splurge-worthy things to do in chicago


Splurge-Worthy Luxury Experiences in Chicago

(Photo: Tetra Images/Glow Images)

After signing off the air in 2011 and selling her Chicago Harpo Studios in March, Oprah took the more than 400 items from her plush Water Tower apartment and had them auctioned off (with proceeds benefiting the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls) before moving to California. While Oprah no longer physically calls Chicago home, she’s still a strong presence in the Windy City. Here, we dedicate three extravagant Chicago experiences in her honor.

Indulge in Retail Therapy

Even from the outside, Gold Coast women’s boutique Ikram — with its shiny red façade and mod round windows — is a style force to be reckoned with. Inside you’ll experience the unique fashion savvy of the store’s owner, Ikram Goldman, with her hand-picked selections of clothing, shoes, jewerly and accessories from designers such as Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garcons and Proenza Schouler.

While the words “outlet” and “luxury apparel” aren’t often found in the same sentence, that’s not the case with the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, a 530,000-square-foot shopping destination just minutes from Chicago (and perfect for a stop on your way to O’Hare International Airport). The sleek, two-story space houses 130 retailers, including creme de la creme labels Gucci, Prada, Burberry and Brunello Cucinelli.

Men who are serious hat-wearers have a friend in Optimo located in the historic Monadnock Building in the Loop. Hat-maker Graham Thompson has outfitted old-school hat wears, first-timers and cast members of films like “Edgar” and “Public Enemies” (Johnny Depp is a regular customer) with his $400-and-up handcrafted works of wearable art.

Indulge Your Appetite

At 63,000 square feet, River North’s Eataly is hard to miss. And judging from the crowds flocking to the two-story artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace, plenty of people are taking advantage of the eight full-service restaurants, on-site brewery and food department offering baked-in-house-breads, meat, fish and a ton of imported products. Once you’ve torn yourself away from the Nutella Bar (yes, you read that right), head over to the houseware department for some of the chicest kitchen tools you’ll ever see.

Speaking of kitchen tools, just a few steps away is Le Creuset Boutique. What the small shop lacks in size it more than makes up for in the cast-iron, stainless steel, stoneware and silicon items the French company is known for.

Indulge in Some Pampering

As the former stylist for Oprah and Harpo Studios, George Gonzalez is the real deal. Find out for yourself with a haircut, styling or coloring at his recently opened luxurious salon, George the Salon in the Gold Coast, where both women and men can take advantage of the services of the mane master and his equally talented staff.

Leave it to savvy style experts Rachel Zoe and Robin Moraetes to understand the importance of a good hair day. At the first Chicago location of their blow-dry and styling salon, DreamDry, you’ll find a team of top-notch stylists who can create the latest hairstyles in 40 minutes or less, no matter the length — or lack thereof — of your hair.

The Elizabeth Red Door Spa on Michigan Avenue has long been our go-to spot for relaxing beauty treatment, ranging from deep-tissue massage to clarifying facials. A recent revamp has brought a modern look to the cozy space while retaining the classic Red Door luxury it’s known for.