Lauren Viera

Correspondent

  • Chicago, Illinois, USA

Lauren Viera is a correspondent who lives in Chicago and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Viera contributes articles on spirits, travel and lifestyle to Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business, Imbibe, MensJournal.com and others. She was a senior editor on the launch staff of Time Out Chicago, and was a staff writer on the travel desk of the Chicago Tribune. A native Californian, Viera has lived in Chicago for a decade and chronicles her love of horticulture and cocktail culture on her blog, The Glass & Garden.

  • On February 7, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best activities to do in Chicago?

    To get your bearings and take in one of the best views of the entire city, I recommend cocktail hour at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of John Hancock Center. It's pricey but worth it, and oddly, one of the absolute best views is from the women's lounge. Sorry, gents!

    Weather permitting, you're going to want to get on the water at some point. My all-time favorite activity for both first-time visitors and long-time residents is to get tickets for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's architectural boat tour, which winds down the Chicago River's main branch with a well-versed docent at the helm. Especially in fair weather, this is one of the most awesome ways to take in downtown Chicago and its incredible architecture.

    Chicago loves (like, really loves) its sports teams, so if you can score tickets to a game while you're visiting, you're guaranteed to have a good time. During baseball season, Sox tickets are generally more obtainable than Cubs, but both stadiums are easily accessible via the CTA, Chicago's efficient public transportation system. (Just don't ask a local to choose between the rival teams, and you'll be fine.) For winter sports, forego a freezing four-hour Bears game (brr!) and instead look into getting tickets to the Blackhawks, who not too long ago brought home the Stanley Cup.
  • On February 7, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    Where is the best shopping in Chicago?

    The obvious answer? The Magnificent Mile, which is lined with every major department store from Nordstrom to Neiman Marcus, as well as luxury retailers (Burberry, Louis Vuitton) and international imports (Top Shop, AllSaints). At its north end, the Mag Mile spills over into Oak Street and the Gold Coast, home to more luxury shopping such as Prada and Paul Stewart, as well as renown Stateside and North American institutions ranging from Urban Outfitters to Lululemon.

    For boutique shopping, your best destination is hipster haven Wicker Park, extending north on Damen Avenue (Marc by Marc Jacobs, Club Monoco) and south to the Division Strip, packed with unique Chicago retailers. Loads of fun cafes and bars make this neighborhood great for a long afternoon of shopping till you (or your credit limit) drop.
  • On February 7, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best activities to do in Chicago?

    The best part about Chicago is that it never shuts down. There are no dead months -- not even in the depths of winter. So no matter what time of year you visit, there's always something going on.

    During the warmer months, Millennium Park is a must-visit, both for its stunning architecture and art, and the massive number of concerts held at the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Classical, jazz, indie rock, reggaeton -- we get everything here, and it's all free.

    Chicago loves (like, really loves) its sports teams, so if you can score tickets to a game while you're visiting, you're guaranteed to have a good time. (Just don't ask a local to choose between the Cubs or the Sox, and you'll be fine.)

    Weather permitting, you're going to want to get on the water at some point. My all-time favorite activity for both first-time visitors and long-time residents is to get tickets for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's architectural boat tour, which winds down the Chicago River's main branch with a well-versed docent at the helm. Especially in fair weather, this is one of the most awesome ways to take in downtown Chicago and its incredible architecture.
  • On February 7, 2013
    Lauren Viera answered the question: Lauren Viera

    What are the best attractions in Chicago?

    As Chicago is a four-seasons destination, it really depends on what time of year you're visiting. But even when there's snow on the ground, there is a lot to see and do.

    To get your bearings and take in one of the best views of the entire city, I recommend cocktail hour at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of John Hancock Center. It's pricey but worth it, and oddly, one of the absolute best views is from the women's lounge. Sorry, gents!

    Another wonderful attraction, especially when it's still cold out, is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. No matter the temperature or landscape outside, everything is gorgeous and lush here, and the setting -- in the middle of expansive Lincoln Park -- is lovely, and within reach of downtown. Not to mention, it's free.
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