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Chicago - Around Town - Near North (part 2) - Shopping, Places to Eat & Drink

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A Day in the Near North

Morning

Line up early with the locals for a fortifying stack at The Original Pancake House (22 E. Bellevue Pl.). Afterward, stroll south on Rush Street to Oak Street. Take a left and walk the most exclusive shopping block in the city, where you can pop into stores such as Barneys New York. Once you hit Michigan Avenue, it’s a short jaunt to the John Hancock Center and its sky-high views. Back on terra firma, cross the street to the Historic Water Tower for a closeup look at a piece of Chicago’s history. Lovers of modern art should cross Michigan again and head to the Museum of Contemporary Art with its spacious galleries and sculpture garden.

Afternoon

Everyone will get what they want for lunch at Foodlife, a gourmet food court on the second level of the mall in Water Tower Place . You can shop the seven floors of Chicago’s first ever vertical mall, and then shop some more – and sightsee – along the Magnificent Mile . If you’ve worked up an appetite, stroll over to the Drake Hotel for high tea, which serves until 5pm.

Evening

Alternatively, NoMI in the Park Hyatt Chicago serves stylish contemporary fare (reservations needed), as befits the neighborhood. Or just join the smart set over cocktails at the Bar at the Peninsula Chicago .

Shopping

  1. Ultimo

    Oak Street’s toniest designer boutique, Ultimo carries a range of cutting-edge European and American lines for women.

    • 114 E. Oak St.

  2. Barneys New York

    This branch of the Big Apple’s downtown department store draws together the latest cosmetics, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and men’s and women’s apparel in a minimalist, open-plan, tri-level space.

    • 25 E. Oak St.

  3. Bloomingdale’s

    An outpost of New York’s hometown department store that features in-store designer boutiques and a well-stocked shoe department.

    • 900 N. Michigan Ave.

  4. Ikram

    Launched by a former Ultimo buyer, Ikram specializes in high-end women’s fashion sold at top dollar. Chic wares and lines change seasonally, but shop assistance is uniformly personal.

    • 873 N. Rush St.

  5. Polo/Ralph Lauren

    This massive four-story shop so thoroughly transforms itself from a store to a swell den devoted to Lauren’s to-the-manor-born lifestyle – note the horse and hound paintings throughout – that it warrants a visit from even the less well-heeled among us.

    • 750 N. Michigan Ave.

  6. American Girl Place

    Parents accompanying girls age four to 12 make a beeline to this store, the only retail outlet of the popular American Girl line of dolls. A theater and café  supplement three floors devoted to dolls, books, and accessories.

    • 111 E. Chicago Ave.

    • 312 943 9400

    American Girl Place
  7. Anthropologie

    Women’s apparel with a bohemian bent and housewares gathered from around the world sell briskly at this loft-like store.

    • 1120 N. State St.

  8. P.O.S.H.

    Recalling the days of elegant steamships and grand hotels, this store uses old-fashioned suitcases and steamer trunks to lovingly display vintage china and silverware engraved with hotel and ship logos.

    • 613 N. State St.

  9. Paper Source

    This arty River North shop is part art supply store, part stationer. The creative selection of cards and small gifts includes handmade stationery, cloth-covered sketchbooks, and novel desktop accessories.

    • 232 W. Chicago Ave.

  10. Fly By Nite Gallery

    Amid the River North fine art galleries, Fly By Nite sells Art Nouveau and Art Deco deco­rative arts, including malachite jewelry, art-glass lamps and vases, and collectible pottery.

    • 714 N. Wells St.

Most Near North shops are open 10am–7pm Mon–Sat & 11am-6pm Sun and have DA.


Places to Eat & Drink

  1. Frontera Grill

    Chef Rick Bayless’ regional Mexican cuisine warrants the two-margarita waits that inevitably face diners here.

    • 445 N. Clark St.

    • 312 661 1434

    • Closed Sun & Mon

    • Reservations only for groups of 5+

    Frontera Grill
  2. Keefer’s

    A steakhouse that goes beyond the men’s club stereotype, also serving French specials and ample fish selections.

    • 20 W. Kinzie St.

    • 312 467 9525

    • Closed Sun & lunch Sat

  3. Bin 36

    A wine bar of warehouse proportions, Bin 36 engenders an infectious enthusiasm for wine and food. The many small dishes encourage sampling.

    • 333 N. Dear­born St.

    • 312 755 9463

  4. RL

    An in-store steakhouse and power-eatery, furnished in upper crust style by the Ralph Lauren Home shop while elegantly attired hostesses sport Polo.

    • 115 E. Chicago Ave.

    • 312 475 1100

  5. Pierrot Gourmet

    Run by the elegant Peninsula hotel, this café serves inventive salads, open sandwiches and pastries.

    • 108 E. Superior St.

    • 312 573 6749

    • No reservations

  6. Coco Pazzo

    In the gallery district Coco Pazzo prepares dramatic, earthy Italian cuisine in an impressive loft space.

    • 300 W. Hubbard St.

    • 312 836 0900

    • Closed Sat & Sun lunch

  7. Kevin

    Chef Kevin Shikami has struck out alone, offering a daily-changing menu that puts an Asian spin on French cuisine. Enjoy a tuna tartare and favorite cocktail at the wood and slate bar.

    • 9 W. Hubbard St.

    • 312 595 0055

    • Closed Sun

  8. Pump Room

    A jazz trio, opulent decor, and a forward-leaning continental menu serve diners here. Celebrities love its famed “booth 1.”

    • 1301 N. State Pkwy

    • 312 266 0360

  9. Whiskey Bar & Grill

    Run by Rande Gerber, husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford, this sophisticated, sleek bar attracts a trendy crowd.

    • 1015 N. Rush St.

    • 312 475 0300

  10. Zebra Lounge

    A classic piano lounge, the Zebra is intimate, friendly, and decorated wall to wall in animal prints. It’s a funky place to drink cocktails in the Gold Coast.

    • 1220 N. State St.

    • 312 642 5140

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