The best places to work when you don’t have an office

If there’s one fantastic thing about working remotely, it’s the freedom from getting bogged down in routine. While office jobs offer coworkers, camaraderie, and birthday celebrations (psh, overrated), those of us in the home-based workforce can use each day as an opportunity to explore the city. But where to begin?

Whether you’re just working remotely for the day or you’re a full-time freelancer, hit up one of these libraries, coffee shops, or bars to make your workday a tad more interesting. They all have free Wi-Fi, accessible outlets, and lots of table space—so you officially have no excuse to stay holed up in your apartment all day.

1. La Colombe Coffee Roasters

5158 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

Java lovers may flock to La Colombe for the diverse brews, but it’s the dreamy atmosphere that keeps work-from-home types here throughout the workweek. The national coffee brand’s Andersonville location is one of the best spots on the north side to hunker down for a productive day. While floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the entire café in natural light, La Colombe’s delicious draft lattes will keep you awake and motivated.

6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday to Sunday

2. Intelligentsia Coffee Broadway Coffeebar

3123 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

To be fair, the original Intelligentsia Coffeebar is probably the most crowded spot on this list. But you definitely won’t regret getting there there early enough to snag a seat. With several long tables, delicious pastries and (of course) dynamite coffee, the Lakeview hotspot becomes a popular workspace for freelancers and students during weekdays.

6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday to Sunday

3. Sleeping Village

3734 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

It just opened this year, but the Whistler team’s new concert venue is already becoming a favorite among Avondale and Logan Square folks. The bar at Sleeping Village includes two long tables, several booths, outside picnic tables and serves coffee all day. The bar gets crowded with concert-goers on most nights, so you’ll probably want to leave in the early evening—unless a little distraction keeps you motivated.

11 a.m. to 2 a.m. everyday

4. Estereo

2450 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

This Heisler Hospitality spot is one of the most beautifully designed bars in the city—and, lucky for remote workers, is open all afternoon. Estereo is known for its South American-inspired cocktails, but serves Dark Matter coffee and pastries during the daytime. The garage-style windows flanking either side of the triangular bar mean the lounge is always sunny, airy and bright. Plus, your boss isn’t there to tell you not to have a cocktail while working.

Noon to 2 a.m. Sunday through Friday, Noon to 3 a.m. Saturday

5. Bourgeois Cafe

738 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This Lincoln Park duplex coffee shop has been a neighborhood mainstay for years, largely thanks to its unique, retro aesthetic. Gold-framed portraits and mirrors, ornate chandeliers, and stacks of weathered books make the Pig a one-of-a-kind spot. It gets a bit crowded when DePaul is in session, but it’s never hard to find a table here. There’s also a printer available to the public for a fee, and it’s just adjacent to a FedEx store.

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

6. Map Room

1949 N Hoyne Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

You may know Map Room as your favorite Bucktown bar, but the beloved watering hole is open for business all day long. Map Room serves Intelligentsia Coffee, pastries from Bennison’s Bakery, and sandwiches from The Goddess and Grocer starting at 6:30 a.m. during the work week.

6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday

7. Front Bar

1700 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

You don’t have to be an ensemble member to get to work at Steppenwolf Theatre. Front Bar, located in front of the new 1700 Theatre, is open to the public all day long during the workweek. The menu includes La Colombe coffee and pastries from The Goddess and Grocer, as well as a rotating selection of sandwiches and salads. Sink into one of the cozy couches, or spend your workday posted up at the beautiful, sleek bar.

7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday to Sunday

8. C.C. Ferns

2806 W Augusta Blvd
Chicago, IL 60622

Is it a Polynesian dive bar? Is it your parents’ basement? Is it a mid-century furniture sale? Nope, it’s just an almost-too-precious cafe in Humboldt Park. This Brendan Sodikoff coffee shop is one of the coziest, most Instagrammable spots in the city, but also makes for an excellent workplace. C.C. Ferns serves excellent coffee concoctions (in mason jars, because of course) and Doughnut Vault pastries. Really, there is nothing else your morning needs.

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to Sunday

9. Newberry Library

60 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610

This historic research library isn’t a Chicago Public Library, but it’s still free to attend. Once you sign up for a library membership, cozy up in one of the upstairs reading rooms overlooking Washington Square Park. Founded in 1887, the Newberry Library specializes in Western European and American history from the Renaissance through the 20th century. If you’re looking to recreate that college library feel, an afternoon at the Newberry should get the job done.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday

10. Harold Washington Library

Harold Washington Library, 400 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605

The flagship Chicago Public Library location is beloved for good reason. Named for the city’s first African-American mayor, the South Loop library houses nine floors of research materials, a children’s library, 3D printers, meeting space and more. The sun-soaked Winter Garden, located on the ninth floor, is a particularly idyllic reading room. Freelancers should have no trouble finding open table space to work at this massive public library.

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

11. Chinatown Library

2100 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Opened in 2015, this brand-spankin’-new Chicago Public Library branch is one of the most beautiful places to spend your workday. The award-winning circular design references Feng Shui principles in an effort to resonate with the Chinatown community, and offers stellar skyline views. Like all CPL branches, the Chinatown Public Library offers study rooms, computers, and scanners.

Noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday

12. Bridgeport Coffeehouse

3101 S Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60608

This South Side coffee chain has locations in Hyde Park, the Roosevelt Collection and the Loop, but we like its original Bridgeport coffeeshop the best. Bridgeport Coffee Company, founded in 2004, keeps coffee snobs satisfied with its array of organic and fair-trade roasts. This space itself is as inviting as the drinks. It has two rooms for seating, gorgeous ceiling molding and outdoor tables. The solid sandwich menu means you can stay for lunch, too.

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

13. Blackstone Library

Blackstone Library, 4904 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

Spend your workday in a piece of history at this Kenwood library, which was the first branch of the Chicago Public Library system. Founded in 1904, the building is modeled after the Erechtheoin, a temple on the Acropolis in Athens. The ornate decor includes stained-glass ceilings, mosaics tile floors, carved marble and mahogany paneling and the painted rotunda in the foyer. It’s unlike any other workspace in the city.

Noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday

14. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Nestled up right against Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, this Hyde Park coffee and lunch spot is a must-try. Plein Air Café offers a stellar lineup of breakfast and lunch items for reasonable prices. Most are under $10. It tends to get quite busy during the week, given its location on the University of Chicago campus, so get there early in the day to snag a seat.

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Sunday

15. Robust Coffee Lounge

6300 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Perched at the bottom of the University of Chicago campus, Robust Coffee Lounge is a popular spot for south side freelancers and students. The Woodlawn coffee shop opened in 2010, and features a full, inexpensive breakfast and lunch menu. Reward your hard work with an order of fluffy Belgian Waffles, or a specialty drink—their Mocha Diablo (espresso, milk and their housemade Diablo Syrup) is a killer.

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