Chicago is beautiful in Autumn and so is the weather, making this a great time to visit some of the wonderful neighborhoods of which the city is composed. First-rate among these is Little India, which is packed with the dramatic, vivacious colors of its namesake and seems to be, come rain or shine, the perfect low-key place for shopping, eating and enjoyable inner-city strolling.
This jewel-in-the-crown of Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood occupies both sides of Devon Avenue for a couple of miles between Western and Kedzie Avenues. It is a short bus ride from the Loyola University Lakefront campus and from one of the nicest, largest and least crowded beaches in the city, Hollywood Beach, which marks the north ending of Lake Shore Drive.
In Little India you will find dozens of shops packed with all things India, from tiny brass statuettes of the myriad Hindu dieties to glittery genie shoes to the worlds most exquisite fabrics, an array of embroidered finery from which it is almost tortuous to have to choose, because you will want it all ! While you ponder these decisions, pop into one of the many casual restaurants here to enjoy the delicious, subtly spiced and fragrant cuisine for which India is world renowned. A long-time neighborhood favorite is Moti Mahal at 2525 W. Devon, which serves an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for under ten dollars that contains all the most well known and best loved North India favorites, a friendly yet formal staff and a well stocked bar in case you find yourself lingering past buffet time (which is 3pm) and merging into happy hour.
If you fall in love with Indian cuisine, as most do, you may be inspired to start creating some yourself. The first thing you will need to do is assemble a traditional Indian spice box which is a collection of the most important and most often used spices, of which there are many. Not to worry, there are numerous India grocery stores tucked among the many boutiques and restaurants where they will help you choose from hundreds of spices.
Whiling away an afternoon in Little India is a sensory extravaganza and one of the simple pleasures of life in fantastic Chicago.