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Things to Do in Ravenswood

A detailed guide sharing the best things to do in Ravenswood and Lincoln Square. This pair of neighborhoods hosts a large lineup of annual events and is home of one of Chicago’s most famous brewery districts.

Lincoln Square is a smaller neighborhood located within Ravenswood. This guide includes both neighborhoods. A dedicated list of things to do in Lincoln Square can be found here.

Ravenswood was settled in the late 1800s and had an industrial corridor occupied by manufacturing companies. Today, that same area is known as “Malt Row” and is home to several craft breweries.

Last updated: April 2022

Read More About Ravenswood
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Where is Ravenswood?

Ravenswood is a northern Chicago neighborhood. It is north of the North Center neighborhood, west of Uptown, south of the Rosehill Cemetery, and East of the Chicago River.

How to Get to Ravenswood:

There is a Metra Station at Lawrence Avenue and the L’s Brown Line makes stops at Montrose, Damen, Western, and Rockwell.

Parks and Outdoor Activities:

Ainslie Art Plaza

A pedestrian plaza with seating, landscaping, and a mural. Events like Wednesday Night Live, a maker’s market, and concerts take place here.

Giddings Plaza

This public square is considered to be the heart of Lincoln Square. It is a pedestrian only area with a fountain, statues, and murals. Many of the neighborhood’s events and street festivals take place here including the German American Oktoberfest, Apple Fest, and Square Roots. During the holiday season it is decorated with Christmas trees.

River Park

Located where the Chicago River meets the Chicago Canal, this 28 acre park spans both sides of the Chicago River. The park has a swimming pool and a canoe launch and is considered to be a good spot for fishing. Additionally, there are seven tennis courts, two baseball fields, a playground, and an interactive water playground. Basketball and indoor soccer leagues play in the large field house.

Welles Park

A 15 acre park in the heart of Lincoln Square with an indoor pool, fitness center, fields for baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, and football, and a European-style gazebo.

Winnemac Park

A park owned by both Chicago Public Schools (Amundsen High School) and the Chicago Parks District that has a prairie garden, a nature trail, three softball fields, and a soccer field. Swimming and gym activities are held at Amundsen High School.

Chase Park

This park on the border of Ravenswood and Uptown has an outdoor pool, a running track, two baseball fields, a football/soccer field, four tennis courts, and a playground. Several adult basketball leagues use this park.

Lincoln Square Farmers Market

The market takes place on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons in Lincoln Square and features over 40 vendors. The market is at the intersection of Lincoln and Leland Avenues and the season runs from May through October.

Ravenswood Farmers Market

Located at 4900 North Damen, the Ravenswood Farmers Market takes place on Wednesday evenings from June through October.

Wednesday Night Live

Movies are shown at Ainslie Art Plaza and an area is transformed into a beer garden for this monthly summer and fall event. The 2022 dates are July 20, August 17, September 21, and October 19.


Berlin Wall Monument

A section of the Berlin Wall is located within the Western Brown Line L station. The monument is a tribute to Lincoln Square’s German cultural history.


DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

A museum, art gallery, library, and language school that seeks to preserve and promote German heritage, culture, and language. Permanent exhibits explore German culinary traditions in Chicago’s North Side and remember German businesses in Chicago that have been lost. DANK Haus hosts events like German pretzel making classes, German language courses, film screenings, and a Spring Gala.

National Cambodian Heritage Museum

A heritage museum and Killing Fields Memorial created with the goals of bringing social justice and healing to the genocide survivors and to expand awareness about Cambodia’s history. The museum was founded by the Cambodian Association of Illinois, an organization created in 1976 to address the needs to Cambodian refugees who had escaped the Khmer Rouge regime.

Things to Do in Ravenswood:

Old Town School of Folk Music

The Old Town School of Folk Music offers music classes to people of all ages. There are Wiggleworms classes for toddlers and small children plus classes focused on traditional folk instruments like guitar, banjo, and mandolin for older children, teens, and adults. The dance and movement classes include Flamenco, Irish Step Dance, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Bollywood, West African Dance, and more. The school has a theater where concerts and special events are held.

Lillstreet Art Center

An art center offering a wide variety of classes and workshops for children and adults. Class offerings include ceramics and sculpture, drawing and painting, metalsmithing and glass, photography, print making, textiles, and classes for first time artists.

Merz Apothecary

This pharmacy with an herbal approaching to healing opened in 1875. The shop is a local landmark with leaded glass windows, a carved wooden exterior, and tin ceilings.

Breweries in Ravenswood “Malt Row”:

Ravenswood is home to “Malt Row”, a stretch of the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor that is home to nine craft breweries, a distillery, and a winery. Some of these breweries have put their tours on hold.

Begyle Brewing

Begyle has a taproom with a large patio. Check out their Facebook page to learn about events like Sunday Bingo, release parties, and restaurant pop-ups.

Cultivate by Forbidden Root

Forbidden Root is a botanic brewery inspired by nature offering beers like a Sparkling Rosé Ale and Strawberry Basil Hefeweizen. Cultivate has a taproom and a full restaurant.

Dovetail Brewery

The founders of this brewery earned their Master Brewer certificates in Germany and they said that they “brew like monks, minus the vows”. Dovetail has a taproom and patio biergarten. Guests are welcome to bring their own food. The outdoor spaces are pet friendly.

Empirical Brewery

The folks behind this brewery describe themselves as a “bunch of nerds exploring the science of beer”. The taproom and beer garden welcome dogs and are kid friendly until 8 pm. Guests can bring in outside food. Nerdy Bingo is hosted on Tuesdays at 7 pm and there are periodic trivia nights too.

Half Acre Beer Company

Half Acre’s brewery, taproom, and beer garden are located on Balmoral Avenue. The taproom and beer garden serve a seasonally inspired menu.

Keeping Together

Founded by beer maker Averie Swanson, Keeping Together is a rare brewery helmed by a woman. The brewery has a residency at Half Acre and Keeping Together’s beers are served in the Half Acre taproom.

LaGrow Organic Beer

Run by a trio of brothers, LaGrow creates beer and hard seltzer.

Spiteful Brewing

Spiteful is known for serving classic and European-style beers. The taproom has both indoor and outdoor seating, dogs are welcome, and 16 beers are available on tap. Trivia is hosted on Wednesday nights at 7 pm. They also have board games to keep you busy.

Urban Brew Labs

Beer slushies are available at the Urban Brew Labs taproom in addition to 14 beers on drafts plus some guest drafts. The brewery hosts events like Mario Kart tournaments, trivia nights, yoga, bingo, and live music.


This whiskey, gin, and speciality spirits distillery offers tours and has a tasting room with cocktails, flights, and pairings. KOVAL hosts special events like yoga & cocktails, cocktail classes, and craft workshops. KOVAL is located on Malt Row.


Also located on Malt Row, VIN312 is a winery that sources grapes from California and Washington. VIN312 is currently closed for renovations.

Music Venues:

Old Town School of Folk Music

This music school’s theater hosts near nightly concerts featuring artists like Aimee Mann, Aoife O’Donovan, Suzanne Vega, and the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra.

The Grafton

This Irish pub hosts folk night every Tuesday night featuring local musicians.

Theaters and Theatre Companies:

Some of these companies are based in Ravenswood but utilize theaters in other neighborhoods.

Davis Theater

The oldest continually operated theater in Chicago, Davis Theater opened in 1918 as a vaudeville and silent film theater. Today the theater has three screens and shows first-run movies.

Glass Apple Theater

A theater staging plays, musicals, dramas, comedies, and other dramatic arts events.

American Blues Theater

The American Blues Theater explores the American identity through its productions.

Red Tape Theater

An independent theater company producing new and experimental work.

Black Ensemble Theater

Located a few blocks over the Ravenswood border in Uptown, this theater was founded by actress, producer, and playwright Jackie Taylor in 1976. This theater produces musical theater and hosts events like the Black Playwrights Festival.

Annual Events in Ravenswood:

Square Roots

Taking place July 8-10 2022, this festival showcases local and regional craft breweries and has 50+ live entertainment on four stages, a kid zone, and a parade.

Wine Strolls

The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce hosts wine strolls in the spring and fall. During these events attendees get to taste wine at neighborhood shops. These are popular events that tend to sell out – so purchase tickets in advance.

Apple Fest

An October festival that welcomes autumn with live music, kid’s activities, farmer stands, and a variety of apple inspired food and drink. The event takes place on Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Wilson.

Winter Brew

A February festival that celebrates craft beer. Attendees can taste over two dozen local craft beers and try food from neighborhood restaurants. Traditionally the event takes place inside, but it was moved outside for 2022.

Lincoln Square Restaurant Week

Both Lincoln Square and Ravenswood restaurants participate in this weeklong February/March event by offering special prix fixe menus.

Ravenswood on Tap

A two day outdoor festival celebrating the Malt Row brewing community. Attendees can taste special brews, try their hand at axe throwing, shop from local vendors, and listen to live music. The 2022 event will be on June 18-19.

Malt Row on Damen Beer Stroll

An annual event taking place in July that gives an opportunity to sample brews, spirits, and wines created on Malt Row. The event coincides with the Ravenswood Farmers Market and will take place on July 27, 2022.


A collaboration between Begyle Brewing and Dovetail Brewery that celebrates Begyle’s birthday and allows Chicagoans to soak up the last of the warm weather. Special beers are tapped for the event and Oktoberfest inspired food is served. The event benefits The Friendship Center. The event takes place in October, check Begyle’s Facebook page for details.


Not to be confused with Mayfest which is a separate event in Lincoln Park, Maifest is a German American festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. The 2022 event will be held from June 2-5 and will features food, dancing, and live music.

Chicago German American Oktoberfest

A Lincoln Square festival that takes place in September and includes live music, carnival games, performances from traditional dance groups, the Von Steuben Parade, and German food and beer. The 2022 dates for this event are September 9-11.

Ravenswood ArtWalk

A weekend-long celebration of Ravenswood’s artists and creative community that includes open studios and galleries, dance performances, and an outdoor arts market featuring over 50 local artists. The event takes place in September.