I hope you all had a fabulous summer. I am just back from several weeks in England where I toured amazing country homes, so stay tuned for updates on my across-the-pond adventures.
Since it seems to be an Indian summer, my suggestion is that you get out and about. One of my favorite spots to savor the lingering warm weather is Chicago, so I asked my dear pal Kenneth Ludwig, the owner of Chicago’s Kenneth Ludwig Home Furnishings and Studio KL Kenneth Ludwig, to suggest his favorite Second City haunts. Frankly, no one knows Chicago better than the uber-stylish Mr. Ludwig.
Here’s his must-visit Chi-town list:
1. Ravinia music festival
The classic North Shore venue. Set in a beautiful park-like setting, Ravinia is perfect for picnicking while listening to great music and enjoying wine and cheese under the stars with good friends.
2. RL Restaurant
Hands down one of my favorite restaurants in the city, RL gets even better with al fresco dining overlooking busy Michigan Avenue. It’s the perfect place for people watching while enjoying the perfect martini.
3. Columbia Yacht Club
This casual yacht club, located along the bike trail and nestled in DuSable Harbor, boasts a wonderful history thanks to its former use as an icebreaker and lake cargo ship on Lake Michigan. Now converted, it’s a wonderful place for al fresco dining while watching boats on the lake. One of the coziest bars in the city.
4. Chicago Architecture Foundation tour on the Chicago River
For history and architecture buffs, this well-orchestrated tour will delight and fulfill. I’ve been numerous times with friends and guests, and it never gets old. As the city changes along the river and the lakefront so does the tour.
5. Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
Chicago is known for its vast amount of weekend neighborhood festivals that take place throughout the summer. The Lakeview East Festival of the Arts delivers with amazing artists, great music acts and a fun atmosphere. It’s filled with neighborhood friends and lots of open areas to enjoy food and music as well as a garden display that fully covers the street.
6. Movies in the Parks
Grab a blanket and your picnic basket, and head to Grant Park for movie night in the park. The city puts up large screens and showcases classic movies that we all love. It’s ideal for relaxing after work with friends while enjoying lake breezes and beautiful Grant Park.
7. Oak Street Beach
All of Chicago beaches are beautiful, but Oak Street is my Chicago staple due to its great location in the Gold Coast, its beautiful placement among lakeshore high-rises and residences and its exciting restaurant and bar venue. Grab a chair, a cocktail and enjoy the beach.
8. Dine al fresco in the evening
After a sunny day, the lake breeze kicks in and a crisp cool evening dinner outside is in order. Places not to miss include Angelina Ristorante in Lakeview; Vincent in Andersonville; Piccolo Sogno in River West; Cocina Tarascas in Lincoln Park; Kinzie Chophouse in River North and Perennial Virant in Old Town.
9. Drive on Lake Shore Drive and Sheridan Road in the summer
Put the top down on the car, and take in the sites of the lakefront on Lake Shore Drive while heading north. Keep going north, and enjoy the beautiful homes and small towns of the North Shore. Stop for dinner or dessert along the way.
10. Catch a Cubs game
The all-American past time is fulfilled with a trip to Wrigley Field. Take in the excitement in the neighborhood and on the street before the game by grabbing a beer and hot dog.