Best Local: Chicago’s Best Winter Hideouts

Frigid Temps Don’t Stand a Chance Against Whiskey, Massages and Hot Chocolate

You think Chicago’s dark history of mobsters and moonshiners is scary? Sorry, Mr. Capone, your urban legends can’t hold a candle to the sinister snowflake. We’re talking about Chicago winters. For a Chicago newbie, the concept may leave you shaking in your boots as much as the below-freezing wind chill does. But the locals have adapted. You know what we say: if you can’t beat ’em, fight ’em off with a hot stone massage followed by some whiskey.

You may think the best idea is to spend the season cozied up in your Habitat Corporate Suite linens. But trust what the locals know; without total bodily numbness, dark fudge hot chocolate would never taste as sweet. There are reasons the city’s entire population doesn’t fly south for the winter, and some of those reasons are listed right here.

Places the Locals Duck In to Warm Up

Sip on Chicago’s Tastiest Cup of Hot Chocolate – Hot Chocolate (1747 North Damen Avenue) This is the place with really good hot Apple Cider, right? Or is it Eggnog? It may seem obvious, but Hot Chocolate is known throughout the city for its, you guessed it, hot chocolate. You can get it “Light” (eggnog and white chocolate), “Medium” (milk chocolate with a touch of caramel) or “Dark” (72 percent French chocolate). Try The: “Black and Tan,” a mix of dark fudge and milk chocolate.

Get There From AMLI 900 — Walk to the LaSalle Blue Line stop and take the train towards O’Hare. Hop off at the Damen stop and walk about five minutes to Hot Chocolate. Travel Time: 30 minutes.

How About an Amazing Hot Stone Massage? — Tranquil Stone Massage Therapy (500 East Ogden Avenue, Naperville) Kill two birds with one stone (pun intended). Raise your body temp while benefitting from the therapeutics of massage and the healing of the hot stones. Try The: Signature Stone Massage. Afterwards, you’ll feel so amazing, venturing out into the cold won’t even phase you (for a few minutes).

Get There From Lincoln at the Parks — Head north on Yellowstone Dr. and take the first right on Warrenville Rd. Turn right onto North Naper Blvd. and then left onto Ogden Ave. Travel Time: 5 minutes.

Enjoy a Big, Steaming Bowl of Soup– Zoup! (2948 Finley Road, Downers Grove) Campbell’s is boring and overdone, so why not indulge in seasonal, fresh everyday favorites at Zoup!? Zoup! is a well-known fresh soup company with hearty bowls that will warm you up on the spot. Seasonal favorites include Butternut Squash and Ginger. Try The: Chicken Pot Pie soup. It’s the star of the show and a winter favorite.

Get There From Residences at the Groves — Head east on Easton St. towards Esplanade Rd. Take a left onto Esplanade Rd. and then take the first right onto Butterfield Rd. Turn right on South Lloyd Ave. and take the first right onto Glen Ave. Continue on Glen Ave. for .5 miles and then turn right on 22nd street before taking a right on South Finley Rd. Travel Time: 6 minutes.

Hot Steam to Melt Your Frostbite — Soulistic Studio & Spa (800 North Milwaukee Avenue) This green studio and spa warms your mind, body and soul. For real, all three. They not only have an infrared sauna and steam room, but also hot yoga and Shiatsu massage among other spa and fitness treatments. After a long day of work and walking around a frozen Chicago, this is the perfect winter fix. Try The: Thai Hot Compress Treatment. Warmth plus treating sore muscles. It’s a win-win.

Get There From 180 N. Jefferson –– Walk to the Clinton Green Line stop and take the train towards Cottage Grove. Hop off at Clark/Lake to transfer to the Blue Line. Take the Blue Line towards O’Hare and hop off at the Chicago stop. Walk about one minute to Soulistic. Travel Time: 13 minutes.

To Forget About Wind Chill, Drink WhiskeyDelilah’s Chicago (2771 North Lincoln Avenue) Ditch business casual and summon your inner rebel; Lincoln Park’s legendary rock’n’roll whiskey bar is calling. Originally built as a speakeasy in 1919, this noteworthy establishment boasts more than 400 whiskeys. Try The: Old Mock Whiskey. This stuff is some of the last bottled medicinal whiskey from Prohibition days. Delilah’s may be the only place to find history like this on the rocks.

Get There From Presidential Towers — Walk to the Washington/Wells Purple Line stop and take the train towards Linden. Hop off at Diversey and walk to 2771 N. Lincoln. Travel Time: 30 minutes.

Peering out your window to what Mother Nature so lovingly provides yearly for Chicagoans, your brain will warn you from entering that impending, frosty doom. Don’t listen. A different world of warm is waiting. Knowing you’ll hit a toasty Corporate Suites Network bed at the night’s end should warm your bones just enough to brave the snow. But you might want to pack extra gloves just in case.