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chicago city guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

Photo by Stephanie Todaro

Today’s Chicago City Guide update comes from long-time Chicago resident Jessica Herman. Jessica is a co-founder of Dose, Chicago’s monthly food and fashion market, where she curates a selection of upcoming and established artisans to sell their wares. While she spends most of her days working as associate shopping and style editor at Time Out Chicago, she also does freelance writing and editing. Today Jessica takes us on an updated tour of Chi-town and shares some of the new and exciting things this city has to offer. Thanks for this wonderful update, Jessica! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

A friend visiting Chicago once commented that walking around the Loop felt like navigating the real-life version of a 1950s comic book drawing of a downtown. Stepping back, it’s true: the 108-story Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, the corn-cob-shaped Marina Towers, the minimalist Mies Van Der Rohes, the extraterrestrial-esque Frank Gehry pavilion, the luminous “Bean” that distorts the city’s skyline. Downtown Chicago is a sight to be seen.

But like any big city, getting to know Chicago comes from exploring its neighborhoods: the arty, gentrified Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods packed with independent clothing boutiques and dive bars (and more recently, an overabundance of flat-screen-infested sports bars); the upscale-restaurant-rich West Loop; and the high-end furniture show room district in River North.

Chicago shines in its love of vintage. Find yourself in Andersonville, and you’ll see what I mean: vintage and its ever-expanding pockets of design, where a handful of pioneers, such as Post 27’s Angela Finney-Hoffman (West Town) and Scout’s Larry Vodak (Andersonville), opened up brick-and-mortars and encouraged their future neighbors to do the same.

Beyond design, the city proudly supports artisans of all stripes, including chefs and restaurateurs. From the year-round Green City Market, where chefs and brewmasters do their best shopping, and the teeny Hoosier Mama’s pie shop in West Town to the world-renowned Alinea, Chicago’s dining scene is one of the most adventurous in the country.

In other words, the opportunities to take in culture — be it in an architectural salvage warehouse or a genre-bending cocktail bar or a high-end food and fashion market — are plentiful. So hop on the El or grab your bike and start exploring.

Check out this Google Map with all of the listings below!


Morlen Sinoway Atelier
Part jewelry shop, part home accessories and furniture store. Proprietor Morlen Sinoway curates an eclectic, arty mix of goods from around the world, as great for unusual gift hunting as it is for home makeovers.

Green Home Chicago
This place is just what you’d imagine: a showroom and interior design consulting center with an eco-friendly focus for residential and commercial settings.

Strand Design
Husband and wife Sharon and Ted Burdett married their industrial and graphic design backgrounds to co-produce a line of sleek, sustainable wood tables and stools, lamps and fabric accessories. Call to make an appointment.

Girl and the Goat
Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard runs this always-crammed restaurant. Come for the buzz and stay for the house-blended wine, craft beer on tap and crazy, innovative seasonal dishes that change constantly. Don’t let a night of no reservations discourage: there’s often room for walk-ins at the bar.

Maude’s Liquor Bar
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic hideaway for drinks and dining than the dimly lit upstairs of this French-inspired bar/restaurant. Order a smash (smoky violet or chartreuse), shrimp cocktail or traditional cassoulet (ingredients change regularly), and finish the evening with a crème brûlée large enough to share with the lovers at your neighboring table.

This intimate wood box feels like sitting in a sauna, and after a few half carafes of wine (the list is impeccable), your insides will indeed warm right up. You can’t go wrong — that is, unless you bypass the bacon-wrapped chorizo-stuffed dates and focaccia with tallegio, ricotta and truffle oil.

Grant Achatz reinvents the cocktail bar. There’s no physical bar in sight. Instead, chefs meticulously pour newfangled, deconstructed versions of old classics into Crucial Details custom-designed glassware behind a veritable stainless steel cage. Bring your pennies (drinks cost as much as $30) and a playful attitude: Some drinks will have you shooting mini slingshots inside a glass to break a liquid-filled ball of ice; others infuse slowly with fruity flavors as you imbibe.

The menu changes every few months at Grant Achatz’s aptly named restaurant. Purchase tickets online in advance. Menus have included Childhood, Paris 1906 and El Bulli. Good luck getting in, and don’t even attempt to pull strings. “Like” the restaurant on Facebook, and you just might score day-of tickets.

Pork- and oyster-heavy dinners are a party here, but so are brunches, replete with hot buttered rum and duck confit hash. Step next door to pick up artisan meats, sandwiches and salads at the butcher shop for a meaty mid-afternoon snack.

Inspired by Nellcôte, Keith Richards’ home in the South of France where the Rolling Stones recorded their album Exile on Main Street, this sprawling space is spearheaded by the team of guys behind Old Town Social. Find affordably priced dishes (rabbit sausage, skate wing, pizzas) paired with a fine dining experience replete with lavish chandeliers and servers dressed in Rolling Stone-inspired chambray shirts, jeans and sexy dresses.


Big Star
There’s no better place to people watch, share amazing mini tacos and sling back micheladas, strong margaritas, or Four Roses bourbon on the rocks while listening to Dwight Yoakam and Hank Williams records. On warm days, crowds pack every square foot inside and fill every yellow Tolix chair on the patio.

Even meat-lovers fess up that this matchbox-size vegetarian spot is one of the best spots in town for a satisfying clean meal. Mix and match small and large plates (polenta with mushroom sauce, pickled vegetables, bi bim bop), but always order a slider.

Violet Hour
This speakeasy-style bar requires you to pocket your cellphone and pay full attention to the artfully crafted cocktails on hand. Arrive at prime time on a weekend night and plan on waiting at least 30 minutes to get through the curtained entrance.

Milk & Honey Cafe
Even on the coldest winter days, this breakfast/lunch spot feels sunny. The menu hardly changes, save for a few seasonal dishes and desserts, but you really can’t go wrong with the cult favorite, huevos rancheros, granola and fresh fruit or the veggie-friendly gouda and avocado sandwich.

Zines live on, largely on a big bookshelf at Quimby’s. One of the last-standing indie bookshops, Quimby’s thrives on author readings, an assortment of local small presses, a notable magazine rack and an eclectic book selection.

Pavilion Antiques
French, Italian and Scandinavian 20th-century designs are the focus at this Bucktown shop run by two SAIC alums. You can occasionally find a few new and locally designed accessories with a twist: vases made from flexible plastic and elegant glasses.

Mostly jewelry and small home accessories like shot glasses and alarm clocks occupy this shop’s real estate, but there is also a small Gus furniture selection.

Not only has this fabulous, jam-packed used bookstore stuck around, but it stays open until 11pm every weeknight (in other words, you know where to find your nerd boyfriend — not at the nearby cheesy bars). The shop also hosts a regular poetry and music series, so come for the books and stay for the company.

Paper Doll
Cards and journals from small and bigger brand names share the shelves at this sweet paper goods shop that’s owned by two sisters and has been around for over a decade.

Lenny & Me
With two locations within a few blocks on Milwaukee Avenue, the shop is divided in two (one fantastic clothing and accessories shop), dedicating its larger original location to furniture and homegoods. Typewriters, kitschy serving pieces like cutesy juice pitchers from the ‘50s and tea sets are the mainstays, but a small section in the back also showcases locally made accessories.

Robin Richman
Art Institute of Chicago alum Robin Richman is behind this exceedingly inspired women’s wear shop decked with French antique fixtures. Even if you can’t afford the Gary Graham garments or housebrand knitwear, accessories like wild Antipast socks and statement-making rings are reason enough to poke around and get inspired.

Elizabeth and James clothes, Luxury Jones eccentric buckled boots and the shop-in-shop bridal boutique (a handful of hard-to-find labels) are significant reasons to visit this highly curated shop. In addition, jewelry, leather belts and classic seasonal pieces (as well as bridal designs) by local Elise Bergman, who works the floor several days a week, are reasons to stay and shop.

Bright blue walls and checkerboard-tiled floors set the lighthearted tone of this husband-and-wife-run men’s and women’s boutique. Best bets: APC, Rachel Comey boots and Alyson Fox jewelry.

Reckless Records
You know that record shop in High Fidelity? This is it. Heavy dose of hipsters, occasional music snobbery and a great vinyl selection.

The home collection is mostly sweet, with silver mezzuzot and decorative wishbones, and a little bit rustic (wood serving utensils) with plenty of tchotchkes in between.

Asrai Garden
In addition to offering some of the most creative bouquets in town, this tiny floral shop packs in classy (candles, ceramics) and quirky (the owner’s mom’s handmade aprons, Tamar Mogendorff fabric “taxidermy,” screenprinted pillows) accessories for the home.

Designers behind one of the strongest local fashion lines also run this great clothing and accessories shop. The clothing selection includes the eponymous line (quirky colorful prints) and accessories by Laura Lombardi, Attalie Dexter’s Shades of Grey and Meghan Lorenz’s Cities in Dust.

Una Mae’s
The tightly edited selection of men’s wear, the budget-friendly costume jewelry and notable accessories like the housebrand belts with pouches make this visit worth your while.

An Orange Moon
Cherry red Saarinen chairs for Knoll can be yours, as well as illuminated glass globes from the ‘30s. Find a plethora of mid-century modern but also remnants of Hollywood glam and the Victorian era.

Rudy’s Roundup
Self-described as a modern-day general store, the blue and yellow tiled floor sells everything from soaps and candles to old-school gum, onesies and more.

The main reason to visit this quirky gift shop is to pick up irreverent cards for your older sibling, and you’ll just as likely find sweet, sophisticated cards for mom and wife. Hit up the Andersonville shop, Foursided, for custom frames, maps, globes, vintage blocks and more.


Agent Gallery
You’re just as likely to find vintage wood bowling pins as you are lithograph posters of a bunny’s nervous system, a handmade Confederate flag or an explosion-proof phone. Suffice to say, strange things have been made in the history of the world, and this small gallery boutique has collected samplings of them all.

Sprout Home
There’s a lot more to this shop than owner Tara Heibel’s green thumb, let alone her eye for unusual plants. The mini succulent, air plant and terrarium selection will make compact apartment-dwellers giddy, and functional yet decorative pieces for the home like bright patterned shower curtains, candleholders and vases are easy pick-me-ups for the home.

Modern Times
Open only on the weekends or by appointment, this mid-century furniture and accessories shop deals in the likes of Eames in Nelson.

The husband-and-wife team behind this modern textiles brand just opened a brick-and-mortar in the front of their studio space. Find their timeless table linens and bedding along with accessories by a handful of other designers from around the world.

Seek Vintage
Two old friends and now co-owners turned their vintage-hunting obsession into a business, with a shop that is chock-full of homewares and apparel. The ‘50s Pyrex dishes and cocktail sets catch me every time, but there are plenty of places in the shop to keep digging. Take note on the website of once-a-month 20% sales and parties.

It wouldn’t be off base to imagine you’d find something as quirky as a faux fireplace that doubles as a cocktail cabinet. Old radios, tie clips, mod dresses, great costume jewelry and a handful of statement accessories by local designers are reasons enough to pay owner Julie Ghatan a visit.

Circa Modern
Two local furniture refurbishers teamed up to open this great little shop specializing in mid-century modern furniture and home accessories.

Painted Lady
While heavy on the shabby-chic, pieces like ticking cloth pillows and decorative lamps with Edison bulbs are mainstays at this shop.

Salvage One
Between the gaping, high-ceilinged second floor and the architectural salvage goldmine downstairs crammed with movie theater seats, bar stools and vintage chandeliers, this warehouse space is a favorite for private events.

Bleeding Heart Bakery
Don’t knock a vegan dessert ’til you’ve tried one of these decadent cake balls. But there’s a heck of a lot more in this hyper-colorful punk-rock diner. Your kids’ eyes will spring out of their sockets after seeing the graffiti-esque painted walls. One look at the packed pastry case (at least a dozen flavors of doughnuts and cake balls), and they’ll be done for the day. A full menu of savory dishes is available, too.

Hoosier Mama Pie Co.
Grab a slice of sweet or savory pie or quiche. One look at the adorably outfitted 1950s-inspired space (chalkboards, checkered floors, pie tins), and you’ll want to throw on an apron and sling some pie dough.


Architectural Artifacts
Don’t be surprised to find architectural salvage pieces like Louis Sullivan Chicago Stock Exchange doors for sale for at least a quarter-million at this massive Ravenswood treasure chest. Everything from religious artifacts (marble statues) to scientific instruments has a home; the collection is split between an 80,000 square-foot showroom and a museum that’s a fraction of that size.

Broadway Antique Mall
About 75 dealers set up booths vending lots of mid-century modern furniture, art, objects and jewelry.

Heritage Bicycles
Michael Salvatore is attracting a cult following with his Stumptown coffee and Southport Grocery baked goods in the front of the shop and vintage-inspired bikes made in back. Bring your wheels in for a tune-up while you shop and caffeinate.

Praha (3849 N Lincoln Ave, 773-549-1227)
Reasonably priced antiques and new decorative home goods coexist. The large Czech supply — street signs, paintings and trays — comes from the owners’ frequent trips abroad.

Orange Beautiful
Blogger/stationery designer Emily Martin added another slash to her name in 2010: shop owner. Find cheerful paper goods, or place a custom order.

City Provisions
Cleetus Friedman doesn’t mess around when it comes to high-quality local meat and produce. Order it to go or take a seat at the fine delicatessen, serving up everything from apple pie (chances are the apples were plucked from the farmers’ market that morning) to soups and knishes, plus a healthy selection of rare, local booze.


Green City Market
While we’re exceedingly lucky to have a farmers’ market that runs year-round (the market moves indoors to the Notebaert Nature Museum during the fall and winter months), from May through September, this gathering of midwestern farmers and foodies shines. Located in Lincoln Park, just above the lake, it’s the high-end market option in the city. It’s also one of the best brunch options on a Saturday morning, with a bounty of vendors selling eat-on-site delights from cider donuts and smoothies to cheesy burgers. Arrive early enough and you might run into chefs from the finest local restaurants shopping for that week’s menu.

Chandra Greer has an impeccable eye for design and the paper goods selection to prove it. Stationery fans will be happy to find cult favorites Rifle Paper Co., Snow & Graham and Elum as well as Chicago-based Suitor and Orange Beautiful among the mix of cards and journals.

Gunmetal velvet sofas a la Mad Men, vintage Suzanis, real horn bottle openers — this place has it all. The vintage-inspired furniture and accessories are fit for the classiest editorial spreads. The shop’s “flea market” section includes one-of-a-kind antique pieces like 18th-century display cabinets, Swiss Army blankets and late 19th-century lavish chaise lounges.

Art Effect
While Armitage has slowly changed from an independent boutique mecca to a strip (albeit a nice one) of chain stores, Art Effect has been a mainstay. It embodies that “a little of this, a little of that” approach with a spread ranging from easy hostess gifts like coasters, coffee table books and Michael Aram dishes to just-for-fun Lomography cameras and Alexis Bittar jewelry.

If there were one café I’d happily call home (quite literally, I’d stick a bed on the sun-filled second floor and call it a day), Sandra and Mathieu Holl’s French-inspired Floriole is it. The pastries taste like France — flaky almond croissants, custardy quiche and savory galettes — and nearly all the ingredients are locally sourced. Sweets as simple as the peanut butter & jelly cookies are reason enough to return, and everyone does. Arrive early because the place packs with regulars every day of the week.

A New Leaf
There’s a reason this floral shop has been in business for over 30 years and expanded to three locations. Find the most stunning selection of flowers and plants, plus one of the best private spaces in town, at this location.

Artists Frame Service
Open since the late ’70s, this one’s a mainstay in the Clybourn corridor. Custom frames in every variety — leather, steel, reclaimed wood, “bedazzled.” Take note of frequent sales and specials on the website.

Sweet Mandy B’s
This retro-style sweet shop is just what you want for your six-year-old’s birthday, your baby shower or a super-girly night out. In other words, it’s uber girly, but also uber sweet in every way.

The Barrelhouse Flat
You wouldn’t expect to find this type of bar (classic and wildly inventive cocktails) in this type of neighborhood (sporty and collegiate), but alas, it’s here and the area’s all the better for it. Sidle up to the bar for a glass of punch (yes, it’s available, and yes it’s spiked), then order fancy fries and take them upstairs to the cozier velvet couch seating where low lighting and lower ceilings set the mood. Besides, you can avoid the random guy taking over the piano downstairs then, too.


The White Attic
Your wish the command of this clean, crisp shop. Custom order lamps from the lamp bar (all new) featuring a variety of silhouettes and shades and pair them with the refinished vintage dresser or nightstand painted in bright white or cerulean blue.

Roost (5634 N Clark St, 773-506-0406)
There’s always spillover, such as wood-frame chairs and buckets filled with shovels, pouring onto the sidewalk outside of Roost. Hutches, tables and drawers brim with farmhouse-style vintage kitchen supplies, candelabras, glass plates and more.

Julie Fernstrom isn’t afraid to flaunt her love affair with tartans. The shop looks like an older, messier Ralph Lauren, with buffalo check and burlap coffee sack pillows, and enough plaid blankets to fill a studio apartment. You’ll find the Santa mugs your grandma collected, wooden crates you wish you’d nabbed from your uncle’s farm and the corn-shaped corn-on-the-cob dishes you used as a kid. Go to Fernstrom for custom re-upholstery, too. And a special secret for Design*Sponge readers: Above the shop, Fernstrom rents out a private event space decked like a 1960s gentleman’s club (all the items in the space are available for sale).

This neighborhood quite possibly wouldn’t be the home-design haven it is without Larry Vodak paving the way. Vintage industrial filing cabinets, farm wood tables and fire-engine red benches are the types of flea market and auction finds you’ll see spiffed up and in perfect condition at this uncluttered shop.

Arrin Williams culls housewares and accessories by some of the best craftsmen in town, as well as the greater Midwest, doing all sorts of things with wood, often reclaimed (rustic farm tables, framed mirrors, bird houses, delicate rings). Choice wall hangings include prints by the likes of Sonnenzimmer and rainbow-colored painted wood blocks.

Room Service
New and old takes on mid-century modern translate into silver candle holders and crinkled paper–looking ceramic plates, vintage bent wood chairs, metal filing cabinets and Asian busts.

Edgewater Antique Mall
Hello, Bakelite! There’s a whole lot of jewelry, not to mention purses and other classy accessories and 20th-century furniture.

In Fine Spirits
You can’t go wrong between the cocktails and carefully curated wine selection, especially when paired with a stinky cheese and pate platter. Hit the backyard patio in warmer months. Grab a great bottle to go at the adjoining wine shop.

Three words: mussels and frites. They’re a must-have at this always-hopping joint. And it boasts one of the best beer menus in town, with plenty of rare and exclusive-to-the-city brews.

Great Lake (1477 W Balmoral Ave, 773-334-9270)
Arguably the best pizza place in town (and no, it’s not deep dish), this teeny tiny spot keeps it simple with a few choice pizza offerings (toppings like pancetta, crimini mushrooms and fresh cream). The menu lists its farmers (La Quercia for the pork), and it’s BYOB. Just prepare to wait at a nearby bar, as there aren’t more than a handful of tables in the house.

DOWNTOWN (Streeterville/Gold Coast/River North/the Loop)

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Store
The Museum of Contemporary Art’s gift shop is one of my gift-buying go-tos. There’s quite literally something for everyone: avant garde jewelry for your out-there aunt, quirky office supplies for your father-in-law and kitchen pieces for your dinner-party host. And the coffee table and art book selection is phenomenal. Of course, visit the museum while you’re there.

Jonathan Adler
It’s not local, but it’s certainly a favorite, with its cheeky, artful ceramic salt and pepper shakers, geometric-patterned pillows and throws and more. Bonus: You can register here.

Ligne Roset
Elegant curves and bright colors that pop distinguish many of the upholstered furnishings by this line. Equally covetable are the sleek-lined tables and chairs. Get in on the occasional warehouse sale; these museum-worthy sculptural furnishings and accessories cost a pretty penny. The luxe company has been in business for more than 100 years.

Save yourself the cost of flying across the pond. The owners of this River North shop bring all the quirky flea market finds, glasswares and china sets you could imagine. Just make sure to clear space in your cabinets before a visit.

Doughnut Vault
All you need to know is there’s a line around the block pretty much every morning for the doughnuts these guys churn out, and once they’re sold, the shop closes for the day. In other words, arrive early and hungry for classics (cider, chocolate) and newfangled fried goods (chestnut, bacon-laced, you name it). Follow their Twitter account for everything from opening times (it doesn’t keep regular hours) to new flavor announcements.

Judy Maxwell (1151 N State St, 312-787-9999)
The little-known fact about this Gold Coast shop (which sticks out like a sore thumb in the posh neighborhood, in the best possible way) is that it’s probably owned by Joan Cusack. Who else could put together a collection of oddities, such as a pinball machines, jaw-dropping paper-cut art, breakable plates (presumably from a set) and perfectly strange giftables like huge Pixie Stix and silver boxes packed with single pieces of Bazooka?


Comet Vintage
It’s mostly affordable, casual vintage clothing, but you’ll also find a small selection of housewares.

Between the AC Marais chairs inside and on the inviting outdoor patio, the always-choice cocktails (they keep it simple with just a few options), fresh from the oven pre-dinner biscuits and small but spot-on seasonal menu, you’ll want to move into Jason Hammel’s second restaurant.

The best reason to come to this gallery: Floyd David’s iPod-compatible boomboxes made from vintage suitcases, available starting around $250 a pop.

Merchandise Mart
This massive building packed with showrooms (mostly home design but some fashion, too) actually claims its own zip code. Need I say more?

Longman & Eagle
A complimentary whiskey token for a free drink at the downstairs bar should tip you off to the type of place Longman & Eagle is. Not to mention the pelt at the inn’s entrance, the toilet paper rolls hanging from noose-like ropes in the bathroom and the clawfoot tub in the largest room in the house. Enjoy Apple TV and artwork by local greats Cody Hudson, Stephen Eichhorn and Sonnenzimmer on the walls. No two rooms are alike. Bonus: Only guests who stay at the inn can make reservations at the always-packed restaurant; you can also opt for room service with the same menu.

Ruby Room
Imagine sleeping at a spa: The stripped-down digs at this Wicker Park B&B offer peace and quiet and a great location for shopping and eating beyond the Mag Mile. Rely on your reading material and the neighboring bars (of the sports and dive variety) for entertainment (rooms are TV-free), the garden out back for a peaceful retreat outdoors and the nearby Milk & Honey Café for one of the breakfasts in town (huevos rancheros highly recommended). Oh, and do yourself a favor and book a spa appointment downstairs.

Public Hotel
Hotelier Ian Schrager recently revamped the iconic Ambassador East. Perch on a leather couch in the library with a book and beer (the coolest spot in the place), and stay for small bites in the dining room. If you’re a guest, you can even borrow a bike to get around town.

Once a month, about 45 mostly locally based artisans and entrepreneurs gather under one roof to showcase their latest ventures. Half food and half fashion, the Sunday market is curated by four female tastemakers (myself included) who find the best of both worlds from all over town and occasionally from across the country. Find everything from boomboxes made from vintage suitcases, reclaimed wood tables and natural skincare to rare teas, Alaskan salmon and ice cream sandwiches, as well as a combination of established, high-profile folks and fledgling artists.

Randolph Street Market
One weekend per month in the summer, this massive vintage and antiques market takes over Plumbers Hall and the surrounding parking lot in the West Loop. Over a hundred vendors set up booths purveying their finest costume jewelry, housewares, ephemera, clothing and more. Local indie clothing designers set up shop, too. Bring a major attention span; there’s lots to dig through.

Vintage Bazaar
Don’t be surprised to find a line wrapped around the block for this occasional pop-up market. Run by two young bloggers/design enthusiasts, the relatively new on the scene but thriving vintage market hosts a few dozen vendors under one roof (often the Congress Theater) to sell furniture, clothing and more. See a few local shop owners but a larger showing of Etsy shop proprietors. Additional perks come in the form of cheap beer and straight-razor shaves on site.

Must-See Tourist Attractions
Lincoln Park Zoo
Find everything from lions and sea lions to zebras and apes right outside the lake and nature museum at this free public zoo.

Millennium Park
The greenery is gorgeous, and Anish Kapoor’s “Bean” and Frank Gehry’s band shell will knock your socks off.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and the Robie House
It’s well worth a trip outside the heart of the city to see the Prairie-style Robie House in Hyde Park as well as Wright’s personal home and studio in Oak Park; daily tours are available at both locations. Architecture nerds will geek out.

Hemingway House and Museum
Between Wright and Hemingway alone, Oak Park was an artistic hotbed about 100 years ago. Make a lap through the quaint rooms with a trusty docent to learn quirky tidbits about the writer’s background. Then hop a few steps down the street to the dedicated museum.

Notable Locals
Barack Obama
Jeff Tweedy
Billy Corgan
Bill Rancic
Dave Eggers
Ira Glass
Stuart Dybek
Andrew Bird
Joan Cusak
Vince Vaughn
Liz Phair
Buddy Guy
Richard Marx
John C. Reilly
Jeff Garland

Suggested For You


  • Lille is now closed — I think they might be creating an online store — but there storefront is there no more.

  • One place I would suggest adding would be Architectural Artifacts on Ravenswood. It is similar to Salvage One but even bigger. They gather items from all over the world and sell them in their huge warehouse. I have seen everything from Argentinian cement garden sculptures to turn-of-the-century botanical prints to vintage condom and glove molds.


    I love the place so much I was actually married there a few years back.

  • thanks grace & lizzie for the guide! i’d add that my favorite eateries are crust, southport grocery and goddess and the grocer. and sadly, lille (such a cool shop!) is online only at this point.

  • wow – I am a Chicago designer and pro shopper and I hate to admit that I’m more than a bit disappointed in this guide. My initial look left me thinking it was too mainstream and lacked a knowledge of all the wonderful neighborhood hidden gems. Upon a little research into the author I see that she JUST moved here from L.A…not that it isn’t well written – there’s just A LOT missing!
    Chicago could really blow your mind if you know where to go. bummer.

  • Great guide and includes all of my favorites! Two notes: Unfortunately Lille has closed (but thankfully is still up and running online at http://www.lilleashop.com) and Modernica, sadly, is closing as well.

  • There are 2 off the beaten path Chicago antique malls that I LOVE, they are both truly treasure troves of really great stuff:

    1) Broadway Antique Mall
    2) Edgewater Antique Mall

    They are just north of Andersonville in the Edgewater neighborhood and only about 3 blocks from eachother, I highly recommend them both. They have so much to offer, mostly items from the 1910’s -1970’s. Both have a great selection of Mid-Century Modern, which can sometimes be very difficult to find in your run-of-the-mill antique malls.

  • Nice selections… a couple others:

    Rotofugi designer toys, just around the corner from Sprout Home.

    Also up in Andersonville is Urbanest. They design their own furniture and have a nice selection of home goods.

  • The Illinois Artisans Shop located in the State of Illinois Center at Clark and Lake is also a great place to go. They have cards, jewelry, ceramics, paintings and other handmade items, all created by Illinois artists and crafts people. Unfortunately, it’s not open on the weekend.

    The Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop at Michigan and Jackson is right near the Art Institute. They have wonderfully designed, fun items that are surprisingly affordable, considering the location.

    If you’re on the North side and love Scandinavian design, the Sweden Shop is a good place to go. It’s on Foster, West of Kedzie. They have a nice selection of kitchen items, giftware, and gifts for children.

  • this is so fantastic! i just moved back to chicago after being in seattle for 5 years and i’m so excited to see what’s been popping up here. nice work!

  • I highly recomend Sprout and Willow in wicker park. Thanks to their wedding registries i got some amazing gifts that are NOT made of leaded crystal. THANK YOU!

  • susan

    please feel free to suggest any hidden gems that you feel are missing. i did a pretty thorough search and all of my favorites are on here. we’re always open to new shops though, please do let us know what is missing.


  • I second Sprout and Willow- but other than that I don’t see much missing that would be very “D*S”. There are some other shops but they don’t seem like they fit this style.

  • Susan,

    Please do suggest other places I missed. I did just move here from L.A., but grew up here. Also, my cousin, who works for Chicago Magazine looked over the guide and agreed it was thorough and on point.


  • wondering, are you still blogging on House and Garden? Went there today to see the Gwyneth Paltrow Hampton’s home photos and didn’t see any recent posts from you. :(

  • blue

    yes, i’ve just been so swamped with the redesign and the other work i do for the HG site that i’ve fallen behind. thanks for the reminder, i really do need to get back on it ;)

    also, just to remind everyone, we welcome all suggestions. something missing in the guide? please leave a comment or send an email. please keep in mind that this is an edited list and has been tailored to fit d*s, it’s not designed to be an “every store in chicago” guide.


  • I have to agree with Susan. Where’s Pagoda Red? The White Attic? Urbanest? The CAF and Art Institute stores? p45? Stitch?
    And to give Room and Board, Jonathan Adler, etc. mentions but not C&B (especially their fabulous outlet where you can buy Marimekko fabric) is a major oversight.
    I’ve been unimpressed with some of the stores on the list.
    I appreciate the idea of the guide, but it does have holes.

  • I love the guide Lizzie! It is a wonderful paired down guide to all the wonderful design stores in the area.

  • thanks for all the suggestions guys! i’m going to go over all of these tonight and add any that we feel are a good fit.


  • looks like a lot of them have been named already. here’s a few more:

    RR#1 Chicago – my personal FAVE!! (in West Town, a MUST SEE when you’re here)
    Paper Doll (on Division)
    Threadless (just opened in Andersonville)
    and you absolutely can’t have a Chicago guide without listing Uncle Fun!

  • Great list! Thank you for posting this, Grace and Lizzie. I was very excited to see design*sponge highlighting Chicago shopping. I would just add a few other suggestions that might help people new to the city.

    For one, I really recommend CB2 – a chain store, but it is a fantastic resource. Also, Stitch in Bucktown is one of my favorite design stores in the city…in addition to brands like Missoni Home they also have beautiful handbags. In Old Town, I would suggest the wonderful papergoods store Greer. In Lakeview, I also really recommend Paper Boy and Fly Paper. The MCA gift shop is also amazing. I’m sure there are many more but that’s all I can think of now, design-wise!

    Thanks again :)

  • great guide! I know I will be using it often. I live in Milwaukee, so this will make my next trip to Chicago all the more worth it!


  • thanks to everyone for your contributions, i’ve added several of the suggestions to the list that i felt were in line with the look of things on this particular site. they’re listed in a special section credited to each of the commenters.

    sprout and willow were already on the list and i wasn’t able to find c&b (crate and barrel?) so just let me know if you’d like to suggest anything else.

    i’m trying to keep this a home store guide so i’ve left off toy shops, clothing and things of that nature. feel free to add those in the comment section here if you’d like.


  • Having just moved to Chicago, I’m thrilled to have this guide as a resource. It has a great balance between the major design stores around town, however it’s not too main stream.

  • two more additions in logan square:

    -wolfbait and b-girls – independent designers, handmade bags and clothing.

    -fleur – beautiful flower shop, also selling gifts, cards, candles, etc.

  • HABIT in Wicker Park, although mostly a women’s clothing store, they also carry bags, wallets, belts and scarves worth checking out. All by emerging designers. The place to find cute felted wool scarves by d*s favorite Alyson Fox.

  • [quote]Twosided: Evolved from the frame shop called Foursided, Twosided is a complete neighborhood gift shop with a “million and one” gift cards, heavy on the whimsical and one-of-a-kind varieties.[/quote]

    Having known the owner of Foursided when he lived in Michigan and loving every piece of art that I purchased in his shop, I can only imagine how wonderful his shops are in Chicago. Go, go quickly and shop! or at least look.

  • Here’s the link to CB2 – cb2.com. It’s owned by Crate and Barrel — same quality, but with a lot more sass. 2 locations in Chicago – one on Lincoln Avenue, and one at North and Clybourn.

  • Hazel on Montrose (at Wolcott) is one of my favorite stationery/gift stores. They carry tons of accessories, including great bags that aren’t super expensive. They also have a shop on Taylor street. hazelchicago.com

  • We appreciate inclusion in your Chicago design guide and are particularly honored to be in such esteemed company, both in your list and the shops suggested by your readers. We are also bemused by having apparently moved from utter obscurity to “mainstream” status. FYI, Lucky Magazine’s November issue highlights their “40 favorite” Chicago shops many of which are on your list as well.

  • If you are looking for a great jewelry shop…right off grand (red line) there is a fabulous shop called “pistachios.” If you love silver jewelry you must check it out! Many different designers, modern, and unique!

  • There is an original Crate and Barrel on Clybourn too. C&B is just so Chicago to me, it seems like it’s missing if you don’t mention it’s in Chitown. And of course, who doesn’t love the Michigan Avenue store? It might be mainstream, but Urban Outfitters is on Clybourn, and I know Grace, you’ve written about it semi-frequently before.
    – MM

  • Okay – It’s not in Chicago, but close…just a two-hour drive away in Madison, WI. Check out the website for architectural and vintage finds for the home: unearthedmadison.com

  • Yes! RR1 is a wonderful gift buying shop at Chicago and Ashland. I could spend hours in there! Recently I purchased a Chicago Skyline necklace made by Le Photique and a heavenly candle by Tatine. I want to tell the world how wonderful that shop is!

  • If you’ve been searching for really cool ceiling fan pulls, I get mine at the Bucktown Arts Fest every summer from this great artist there–Trace Ellements. Now she’s got a website with a load of them listed, worth a look at http://www.traceellements.com

  • Calling all Ceramicists, Crafts(wo)men, Builders, Blacksmiths, Jewelry Makers, Sewers of Bags, etc.

    We are currently transitioning our art gallery into a boutique and are looking for artists here in Chicago, and across the country, to become a part of this process. We are marketing our store as a custom home décor and accessories boutique and because we want the customer to feel intimately connected with their selection, we want to work with artists who can facilitate a dialogue with our clientele in order to customize any object to fit their needs and preferences. As a custom home décor boutique we are looking for creative minds that can and have molded functional objects out of their desired mediums, to share their passion. We are open to all ideas as far as where this project can go. For all inquiries, suggestions, and/or interest in or about our project please contact me: clockwhys@gmail.com

  • You need to have the bookstore all about design on your list. Conveniently located in the loop.

    Prairie Avenue Bookshop: Architecture & Design Bought & Sold

    418 S Wabash Ave
    Chicago, IL 60605

  • If you would like to experience other parts of the city, take the metra to Barrington, IL. The trains stops in historic downtown. You can browse lovely shops in 100 year old buildings and visit a great stationery store, TT Patton. Lots of great leather journals, fine stationery and writing instruments. Write with us!

    TT Patton

    123 East Station Street
    Barrington, IL 60010

  • I am hesitant to even share this store for fear that demand will drive up the prices but I’m hoping for good shopping karma here. Nadeau, Furniture With A Soul on Ravenswood & Montrose is truly unmatched in Chicago. They have been a wholesale resource for 12 years but in the last year began selling WHOLESALE to the public! They sell solid wood, handmade furniture imported from Indonesia, India and China that is truly inspiring and always a bargain. Every time I go in the store I find pieces that I want to design a room around. Check out the website and then GO! You can also get on the owner’s email list and he will let you know when he gets a new container in. You’re welcome!!! j/k

  • I lived in Chicago for 3 years and was always on the hunt for artsy-gift shops. My favorite by far, is The Paper Boy on Belmont Ave. I seriously have to travel back there every so often just to stock up! Lots of wonderful paper goods and fun gift items.

  • stay in wicker park if travelling…hip town. I recommend: reckless records and myopic books on milwaukee… bin36… great wine and cheese!
    fyi, north, damen, and milwaukee is where the “hipness” resides. fun times.

  • Hey! So I’m new to Chicago, can anyone recommend some fun restaurants around? Some place with a cute atmosphere?


  • Just found out about the Buckminster Fuller exhibit at MAC (!!!) and am planning a trip just to see it in early June. Any recommendations for hip-ish/affordable ($200 or less) hotels nearby?

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I just moved here from New York and this is by FAR the most comprehensive interior design guide I have found!! You’ve even listed all of my favorite places. :)Although I do second the Mecox suggestion (amazing!!), and there is a cute store on Pearson called Branca.

  • Myopic Books (Wicker Park) – huge used book store with resident cat. Permanent Records (Ukrainian Village) – great record store that has a lot of free in-store shows. Devon Ave has great Indian food! NeedleShop in Bucktown has some great fabrics (Amy Butler, Alexander Henry, Kokka, etc) and they also teach sewing and screenprinting classes! Also, Chicago avenue in Ukrainian Village has a lot of vintage/handmade shops! The beaches up in Rogers Park are the best in the city!

  • Check out Post 27, located on Grand Ave (Wicker Park) within a mini modern design district that has sprung up along thata street. http://www.post27store.com/. Vintage finds, wonderfully refurbished/made-over pieces, original furniture & lighting designs, interesting accessories & jewelry…and Angela, the owner/designer is so personable and loves to share info on the neighborhood with visitors! LOVE this spot!

  • Although I live in NYC now, one way that I remember the great city of Chicago is through images taken by Chicago photographer, Bob Horsch.

    He sells a ton of different prints of the Chicago skyline and sports teams on his website:


    I have 6 of them!

  • Needs some editing, and perhaps it’s about time to revisit the Chicago guide?
    1) Modernica’s showroom has closed
    2) Saffron has closed
    3) Haus MAY have closed – the website won’t work, and I don’t recall seeing their storefront when I walked down Clark yesterday
    4) Prarie Avenue Books is DEFINITELY worth inclusion as a design resource.

    • hi aaron

      we try to update the guides once a year but this one, along with my hometown of brooklyn, are definitely due for an update ;)


  • Haus did close.

    Surprised there aren’t any of the amazing fabric yarn or ribbon stores mentioned.

  • Another home store that must be added to your list is George Lowell! I never walk out of there without buying at least one thing…

  • Just an update. Both Hejfina and Willow are now closed. Very disappointing. They were great.

  • Another emerging neighborhood that is bringing unique and quality home store/accessory retail to the Chicago area is Madison St. in Forest Park. Most Chicagoans don’t realize that Forest park is 15 minutes west of the loop and accessible by the blue line el. Moss, Gallery Etc. and @WorkDesign, to name a few, each represent a unique point of view yet all provide authentic, thoughtfully presente product selection from new to vintage…modern to industrial. A must see!

  • Hefjina’s is closing :( so sad…on the upside, the website is having an “everything 40% sale”

  • Love the guide. Adding to the chorus to say that Haus is indeed closed. However, a few other Andersonville stores have opened up since. Room Service, Rooster, White Attic and Brimfield have been welcome additions to the neighborhood. Andersonville is a great place to shop for your home furnishing needs.

  • planning a girls trip for a friends’ birthday and would love advice on a b&b or hotel to stay at preferably where 6 could stay together or rooms were connected. From reading above, I’m assuming Wicker Park is the place to stay?

  • Kylee – There aren’t really hotels in WP/B. Stay downtown near a red line and blue line stop and you can get anywhere you will want to go. WP/B is the Damen stop on the blue line.

  • My spouse is taking me to Chicago for the first time the first week in November and this guide has been so helpful. Thanks!

  • These guides are always great for my girl’s trips! Any suggestions for food? Going in 2 weeks. Can’t wait!!

  • I’ve just moved to the Western Burbs, (gulp). The store Clever Girl in Western Springs has become my suburban “go-to” spot for clothes and gifts. A hometown Anthropologie of sorts…

  • I was strolling down Grand Ave. this past weekend and came across a gem- Urban Remains. It is a huge warehouse filled with an amazing collection of repurposed furniture and vintage signs. They even have a whole crop of industrial goods: tables, stools, lamps, and even lockers. I’ve been looking for the old school signs (the kind that have light bulbs) for a while now and they had a bunch of them! i bought myself the letter “L” which is proudly being displayed in my window. I feel like this store should be mentioned in your guide…

  • C’mon Chicago Give me more then just stores to shop in! How about some interesting & Creative spaces to Eat, Drink, go see live Music!

  • shop: Brimfield in Andersonville for kitsch home, Gold Coast for every retailer’s specialty store, Division street in Wicker Park for dresses and handmade items.
    eat: Crust Eat Real and Milk & Honey Cafe in Wicker Park, Uncommon Ground in Uptown, Home Bistro in Lakeview, Takashi in Bucktown, The Purple Pig on Mag Mile.
    Do: Second City in the Gold Coast, Architectural boat tour on the Chicago river, Game at Wrigley Field

  • Also, it is not in Chicago but Jackson Square Mall in LaGrange is literally the greatest antique mall I have ever been to.

    It is huge and they easily have 100 dealers.

    Best of all, they are super affordable.

  • If you are looking for a great speak easy, go to The Violet Hour. Although, not a speak easy The Drawing Room is another great place to sip a cocktail. A restaurant I didn’t see mentioned is Black Bird, it is a great place for foodies.

  • So awesome! Thanks, Kate. We are heading to Chicago in a couple weeks and this Google map will be perfect. If only I could get the same kind of map for restaurants!

  • wow… after reading the ST Louis guide, I was very disappointed in this Chicago guide… There are no eat, stay and do sections for each neighborhood… and it could desperately use some updating… I couldn’t agree more on the Broadway shops in Edgewater though… They are spectacular!

  • Where are some fun places to stay in Chicago? Affordable, has character and with-in walking distance of good restaurants/bars is our preference. Thanks!

  • Couple things off the top of my head: Orange Beautiful is actually in the Lincoln Square neighborhood (not Lakeview). Another great shop in Lincoln Sq is Merz Apothocary (which also has an outpost downtown, in the Palmer House arcade)–lots of beautifully packaged soaps, etc. from all over the world. And finally, while I totally get why you might not want to include Crate & Barrel, their store on North & Clybourn has a huge selection of Marimekko stuff, sort of like a separate shop within the shop.

  • Great Guide! A few little gems are missing:
    Bucktown/Wicker Park: Larkspur Flowers! Amazing and original arrangements. They also just participated in Macy’s Bouquet of the Day. They are neighbors with Robin Richman and Virtu. The Bristol is also right there and is a fabulous restaurant!
    Andersonville: ACRE restaurant. A farm-to-table restaurant that opened last summer.
    Rogers Park: The Heartland Cafe: a classic Chicago joint that has buffalo burgers, live music, and a general store, as well as an amazing patio.

  • Oh man! I just went to Chicago last week. This would have been so helpful. With that said, Red Star in Wicker Park was amazing. They have really good fish tacos. Reckless Records is right around the corner, and if you want some ice cream, Icream is across the street. They make any flavor on the spot using kitchen aid blenders and liquid nitrogen.

  • The Merchandise Mart is in River North, not Pilsen. Someone mentioned Paper Boy on Belmont, that is closed now. I second (third?) Hazel on Montrose, love that place. Also, a darling little card and gift shop that has a slightly similar feel to Paper Boy is Inkling in Lakeview: 2917 1/2 North Broadway. For yummy, affordable Thai in a super-fun atmosphere try Cozy Noodles at 3456 North Sheffield Avenue. The owner T is a total sweetheart. Just be aware of the Cubs schedule! It can really mess with a trip to the Lakeview neighborhood!!

  • Love that The Barrelhouse Flat was included. It’s definitely my favorite bar in Chicago, even if I can’t afford the $10 drinks all that often. A note as well, Broadway Antique Market and Orange Beautiful were incorrectly listed. BAM is in Edgewater and O.B. is in Ravenswood.

  • I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and now live in Grand Rapids, MI (thanks d*s for the GR Guide!). I always took Chicago for granted and now that I no longer live close, I have found that I don’t know my home city as well as I would like. Thanks for the great guide! I now have a chance to get to know this city better!

  • – Premise is in fact the reconceptualization of In Fine Spirits – I live in Andersonville and just read this on their door the other day.

    – Great breakfast and brunch is to be had at: Tweet and also Victory’s Banner.

    – Scofflaw in Logan Square is a great new gin-focused cocktail place with fantastic food. Beautiful interior and surprisingly affordable.

    – I play in a band in this city and can vouch for its thriving underground music scene, which isn’t mentioned on here at all! For the big acts, go to Metro, Bottom Lounge and the Empty Bottle; for the jazz-minded, there is of course the Capone-era Green Mill. But you should definitely check out fun, local music too: Empty Bottle has free local music Mondays, and there is lots of fun to be had at Township (formerly Pancho’s), Gallery Cabaret and more.

  • A list for Pilsen and no mention of Honky Tonk BBQ? Crazy! The food is so unbelievably amazing and we’ve never ever heard live music there that we didn’t love.

  • How about the Paper Source for rubberstamps, beautiful paper and quirky stuff? What about your geographic bias? Is the South side (other than Pilsen) really a wasteland in your opinion?

  • Sweet Home Chicago!
    Yes, we mustn’t leave out paper source with it’s flagship shop{S} in Chicago.

    Elements has been in Chicago for over twenty years and has the most equisite tabletop and jewelry. It’s located on Wells in the neighborhood of some fantastic galleries. High end but fine design.

    In Lakeview, Pastoral cheese shop has the loveliest owners and the perfect stop for a snack to keep you going…Intelligentsia makes the yummiest coffee drinks…{ya know, the kind with a swirly heart in the foam…} While in Lakeview, hit socca for a cozy meal at the end of your day.

    I am fond of the new PUBLIC hotel! Spend the morning lounging in the plush digs while you plot your shopping and sight seeing excursion. {it gets really busy in the bar area at night so perch early} And if you’re up for a fine dining experience The Pump Room is conveniently located on property. Sign up for the mailing list- they have some decent deals on the room rate if you SHOP it….

    I could spend all day at GREER in Lincoln Park! Head to Oak Street and check out the treasure trove of retailers including BRAVCO for lotions and potions… Jayson Home and Garden is always a HOME RUN….Makes me want to hit the road and PLAY!

    PS I have a space at Jackson Square Mall in LaGrange so thanks for the shout out to JAX. It is definitely worth the trip- many retailers shop it weekly because the prices are so great! {shhhh. people think it’s a secret}

  • For knitters who want a little Chicago yarn I’d visit Loopy Yarns in Printers Row and Windy Knitty in Andersonville…they do have some yarns that are dyed by locals. You might even be able to wrangle a visit (special request, of course) to visit Lorna’s Laces on Ravenswood. The studio there is fantastic.

  • It appears that under the “Sleep” section you also have some markets, and the link for the Dose market actually leads you to a hotel, which maybe also should be named? Anyway, thanks so much for these guides!

  • In Ukrainian Village/West Town area:

    Paperish Mess for well-curated art and handmade goods/jewelry/stationery/home decor (www.paperishmess.com). For clothing and fashion accessories Study Hall, and for vintage culinary goods Martyn George. Bite Cafe and Hash for brunch!

    In Pilsen: For vintage furniture and decor Modern Cooperative!


  • In West Town at 1359 W Grand- Vile & Valiant. Independent designers from all over the world are represented in this boutique selling fashions for men and women. Also carrying local designers. Cocktail dresses, comfy chic tees and leggings, and dinner jackets and bowties just to name some offerings! http://www.vileandvaliant.com. West Town has some great things happening. Also M Vie at 1372 W Grand, a speakeasy type of restaurant with great cocktails. Further west on W Grand you can get your vegan on at Upton’s Breakroom 2054 W Grand. Further east on W Grand you can always grab great cocktails and bar food at Twisted Spoke or Clutch (both at the intersection of Ogden). Go W Grand!

  • Hi, Just tossing in my own store in North Center – The Needle Shop. We’re the only place in Chicago to find beloved, independent fabric designers – Melody Miller, Michael Miller, Kokka, A Henry, A Butler, J Dewberry and on and on. And, of course our own lines from Jessica Jones! Hope to see some of you! theneedleshop.net

  • I love these city guides and have used them often while traveling! So I felt it was my duty to offer a quick update here. Chicago changes all the time; some old favorites have closed, some new spots have opened. I tried to keep this brief, but you know how that goes:

    Lenny & Me
    Rudy’s Roundup
    City Provisions (the aforementioned Cleetus Friedman is now head chef at Fountainhead, a great bar with a hearty beer and whiskey lineup, delicious veggie burgers, and a fantastic rooftop if you’re here in the summer)
    Great Lake (to fill the pizza-shaped hole where this place used to be, go to Spacca Napoli on Ravenswood. Absolutely delicious, authentic, Neapolitan style pies, and a short walk from Architectural Artifacts and Margie’s for ice cream!)

    Praha moved to the Belmont vintage corridor (2201 W Belmont Ave). This furniture shop is still excellent though, and worth the trip, especially as there are many other vintage shops nearby and you can end your stroll at Black Dog Gelato.

    Simon’s, In the Andersonville neighborhood, is a super charming bar that hints at what this neighborhood used to be like. When you’re on Clark Street, look for the neon fish wearing a jaunty hat. If you’re here in the winter, treat yourself right and order a glass of glögg.

    Pilsen has much, much more to offer than what’s listed above. It’s always been an amazing neighborhood, but has recently blown up. The stretch of 18th Street between the Pink Line stop and Racine Ave has classic Mexican bakeries (plus the newer artisanal spot Beurrage, whose croissants will blow your mind), cafes (Jumping Bean for a taste of old Pilsen, Bow Truss for new), restaurants and bars (stop at Dusek’s for dinner then go down to the basement for incredible drinks at Punch House, or wait in line at Nuevo Leon for mole and every other Mexican dish you’ve been craving), and live music (I love Honky Tonk BBQ — go on Sundays for the green tomato BLT which can be made vegetarian and music from the Fat Babies, or see some bigger names at the beautiful Thalia Hall which was recently renovated and reopened).

    Hotel Lincoln is another great (though pricey) place to stay. The rooms are beautiful and there’s a gorgeous rooftop bar with views of Lake Michigan.

    And ummm, there’s no mention of Logan Square! Off the Blue Line at and between the California and Logan Square stops, you will find a veritable wonderland of food and drink and fun.
    • Lula Cafe: been in Logan for 15 years and is still the best place for a beautiful, classy dinner and drinks. This place feels like you’re in Paris or Buenos Aires, but farm fresh ingredients and warm, wonderful service remind you you’re in the heart of the midwest.
    • Fleur: all the tropical plants, fresh flowers, and lovely gifts you’ll ever need
    • Lost Lake: amazing tiki bar (need I say more)
    • Analogue: they have a vegetarian po’boy with mushrooms AND french fries in the sandwich. A+
    • Boiler Room: the food here is so good, you guys. So good.
    • Parson’s Chicken & Fish: mouthwatering food, negroni slushies, excellent people-watching on a huge outdoor patio
    • The Whistler: the original cool bar in Logan, great DJs and live jazz, perfect cocktails
    • Bang Bang: the best pie and biscuits anywhere ever forever
    • BONUS: bring a picnic to Palmer Square Park (and go to Miko’s in the summer for Italian ice) or park your blanket anywhere along Logan Blvd — there’s tons of green space to enjoy all over this neighborhood

    Have fun!