Welcome to Magic Side, Chicago!
If you’ve ever driven down S. Lake Shore Drive, you’ve probably looked straight through Magic Side without even knowing it.
Chicago’s premier magical suburb occupies an invisible island in Lake Michigan. You can't see it unless you have magic in your blood (or if you know exactly where to look).
South Side locals say if you stand at Burnham Park point at sunset, gaze at the lake, and squint your eyes just right, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the hidden city flickering in the dying rays of the light.
One of the largest, and most diverse magical cities in the world, Magic Side draws unusual people from every corner of the globe—so don’t be surprised if you bump into someone with wings, fangs, or horns.
Things to do in Magic Side
Getting around: ride the old trolley lines!
Streetcars are one of the best ways to see Magic Side! While Chicago phased out their trolley system in the 40’s and 50’s, Magic Side bought the old cars and kept them running, and they are now operated by “Magic Side Surface Lines.”
Bright red with a cream stripe, the trolleys are easy to spot as they trundle around the city. Most of the lines ultimately converge at the city center, which is why downtown is known as the Circuit.
Getting a drink (or two)
Once you’ve seen the sights, you might want to stop into one of Magic Side’s numerous bars for a taste of local culture (and beer). If you’re near Exposition Park, you might check out the HIDEOUT, one of the hippest joints in town. Located in the bottom of a century old building with classic Chicago-style three paned windows, the Hideout is well lit and roomy, with high ceilings and dangling Edison bulbs. Diana, the bartender, serves up trendy cocktails and has numerous local brews on tap.
If you’re looking for more of a dive, head down the Midway to the RIFT, the top motor bar in the dens. It’s a great place to enjoy drinking, fighting, gambling, and professional dancing. The black brick building is easy to spot with windows made of dark glass cubes and an animated neon sign of a sexy she-devil dancing above the door. Most days the bouncer is a hulking, blue-skinned demon with a huge rack of horns. You might have to slide him some green to get in.
Considering that a lot of the city’s coffee shops and bars have a tendency to pop up in unexpected places, you might want to just take a taxi or a trolley and see what you can find.
Hunt down some of the city’s cultural landmarks!
If you’re coming directly from Guild City, Magic’s Bend, or another supernatural city, you’ll probably arrive downtown in the Central Plaza, one of the busiest hubs in the magical world. The plaza is ringed by bronze archways that lead to every corner of the globe. The first thing you’ll see is the Rain Bridge, a giant water sculpture floating overhead like a levitating river. It’s the partner monument to the silver Cloud Gate—also known as the “bean”—in Millennium Park, downtown Chicago.
While most of Magic Side’s cultural landmarks are pretty easy to find, some places have a tendency to shift about from time to time—most notably, Wandering Hill Cemetery and Dunmire College. It’s a magic city, after all. Make sure to check reddit before you arrive for up-to-date sightings.
Probably nowhere in Magic Side is as famous as Exposition Park, a living remnant of the 1893 World’s Fair. Visit booths that display wonders from every part of the magical world. Pro tip: After a long day exploring the city, stop by Sammy’s Italian Gelato and Chicago Dogs on the north side of the Expo. Sammy’s is the only place you can get a Chicago Dog with authentic magic peppers.
Magic Side, Chicago is our little corner of the Dragon's Gift world created by Linsey Hall. Check out her books set in Magic's Bend, Oregon and Guild City, London for other flavors of her world: linseyhall.com
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