By Kim Kovacik

Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities. When I was a kid, I would always find myself with my head out the car window looking in awe up at the enormous skyscrapers and beautiful surroundings. As I got older, nothing really changed. Now, after being a resident here for almost two years, I’ve had the chance to compile a list of my most favorite, and aesthetically pleasing, places throughout the city. I hope you enjoy!


When I think dessert in Chicago, I think Bang Bang. Everything on the menu is so good that I usually end up blindly choosing an option–it won’t disappoint. What’s funny is that I never used to be a big fan of pie, but after trying their Chocolate Pecan pie, I shut my pie-hole forever (and opened up my wallet to buy more).

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I never thought a restaurant could rival my Italian mom’s pasta…but Labriola Chicago proved me wrong. It’s right off the bustling shopping center that is Michigan Ave. (but tucked away from all the crowds). This Italian escape has a beautiful patio and also is home to a Stan’s Donuts (another Chicago fav). This is the best place to go after a long day of shopping.

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I can’t help but gravitate to spaces that are aesthetically pleasing. And my gosh is this place breathtaking! With its rustic-looking décor and high windows, this place is one of my favorite spots in the city hands down. Since it shares its home with the Soho House, there’s always a good chance you’ll see someone famous bustling by. It’s a beautiful spot to drink your morning coffee, catch up with friends, or grab a bite to eat.

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THE 606

There’s no better spot to watch the sunset from than from The 606. This use-to-be train line got revamped right after the Chicago Fire and turned into 3 miles of trail for runners, bikers, art installations, and landscape design. As you walk the length of it, you pass four different Chicago neighborhoods. For this reason, it’s one of my favorite places to walk. (Pro tip: This phone case, called a Loopy, is my favorite travel companion. The back has a rubber loop that allows you to hold onto your phone-an essential for those on-the-go types)

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As most Chicagoans, I avoid the busy downtown area at all costs. But every time I take a nighttime walk down at The Riverwalk, I get reminded of how beautiful this city is. The way the skyscrapers’ lights reflect out on the river is breathtaking. I recommend heading here after dinner, but don’t head over too late because it closes at 11 p.m.

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Every once and awhile, Chicago winters will get you down. This is where I go if I need a little pick me up during those cold winter months. This 3 acre conservatory and botanical garden is the perfect city oasis. Full of lush greenery and a rainbow of flowers, I can’t help but take pictures of everything I see. And the best part? It’s totally free.

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CHICKEN AND WAFFLES! Need I say more?? This place had my heart as soon as I took my first bite. MAD Social resides in one of the best neighborhoods for foodies–the West Loop. This place is jam packed with trendy restaurants and home to the most delectable cuisines. With amazing food (such as this Pokemon-inspired dessert that is hand cranked raspberry gelato with raspberry coulis and a dark chocolate swirl in between a churro waffle) and beautiful décor, this place is a must see in my book.  

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If you’re looking for authentic Colombian food in Chicago, Las Tablas the place to go. Everything from the steak to the décor to the music is as authentic as you can get. My personal favorites are the empanadas and fried bananas.

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A cozy little nook where I’ve spent way too many hours of my life, the Bourgeois Pig is where you go to study or work. Covered in dark wood and old fashioned décor, this big cozy house will make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. I always find myself browsing through their enormous tea and sandwich section. What’s even better is their sandwiches are named after great literary works (I recommend The Hobbit or The Great Gatsby).

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Have your own favorite photo-worthy spot in Chicago? We’d love to hear about it!