This past weekend, I headed out of town and on my first (and definitely not last) trip to Chicago. I’m. In. Love. Below is a recap of all the places I went and everything that I did. If I had my choice someday, I might eventually be Chicago’s newest resident.
Dana Hotel and Spa – 660 N. State St.
For my first night in Chicago, I stayed with my best friend in this hotel. Upon entry, it has a very downtown, hip boutique feel, yet it’s 25 floors of the most amazing industrial-meets-modern rooms (check out the bathroom, as well as the concrete ceilings!). The room we had was complete with a corner balcony, giving me an amazing view of the city!
W Lakeshore Chicago – 644 N. Lakeshore Dr.
Never to disappoint, this is easily creeping up in my personal W Hotel rankings to being one of my top 3 favorite W properties to stay at. From the incredibly friendly staff, to the swank, no-bad-view rooms; as well as the overall high-energy level of the hotel, you would never expect anything less…. unless… you have a view like this:
Yes, we were totally spoiled by a non-obstructed view of Lake Michigan. Check out some pics below:
Quartino - 626 N. State St.
This place is old school Chicago-style Italian. As with most of the other restaurants in Chicago, it has it’s own exclusive gluten-free menu with quinoa-based spaghetti, as well as the THE BEST risotto I’ve ever had. I recommend the asparagus risotto on the gluten-free menu.
Pump Room - 1301 N. State Pkwy
This expansive restaurant, bar and lounge has been graced by every celebrated person, from David Bowie to Julia Childs. It features an amazing menu of small plates, full entrees and a ton of signature cocktails. The decor is modern and hip. Yet, when you walk under the rounded arch and into the lobby, you get the feeling that you’ve stepped back into colonial times, giving their lounge area more of a historic feel. The energy is still high but it’s that unique mix that makes this place still incredibly popular amongst the well-known and influential.
Drink fav: Passion Chili. It’s Gentlemen Jack Whiskey, Passion Fruit-Chili, Lime, Ginger Ale.
Tavern on Rush – 1031 N. Rush St.
Bill and Giuliana Rancic dine here and it’s understandable, as to why. Another Chicago-style restaurant has hit the mark, in terms of great food and great atmosphere. Settled in the middle of all the posh shopping, it’s a perfect lunch spot. Their gluten-free pizzas are amazing!
Chicago Cut – 300 N LaSalle
One of the newer fine-dining places in Chicago, this steakhouse offers an incredible menu of options, as well as a beautiful dining room that overlooks the river. Being that there were three beautiful ladies at our table, we were lucky enough to have a cute and fun waiter named Jeff (ask for him and/or Mickey when you go), who spoiled us with a tasty (yet actually healthy) dessert to end our meal. We are definitely coming back there the next time all of us are together!
Signature Room – 875 N Michigan Ave.
95 stories above Chicago, this was by far the coolest brunch experience I’ve ever had. Although overcast when we entered, by the time we left, it was almost clear skies with an amazing view of Chicago. The brunch was exquisite with so many options and it was there I crafted a new drink: champagne and grapefruit juice (still trying to come up with a name for it).
Violet Hour – 1520 N Damen
You would never know it’s there because the external facade is a wooden barricade that has been covered by minimal graffiti. Once inside, you walk up a nondescript hallway and into what can only be likened as a swank speakeasy. No cell phones are allowed, and you can only be seated once seats are available for your entire party. All drinks are $12 and they have light fare to munch on at half that price. The music is hauntingly beautiful, giving you a complete experience of being swept into another era, or even world. It’s, by far, the most amazing lounge I’ve ever been to.
Drink fav: Part and Parcel. It’s grapefruit juice, vodka and grapefruit bitters.
Untitled – 111 W. Kinzie St.
Untitled is a speakeasy and by far, one of the coolest hybrid concepts for a bar/lounge/club/restaurant I’ve ever seen. It boasts a champagne room, a whiskey room, a VIP area, restaurant, dance floor and plenty of bars. Upon arrival, we headed into the champagne room and grabbed a bottle of Moet Chandon Imperial. Unlike clubs where the markup is more than overkill, they charge you just slightly over what at-cost would be. Again, since it was three girls sipping this, we were given a glass of Cristal each. Afterwards, we headed to the VIP area with some friends to dance and drink some more. This is a place I will definitely be returning to in the future.
Studio Paris - 59 W Hubbard
This expansive place features a couple of levels of restaurant, bar and club. Decorated in modern, hip swank, it features a glass-enclosed terrace with walls covered in faux ivy and topiaries – it’s nothing but VIP tables. The Deejays are some of Chicago’s best – including DJ Mr. Best – spinning some of the best house I’ve heard, since DJ Anthony Ross at Voyeur, in San Diego. They also pull some of the biggest names in house today, including Calvin Harris and Martin Solveig. The crowd is young, yet fashionable.
Nestled in between breathtaking high rises are old historic buildings – especially many beautiful gothic churches. Check out some of my pics below:
What happens when you wander around
Even just spending a few hours wandering around the streets of Chicago, you notice so much eclectic beauty – it’s where old meets new; where you can almost picture the 1920s with the pre-war buildings, yet see how modern the city has become over the years. I feel like I didn’t even get to explore half of it.
Why they call it the “Windy City”. Check out how fast these clouds are moving!