The City

Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is among the largest cities in the U.S. Famed for its bold architecture, it has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. The city is also renowned for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago with its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.


Merz Apothecary

Originally created in 1875, this boutique pharmacy first opened the doors to its flagship location in Lincoln Square in 1982. The second store, at the entrance to the Palmer House in the Loop, was opened in 2003. With over 13,000 products, including the largest collection of natural and luxury soaps from around the world under one roof, this hub of health, beauty and personal care products offers options for everyone. Yet despite exponential growth and booming popularity, it still maintains the intimate feel of a quaint apothecary. For locals, it’s a neighbourhood must-stop, for visitors, a definite shopping destination.

A Sense of Style

Hyde Park Records

You could spend days digging through bins full of everything from south side funk to traditional blues in this long, narrow shop owned by Frenchman Alexis Bouteville, who also has a smaller location just a few blocks away. Marked by a faded brown and yellow sign, this Hyde Park record store is packed from floor to ceiling with vintage hip-hop LPs and rare blues and jazz records. The brick walls are painted a sunny yellow and are marked with record covers hastily hung. Though cluttered and unkempt, the store is a destination for intrepid shoppers who pride themselves on bargain buys and tastes for unusual albums, such as archival hip-hop treasures and vintage jazz records.


Chicago Athletic Association

In 1893, the landmark Venetian Gothic tower designed by architect Henry Ives Cobb was opened as a private club, where legendary sports families like the Wrigleys and Comiskeys mingled. After operating non-stop for 114 years, the club closed in 2007. It reawakened in 2015 as a lifestyle boutique hotel, thanks to operator Commune Hotels & Resorts and board chairman John Pritzker, son of the founder of the Hyatt hotel chain. There’s a lot of history here, ranging from the quirky (the Chicago Cubs logo was patterned after that of the CAA), to the design-relevant (thanks to Roman and Williams). Social and sport pursuits still figure into the equation with a games room where you can play pinochle, just like old times, and guest rooms in which vintage gym ladders have been transformed into unique bookshelves. Find it directly across from Grant Park, which could be called the city’s biggest open-air gym in its own right.

Arts and Culture

The Golden Triangle

First opened in 1989, this showroom and gallery has continued to grow in popularity and prestige with both domestic and international clientele, for its eclectic, niche events – Chinese tea tastings, Japanese poetry readings, Eastern music concerts – and awe-inspiring inventory. Its size has increased exponentially; partners Doug Van Tress and Chauwarin Tuntisak upgraded from their initial 50-square-metre space on the Westside to the current 2,000-square-metre showroom in River North years ago. They divided the space into dozens of rooms, each displaying a distinct culture, colour scheme, design decade or aesthetic inclination. Visitors should set aside at least an hour to wander through for the full effect. The Golden Triangle originally specialized in Asian and European antiques, but recently the two owners have built relationships with local artisans, including Jacob Weiner of Modern Industry and now offer a Made in Chicago furniture collection.

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