Travel

River North

Establishment neighborhood
Chill Chicago
222 W. Kinzie St., River North
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.
Pacific Standard Time
141 W. Erie St., River North
Pacific Standard Time reminds us of some of our favorite restaurants in L.A. (Botanica, Gjusta, we're looking at you), and it’s clear that chef Erling Wu-Bower took cues from coastal California, both in menu, open kitchen, and modern, light-filled space. Drawing from Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean flavors, you can expect plates of oven roasted asparagus marinated in black garlic molasses, trout in a fennel-mushroom broth, and margherita pizza with pistachio pesto from a wood-burning oven. For dessert, the huckleberry sundae and the sunflower cotton cake with strawberry syrup are winners. And since it's Chicago, a city that does happy hour particularly well, grabbing cocktails (we go for the rhubarb spritzes) at the bar is a popular way to kick off a visit. Photos: Brian Willette
Radio Anago
226 W. Kinzie St., River North
Radio Anago isn’t a typical sushi bar. Design and atmosphere take center stage at this River North spot, with its sexy purple banquettes and dim lighting that’s more reminiscent of a supper club from the 1950’s than a sushi bar from 2018. They serve all the standard rolls you could want (yellowtail sashimi, freshwater eel, salmon roe), but it’s worth ordering the Japanese-style, roasted matcha-enhanced fried chicken and the Sakura Blossom Last Word—a cocktail made of gin, green chartreuse, lime, and sakura cherry.
The Chopping Block
The Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107, River North
Owner Shelley Young opened the Chopping Block in a small cottage in Lincoln Park back in 1997 with the goal of sharing her love of prepping a home cooked meal with others. Since then, they've relocated their flagship to an 8,000-square-foot space in the Merchandise Mart. Here, a monthly roster of classes covers everything from knife skills to sushi and pasta workshops (we particularly like the "Know Your Gnocchi" class) and a course devoted to deep dish pizza and calzones—this is Chicago, after all. Classes range from 2-3 hours in length and there's a fully packed weekend schedule if you can't make it during the week. For locals wanting to take their kitchen skills to the next level, it's worth looking into their culinary bootcamp, which teaches professional techniques to home cooks in just five sessions. There's a second smaller location in Lincoln Square.
Fleur de Lis Florist
715 N. Franklin St., River North
Located in Chicago's River North district, Fleur de Lis is run by two women—one with a background in fashion and window displays and the other in graphic arts. They deliver Monday through Friday, offer floral design classes, and host events in the shop's great atrium space. Fleur de Lis has a few packages that make for a pretty great gift (that gives more than once): a year in flowers (an arrangement delivered each month) and a season in flowers (four times a year). This is also a nice option for corporate events.
Fleur de Lis Florist
715 N. Franklin St., River North
Located in Chicago's River North district, Fleur de Lis is run by two women—one with a background in fashion and window displays and the other in graphic arts. They deliver Monday through Friday, offer floral design classes, and host events in the shop's great atrium space. Fleur de Lis has a few packages that make for a pretty great gift (that gives more than once): a year in flowers (an arrangement delivered each month) and a season in flowers (four times a year). This is also a nice option for corporate events.
The Garden at Celeste
111 W. Hubbard St., River North
Celeste is divided into several different floors, and while they all share the same elegant aesthetic, the rooftop garden is far and away our favorite. The intimate space is decorated with white Victorian couches and chairs, and the brick walls are softened with vines and planters. While the punchbowl is considered one of the city's best, we usually spring for one of two frozen drinks (an Electric Pisco Colada and a Nuclear Caipirinha) that you can only get on the roof.
Cleise Brazilian Day Spa
732 N. Wells St., River North
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.
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