CHICAGO with Martine

Sarah Bernhard said: « I adore Chicago, it’s the pulse of America ».

I agree with her, this city is one of my favorites.

Obviously, in people’s minds, it is still the city of crime, but the danger is only in neighborhoods that must be avoided, like everywhere in the United States. I like to walk alone.

The downtown is not huge and includes the Loop district and Magnificent Mile. I have lunch in the hotel, where I meet people who seem to be « on the job » at all time, looking at their phone. It is rare to meet people , and hard to find yoga or Pilates classes.

Being a member of the « SHe travel club » is the assurance of being in a hotel, where the wishes of women are considered as necessities, and not whims»

My top favorite places

The parks: Chicago is the embodiment of a green city. There are more than 570 parks, where shows are often free. Elton John’s concert in Millennium Park was not free, and yet, not to be missed. In Lincoln park, you should stop to listen to young poets from the « Louder than a bomb » movement. 

The new neighborhoods of West Loop and Wicker Park:  Once an industrial meatpacking districts, factories have become Michelin-rated restaurants, and a former cold storage warehouse, where meat carcasses used to hang, is now the Google building. Mélange of cultures and tangible remnants of these two historical areas  makes  them, at the same time, a part of Chicago’s past and a vital part of the city’s future

A cruise on the river to discover the most beautiful skyscrapers of the United States, and feel the power of Chicago I love the Aqua tower with its wave-shaped balconies that line up on 82 floors. Signed Jeanne Gang, it is the most ambitious architectural project ever developed by a woman.

My favorite restaurants

Where to find the best Chicago pizza?

This  calories trap, full of gluten, deserves some serious love and respect. Some people loves it, others love to hate it. But it is a rite of passage that should top your bucket list of things to do in Chicago. Lou Malnati’s is the place to find the best, according to most of the Chicagoan. -Booking is recommended, it is packed all the time : 1120N State St.

Where to have a glamorous diner?

Chicago is home to 24 restaurants with one or more Michelin stars, including the famous Alinea restaurant, with 3 stars and an 8-month waiting-list. Chicago is a city for food lovers, and many restaurants combine architecture, and/or view. 

My favorite place for a chic dinner in the hippest district of Chicago : I go to Proxi in the West Loop. The menu is laden with Japanese and Oriental inspired dishes. As for the decor, it’s an old printing shop transformed into a gigantic restaurant by Emmanuel Nony, a Frenchie, who has been making a name for himself for 18 years in Chicago. Opened two years ago, it is the address I recommend to all my friends. (Proxi, 565 Randolph St) 

Where to have a drink? 

On a rooftop of course, and Chicago has plenty of them. Offshore is the biggest rooftop in the United States with more than 3 300m². In winter, with temperatures at minus 20° celsius, we stay protected behind the bay windows. From May to September,  you can watch the fireworks of the Navy Pier, every Wednesday and Saturday, starting at  at twilight ! (1000 E Grand Ave)

But my secret adresss is The Up&Up, which dominates the looks of city. Located at the 13th floor of The Robey Hotel, I love this hotel, a harmonious synthesis between the old and the new, the European and the American. On the rooftop, cocktails and tapas, outdoor swimming pool in summer. (Robey hotel: 2018 W North Ave)

Best beauty experience

A Chakrassage At Ruby room Spa: When it comes to massage, I like to experiment. I had already tried a Chakrassage in New York, with oils placed on the 7 chakra points, on which crystals are placed. It is very relaxing. At the Ruby Room, ditto, I released the tension and freed my chakras. It was divine.  They have a full line of sprays, and essential oils. It is great for disposing of jet lag. -Ruby Room hotel: 1745 W Division

Jullian Seely cut Barak Obama’s hair : You can trust her, not only for all the politicians, athletes, and movie stars that she takes care, but also because she received the « Best of Beauty award » from Allure magazine. You can go there just for a blow-dry, but frankly, you should take advantage her,  when visiting the  city, to try a haircut with her. She is amazing. (70 E Walton St)

Shopping adresses

Good deals and pleasure of the eyes at Macy’s : I go there for the unbeatable prices and the « Last chance » corner, where I found Calvin Klein cocktail dress for 15 dollars. But above all, the store is a mythical place, with a superb retro architecture, granite pillars and a mosaic vault signed Tiffany. (Macy’s State street: 111 N State St)

The top of the fashion at Rsvp Gallery : Rsvp Gallery by Virgil Abloh, the fashion genius who sadly passed away at age 42 in 2021. The former designer of the Vuitton had founded this concept store, which mixes galleries and fashion, in the basement of a building! You can find there his own brand Off-White, Yeezy the one of Kanye West, or Kaikai Kiki, the one of Takeshi Murakami. (Rsvp gallery:1753 N Damen Av)

Sport as an entertainement

Cycling along Lake Michigan : Starting in the spring, the lake looks like the sea, with beaches and boat trips, but also 50 kilometers of bike paths, without cars. It is very easy to rent a bike, and I was even provided with a lock to secure it. I also tried the Segway ride in group, very nice because you can benefit of a guide. 

-https://bikechicago.com

My «Don’t miss»: Go in search of the rare vinyl.

Bring back the gift that makes your teenager or your husband happy. In Wicker Park, the greatest address in the world for vinyl lovers is Dusty Groove. Rare records, like this Beatles’ album Help, English version, which is priced at 200 dollars! But also an incredible collection of jazz, soul, blues, and also low prices.