IMG_7464

Best Chicago Shops, Eats, & Sights!

I (Jo) just spent a few days in Chicago which just coincidentally happened to be over St. Patrick’s Day and boy oh boy those Chicagoans really know how to celebrate! Yes, they dye the river green – it’s environmentally friendly, the recipe is a closely kept secret, and it’s really green!

It was so fun being back in the Windy City.  We lived here for 10 years (20 years ago) and I had forgotten just how amazing downtown Chicago is – the shopping, the food, the architecture – it has it all.  I stayed with family so I can’t comment on hotels (although I’ve heard The Peninsula is very very nice!) but here is my FabList for shopping, eating, and sightseeing in Chicago.

Shopping

Michigan Avenue is the main shopping drag in town and they don’t call it The Magnificent Mile for nothing!  13 blocks and 450 retailers including flagship experiences, major department stores, international designers and boutiques, home goods, three vertical shopping centers and more!!  For maximum efficiency, concentrate on Michigan Avenue and Oak Street which are chock-a-block with stores, such as (all stores on Michigan Avenue except where noted):

Luxury retailers: 

Department Stores:

Cheap Chic:

And for a more intimate shopping experience (for higher end goods), check out these three Fab choices:

  • Space 519 – A small department store (that feels more like a very upscale general store) located just off The Magnificent Mile in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Finely edited Designer Apparel, Accessories, Home Items, Apothecary + Dining @the_lunchroom_chicago. Great brands such as Metier bags, Tibi clothing, Fortela jeans, Rosetta Getty and much much more.
  • Ikram – Meticulously designed space that showcases the best in women’s fashion, accessories, and gift items.  Go here for Erdem and Sakai.
  • Blake – They stock everything from Rick Owens to The Row to Saint Laurent, and round it out with more mid-priced brands like L’Agence.

Food

I really miss the food in Chicago!  Everywhere you turn, there is another great restaurant, diner, pizza parlor, hot dog shop, donut shop, or bar.  Some favorites include:

  • Avec: I’ve been going here for 30 years!  The chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce are insane.
  • Daisies: Italian homemade pasta.
  • Bungalow: A beer and wine and pizza den.
  • Athenian Room: Greek chicken and fries!
  • Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern: Has been providing barbeque ribs and beer in Lincoln Park since 1932.
  • Old Jerusalem: The place to go for simple Middle Eastern food.
  • The Weiner’s Circle: Iconic hotdog stand serving up high quality street food with a side of insults!
  • Lula Cafe: Farm to table cozy restaurant.
  • Doc B’s: Many locations with fast fresh food – great salads and fries!
  • Space 519: The Lunchroom for lunch!  Great salads and sandwiches and inside a great store!
  • 40 Carrots in Bloomingdales:  Frozen Yogurt and Spicy Thai Noodles.
  • Hendrickx:  Belgian bakery.  Soups, sandwiches, sable cookies
  • Ann Sather:  Swedish. Great Cinnamon Rolls.
  • Gibsons:  Quintessential Chicago steakhouse.
  • Do-Rite Donuts:  Wow. Love the old-fashioned.
  • Verzenay: Fabulous French pastries, especially their baguettes.
  • Pierrot Gourmet at The Peninsula:  Amazing almond croissants, tartines, soups, salads, and rotisserie chicken.

Sightseeing:

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise:  Take to the water on the Chicago River and see 130 years of Chicago architectural landmarks.

Wrigley Field:  If you’re in town during the baseball season you must visit this storied landmark and watch a Cub’s game!

Willis Tower Skydeck: Originally the Sears Tower, head up high to the 103rd Floor and step out into a glass box for some exhilarating views! The Hancock Building also has a viewing skydeck and it’s less crowded (but 300’ shorter than the Willis Tower).

The Bean (Cloud Gate): Located in Millennium Park south of the river, The shiny surface of this sculpture reflects the city’s skyline and the surrounding park and it’s one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art installations. Under renovation now but stay tuned.

Lincoln Park Zoo:  I love to go for a long walk and wander through the zoo – it’s free and sprawling and has all the animals!  I especially love the polar bears who do flip turns in the glass fronted water feature.

The 606: Chicago’s version of New York’s High Line – a 3 mile elevated greenway (former railroad) running west to east on the city’s North Side.

Second City: Tina Fey, Bill Murray, and Chris Farley all started here.  Book early for this comedy club.

Art Institute of Chicago: If you are a fan of Ferris Buhler, you’ll remember the scene on their day off in front of Seuret’s masterpiece in this museum!  Along with the “older” art is The Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano (opened in 2009) and full of modern masterpieces. For contemporary art, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art which is one of the world’s largest contemporary art venues.

The Field Museum: A natural history museum with highlights including Egyption mummies, man-eating lions of Tsavo, and SUE, the largest and most complete TRex ever discovered.

Museum of Science & Industry: The largest science center in the Western Hemisphere, this is the place to ride in a flight simulator or walk through the interior of a German submarine. We spent hours here when our kids were younger!

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Picture of Joanne & Chrissie

Joanne & Chrissie

Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

Join Our Community!

Share your email with us and we’ll share our fab finds with you every week(ish).

Most Popular Categories

Our Favorite Lists

Join Our Community!

Share your email with us and we’ll share our fab finds with you every week(ish).

Picture of Joanne & Chrissie

Joanne & Chrissie

Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up to Receive the FabList Newsletter Every Week(ish)!

We do the deep dive and let you know what’s new and noteworthy.