Easily Chicago’s Best Web Sites

This is a list of what we consider to be the best Chicago web sites. These are web sites we frequent because of their great content.  It is not possible to pay to be on this list.  If you would like to suggest a web site (it’s OK if it’s yours — we’ll give it a fair evaluation), e-mail editor@ChicagoArchiteture.info.

News and Information

  • Gaper’s Block (http://gapersblock.com)—A locally-owned-and-operated general-purpose news blog focusing heavily on arts and entertainment in the city’s neighborhoods.  It’s about the only Chicago blog we’ve found still in regular publication that’s as old as we are!
  • Sloopin (http://www.sloopin.com)—Sloopin’ has its ear to the ground for all things happening in the South Loop, especially business and restaurant openings and closings, and new developments of all kinds.  If you live in or near the South Loop, you’ll want this one on your reading list.
  • The Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com) — While the Trib isn’t what it once was, it’s one of the few remaining newspapers with a web site that isn’t locked behind a paywall.  The Sun-Times used to be our paper of choice, and before that Crain’s Chicago Business until they went subscription-only. Nevermind.  The Trib’s behind a paywall now, too.


  • Calumet 412 (http://calumet412.tumblr.com)—Pictures speak a thousand words, and sometimes it seems like this Tumblr feed gets a thousand new pictures a week. They’re always great historic slices of life from Chicago’s past.
  • Chicago “L” (http://www.chicago-l.org)—The definitive source for information about the CTA’s El system.  Lots of great history and photographs.
  • Edgewater Historical Society (http://www.edgewaterhistory.org/ehs/)—Preserving the memories of an ever-changing neighborhood.


  • WDCB Radio (http://wdcb.org)—Chicago’s last jazz and blues radio station.  It’s amazing and tragic that the city that gave birth to so many musical styles has turned its back on almost all of them (there’s still a gospel station on AM).  ‘DCB isn’t even in the city, it’s in the suburbs.  But it’s all we have. Thanks goodness for a college radio station it puts out great programming.
  • WGRB Radio (http://www.inspiration1390.com)—Chicago was the place where gospel music was born, and even though I’m white and Catholic, it’s not hard to appreciate the sounds coming out of Chicago’s last gospel station.  (See also: WBGX in the suburbs.)
  • WXRT Radio (http://wxrt.cbslocal.com)—Even though it’s owned by a megacorp in New York, ‘XRT sounds and feels like a genuine local Chicago radio station.  As far as we can tell, even the music is still selected locally, something that most radio stations gave up on 20 years ago. If you have HD radio, the HD-2 “new music” channel is worth flipping to when the main channel lapses into the occasional fit of grandpa rock.
  • Hell Burns (http://hellburns.blogspot.com)—Chicago used to be a hugely important movie town, and because of that it used to have lots of movie reviewers.  Today, there are only a few left.  Roger Ebert, naturally is the king of them all.  Dean Richards over at WGN Television and Radio is probably the second best. And somewhere in the top ten is Sister Hellen Burns.  She’s a nun who lives on North Michigan Avenue and when she’s not doing God’s work, she likes to review movies.  In spite of her vocation, she’s not preachy at all, and sometimes forgets to mention morality at all.  Her reviews are thoughtful, and insightful.  You can tell she’s an outsider who isn’t wowed by Hollywood movie junkets — she’s just honest.  And that’s refreshing for a chance when you consider that so many movie reviews you see are people getting something in exchange for their review, or are actually fake people employed by the movie industry to get you to part with your money.  You can trust Sister Hellen.

Other Resources

  • Zoning Summary (Google doc)—If you’ve ever wondered what all those strange zoning codes (RM, B3, DX) mean in Chicago zoning, here’s a handy summary of each type and its restrictions.