Chicago 2016: The Year In Review

Your favorite stories of the past 365

By The Editors
December 29, 2016 9:00 am

As we close out 2016, join us — if only for a moment — as we skip the perjorative and dwell on the positive.

Because this is Chicago. We don’t break. And that’s worth celebrating.

From the city’s strongest voices to the gun that doesn’t shoot bullets, from hunting for rare booze to the seventh-largest gathering in human history, here are all the best things we covered in Chicago in 2016.

Best wishes for the New Year, gents.

Here’s to you — our readers.

The voices of the city led our way.
We kicked off the year by offering up the 40 Books Every Chicagoan Must Read. Here’s hoping you crossed a few off since then. Later, we rounded up our favorite Chicago podcasts, but not before turning the spotlight to the granddaddy of the art form: Studs Terkel.

Is this gun the future of self defense?
As we look back at a year in Chicago that saw 700 homicides and countless people affected by gun violence, we can’t help but reflect on our conversation with Andy McIntosh, co-creator of the Salt Gun, a pepper spray gun for home defense. Meanwhile, our LA editor enrolled in a Navy SEAL tactical defense program and learned what it takes to survive life-threatening altercations.

Nostalgia was good medicine.
Spirits were high as we hunted for rare antique booze at the Sixth. Nostalgia also led us to the Holy Grail of vintage cigars at Biggs Mansion. We also revisited the ‘85 Bears and celebrated 30 years of saving Ferris by reimagining Ferris Bueller’s canonical skip day for 2016. We even got advice from a Lego Master.

We strived to stay in shape with all our might.
Thanks to Soho House, we picked up boxing this year. We also rounded up the city’s best gyms, as classified by the gymgoers who graze there. And because working out is also mind over muscle, we gave you the low-down on Float Sixty, the Midwest’s largest spa dedicated to sensory-deprivation tank therapy.    

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!
They did it. You were there. It was glorious. We prepared for the historic moment by taking a tour of Wrigleyville with a Wrigley Field “garbage kid,” then with a Bandwagon Fan’s Guide to Getting Ready for the World Series. You can find a few of our favorite photos from the celebrations here.

We ate and drank well.
We’ve already talked about the year’s best restaurantsOur ranking of the city’s best steakhouse burgers demonstrated our job is a tough one, but someone’s gotta do it. We asked this year’s James Beard nominees where they ate on their days off while an all-knowing pizza bible told us where to find Chicago’s best pie. We hacked our way through the salad bar at 3 Greens Market and got the blueprint for better-tasting veggies from the chef at Bad Hunter. Elsewhere, we made the official Drinker’s Guide to Indoor Sport, while local woodworker Greta de Parry named the city’s best bars, literally.

If we’re being honest, ya looked good. Real good.
Your annual shot of sexed-up sartorialism came by way of our Fall Style issue. As it happened, we alerted you to the latest and greatest in Chicago style openings, from the technical outdoor gear purveyor Arc’Teryx to the gentleman’s fine shoe store Leffot.

Flyover country no more.
You needn’t go far for a proper escape. With our Four Hour Rule travel series, we showed you good times can be had in St. Louis and Indianapolis. We gave you reason to take a proper vacation with our annual Summer Rental Guide. We took on the Chicagoland area’s best hikes, and also its best campsites, all the while giving you directions to secluded cabins (see: here, here, here and here).

Sex. Let’s talk about it.
After a month of very long, exhausting research, we offered up the pros and cons of outsourcing your love life. We had questions (i.e., on cheating; on one-night stands; and on bedroom kinks) and found women to answer them. And no surprise here: you loved our lingerie buying guide. Fingers crossed she did, too.



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