Living in Chicago is a joy, a privilege, and sometimes a grind. If you find yourself falling out of love with our city once it's sandwiched you between arctic winter storms and sticky summers, we've got 10 brand-new reasons to rekindle your torrid affair. We're still pining for the Windy City, and we're more than happy to tell you why. It might take a little digging, and possibly an adventure or two, but you're living in a pulsing metropolis that's got way more to offer than our iconic deep-dish pizza. We've all got our reasons for sticking around (otherwise we'd move somewhere without a winter) and feel free to declare your passion in our comments section.
1. We have an actual speakeasy. Because The Aviary wasn't exclusive enough, culinary mastermind Grant Achatz created The Office, a very VIP lounge located below The Aviary, where the only way you'll get a seat is if they give you one. We hear your best bet is to first conquer a table upstairs, then be kind to your staff and hope someone with an earpiece walks up to you and whispers the magic words.
2. Lollapalooza is just the beginning. It's not just about what goes down in Grant Park anymore. Now, we've got tons of respectable fests that bring the fun (and the crowds) to Chicago. We'll be at the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend (street style cameras in tow!) and we expect to see you there. Next up? North Coast Music Festival, and so on, and so on.
3. It's still more expensive to park in New York. Harp all you want on those damned green pay boxes, there are still more expensive ways to stash your ride. A recent look at parking prices revealed that despite our complaining, there are people who actually have it worse than us, and they all live in NYC. It could be worse, and at least we have lovely bike weather to take the edge (and the cost) off. You may resume complaining in November.
4. Cult favorites love us. We never expected it to cause such an uproar, but hundreds lined up for the first Chick-Fil-A in Chicago, and indulged that unique craving only fast-food fried chicken can cause. Pinkberry was hot on its heels, opening their first location to the tune of free yogurt, and we are proud to stay we won our inner battle to stay home that day. What's next? A Sonic thats actually within city limits? Oh, to dream.
5. We open really, really amazing restos. July is a month marked with not-insignificant restaurant openings. Tribute and Perennial Virant, we're talking to you. The kind of restaurant that you literally hear people talking about as you walk down State Street opens about once a month in Chicago. Calling us lucky doesn't even cover it. We might have to buy a plane ticket to ski or enjoy a relaxing weekend on a beach, but we don't have to go anywhere for five-star eats.
6. We have a local a boutique so rad, it has to open twice. In a world where pigs fly, hell is frozen, and our credit card never maxes out, we're only shopping at Ikram. This super-high end boutique of dreams opens a second location at the end of this month. Don't let the brands or atmosphere intimidate you. If you're seeking style, you'll find it here. Period.
7. We can hold our liquor. And we can pour it, too. Chicago's cocktail scene is nothing short of inspiring. If you need proof, take look in your liquor cabinet and note that where there used to be a half-empty bottle of Absolut, there are now three kinds of bitters and a bottle of homemade simple syrup. Bars and lounges like The Whistler, Sable, and even restos like Longman & Eagle are kicking the crap out of "I'll just have a vodka soda," and spreading the mixology bug all over Chi-town.
8. You can wear our art out. We're a town of multitaskers. We don't just have a job, we have four. And we don't just throw a party, we throw festivals. Logic then, leads us to BucketFeet, the artists who don't want their work hanging on your wall—they want it on your feet. And then they want to use the money earned to support worldwide charities. Take a breath, and then get involved by heading to Studio Paris this Saturday at 4 p.m. for a summer celebration with BucketFeet. The rsvp list closes today, so be quick!
9. Our roofs are on fire. With the city finally extending our collective curfew, we can party on the weekdays until midnight at downtown's coolest rooftop bars. This hasn't changed a thing about weekend imbibing hours, but you know, baby steps. We can expect at least a good two more months of roof-able weather, so take those toasts outdoors until the clock strikes twelve.
10. When we fake it, they believe us. Only Chicago could conjure such magic as to give us sunny skies Monday-Friday, but then when prime tan time comes around on the weekend, it's pouring. We've learned to adapt ourselves and our skin tones using fabulous fakes. Whether you're getting handy with a spray bottle in the bathtub, or leaving it to the professionals at Avieve, you're totally covered.