Chicago is an ever-evolving city. With new restaurants, hotels and stores constantly being opened, navigating the 606 can often feel overwhelming, even if you are a born-and-raised native. Lucky for us, Barney's New York’s well-known City Guide has finally expanded to include the Windy City and, with it, dozens of recommendations from our favorite locals. Here we share five of their top picks.
1. McCormick Tribune Campus Center
The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Campus Center caters to more than just its bright students. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it also happens to be one of the city’s most beautiful architectural focal points, combining much-needed practicality with innovative design. According to fashion designer (and IIT alumnus) Virgil Abloh, this duality makes it one of his “favorite buildings in the world,” falling right in line with the ethos of his clothing line, Off-White, which seeks to fuse the contemporary with the classic through an enticing aesthetic that has blown up in the industry.
2. Lakefront Trail
A well-rounded beauty routine is about more than just products; it’s a lifestyle. Seasoned pro Bobbi Brown (whose eponymous makeup and skincare line has captured the attention of industry gurus for more than 20 years), notes Chicago’s own Lakefront Trail as the ideal place to put your routine into play, packing in gorgeous views that make your next grueling workout well worth it. “A run by the lake is a part of my daily beauty routine,” she says. “The view of the Lake Michigan’s blue water never gets old.”
3. Chuan Spa at the Langham Hotel
Azeeza Khan knows a thing or two about success. Ranked by WWD as Chicago’s “It-Designer” with a “top destination” flagship store according to Forbes, the Chicago-born fashionista has an impeccable eye for design, asserting her up-and-coming label as one of the city’s best. But, alas, success often amounts to stress—and lots of it. Her solution? The Chuan Spa at the Langham Hotel, an oasis in the heart of the city that Khan boasts as the best in the nation. “The Chuan Spa is a super serene universe,” says Khan. “With room names like the ‘Dream Room,’ you can only imagine the experience.”
Chicago is famous for its diverse group of distinguished restaurants, and MK is no exception. It’s new American menu, which includes everything from goat cheese ravioli served with peas and sundried tomatoes to a blood orange and ginger Virginia black bass, has asserted itself as a top destination, according to Food & Wine and USA Today. Its fans span the celebrity, too. Multi-Grammy award winning artist and Chicago native Common frequents the restaurant for its balance of great food and service. “They have the best branzino and brussel sprouts I’ve ever had in my life,” he says. “Head chef Erick Williams exemplifies top-of-the-line excellence.”
5. Garrett Popcorn
Snackers, be warned: Garrett Popcorn, a Chicago cult favorite, is a must-have for New York-based designer Lisa Perry. “Get the large tin of popcorn mix with plain, cheese and caramel,” she says. “It’s a trifecta.” Looking for a more well-rounded Chicago meal? Perry recommends Portillo’s restaurant for its fare of hot dogs, Italian beef, and “killer chocolate cake.”