The Run Down

When life gets busy and stressful, sometimes we just need to take a moment to swing and hit stuff really hard. Well, that's what we'll be doing with this guide as we make our way to a driving range in the heart of Chicago. We then follow up with comfort food. Here are the details.

1. Hit golf balls @ Diversey Driving Range

2. Korean fusion @ Del Seoul

3. Cupcakes @ Molly's Cupcake

1. Diversey Driving Range

The first stop in our guide puts us on the East side of the Lakeview neighborhood and right along the Lakefront Trail. We’re at the Diversey Driving Range, which is open all year round whenever the mood strikes to smack a few golf balls.

Because of its proximity to the Lakefront trail, this guide also doubles as a particularly good one if you’re looking to explore on your bike. Before we get into the full experience, here are some notes to keep in mind when planning your visit.

– Open everyday from 7am – 11pm. Winter hours are 9am – 9pm. Last bucket of balls sold at 1 hour before close.

– $10 for a small bucket of golf balls; $16 for a large bucket.

– $10 to rent golf clubs.

As you walk up to the driving range, you’ll find a small golf shop where you can purchase a bucket of balls and rent clubs if you need them. After you purchase whatever bucket size you want, they’ll hand you ticket and you’ll proceed back outside to a machine that will spit out the balls into a bucket.

Once outside, you’ve got your pick of golf stalls to post up at. There are two levels and it’s first come first served. The lower level has heated lamps above each stall. Those lamps don’t do much good on a 5 degree afternoon in Chicago, but they do make it a bit more comfortable on those brisk 30+ degree days.

For a better view of the city head to the upper level of the driving range. Some of the benefits of being up here are that you get a wonderful view of your surroundings, but more importantly, you might get a few yards added to your drives.A small bucket lasted two of us about 45 minutes, and as novice golfers, we were feeling the strain a bit afterwards. If we had to estimate, the small bucket had around 35-50 golf balls. Hopefully that gives you a good sense on how many buckets you might want to get for yourself.

2. Del Seoul

After working up an appetite and burning some calories at the driving range, we’re going to walk a few blocks away to grab a bite to eat at a place that’s combined Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese, Canadian, and American cuisine into one smorgasbord of goodness.

I’m talking about Del Seoul, which has been a popular haunt in Lakeview ever since it opened in 2010. It began riding the wave of the Korean taco phenomenon and has since expanded their menu to include things like Korean poutine fries and a Korean take on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.

It has a bit of everything for when you’re not sure what you want. Now onto food pictures.

If you just got done hitting golf balls in the cold, this spicy hot tofu soup will definitely warm you up. It comes out in a sizzling stone bowl and what comes inside are beef, mussels, clams, tofu, egg, and a bunch of veggies in a spicy chili broth. 

This is your standard Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, but with bulgogi filling. If you’re not familiar with bulgogi, it’s thin slices of grilled beef that’s been marinated in a soy based sauce that’s a little sweet and a little salty. Bulgogi in any food delivery device (e.g. rice, sandwich, taco) is can’t miss. It becomes pretty simple after that. You make bulgogi, I give you money.

3. Molly’s Cupcake

Our next stop is Molly’s Cupcake, which is right next door. We’re here to grab dessert at this small street side bakery. The cupcake renaissance that started in the early 2000s peaked a few years ago and now only the strongest cupcake bakeries have survived. One of those is Molly’s Cupcake.

Their cupcakes come with a filling in the middle, which for me is always the best part.  I’m singling out one of their cupcakes in particular — it’s their creme brulee cupcake. In the pictures above and below, it’s the one with the raspberry and blueberry resting on the caramelized sugar muffin top. Inside is a creamy custard that pulls it all together. You put 5 creme brulee cupcakes in front of me along with a cup of coffee, and there’s no way I have the will power to not eat them all in one sitting. It’s established science.

Besides the cupcakes, this place also doubles as a nice place to just hang out for a bit. They’ve got coffee brewing, board games you can play, and they’re open late: 10pm on Sunday – Thursday: midnight on Friday and Saturday. This is the last stop for the guide so post up here for as long as you need. But if you to continue on with another spot after this, remember you always have text message concierge who will help you keep the day going.