The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

‘Third places’ and where to find them: Chicago’s best locations to relax, renew and restore

Gia Clarke
People sit in Kibbitznest on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Kibbitznest prides itself on being a third space where people can play board games, chat, order drinks and read.

Whether you’re dragging yourself to your local coffee shop in the morning, indulging in some retail therapy or people-watching in public, many people need to get out and detach from their everyday spaces. As the world adjusts to “normal” post-pandemic, wellness experts and sociologists are encouraging people to venture outside their homes and work (or classrooms), exploring places in their local communities to relax, renew and restore. 

These places are known as “third places,” a concept created by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his 1989 book, “The Great Good Place.” Third places are known as public spaces in which the community can come together to converse and share new ideas. The name “third place” comes from this space being outside your home, known as space one – and your work, space two.

“Third spaces are going through a revival right now,” said Kayla Turner, wellness support specialist in the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness at DePaul. “Considering that they build up the community and local businesses post pandemic – as well as give people the opportunity for a productive-free existence – I think that third spaces are pretty dang important.”

The first step in establishing your own third place is to explore options throughout the community. The list below includes interesting, cost-friendly options for college students to try.

Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney

Kibbitznest Books, Brews and Blarney, at 2212 North Clybourn Ave., is a book bar serving as a dedicated third place in Lincoln Park. Partnered with the nonprofit Kibbitznest Liberal Art Discussions, the venue hosts storytelling shows, comedy performances and liberal arts discussions.

Guests can visit to explore and purchase from their book collection, play board games, write letters or poems on typewriters, play foosball, listen to music and more. As a community space dedicated to human interaction, Kibbitznest is Wi-Fi and computer-free and encourages minimal cell phone use.

Customers at Kibbitznest look at their menu on Thursday, April 25, 2024. Kibbiznest is located on Clybourn Avenue in Lincoln Park. (Gia Clarke)

“I really love Kibbitznest because it’s a space detached from screens and technology where I can sit and connect with my friends,” Carly Garrett, a DePaul junior, said. 

She also appreciates the cozy atmosphere for a coffee or adult beverage. 

Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center, built in 1897, is a landmark in the city’s history and one of its most frequently visited sites. Home to the largest stained-glass Tiffany dome, the Cultural Center was originally created as Chicago’s first central public library, an attempt to show that the city had developed into a sophisticated metropolis. It later became one of the nation’s first free municipal cultural venues.

A patron sits on a bench and checks their phone in the Chicago Cultural Center on Thursday, April 25, 2024. The Preston Bradley Hall is free to the public. (Gia Clarke)


A woman walks up the staircases to the Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center on Thursday, April 25, 2024. The Cultural Center is known for its architecture and Tiffany glass domes. (Gia Clarke)

The space hosts free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures and art exhibitions. The Chicago Cultural Center can be found at 78 E. Washington St. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Catcade

The Catcade is a cat-themed lounge, arcade and rescue dedicated to rescuing cats from life-threatening situations and finding them friendly, loving homes through their cat adoption program. Guests can visit the lounge for $20 to play and socialize with the cats for 55 minutes, play free arcade games, participate in events like cat yoga and potentially adopt a cat. In 2021, The Catcade took in 528 cats and permanently housed 431 cats, according to their website.

The Catcade moved to 624 W. Belmont on April 20, which allows them to care for more cats and have more visitors in a larger venue.  

“The new location is only a 10-minute walk from my apartment, so I’m looking forward to walking by and seeing the playful cats in the window,” Ariele Palmer, a DePaul sophomore, said.

Chicago Sports Museum

The Chicago Sports Museum, found at 835 N. Michigan Ave., is a dedication to all things sports. The museum combines sports memorabilia and artifacts with interactive experiences using advanced body tracking technology that allows guests to score goals and shoot free throws, while playing the part of fans’ favorite professional athletes.

Exhibits allow you to compare your own skills, such as vertical leap, wingspan and grip strength, to athletes such as Chicago Bulls legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Attendees also can learn sports history lore ranging from forensic sports mysteries to curses and superstitions in the sports world.

The Chicago Sports Museum provides sports fans the opportunity to immerse themselves into the ultimate sports experience at a cost-friendly price of $8 for college students that present valid ID.

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