While it's not quite San Francisco, Chicago is a very gay-friendly city. The neighborhood commonly referred to as "Boys Town" (roughly from Belmont Ave. north to Irving Park Ave., and from Halsted St. east to the lakefront) is the center of gay nightlife -- and plenty of daytime action, too. Gay and Lesbian Pride Week (tel. 773/348-8243; www.chicagopridecalendar.org), highlighted by a raucous parade on the North Side, is a major event each June. To browse listings of gay-friendly events when you're in town, visit the Chicago Pride website (http://chicago.gopride.com) before your visit.
The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. (tel. 773/472-6469; www.centeronhalsted.org), is a gay social service agency and community center that's become an informal gathering place for Boys Town residents. Inside you'll find an organic grocery store, cafe, and plenty of couches for hanging out and taking advantage of the center's free Wi-Fi. You might also want to stop by Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway (tel. 773/883-9119), an excellent independent bookseller with a large lesbian and gay selection. Here, and elsewhere in the Lakeview neighborhood, you can pick up several gay publications, including the weekly Windy City Times (www.windycitytimes.com), which covers local news and entertainment.
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