Hallie Wilson, the Editor of corals + cognacs and a six-year Chicago veteran shares her tips on where to eat, stay, shop and spa in the Windy City:
Despite those winters, it’s hard not to love the city of Chicago. I know from experience, as I lived there post-college for six years. Now, first things first, Glam gals: Let’s vow to leave the Magnificent Mile for the tourists (unless you’re going to Zara; in which case, carry-on). I’m sharing where to eat, drink, shop, spa and live like a local in Chicago. Whether you’re a native or a vacationer, here are my tips on making the most of a weekend (or more) in the Windy City.
Where to Stay:
The Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Place, (312) 787-2200
No other Chicago hotel has acquired more legendary acclaim than The Drake, situated on the city’s Magnificent Mile. History lesson: Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio etched their initials into the bar in the Cape Cod room.
theWit Hotel, 201 N. State St. (312) 467-0200
Though no longer the newest place to rest your head in downtown Chicago, it’s remains to be one of the trendiest. Head up to the rooftop bar for handcrafted cocktails against the city’s skyline, table-side fire pits and a scene of pretty people who congregate after dark.
Public Hotel, 1301 N. State Parkway, (312) 787-3700
Where classic meets modern in Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast neighborhood. Rooms at The Public are thoughtfully designed with over-sized armchairs, flat-screen TV’s and – most importantly – free WiFi. Don’t forget to have a drink in the Pump Room, a legendary celeb hangout.
Where to Eat:
Eataly, 43 E Ohio St, (312) 521-8700
Grab a glass of wine and browse the Italian market before you settle into one of Eataly’s 23 eateries. Two words: Nutella bar. Any questions?
Slurping Turtle, 116 W. Hubbard, (312) 464-0466
Takashi Yagihashi – the acclaimed chef behind the local Michelin-starred Takashi – recently opened this award-winning ramen restaurant. Stop in to warm up than with a hot bowl of Japanese comfort food.
BigStar, 1531 N Damen Ave, (773) 235-4039
Go for the scene, stay for the patio, and get the pork-belly tacos. Where else can you get a taco, a Tecate and a shot of whiskey for $10? If you’re in a hurry, drop by the take-out window.
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, 1927 W. North Ave, (773) 772-4422
There’s no shortage of pizza places in Chicago, but Piece prevails for its delicious house brews and expertly executed pies. See you on Saturday for live band karaoke?
Quartino, 626 N State St, (312) 698-5000
The perfect place to pair a glass (or carafe) of value-minded wine with your closest confidants. Order family-style and plan to share. Mushroom risotto, anyone?
Where to Drink:
The Aviary, 955 W Fulton Market, (312) 226-0868
In this refined beverage bar, drinks get the culinary treatment. Whether it’s a Martini, In the Rocks or Rooibos (yes, those are drinks), your concocted cocktail will surely exceed the expectations you had when you ordered it. Or, put another way: Hashtag no filter.
Guthrie’s Tavern, 1300 W Addison St. (773) 477-2900
If it’s a dive vibe you’re after, head to Wrigleyville and grab a table at Guthrie’s Tavern -- because sometimes all you need is an impressive selection of board games and beers on tap.
Three Dots and a Dash, 435 N Clark St, (312) 610-4220
For a tropical staycation in the Midwest, look no further than the charming Hawaiian allure of this underground tiki hut. Go with friends and grab a themed punch bowl – a potent mix sure to melt your problems away.
RM Champagne Salon, 116 N Green St, (312) 243-1199
The vintage crystal bottles lining the bar and low candlelight throughout makes this super-chic spot feel more like a secret hideaway than a lounge. There’s an extensive array of red and white wines and – you guessed it, bubbly – hailing from across the globe. Pair yours with the half-shell oysters and lobster deviled eggs.
Where to Shop:
Art Effect, 934 W Armitage Ave, (773) 929-3600
Meet your go-to gifting boutique, located in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park. Art Effect is a one-stop shop for all-things cool and kitsch, but you’ll find an array of accessories, jewelry and clothing, too.
Edith Hart, 1917 N Damen Ave, (773) 252-3350
Home to a thoughtfully curated collection of brands, Edith Hart is the quintessential Wicker Park shopper’s go-to. The style in this women’s boutique is relaxed, cool and contemporary – mirroring the Founder Morgan Gutterman’s laid-back aesthetic.
Ikram, 15 E. Huron St., 312-587-1000
International industry icon Ikram Goldman moved her renowned boutique to Chicago’s River North in 2011. Even if her mega-plex roster of high-end labels is beyond your wallet’s reach, the colorful grandeur of the building’s red exterior alone is worth a pass-by.
P.45, 1643 N Damen Ave, (773) 862-4523
One of the longest-standing Bucktown boutiques, P.45 is a multi-label mecca and this Editor’s favorite place to practice some purchasing power. Here, you’ll find a refined mingling of local talent and high-end must-haves from designers including Rachel Comey, Osklen, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Maison Martin Margiela and more.
Sofia Boutique, 100 E Walton St. #106, (312) 640-0878
An independent boutique with a modern-day vintage vibe, Sofia showcases an eclectic, hand-picked selection of clothing, shoes and accessories.
Where to Spa:
Blow by Blow, 67 E. Oak St., (312) 867-0332
Blow by Blow – a blow dry bar – is the newest beauty biz on Oak Street, owned and operated by a mother/daughter duo. Relax with a feature film (it was Mean Girls on Glam's last visit), a bit of bubbly and a fabulous blow out.
The Spa at Trump, 401 N. Wabash, (312) 588-8020
If you've got an afternoon to kill, do so at The Spa at Trump. The Trump Luxury Treatment is an all-day affair, complete with lunch, a gemstone massage, crystal foot treatment, reflexology, seaweed body treatment and more.
Allyu Spa Chicago, 600 W Chicago Ave, (312) 755-1313
Services at Allyu skew toward contemporary Eastern techniques; including shiatsu massages, reflexology and eyebrow threading, but traditional spa and skincare services are available as well.
What to Do:
Grab coffee at The Wormhole (1462 N. Milwaukee) and weave your way through the stalls at Dose Market, a local marketplace designed to delight on Sundays. Cruise downtown to Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph), an open-air landmark and home to Chicago’s famed Bean sculpture.
Down a beer in the bleachers at Wrigley Field(or the bar across the street), then spend the afternoon walking the Lincoln Park Zoo. If the weather allows, explore one of Chicago’s 33 sandy beaches along Lake Michigan. Oak Street Beach has an up-close-and-personal view of the city’s skyline.
Lastly, explore the neighborhoods! The laid-back vibes in Bucktown, the ritz-and-glitz of the Gold Coast, and the whimsical charm of Southport Corridor in Lakeview. In each, you’ll find an array of boutiques, storefronts, and outdoor restaurants aplenty.