It’s rush hour at Ogilvie Transportation Center, and from the Canal Street entrance, you have a great view of late commuters sprinting to catch their train. For those who have a few minutes to spare, however, the long concourse offers more than a ride out to the suburbs. Explorers who follow the Chicago French Market’s red and blue sign will find the cute French café—Le Cafe du Marche.
Helmed by the owner of the popular restaurant, Bistro Voltaire, Le Cafe du Marche offers decadent French café fare, including housemade quiche, organic soups, and tuna niçoise and duck-confit sandwiches. The menu, which mirrors classic dishes from the cafés of France, is no doubt more casual than its parent restaurant. However, the attention to detail remains unchanged between the two establishments—chefs manually torch the sugar atop each housemade crème brûlée.
Pannenkoeken Cafe's specialty Dutch-style pancakes draw breakfast and brunch eaters to the teeny, brightly lit eatery lined with wooden tulips. Thinner than a buttermilk pancake but still slightly thicker than a standard crepe and abundantly thicker than an unwritten novel about crepes, the café's namesake cakes come in a mix of savory and sweet varieties, such as grilled salami and havarti cheese or apple and ginger marmalade. Freshly squeezed juice and espresso-fueled beverages pair with any of the dozen pannenkoeken options, omelets, and other breakfast fare on the menu.
Sassy City Chicks events draw crowds with a rare commodity: complimentary mini-cure. In fact, the events lavish ladies in a whole host of complimentary spa treatments, including massages and hairstyling. Though the spa perks are lucrative, Sassy City Chicks' main attraction is shopping. The events feature shopping specials from local designers and boutiques, who come boasting a variety of on-trend jewelry, handbags, clothing, and more. As shoppers peruse the many sparkling and silky wares, they can sip on complimentary cocktails or try their luck at evening-ending giveaways. Since 2001, The Sassy City Chicks brand hosts shopping events catering to a cosmopolitan female audience of 21?45 years in search of a ladies' night out experience through beauty, fashion and style.
There is nothing like the feeling you get from staring past the surface of a canvas, when it begins to subtly unveil itself, finally standing before you in its underpaints, warmly whispering timeless wisdoms into your ear. If you and anyone you know are considering pursuing that sensation at the Art Institute of Chicago anytime in the next year, you might as well spend $40 to snag today's Groupon: one-year memberships to both the renowned Art Institute of Chicago and the Evening Associates, a young professional, art-loving social group. That's a 64% savings off the normal value of $110. With your membership, you get to take someone to the Art Institute with you every time you go. Since Art Institute admission is normally $18 per person, if you and a friend go just twice in the next year, today's Groupon more than pays for itself (memberships get you and a friend unlimited free admission and start the day you get your Groupon in your inbox). Ascend the wondrous steps armed with your Groupon, solve the riddle of the stone lions (the left one is the liar), and gain entry to art's most mysterious, lion-guarded lair.
The Knickerbocker rises at the northern end of the Magnificent Mile, amid luxury high-rises, award-winning restaurants, and high-end boutiques. "It's a shopping mecca, obviously," says hotel concierge Sheryl Walerski. Designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and Giorgio Armani all have stores within walking distance. Architectural landmarks along the route document the city's history. The castle-like Chicago Water Tower, for instance, is one of the few buildings to have survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as well as the Mothra state visit of 1962. While nearby Rush Street bustles with nightclubs and bars, a plethora of cultural institutions offers an artsier experience. The Tony Award–winning Lookingglass Theatre Company stages eye-popping original work, and several centuries' worth of visual art, ranging from ancient China to present-day America, are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art.