Hi guys, Nicole here from Great Dates in the City! As a fellow reader of Ashley Nicole Catherine (big fan of her middle name!) I am constantly inspired by her soft, feminine style and girly touches. Keeping true to my Chicago roots, I have used her girly inspiration in my guest post today. So if you happen to live in Chicago or plan on vacationing here this summer, I have whipped up your very own "Couture and Cocktail" hand guide to the Windy City. Enjoy ladies!
1. The Beginning (10:15 AM): To get your shopping juices flowing, I suggest starting at Barneys in the heart of the Gold Coast. It is absolutely stunning and right in the middle of the most fantastic shops and designers in the city. This is the best starting location and not to mention it entails one of my favorite restaurants.
2. A Boozy Brunch (11:00 AM): A good meal for the long day ahead is an absolute must. So head to the top floor of Barney's to dine at one of my favorite brunch spots in Chicago, Fred's. If the people watching is not enough, the superb menu and fresh cuisine will seal the deal. I personally love the $28 brunch special. Don't be intimated to dine here due to the high end designers and even higher end prices of Barneys. It is quite casual and the staff is very welcoming. Although don't be surprised if the table next to you whips out a freshly paid for pair of Manolo Blahniks over a bloody mary (true story).
3. A Complimentary Treat: Yes, I know you just ate, but trust me it will come in handy later on. Walk less than a block up Walton Street to pop into the original cupcakery, Sprinkles. Sprinkles hands out 50 free cupcakes Every. Single. Day. The trick to getting it is knowing the secret word. You can find the word of the day on either Twitter or Facebook. Once you know it, step right in and ask the attendant if the "word of the day" is still going on. If so, just say the word and a free treat for you!
4. Shop Till You Drop: I could go on for hours as to what shops to hit. The boutiques and stores are seriously amazing, but this part is ultimately up to you. You can continue to head up Walton Street or pop over a block to Oak Street. Here you will find Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Prada, BCBG and many more. Or you can head straight to Michigan Avenue (again less than a block) for some of my "go tos", Topshop and Zara. 900 North Michigan holds a few goodies as well (Bloomingdales, JCrew, Club Monaco, L.K. Bennett, Karen Millen, Michael Kors and lululemon). And of course there is the infamous Water Tower and Saks 5th Avenue. So the choosing is up to you! Just be sure to stop by the concierge at either 900 N. Michigan or Water Tower for you out of state visitor coupons and discounts!
5. Recovery: After all the talking and buying, you need to give your soles a rest! For the BEST view in the entire city and delightful refreshments, I suggest indulging in a cocktail on The Terrace at the Trump Tower. Located on the 16th floor, you can see the river, lake and skyline all in one spot. And if you happen to stay for awhile, it is the perfectly placed venue for viewing Chicago's free firework show every Wednesday and Friday evening. A true Chicago enjoyment.
I would like to thank Mrs. Smith for having me today. It is a true honor to guest post on her blog! If you ever need a Chicago recommendation, please come visit me at Great Dates in the City. I'm your girl!