Image via Windy City Prints
Chicago is probably one of my favourite U.S. cities. I love everything about it, I love the way they pronounce their As (al- lives for olives or sari for sorry), I love the big city with the Midwestern charm, and I l-o-v-e their Elevated trains, like the way a kid obsesses over choo-choos. There are more than 100 neighbourhoods in the City of Chicago, and each offers up their own distinct experience. On a visit here, the choice of what to do and where to go can be overwhelming, but donworryaboudit I have some ideas for you.
Have a picnic in Wicker Park
Head down Damen, pick up some tasty prepared foods from the Goddess and Grocer and take it over to Wicker Park (the park for which the neighbourhood is named). I picked up an iced mango black tea and a red velvet whoopie pie (part cake, part cookie, all delicious) and caught a game of softball at the park. The whoopie pie is rich enough to share so it’s easy on the budget.
Critique art in Pilsen
Every second Friday of the month in Pilsen, the self-proclaimed Chicago Arts District, hosts “2nd FRIDAYS Gallery Night.” This event sees 30 galleries open their doors, free of charge, from 6pm to 10pm for the public to view original work from Chicago artists. Unfortunately, my stay in Chicago didn’t over lap a 2nd FRIDAY, but the lovely Whisky Ginger opened its doors for me. Stevie Koerner and Dan Knispel, owners of Whisky Ginger, have been taking vintage finds and repurposing them or cleaning them up into charming and whimsical design elements for your home.
How cool is this bar?!
When asked what makes a good vintage find, they said they look for pieces that have bold colour and/or interesting typography.
Splash around in The Loop: Millennium Park
Sure, seeing Millennium Park is a touristy thing to do, but this tourist attraction holds up. The park really is the intersection of public space, music, art, and architecture. Catch one of the free concerts at the outdoor Jay Pritzker Pavillion, designed by world-renowned Frank Gehry or cool down at Crown Fountain (pictured above) designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.
Finally, a trip to Chicago, just wouldn’t be the same without checking your reflection in Cloud Gate, affectionately known as the Bean. I recommend standing under the centre of Cloud Gate and gazing up at the kaleidoscope like reflections, it makes you feel like you’re the subject of your own Dali painting.
Bonus: Get Inspired
Find design inspiration in your new surroundings. I love how the T-Shirt Deli in Bucktown uses old cans of food as pots for plants.
Photo credit Deirdre D unless noted otherwise