Wrigley Field is back in action, road trips beckon, and rooftop bars have emerged from their winter slumber. It’s spring in Chicago, a season of change and rebirth. And nothing showcases just how lovely warm weather in Chicago is like an outdoor good farmers market. Across the city, farmers markets bloom with seasonal splendors like ramps, fiddleheads, rhubarb, and asparagus. Some markets even offer an expansive array of provisions and activities, making them apt one-stop shops for dinner goods, flower arrangements, and even meditation. Ready to freshen up your shopping routine? Shop locally at these farmers markets in Chicago.

Logan Square Chamber
Logan Square Chamber
Logan Square Chamber

Logan Square Farmers Market

Logan Square
One of the largest farmers markets in town is also the coolest, with a see-and-be-seen vibe that feels more Portlandia than Chicago. Logan Square Farmers Market opens May 14 and runs every Sunday through October from 9 am until 3 pm, spanning a few blocks of Logan Boulevard right off the neighborhood’s central square at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue. Arrive early to avoid the crowds, which include everyone from stroller-toting families, couples walking hand-in-hand couples, gal pals, and residents walking their pet pigs. In addition to a plethora of Midwest produce and dairy, look for live music, breads, sweets, coffee and prepared foods like arancini.

Green City Market
Green City Market
Green City Market

Green City Market

Lincoln Park
A veritable Lollapalooza of farmers markets, Green City Market reigns when it comes to top-tier, in-season produce, meat, cheese, bread, and all things fresh from the farm. A long-standing icon on the local market scene, now with offshoot locations in the West Loop and Avondale, the original Lincoln Park location is still the largest and most popular in Chicago, commanding hungry crowds twice a week from 7 am until 1 pm. Saturday markets run through November, while Wednesday markets run May through October, and both outings offer a smorgasbord of ever-changing goods, like heirloom tomatoes, raclette cheese, and maple syrup, plus chef demonstrations and a youth program called Club Sprouts. New vendors this year include Windy City Mushroom and Flock and Forge, offering charcuterie cones.

Wicker Park Farmers Market
Wicker Park Farmers Market
Wicker Park Farmers Market

Wicker Park Farmers Market

Wicker Park
It’s pickles and honey with a side of meditation and yoga at the always-hoppin’ Wicker Park Farmers Market, where upwards of 50 vendors convene at the heart of the park to sling their wares every Sunday from May through October. This crowd-pleaser pairs vendors like Oscar Villa Honey, 2Twenty Bakery, and Bennetts Farm with free programming like yoga, meditation, and children’s storytime. It’s conveniently accessible from the Damen Blue Line stop mere steps away.

Low-Line Market
Low-Line Market
Low-Line Market

Low-Line Market

Lakeview
Shopping for eggs and microgreens under some train tracks may not sound like the most obvious location for a farmers market, but that’s the special appeal of the singular Low-Line Market. Held under a section of the Brown Line tracks along the Southport Corridor, the boutique market features a couple dozen vendors on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 pm from June through October, offering everything from cinnamon rolls and focaccia from Banter, to flowers from Flying Penguin Farm, and herbs from Kaleido Greens. There’s also plenty of prepared snacks, teas, skincare products, olive oil, honey, and more.

Andersonville Farmers Market
Andersonville Farmers Market
Andersonville Farmers Market

Andersonville Farmers Market

Andersonville
It doesn’t get more charming than the Andersonville Farmers Market, a spree of some 30 vendors dispersed along Clark Street through the heart of the charming north side neighborhood. Running on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 pm from May 10 through October 18, the market is fully stocked with a smattering of unique vendors and artisans-this year’s roster runs the gamut and includes Filipino street food from Pecking Order, gooey butter cake from Crumb What May, tofu from Phoenix Bean, potato donuts from Downstate Donuts, and grass-fed lamb from Green Fire Farm.

Pilsen Community Market

Pilsen
After a winter season held indoors at Honky Tonk BBQ, it’s back outside to Plaza Tenochtitlan for this neighborhood stalwart, where everything from salsa and natural soap to herbal teas and fresh strawberries are on hand. Pilsen Community Market has it all, plus the added bonuses of live music, pupusas, and even tarot card readings so you can shop for the week’s groceries while finding out how the week will go. The market runs on Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm from May 22 until October 30.

Experimental Station
Experimental Station
Experimental Station

61st Street Farmers Market

Hyde Park
The 61st Street Farmers Market has been holding it down on the border of Hyde Park and Woodlawn, a stone’s throw from the tranquility of Midway Plaisance and the Japanese gardens, since 2008. Nestled on a pastoral stretch of South Blackstone Avenue, the weekly market is held every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm from May 13 to October 28, with a selective offering of farm-fresh meats, produce, cheeses, eggs, and prepared foods. Vendors include Pleasant House Bakery, The Urban Canopy, Mint Creek Farm, Faith’s Farm, and vegan and gluten-free Bot Bakery.

Daley Plaza Farmers Market

Loop
It’s impossible to miss this pint-sized farmers market in the middle of the Loop. Just follow the crowds of hungry office workers and power-lunchers, or find the 50-foot-tall Picasso sculpture. More of a place to shop for a healthier snack or picnic downtown (as opposed to all the ingredient shopping for the week), the Daley Plaza Farmers Market features an array of local farms and artisans slinging fruits, veggies, and prepared eats. The market is held Thursday from 7 am to 2 pm from May 11 to October 26.

Lincoln Square Farmers Market
Lincoln Square Farmers Market
Lincoln Square Farmers Market

Lincoln Square Farmers Market

Lincoln Square
It’s double the fun-and double the opportunities to stock up on German cookies-at the Lincoln Square Farmers Market, held twice each week in a spacious municipal parking lot by the Western Brown Line stop in one of the north side’s more charming neighborhoods. Organized by the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, more than 40 vendors flock from throughout surrounding states to sell their sundries on Tuesday mornings from 7 am to noon, and Thursday afternoons from 3 pm to 7 pm. Find flowers, produce, herbs, honey, cheese, and cookies, plus chef demonstrations from The Chopping Block. The Tuesday market runs from May 2 through November 21, and Thursday market runs from May 4 to October 26.

95th Street Farmers Market

Beverly
Likely the most eclectic farmers market in Chicago, the 95th Street Farmers Market is a handy go-to for everything from dog treats and barbecue to dips, jams, berries, sweet corn, and chocolate. Posted up at the commuter lot at the corner of 95th and Longwood Drive, and held every Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm from May 7 to October 29, the buzzy market is a full-blown family outing in its own right, with entertainment like live music and face painting, along with a community tent that centers on environmental education.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Matt Kirouac¬†is a travel writer with a passion for national parks, Disney, and food. He’s the co-founder and co-host of Hello Ranger, a national parks community blog, podcast, and app. Follow him on¬†Instagram.

Chicago

Robyn DaCultyre Is Doing It for the Culture

"The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone."

Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi

I was introduced to Robyn DaCultyre at an Untitled Queen show at C’mon Everybody in late January, and it was one of the most unique drag shows I’d seen in a while. Afterwards, I tracked down this self-described “drag creature” and video chatted about her drag origin story, the state of drag in her native Ohio, and the dual identities that make up her persona. Thrillist: I want to ask you about how Robyn DaCultyre came about and your point of view behind your performance.

Robyn DaCultyre: I’ve been travelling around the country from a young age in ministry and Christian studies. I moved to Chicago right after high school. Four years later, moved back to Columbus and decided I didn’t really want to do church anymore; that wasn’t where my heart was.

I had a really low point in my life and had a suicide attempt and then really found drag and started doing drag as a coping mechanism and way to let off steam. I started in July of 2019, and it was really a lot of punk and metal music. I created this drag creature of sorts and they were really out of this world and celestial and all of those fun alien type terms.

And then we went into a global pandemic and I had a lot of time to figure out who I wanted to be. Digitally I was still doing a lot of drag creature-esque numbers and all of that, but I had this moment where we’re on the front lines getting hit with pepper spray and rubber bullets and pepper spray-all of those lovely things. And I said, I have this platform and I need to start showcasing what’s happening.

Untitled [Queen] stepped in at the right time and messaged me and said, “I’m doing this show for Independence Day called Untitled in America with 52 different performers and I want you to be a part of it.” It was at that moment I was able to take the footage I had been recording on the front lines and incorporate it into digital content. I did a song called Black Like Me by Mickey Guyton that talks about white picket fences, but if you want to see how America is, then you should try being Black like me. The imagery of what’s literally happening in Columbus in that digital performance really spearheaded me into focusing on people who look like me.

Nina Simone is one of my biggest inspirations, and one of her quotes that resonates with me is that it’s the duty of the artist to resonate with the times. My art is politically charged. I like to entertain, but there will definitely be a time when you come to a show expecting to have your drink and be chill and that might not be the case.

How did the name Robyn DaCultyre come about?

I was smoking with Ursula Major, who was on season one of Dragula, and the first time I introduced myself to her I was Robyn Banks, which is my drag name originally. She said, “Well, do you just not want to be original at all?” [Laughs] And I sat with that for a couple of months, and I got really stoned one day and was listening to Janelle Monae, and she talks about doing it for the culture, and I said “I do it for the culture, too!” And the rest is history.

And you started a series called Melanated.

We started Melanated last February. I told the idea to my show director that there were no shows specifically run by Black people that only featured Black entertainers. I wanted to do this show for a night and she said, Why don’t we do it once a week for the whole month? The first show happens, and it’s a sold out crowd, and [my director] comes back and says we should do this every month. So I sucked it up and here we are a year later.

Melanated is the only fully Black show in all of the state. It’s a horrible marketing tool and not something I want to promote, but it is just a fact. It amazes me that we are the 13th largest city in America and there’s nothing here that’s fully focused on Black entertainers. The name also comes from Janelle Monae; she says she’s highly melanated and I said, that works.

Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)

You refer to yourself as a drag creature, as opposed to drag queen or king…

This is actually the first time I’m making this public. I am in this place where I want to separate the alternative creature from who this melanated goddess or whatever is. DaCultyre is definitely the person who runs Melanated and then Robyn is this drag creature that is out of this world and really loves punk and alternative music. And both intertwine to make Robyn DaCultyre.

You also do pageants. Tell me about that.

In 2020 I was appointed by Nina West, who is from Columbus, as the representative from Ohio for National Entertainer of the Year in Louisville, Kentucky. I placed ninth out of 13 contestants and I really fell in love with the system and fell in love with the pageantry and loved the idea of reigning and being different. I want to show that we as alternative performers, as bearded performers, you can come into these systems and shake things up.

Is there a uniquely “Ohio” style of drag?

No, and I think that’s one of the things that makes it so amazing is that everyone has their own unique style, and it’s all pretty much accepted. I started as a performer and a drag creature and there was space that was afforded to me and I transitioned to more glamor and pageantry and that’s afforded to me as well. I’ve been a bearded entertainer for a year now. The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone.

I think I have everything I need. Is there anything else I didn’t ask you about that you want to bring up, or‚Ķ

I don’t think so. Are there any generic questions you haven’t asked?

Generic questions‚ĶI think I asked all of them already [laughs]. I like to ask what you’d be doing if you weren’t doing drag?

It’s a great question. I have a day job that is very demanding so I need drag to get away. I’m also very creative and artistic. I used to do web design and all these other things to pull into my creativity. Drag is the longest thing I’ve stuck with in all parts of my life, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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John deBary¬†is a drinks expert and writer. His first cocktail book,¬†Drink What You Want, is available now, and his next book,¬†Saved by the Bellini, is expected in early 2023. He is also the co-founder and president of the¬†Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of hospitality industry professionals through advocacy, grant making, and impact investing.

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