It has been a family tradition for the last seven years to spend Thanksgiving in Chicago. Chicago is the city associated with much of my early twenties- I lived there when I first graduated from college, it’s where I started my career in non-profits and at the same time slung beers at night to pay the rent, and eventually it is where I met my husband. To say that it holds a mixed bag of memories is an understatement, but mostly, I look back on that time with great fondness. Visiting now with my kids in tow is such a treat. This year I was laid low for about 48 hours with a nasty virus, so my sightseeing was cut shorter than I had hoped. Though I will say that recovering in a cushy hotel room with room service and cable tv certainly made the virus much more tolerable. I think that’s the biggest break I’ve had all year! But I’d love to share with you a few of the things that we enjoyed during our time in Chi-town.
My first stop was an incredible hotel/ restaurant in the Fulton Market district called The Soho House. I’d been seeing images of this magnificent space all over Instagram and I was dying to see it for myself. The food was delicious, especially that almond croissant pictured above. My family members are creatures of habit and we stay in the same hotel every year, but if I could convince them to try somewhere new, The Soho House would be it! What kills me is that I used to work in Fulton Market ten years ago- it is where the non-profit I worked for was headquartered- and there was practically NOTHING there but butcher shops. Now it is full of awesome restaurants, cafes and shops. It would be such a blast to work in the area now…*sigh*
My next stop was my all-time favorite little shop in Chicago, which is especially joyful during the holiday season. P.O.S.H. carries a variety of vintage and new finds, many sourced from France and flea markets across Europe. I could spend hours browsing their displays and collections. This shop is always such a treat!
The brand new Restoration Hardware on Dearborn Ave. is probably the most breathtaking home store I have ever set foot in. It is housed in the Three Arts Club, built in 1914 in a largely residential section of the Gold Coast. It seems silly to direct you to this video of the store, but if you are interested it really captures the five floors of elegance, the incredible steel-enclosed garden courtyard cafe which is home to a restaurant, wine bar and coffee shop, and the rooftop park. This space was just stunning, and my mom and I happily spent over an hour just wandering around in complete awe. In my next life I’m coming back to live in this building
Lastly on my must-visit shop list is The New Leaf, a gardening store that offers so much more than flowers and plants. This store is like a winding treasure hunt, with rooms filled to the brim with glassware, tiles, ribbon, vintage furniture pieces, ornaments, holiday decor and more. If you’d like to see more of the shop, check out the article I wrote for Gardenista last year.
If you can believe it, most of the above was squeezed into a few hours while the rest of our time in the city was spent exploring as a family and enjoying the hotel pool! We took the boys skating at Millennium Park, which they loved, and we sucked it up and paid to go to the top of the John Hancock. I balked at paying, but it was worth every penny. The views were spectacular and the boys got a big kick out of the experience. We also spent a morning at the Lincoln Park Zoo, but it was bitter cold and we all lost our excitement after an hour or so. Once we saw those poor, freezing flamingos we called it a day. All this to say, we had an amazing time. Spending time in Chicago feeds my soul on so many levels- it reminds me of the energy of my twenties, it leaves me breathless with its gorgeous architecture and design, it fills me with beauty as I see the sights though the eyes of my boys, and mostly, it makes me appreciate how lucky I was to once call this city home.