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chicago.. and the first weekend of lovely!

May 20, 2013

Remember, DH is out of town… the weekend was mine … and  Chicago beckoned!

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods.  Chicago presents itself as if it were small towns nestled side by side, homes snuggled tightly together with low story condos randomly interspersed.  Lakeview is my neighborhood of exposure, I love it!  It is vibrant, healthy, active and stable.  Friends have moved back to Lakeview after a stint of duty in the suburbs.  They left the area 20 years ago when living West of Southport was discouraged and Southport itself was undeveloped.  What a change a couple of decades can make, as the Southport Corridor is thriving.. Neighbors of all generations mingle together, live side by side, push strollers, walk dogs, saunter into retirement and flourish in Lakeview.  DS discovered Lakeview, invested in a gut rehab 2 bedroom closet with an amazing deck,  he intends to remain a city dweller throughout.  And a loyal Cubs fan, difficult as that may prove to be!

Sounds like a public relations piece for the Chamber of Commerce… all true!  Add the season of Lovely; perfection!  And a perfect day to explore!

DS was also out of town, leaving his most special GF available for a fun afternoon of shopping, walking, talking, eating and sipping!  We covered Southport, and then set out for a longish walk.

Lakeview merges into Lincoln square along Lincoln Avenue.  Walking north highlights amazing foodie choices, shopping choices and businesses, all housed in repurposed buildings which appear to be nearly 100 years old.  Shout out to Le Cafe, a new addition to the foodie scene.  The side of cabbage with red vinegar and pepper, a traditional family recipe, was a sharp counterpoint to the ammish chicken salad and mushroom/cheese panini.  Stop in, well priced and worth it!  Of course, Timeless Toys is an icon of Lincoln Square, arriving as the area first began to morph and emerge again, the shopkeepers have created a toy environment of suburb choice and insistent sensory stimulation.  Toys are everywhere, adorable to see open toys at toddler level and watch the process of discovery unfold.

Back in Lakeview for dinner  at N’omi,  the price fixe  menu was light and spicy, leaving room for foryo up the block!  Only the 20,000 steps taken could mediate the calorie count of this amazing day.

With an overnight in Lakeview, another amazing day of Lovely in the city awaited… Driving along Lakeshore Drive Sunday morning provided an impressive view of the Loop, already waking up, getting ready for a full day hosting tourists, suburbanites and locals thronging to the area. Figuring out how to exit the drive, merge and dive down into the Grant Park Parking facility, not so lovely… but done!

Then, friends arrive by train ready to explore, we head to the Art Institute where we could have stayed all day.. Discovering the modern wing, and revisiting the paperweight collection and the miniature rooms filled our time.  We wandered into galleries telling the story of ethnic settlement in Chicago during the 20th century.  Looking at visuals of the neighborhoods I had traveresed the prior day, deepened the connection to the areas hisotry. Listening to the stories of my friends whose families settled first and stayed in Chicago brought their neighborhoods to life.

After a time, Lovely beckoned with lunch outside at the Park Grill, followed by a slow stroll around Millenium Park.  The BP bridge is amazing, even partially closed, we enjoyed observing progress on Maggie Daley park from the bridge.  The Lurie gardens colored in shades of purple blooms were dramatic, yet welcoming.

Clearly Chicagoans love Chicago, from the abundant generousity of families such as the Luries, Pritzkers, Rubloffs and Thornes generations of ordinary Chicagoans are able to share the wealth and beauty of our world.

Such a wonderfull weekend, filled with experiences, time to leave the city and head back to the burbs… I’ll be back.. this is the year of celebrating the season of Lovely in Chicago!

(author’s note…. I wanted to tell you about my weekend, from a bit of a distance… draw you in, create a sense of the fun and excitement of the weekend without being the story of me… I think I got the sense of the city… yet in doing that, missed some of the personality and nuance of the conversations and people. This writing is a journey!)

  1. Gwen permalink

    Great post! I’m also a suburbanite, but we still have an apartment in Lakeview. I miss it every day. Loved your descriptions.

    • I am a country girl, living in the burbs with a DS in the city… hurray for kids who widen our lives! Although diving into that parking garage was truly terrifying!

      the offset is Southport with Athleta and Anthropologie at the top of the list! Have a great day!

      • Gwen permalink

        Not sure I know what a DS is.

      • darling son… ! self supporting, independent… living in the 2 bedroom closet in the city with significant storage space in the burbs, ie our home!

      • hmmm did my comment post? DS is darling son, self supporting, independent, living in the 2 bedroom closet in the city….

  2. I love your post about your weekend journey in the city. It’s such lovely weekend getaway, wasn’t it. This is what I love about Chicago, very diverse city, good stores around, and great food. Very nice description 🙂

  3. Debi permalink

    Sounds like an amazing day. There are times when I love the city and times when I really hate it and mostly it depends on the time of year and the neighborhood I find myself in. I love the smaller neighborhoods that are like the “brownstone” areas of NY city. The tall skyscrapers make me feel like I need to hurry through.

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