Little Chicago

Windy City entrepreneurs offer new attractions for foodies and art lovers.


(FSB Magazine) -- Chicago has long been a favorite hangout for old-school steak houses, sport bars, and blues clubs - and it still is. But today the city also boasts an exciting and varied art and food scene.

The transformation starts in downtown center, where Millennium Park (millenniumpark.org) has turned a gritty business district and train yard into a cultural landmark. A sculpture garden graces the grounds of the Frank Gehry-designed outdoor pavilion, and visitors can see a play, hear a concert, and visit the art gallery, all in one packed day.

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The Custom House restaurant

Venture beyond downtown for some of the best food-and-design hot spots in Chicago. After a $25 million renovation, the Hotel Raphael has been reborn as the Hotel Raffaello (chicagoraffaello.com), a boutique gem, worlds apart from the convention lodgings associated with the city. Outside, you can't miss its Mediterranean-style architecture; inside, you'll be struck by the marble lobby and bright guest rooms created by award-winning designer Mitchell Freedland.

One of the city's best-loved chefs, Shawn McClain, just opened a steak house in Printer's Row, south of the Loop. His first restaurant, Spring (springrestaurant.net), has been a favorite since 2001 and serves seafood in the Wicker Park area. But now his fans can indulge at Custom House (customhouse.cc), set in a Zenlike space and selling steak by preparation, not cut. The short ribs, for instance, are cooked in a cast-iron pot, the meat swimming in juice and falling off the bone.

After dinner, cool off at Pops for Champagne (popsforchampagne.com). The champagne bar spent 24 years in an obscure Lakeview location before moving to a sleek venue in the River North district. And now the interiors have taken a stylish turn too: The owner brought in an onyx bar, and made the jazz section a bit cozier than the original. Luckily he kept the menu of 100 champagnes and sparking wines. Change is good, but some things are best left the way they were.  Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.