Breakfast starts the day with a chocolate croissant at Hendricks Belgian Bread crafter. It’ll be first thing in the morning so they’ll be straight out of the oven. These guys take 18 hours to lovingly craft their croissants. Through a process of folding and letting it stand over an 18 hour period it only uses a little bit of butter but creates something that will collapse in your mouth and yet be beautifully chewy. Stuffed with a little piece of dark chocolate before baking.
After such a decadent breakfast, stroll down Magnificent Mile to get to the Art Institute of Chicago. Nothing will open until 10 so it’s just a nice stroll. Take in the architecture, beautiful old Church and the Water Tower. The Water Tower was one of the only surviving buildings from the great Chicago fire which gutted most of the city. If you do go there after 10 then check out Teuscher Chocolate and take some Champagne truffles with you for later… they fly in fresh Swiss Chocolate weekly and it will change your life!
Once you get to the Art Institute (note it opens at 10) then I would recommend heading straight to the top floor and making your way down. It’s such a huge museum but most of the best work is on the top floor. You’ll find the best renaissance artists like Tiepolo then move through the ages to Rococo’s greatest artists Fragonard and Boucher. Take note of a great collection from the neoclassical artist David who was largely involved in the French Revolution. The impressionist collection will have you in a whirl with great work by Manet, Monet, Degas and Renoir. Or maybe you’ll have a moment of life contemplation in front of Seurat’s ‘A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte’ just like Ferris Bueller…
After the top floor we were tired and hungry so took an Uber straight to the West loop to a little restaurant called Au Chavel. They don’t take reservations so expect a wait. Put your name on the list then head over to Haymarket Pub & Brewery for a beer while you wait. Don’t eat, you’ll need your appetite!! When we got to Au Chavel we ordered the Roasted Marrow bones with beef cheek marmalade and a double cheese burger with thick cut bacon and a beautiful sunny side up egg. It was all amazing but so rich!! I would probably order the burger with either bacon or an egg or maybe just a single cheese burger (they put an extra patty on there anyway!). After all that you’re going to need to go back to your hotel or Airbnb and have a nap (don’t feel bad, it’s a holiday and you just ate your weight in cow!)
I am assuming you’re staying in Wicker Park because it’s an awesome suburb to stay and it’s still really close to the city. Try and get an Airbnb close to where division and Damen Ave meet up or around the actual park. You’ll be happy with your decision. Post nap you can wander around and get lost on any of the streets close to where Damen, Milwaukee and North meet up. There’s so many cool new and vintage stores along there. Stop in at Myopic Books for a tri level book heaven. Wormhole Café has great strong coffee and really cool nerdy décor. Then if you’re that way inclined, Nicks Beergarden is a chilled old dive bar with great drink specials and even better service.
After your day of walking around, eating, shopping and napping you’re going to need to finish on a high. Get yourself dressed up and get an uber to Shaws Crab House. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a weeknight then you’ll get live music and oysters. On a weekend you just get oysters… but still worth it! The seafood is beautiful and fresh, the service is great and did I mention the oysters?? Yum… Don’t have desert here though, walk down the street and go to an awesome underground Bourbon bar called Untitled where you can try beautiful top shelf bourbons paired with a silky crème brulee.