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5 Amazing Vintage Experiences Every Girl Should Have in Chicago

History is worth exploring! Image from Flickr Creative Commons, artist Mike Warot.

Chicago might not be the first place that pops into your mind when you think ‘historical must-see cities.’ Less than 200 years old, it’s mostly know for skyscrapers, house music, and modern gastronomy. However, it’s also home to beautiful art deco venues, stirring historic events, and the home of the jazz era.

Here are five places or activities that every history-loving vintage girl should experience in Chicago: 

Daytrip out to Oak Park

Any vintage girl with an interest in architecture should venture out to Oak Park. A neighboring town to Chicago (but easily accessed by Chicago Transit Authority’s Green and Blue Lines), Oak Park is an affluent village filled with a quaint feel and historically important architecture. There are multiple houses and buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, several other houses by famous names from the Prairie School of the early 1900s, and the Ernest Hemingway House & Museum.

Oak Park's Lake Street. From the wikicommons.

Oak Park’s Lake Street. From the wikicommons.

Tour Chicago’s prohibition past

While Chicago’s reputation may be cleaner now, in the 1920s it was grim – the home of booze, jazz, and gang-run crime. Several tour companies in the city capitalize on this history by offering tours to famous sites of the jazz era. Join a historic bar crawl to the purveyors of hooch during the prohibition, or join a gangster tour for a visit to the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Palmer House Hotel

The oldest continually operating hotel in America, the art-deco Palmer House Hotel not only boasts an impressive history, amazing architecture, and tons of modernist art, but is also the home of the brownie. Still serving up its original recipe, the Palmer House offers vintage girls a chance to indulge their sweet tooth in the same luxurious setting once patronized by such big names as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Judy Garland.

Experience the Chicago blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends

Chicago is known as the home of modern blues, and Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Bar is known as the home of Chicago’s best blues. Considered by many to be the best blues bar in America, Legends may be relatively young (It was founded in the 1980s.), but the amazing musicians that play here will make you feel like you’re experiencing history in the making.

Shop historically at Macy’s State Street

A drawing of then- Marshall Field's shortly after it opened in 1906. Public Domain image from wikicommons.

A drawing of then- Marshall Field’s shortly after it opened in 1906. Public Domain image from the wikicommons.

Experience shopping the way the Chicago elite used to do it by heading to the Macy’s on State Street. Formerly Marshall Field’s, it was known for its luxury goods and for being the largest and most opulent department store in the world when opened in 1906. While the shop is still known for luxury goods and quality service, the main draw is the amazing Faberge glass mosaic ceiling and the opulent surroundings that make even shopping for new socks a special experience.

If you want to experience these vintage sites and meet with other women who love to do the same, join Go Girl Travel Network at their inaugural Women in Travel Summit. From March 14 to the 16, and prominently featuring the Palmer House Hilton, you won’t want to miss this great gathering of travel-minded women!

Joanna Farley
Blogging program mentor
Joanna Farley grew up in Crawley, England before immigrating at age 8 to Canada. She was infected with the travel bug at birth by her parents, and began her solo travels the day she finished university. 8 years later, her adventures have taken her to England, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Mexico, as well as to parts of Canada and the United States. Passionate about all things ‘vintage’, Joanna loves wearing red lipstick and dresses from the 1940s while backpacking throughout the globe in search of adventures, new cultural opportunities, and swing dancing scenes. She writes about her attempts to combine all three loves – travel, dance, and vintage fashions – at www.joannaabroad.wordpress.com and as @joannatravels on Twitter.

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