One Fine Day

Appears in the August 2023 issue.

It’s the perfect season to play tourist in the Windy City

Wendy Altschuler
Wendy Altschuler

To quote a famed local philosopher: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In the spirit of that beloved truant, who set the bar high for a full day of Chicago adventures, there’s no time like the present to do some fresh exploring in the big city (with no need to crash a parade or masquerade as the Sausage King).

We checked in with Wendy Altschuler, a longtime Chicago resident (going back to her days as a DePaul University student and member of the Windy City Rollers roller derby team) and author of the recently released travel guide Perfect Day Chicago, to get a few ideas on how best to spend a day rediscovering the urban center of our suburban existence—a place most of us probably think we know so well. Her picks:

Sushi Suite 202
Sushi Suite 202

Second-Floor Sushi

Chicago’s reputation as a culinary destination—from the high-end creations of Michelin-starred auteurs to the resurgent popularity of its humble Italian beef sandwich—has been cemented over the past couple of decades. And given the constant flow of new openings and hot trends, even locals are hard pressed to keep up with the city’s ever-changing scene, but Altschuler says one place worth saving a spot for on any one-day itinerary is Sushi Suite 202, an omakase experience on the second floor of the Hotel Lincoln (1816 N. Clark St.) This tucked-away speakeasy is inside what was once a hotel room and has limited seating. “Have a cocktail on the velvet couch before beginning your epicurean adventure at the six-seat sushi counter.”


The 606
The 606

Explore the Trail

Everyone knows an amble along Chicago’s famed lakefront is an absolute must. But in a city defined by its neighborhoods, Altschuler says there’s another less-obvious destination for a summertime stroll: the 606 (, an elevated trail that highlights art, plants, and resting spots along its winding 2.7-mile path through Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square. “With multiple access points, it’s easy to get on and off to enjoy a little retail therapy and dining along the way,” she says.


People exercising along Lakefront Trail

Hit the Hotels

You don’t have to stay overnight to take advantage of some of the fringe benefits to be found in and around many luxe Chicago hotels. As a “tourist for a day,” Altschuler recommends afternoon tea at high-end properties like the Langham (330 N. Wabash Ave.), the Ritz-Carlton (160 E. Pearson St.), or the Peninsula (108 E. Superior St.); views of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park from Cindy’s Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association (12 S. Michigan Ave.); and fine dining at Somerset in the Viceroy Chicago (1112 N. State St.) in the swank interior or on the pretty outdoor patio.


Photos: Adam Alexander Photography (The 606); Wendy Altschuler/Ready Press; Sushi Suite; Chicago Athletic Association; iStock (lakefront)