My Chicago Story started when I was young. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My family would drive to Chicago for family vacations. I grew up walking Michigan Ave and tasting Garrett’s Popcorn and shopping in Water Tower Place. When I was in college, I touched down in Chicago on my way back from Italy and I decided this would be my new home. It was bigger than Cincinnati but not as big and intimidating then NYC. I started looking for jobs my Senior year of college and moved to Chicago in October of 2004.
The city was overwhelming at first, I swore I would never drive in the city. The multiple lanes on the highway and the city drivers were too much for me. But I quickly got used to the city and the faster paced life. My second year in Chicago, my sister and her husband moved to the city. It feels like so long ago. I loved having them here and wish that we could be back in the same city again.
I lived in the same building in Lincoln Park for 8 years before packing up my belongings and heading to Paris. It knew I wanted to change my life in a big way so giving up the apartment instead up subleasing it was the right choice.
When it came to settling down after traveling in 2015, I had a big choice to make. I wasn’t sure I was ready to move back to Chicago. I changed and so did my friends. A lot of my college friends got married and started having kids in those years I was traveling. I was starting over again. I thought about moving to NYC because I love the city and I have family there but the cost of living is so high and I am self employed. It just didn’t make sense.
I chose a new neighborhood in Chicago and settled on an apartment within a few days. It was really the light and the view that sold me on the place. Plus, my current apartment has 4 closets. Coming from Paris, this was a huge deal. It happened fast but the transition back to being settled into Chicago was difficult. I missed Paris which is why I initially came up with the idea for the blog. It was my cure for homesickness.
I had no idea how the blog would work or if it would work at all. I was really worried that settling back in Chicago would hurt my Instagram following and people would lose interest in my story. I probably lost followers but in the grand scheme of things, but I had to know that it was ok. The blog started slow and has picked up momentum over the two years. I was really surprised what a big audience of blog readers are from Chicago. I started hosting meet ups and blog readers have become friends. I created the community I was searching for when I moved back to Chicago.
While my family is in Florida, I still feel Chicago is a good place for me. I would love to be closer to my niece and nephew but for now I will have to travel back and forth to visit.
I have decided to make Chicago a more permanent decision for the next couple years. Which hints a little bit more to my next big project.
Below is the grand map of my favorites. Everything from Beauty, Where I like to Eat, Shop and more. This will hopefully become a series if this interests you as readers. Comment below and let me know what you want to know about Chicago. Best Instagram Spots, Brunch, Winter Activities in the city.
There is one spot that hits a few categories. Ralph Lauren has a restaurant here in Chicago. It is my go to date spot (they know me well), best burger, and a great place for coffee. My old boss introduced me to the restaurant over 10 years ago and I have been going ever since. There is a spot in front of the fireplace that I love to sit. If you ever want to meet me for a coffee or a drink, just suggest this spot and I can be easily convinced. Just ask my friends.
First things first, let’s talk about croissants. I continue to research for the best croissant in Paris. You can see my full list here. I am very picky when it comes to my croissant, I like it flakey, buttery, not too soft and not too cooked. How do you like your croissant?
I recently tried the croissant from Benninson’s and it was the real deal. I picked mine up at Green City Market which is Wednesday and Saturdays in Lincoln Park. Their shop location is in the suburbs.
La Fournette is located in Old Town. I love this spot for a little dose of French every morning. They have croissants, almond croissants and pain au chocolat. They sell out early on the weekends so don’t arrive too late. Tell Luke I sent you!
I met the owner, Amanda after discovering her through a friend on Instagram. Her croissants are made with the real good butter (just ask her). I have been known to message her to put croissants away for me since they sell out early. She is in the process of expanding her space which means more croissants!
Another Lincoln Park spot is Floriole for croissants and bread. If I lived closer, I would buy their bread more often. Their croissants are on the bien cuit (well cooked) side but very good.
This is a Belgian bakery that has been recommended by friends for forever but I never checked it out until recently. Their croissants are incredible and they have a huge local following. I waited in a good long line in the cold but it was totally worth the wait.
One of my favorite new spots for drinks is Z Bar Chicago right in the heart of the city. It just recently opened but I have already been a few times with friends. It is a great spot for food/drinks with friends or a date night in the city.
For a little bit of Paris in Chicago, shop at POSH. I love this shop and it brings a huge smile to my face every time I visit. The owner Karl visits Paris a few times a year and brings back antiques. He also stocks the store with books, soaps, candles, and glassware. It is my go to spot for gifts for all my Francophile friends. You can stop by next door for a macaron or two at Alliance.
I am a big fan of Antiques so you can find me at Randolph Antique Market in the Summer. Other spots for Antiques are in Andersonville, Brownstone Antiques is great and the prices are right. Just make sure you go in with an open mind and a little TLC.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoy a little of my Chicago story and my favorite spots in the city. It is a great place to visit and live. If you find yourself in Chicago and want to meet, feel free to reach out! I can’t commit to every invitation to coffee but I love meeting you all so you never know if our schedules will line up.
There is one spot that didn’t make the list. I dance every day and I am sure my studio would love for me to share. But it is my escape from work and to clear my mind. I love this spot and wish to keep it private. I talk all about choosing what you keep private on my blogging post.
Thank you so much for reading and all of your support! xo
To bring a little Paris into your lives no matter where you live, you can read my guide 25 French Brands You Can Buy in the US