Why Felicity Huffman is fiercely into things that are Chicagoan
The Peninsula Chicago (very expensive)
Ann Sather (Swedish, inexpensive to moderate)
The Gaslight Bar & Grille (pub fare, inexpensive to moderate)
Jaks Tap (pub fare, inexpensive)
Landmark Grill & Lounge (American, moderate to expensive)
Le Bouchon (French, expensive)
The Matchbox (beer, spirits, and wine, inexpensive)
The 3rd Coast Cafe & Wine Bar (American, moderate)
Turquoise Restaurant (Turkish, moderate)
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Blake Women's Apparel
Marshall Field's (now Macy's)
John Hancock Center
Lincoln Park Zoo
Montgomery Ward Building
6 North Michigan Avenue
North Avenue Beach
Oak Street Beach
The Wrigley Building
Why we're fiercely into things that are Chicagoan
Crowne Plaza HotelChicago-Metro (moderate)
This year-old West Loop lodging bills itself as an "ideal home-away-from-home for weekday business travelers." If only every home were this luxurious! We'd love to be able to hop out of bed each day and have beautiful skyline views, a full-service concierge, a loaded exercise room, and the hotel's other amenities (including access to a Hummer and a driver, if you're staying in a suite).
Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center (inexpensive to moderate)
Want to escape the hustle and bustle? Consider this rustic retreat 90 miles southwest of Chicago. Set amid lush Starved Rock State Park, a 2,630-acre forest overlooking the Illinois River, the stone-and-log lodge dates back to the 1930s and allows guests all sorts of recreation, even at this time of year. (Cross-country skiing, anyone?)
Enjoying a meal here is like getting a mini culinary lesson. The menu defines everything in glorious detail, from the hint of habanero ("hot chile pepper, orange, native to Cuba") in the roasted suckling pig to the béarnaise sauce ("hollandaise with tarragon and vinegar") accompanying the crab-and-asparagus-stuffed artichoke. Learning never tasted so good.
Harold's Chicken Shack (inexpensive)
White or dark, by the quarter or the half, dry or sauced (the way locals eat it), Harold's is the spot for fried chicken in Chi-Town. You can try its crispy, greasy, golden goodness at several locations, but the original location is a no-frills spot - complete with order takers behind bulletproof glass - in a South Side strip mall.
Not only is this quaint spot one of Chicago's oldest suburbs, but it also houses Ernest Hemingway's birthplace and Frank Lloyd Wright's first home and studio. A tour of the former (www.ehfop.org) offers a peek at Papa Hemingway's childhood diary, letters, and other writings, while the latter (www.wrightplus.org) reveals the tinkering that Wright did to his own four walls before sharing his ideas with clients.
Another must-see neighborhood is this Near North Side community, which claims the largest concentration of art galleries outside of Manhattan. But if marveling at the masterpieces in the 60-plus arts and antiques spaces isn’t enough for you, there are restaurants, shops, and historic homes to entice you as well.