Visiting a sauna encourages both perspiration and relaxation, much like lounging in the sun as someone pulls your car out of a ditch. Feel the heat with this Groupon.
Choose Between Two Options
- $5 for a UV tanning session at any level of tanning bed (up to a $24 value)
- $15 for an all-day Russian banya visit (a $30 value)
All-day admission to the baths gives visitors unlimited access to the wet and dry saunas, cold-plunge pools, whirlpool hot tubs, and relaxation lounges. Admission also includes slippers, a towel, a plush spa bathrobe, and a private locker; spa services and body treatments are extra and must be booked by appointment.
For decades after it opened in 1906, the two-story Russian bathhouse on West Division Street shrouded famous locals such as Al Capone, Saul Bellow, and Nelson Algren in clouds of steam. More than 100 years later, the building underwent a full renovation. In a return chronicled by the Chicago Reader, WGN, and Time Out Chicago, the century-old retreat of the city's powerful was reborn as Red Square.
Today, as perhaps the only traditional Russian bathhouse left in Chicago, Red Square holds its heritage close with two floors of authentic wet and dry saunas (separated into male and female spaces) and a spa. In the traditional banya, cedar-plank walls and three-tiered benches surround brick and granite ovens, where clouds of steam erupt from superheated rocks. But visitors aren't just left to cook; cold-water taps beside each bench and cold-plunge pools that mimic Russian ponds reinvigorate bathers amidst the heat. Spa attendants wander the humid rooms, performing services such as the traditional platza—a rigorous massage and scrub with a bundle of oak, eucalyptus, or birch branches that mimic the relaxing sensation of falling asleep in a tree.
It might come as a surprise to find a spirit-stocked bar in Red Square's restaurant area. After all, "Many people will tell you it’s a terrible idea to mix alcohol and dehydrating heat chambers," says Time Out's Julia Kramer, "but none of those people are Russian." And so premium vodkas and Moscow Mules flow freely as guests, many of them still in their bathrobes, savor traditional Russian herring and caviar in the mahogany-paneled space, designed to resemble a 19th-century train car. To complete the locomotive vibe, curtained televisions at each booth screen looping footage of the Eastern European countryside and a conductor checks luggage for stowaways every half-hour.