Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Alex Nolen, and I am an actress.
How long have you been living in the city?
I have lived in Chicago for almost six years! I moved to attend Loyola Chicago University, and I’m staying until the city kicks me out.
What influenced your decision to move here?
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a great place to grow up with my family, but when I turned 18, I definitely wanted a change of scenery. I knew I was going to study acting so Chicago was on the list. When I came to the city for the first time, I was struck by how welcoming the community was and how much freedom I was given to be myself. I never felt so comfortable in my own skin.
A Friend is coming to Chicago for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend for them in the city.
If it were the summertime, we would definitely spend a day biking down the lakeshore path while stopping at Hollywood and Oakstreet Beach. We would get brunch at either Pick Me Up Cafe (www.pmucafe.com) or Handlebar (www.handlebarchicago.com) (both have amazing options for carnivores, herbivores, and vegans alike). I’d take them downtown to the The Art Institute of Chicago (www.artic.edu). Then we would go get a drink at the Chicago Athletic Association (www.chicagoathletichotel.com) for awesome views of Millennium Park. I would love to take them to a play at either Rivendell (www.rivendelltheatre.org) or Steep (www.steeptheatre.com), to name a few, because their work is awesome.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood? If so which one is it and why?
My favorite neighborhood at the moment is Andersonville. It has everything I want to do. I work at The Bongo Room (www.thebongoroom.com) and can walk to get any kind of food I’m feeling like having. It’s a short walk to the beach and has awesome gay vibes. I love going to my favorite bookstore, Women and Children First (www.womenandchildrenfirst.com).
What are your favorite places for cocktails?
I’m a big beer gal, so some of my favorite spots are the breweries in town. My favorites: Empirical (www.empiricalbrewery.com) in Andersonville, Goose Island Clybourn Brewhouse (www.gooseisland.com/brewhouse-clybourn), and Hopewell (www.hopewellbrewing.com) in Logan Square.
It’s 3 A.M. and your starving after a night out… what place would you recommend?
Cheesies (www.cheesies.com) in Belmont. Crazy menu of different types of grilled cheeses that all make you feel so happy that you are living.
What is the best place to get a great view of the city?
The Adler Planetarium (www.adlerplanetarium.org) has, in my opinion, the best view of the city. You can gaze out from their steps and see the best views of the skyline right on the water.