Chicago NBA All-Star City Guide

Every year, Sneakerheads look forward to what brands have in store for NBA All-Star Weekend. Mid-February means the release of Jordan Brand and Nike Basketball gems, and with this year’s festivities landing in Chicago, the excitement has intensified. If you’re heading to the Windy City for the events on February 14-16, SoleSavy has you covered. Our Weekend Guide is meant to arm the sneaker fan with the requisite info ranging from where to catch the must-see events to the go-to spot to grab Chi-Town-approved deep-dish.

By Jesse Carr

SoleSavy Viewing Party

You know SoleSavy had to make its mark on the weekend, and our viewing party promises to be a memorable one. We’ve taken over Low Res Studio to watch the game on a 160” HD screen with complimentary cocktails from Cuervo 1800 and Tincup Whiskey. Proceeds from the event benefit the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Foundation, and one lucky attendee will walk out with one of the 23,000 pairs of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High 85 “Reverse Bred.” If you are a member, the admission is free, so make sure to link up with the SS fam to watch the game on Sunday night. Tickets

NBA Crossover

The NBA will occupy Navy Pier for the duration of the weekend for its multifaceted Crossover event with sports, art, music, and fashion taking center stage. Each day has scheduled appearances from the likes of Robert Horry, Gary Payton, George “Ice Man” Gervin, and Mugsy Bogues, to name a few. Aside from meeting NBA legends, fans will get access to exclusive product drops, meaning the fresh kicks will be hitting this venue all weekend. Tickets.

Brand Installations

Expect experiences from your favorite sneaker brands like Jordan Brand, Nike, adidas, New Balance, and Puma. A few locations you want to keep on your radar are below, as they will be the hottest spots for surprise appearances and drops.

House of Hoops for Nike/Jordan events – 219 S State Street, Chicago IL 60604
Foot Locker for adidas events – 4184 N Harlem Ave, Norridge, IL 60706
Jumpman Store – 32 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60603
Foot Locker League Fits Lounge x Puma – 835 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Sneaker Shopping: Boutiques

Chicago is a great sneaker collector destination with both boutiques and big box retailers where you can grab your next pair. RSVP Gallery may be the go-to destination, as its roots in The Chi go deep. Virgil Abloh and Don C started the underground shop in Wicker Park in 2009, and the locale has been a go-to destination for high-profile releases and collaborations.

When you head to the West Loop neighborhood, first put your name down on the waitlist at Au Cheval before going anywhere else. Then check for NOTRE, which has a top-tier Nike account and exclusives, as well as streetwear offerings from staple brands like Carhartt WIP to higher-end brands like CDG and Engineered Garments.

St. Alfred has been around since 2005 and was founded by the same team that produced KICKS/HI. If you are on Milwaukee Ave, make sure to check out this boutique.

Sneaker Shopping: Local Shops

Before you head to the big box retailers, stop by a few Chicago staples. Leaders, Boneyard (consignment) and Succezz are a few local spots you may not hear about as much but each is worth a visit once you touch down in Chicago. If you are on the hunt for skate shoes or apparel, head over to Leaders 1354, which carries Nike SB and Nike Sportswear releases, as well as their own items. If you want to check out the Windy City’s finest consignment shop, head over to Boneyard, where the weekend’s choice heat is sure to surface if you strike out during the release.

Sneaker Shopping: Big Box Retailers

Chicago is no stranger to mega-hyped Nike releases, so you have options this weekend. You can opt for the Niketown store right in the heart of the City on Michigan Ave. for the full Nike retail experience. 32 South State is the Footaction-powered Jordan Brand hub, a unique space that features training facilities alongside their retail operation. Foot Locker’s House of Hoops is sure to have the weekend’s main releases as well at their Milwaukee Ave. location. If you are after adidas releases, check out the adidas Originals store on Michigan Ave. at Water Tower Place around the corner from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and Lake Shore Park.

Willis Tower Sky Deck

Now that you’re shopping, it’s time for the definitive sneaker photo, the Willis Tower Sky deck offers the best backdrop. At 1,353 feet in the air, the translucent ledge is the ideal place to snap a pic of the heat on your feet. Tickets. 

Bars

Chicago in February is sure to be frigid, so warm up and have a few at these choice locations. Billygoat Tavern locations carry the legend of the Chicago Cubs billygoat curse at the venue the “Cheeseburger!” chefs made famous on a Saturday Night Live skit from 1978 with Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, and Gilda Radner. If you want some activity with your brews, head to Slugger Sports Bar, where batting cages and an extensive arcade await. Beer lovers will appreciate the selections at Off Color Brewing in Lincoln Park with their famed “Mousetrap” taproom for sampling their offerings or getting growlers to go. Marz Brewing offers up their craft brews at their taproom, as well as an extensive bar menu meant to pair with their 24 offerings on tap.

Deep Dish Pizza

It may be a no-brainer that many out-of-towners will flock to grab Chicago style deep-dish pizza, but the right pie is worth braving the crowds for. Our members recommend Lou Malnati’s, a pizza destination since 1971 and home to the definitive deep-dish pie. Giordano’s gets love as well, landing on national Best-Of lists for its famous stuffed pizza. Pequod’s also carries a legacy of 5 decades of deep-dish experience, so if you’re in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, give them a shot.

Wrigleyville

Nightlife options abound, including the strip of bars and pubs on the Northside’s Clark Street at Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, the country’s second-oldest ballpark. A few choice locations in the strip include the famous BBQ at Smoke Daddy, Thai noodles at Cozy Noodles n’ Rice, and beers at the Cubby Bar or Murphy’s Bleachers.

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