{ Chicago Summertime Skyline }
Ever since moving to Los Angeles four years ago, I have made an annual Chicago trip each summer. I stopped going back for the winter holiday after my mother realized a palm tree Christmakkah is better then a white one and so this year being no different, I set out to the midwest for some good old #SummertimeChi. Making the most of my time, I hit up all my favorite spots, some new, some old, with my Chicago people along for the ride. Enjoy!
{ Summer House Santa Monica in Lincoln Park }
Not surprisingly one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is inspired by Santa Monica, a neighborhood just west of my Brentwood apartment and essentially where I'd consider "home" in LA. The open air, bright, skylighted space is beaming with natural light and I'd imagine boasts a summery feel even when Chicago's weather goes grey.
{ Summer House Santa Monica, Lincoln Park }
Its high ceilings, white painted shutters and accents of greenery do a wonderful job of embracing the laid back beach vibe that makes Santa Monica, CA such a desirable place to live. If you live in LA, my best comparison would be Coast at Shutters meets The Bungalow. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun, just like the place I now call home!
{ Summer House Santa Monica, Lincoln Park }
Of course the menu delightfully reflects southern California cuisine to a T. Some of my favorites: local burrata, asparagus lyonnaise, lobster orecchiette, wild mushroom enchilada stack, santa monica cobb, and the avocado toast. Everything my friends and I have had here has been delicious, so you really can't go wrong!
{ Summer House Santa Monica, Lincoln Park }
Despite my summer preference for rosé all the way, I had to order this drink! The Palm Fizz (above) is the epitome of summer cocktails. If I lived in Chicago during February I would surely be ordering these with no shame! Is it greedy to want a Summer House location in the real Santa Monica? 
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, Lincoln Park }
Something I've really learned to appreciate about the Midwest and east coast is the naturally lush landscape. Southern California has many rolling green lawns but they are certainly not native to the environment and have become unsustainable with the state's severe drought. I was happy to see all the amazing plant life at the Lincoln Park Conservatory (below) and well preserved ponds like the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (above). 
{ Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Chicago }
Since my mother and I weren't in the same city for Mother Day this year, we decided to have a belated afternoon tea at the beautiful Peninsula Chicago Hotel. Just a block from the city's famous Michigan Avenue, we spent a small afternoon getting dressed up and girly for some small but filling sandwiches, ultra sweet pastries and strong tea. It was really cute and a nice way to spend a summer afternoon!
{ Soulcycle, Old Town Chicago }
Happy to see Chicago found it's SOUL and of course I had to join in the fun! I only got a chance to go once and so I choose a 90s hip hop themed ride with a fun instructor named Aya, who promised the class for a part two ride, wish I could be there for that! So many great songs to cover! As always, the fun times and good vibes are in every soul studio! Excited to hear SOUL Loop has just hit town too!
{ Soho House Chicago }
Once I heard about Soho House Chicago opening and saw the stunning rooftop pool images, I knew it would be a "must see" while in town and the type of place my sister would adore, so we decided to stay for a fun girls night in. First order of business was ordering cocktails by the pool and let's just say they make a mean Moscow mule (above) and of course, I ordered french fries!
{ Soho House Chicago }
So the room didn't have a personal barcart, but the hotel had a traveling one in the evening! Unfortunately, we missed its arrival at our door while preoccupied at the pool, but the in-room bar tray certainly didn't disappoint (above). I LOVE the old fashioned atomizer (an old fashioned perfume bottle used for martinis) I definitely need one now on my barcart
{ Soho House Chicago }
One cool thing about the Soho House in Chicago is the first floor is open to the public for non-members. They have the Fox Bar, Chicken & Farm Shop, Pizza East, and The Allis. I didn't get a chance to eat at either but I was told the Allis has an afternoon tea that looked quite lovely when we arrived. The club level has a formal dining option at Tavern , but we just grabbed some late bites at the club floor and everything was delicious, especially the flat iron chicken and salt cod croquettes (above)!
{ Soho House Chicago }
Out of all the awesome spaces at this house, like the screening room equipped with every movie watching snack and candy you can imagine, the music room with a wide collection of guitars, the circular club bar - I spent the most time on the rooftop, how could you not with this view? Whether you are in Chicago on vacation, in to see old friends and family or simply live in the windy city, it's certainly a worthwhile place to spend some time!
{ Rosé on the J.Parker Rooftop }
The best part of my trip was of course spending time with all my friends and family back home. It's such a true cliché that real relationships pick up right where they left off and don't seem to change, for better or worse. It's really great to know that wherever I am on a map, my friendships won't change much, the new and the old. There wasn't nearly enough time, but my time was certainly well spent. 

Cheers to you Chicago, 

Xx, Monica


  1. Thanks for introducing me to J Parker! Awesome rooftop in Chicago for drinks!

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