The Chicago Guide
Chicago is easy to love. First, there’s the famous Midwestern charm, which can’t be overstated and seems genetically wired in its inhabitants. People are just really nice here. Then, of course, there are world class museums, parks, parks, parks everywhere you look, and so many great restaurants we’ve barely made a dent in our checklist. And every year, it just gets better. Formerly off-the-beaten path neighborhoods, like Logan Square and Bucktown, are now front-and-center when it comes to Chicago’s new crop of hip watering holes, while old school haunts, like The Peninsula (one of GP’s favorites), are getting fresh, modern makeovers. As much as we love sharing everything new, though, we’re also rediscovering cultural institutions, shops, and restaurants that deserve newfound attention. It’s this uniquely Chicago mix, after all, that makes this city so endlessly exciting.
Mireille’s Studio49 E. Oak St., Gold Coast | 312.587.8727
Mireille Hamon counts Oprah among her many makeup and skincare clients. The skin guru grew up and received her training in France, which explains her brilliant less-is-more approach. She’s a wizard at clearing blemishes via gentle steams, soothing masks, and careful extractions. Her LED light therapy and microdermabrasion sessions are stellar. And the woman is also an eyebrow genius.
Cleise Brazilian Day Spa732 N. Wells St., River North | 312.664.0750
Owner Cleise Gomes moved to Chicago from Brazil in 2000, and has been working to bring traditional Brazilian beauty techniques to the U.S. ever since. Given her experience and background, it’s no surprise that Gomes is famous for her waxing techniques, but it's her facials that are actually one of the city's best kept secrets. There are glycolic peels, oxygen and LED light therapy, and a face massage-focused session that includes a rousing, heavenly scalp treatment.
Allyu Spa600 W. Chicago Ave., River North | 312.755.1313
Allyu (pronounced eye-you) is the Quechua word for community, and this Riverwalk-neighborhood spa's commitment to community spreads far beyond its clients. Sustainability manifests itself in nontoxic beauty products, cabinets made from reclaimed barn wood, and locally made soaps for sale. Besides a range of more traditional services, the incredible facials incorporate healing grape stem cells, rose-quartz massage, and smoothing enzyme masks, plus an amazing chakra balancing treatment.
Credo1659 North Damen Ave., Wicker Park | 773.698.8163
This progressive, impeccably curated natural beauty boutique stocks a wide range (more than 100) of nontoxic brands from around the globe, including top skincare and makeup products from de Mamiel, Ilia, Kjaer Weis, Kypris, RMS, Tammy Fender, and our very own goop by Juice Beauty. The original shop debuted in 2015 in San Francisco and quickly gained a huge following. Sister locations have since opened in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and here in Chicago, where there is an exclusive Tata Harper spa, much like the other locations.
Cowshed at Soho House113 N. Green St., West Loop | 312.754.6915
This British import, located inside the Soho House in Chicago's buzzy West Loop, offers extraordinarily comfy treatment chairs and farmhouse vibes. It's particularly popular for its indulgent manis and pedis (60 and 75 minutes, respectively): Each of the chairs features its own TV and freshly brewed tea served in a teapot is available upon request. There are only five treatment rooms, but they'll do everything from facials (some with SkinCeuticals products) to body wraps, scrubs, and deep tissue massages.
The Peninsula Spa Chicago108 E. Superior St., Gold Coast | 312.573.6860
The spa is high up on the 19th and 20th floors of the hotel, and the treatments are beyond-pampering and impressively corrective. The Cryo 3R Facial uses chilled air to regenerate skin and support collagen (you look remarkably glowy immediately after), while the European Deep Cleansing Facial involves a revitalizing massage, thorough pore detoxification, and layer upon layer of nourishing serums and creams. There's a eucalyptus steam room, as well as a relaxation room where you can curl up next to a fireplace. The facials can absolutely stand alone, but if you're splurging, consider one of the famous half- or full-day spa journeys.
Aire Ancient Baths Chicago800 W. Superior St., River West | 312.945.7414
Much like its New York counterpart, Aire Chicago looks quite a bit like the Temple of White and Black from Game of Thrones. Candle-lit stairways lead you to a gorgeous, catacomb-like space with many baths and steam rooms (at many different temperatures, from hot to ice-f-ing cold to a sublime extra-salt version where you float like you’re in the Dead Sea). After sweating/freezing it out, they have really great massages, which are easy to add onto booked time in the baths.
Chill Chicago222 W. Kinzie St., River North | 312.222.1442
As the name suggests, Chill is the place to come to escape. It’s a River North meditation studio that breaks the daunting task of quieting the mind into thirty-minute sessions, each designed to calm and reset a specific area of concern. “Breath” is focused on mental clarity and the elimination of brain fog. “Insight” is for the career-minded looking for work dilemma breakthroughs, while “Rest” is for those on a quest for better sleep. There’s even a course for kids, designed to train younger minds to de-stress and find stillness amid jam-packed schedules.
Yogaview2211 N. Elston Ave., Bucktown | 773.342.9642
There are yoga studios that teach you to stretch and strengthen, and then there are yoga studios that seem to give you the tools to master mind and body. Lincoln Park’s Yogaview definitely falls into the latter. That’s due to thoughtfully-led classes taught by instructors who somehow manage plenty of individual attention, even in group classes, especially beginner sessions so newbies develop a strong foundation of basics. The expansive studio itself is a calming mix of exposed brick, high wood-beamed ceilings, and warm, soft lighting.
The CryoBar1205 W. Webster Ave., Lincoln Park | 773.360.1729
The metal cryotherapy tanks found at Lincoln Park’s CryoBar are as futuristic as it gets—and be warned: the thought of being surrounded in a subzero fold of icy fog is a little daunting. But many regulars describe the enveloping cold as a surprisingly pleasant experience, which is meant to release endorphins and produce an anti-inflammatory response that can reduce pain and increase your metabolism. It’s also said to encourage a great night’s sleep. It’s an easy, quick process: Step inside, remove your robe, and after three minutes, you emerge with a body that feels rested and recharged.