“Treat Yo Self” on the Cheap in Chicago


Itinerary for a Perfect Day in Wicker Park

Waking up the morning after a 18 hour travel day tired, jet lagged and cramped up you gotta get out and treat yo’self. Lucky for me, I live at the crossroads of body rubbing bliss and lavender lemonade. This itinerary made for my perfect day of treating myself to some of my favorite things to do/have done in Wicker Park.

If you live in Chicago, or are just visiting – you don’t need the Ritz Carlton spa to feel/look like Posh Spice (aka Victoria Beckham). You just need these small Wicker Park pleasure palaces.

If you’re in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area this will be easy for you – if not, just take the Blue Line to the Division stop and follow my footsteps:

Stop #1: Revive Nail Spa | Mani & Pedi

Start your day with the friendly staff at Revive Nail Spa. For $40 you can get a spa mani-pedi, for a little bit more you can get yours with all environmentally friendly polish and products. The place is clean, features a modern rustic design and they pour you complimentary wine upon request.

Stop 2: Mana Food Bar | Everything on the Menu

Vegetarian or not – you’ll love this place! Mana food bar is one of the best restaurants in the city of Chicago. While their menu is limited, it’s one of the hardest menus to chose from. As the majority of the items are small plates, you don’t have to hold back. Go for it. Definitely get the baked goat cheese, bi bim bop, curry, cheesy polenta, and seared collard greens. If you’re there during happy hour, take advantage of the special: two sliders and a beer for $7.50!

<<Jump on the Ashland #9 Northbound at Division & Ashland. Get off at Fullerton & Ashland and walk East two blocks to Fit Foot.>>

Stop #3: Fit Foot | One Hour Massage Special

Fit foot is a reflexology massage joint that provides quite the opposite of your typical massage experience. Not only are you wearing all your clothes, but you’re in a room with up to 10-20 other people getting a massage at the same time. When you walk in, you’ll be led to your “massage chair”. You’ll take off all outer layers and shoes and place them in the storage bin. Then your masseuse will greet you with a tub of hot water for you to put your feet in. From then on, just lean back and let your attendant take care of the rest. They’ll spend 30 minutes on your neck/back/shoulders and 30 minutes on your feet… you’ll leave there feeling like a million bucks (while only spending $28 for the hour special)! But remember – tip your masseuse on the pre-discounted bill – they deserve it!

<<Get back on the Ashland #9 Southbound at Fullerton & Ashland. Get off at the Division & Ashland stop. Walk West two blocks to Starbucks.>>

Stop #4: Starbucks | Venti Berry Hibiscus Refresher

Weighing in at 100 calories, this $4 bev will wet your taste buds and whittle your waist line. Well, not really – it’s got a decent amount of sugar, but it’s has caffeine too! And it’s my favorite.  So just get it and love it… you need to get hydrated after your massage and before your next stop anyway.

Stop #5: Red Square | Russian/Turkish Spa Day

So you have some options here – you can simply pay for the spa entrance fee which is $30 and gets you a towel, sandals, robe and use of the sauna, steam room and large hot tub. Or… if you’re really feeling like treatin’ yo’self – you should do the Russian/Turkish spa day for $135 which includes all of the above plus a platza, salt scrub and facial. What’s a platza? Well, the weirdest spa treatment I’ve ever received that’s for sure. Basically they take oak leaf branches and beat you with them – and it’s pretty great. Read more here. Know that once you go here once, you’ll be addicted so get ready to want more. Make sure to shower, you have a nice dinner at Black Bull to head to!

Stop #6: Black Bull 

Viva el toro! This is my favorite restaurant in Wicker Park, and arguably my favorite restaurant in the city of Chicago. I love tapas, like a lot. And I love Spanish tapas even more. Go to Black Bull, get the red sangria pitcher to start. If it’s a Monday or Tuesday, you can take 50% off the price of that. When you get to ordering your dinner, everything is so incredibly delicious. I definitely can recommend grilled octopus, potatos bravas, bacon wrapped dates, and the tuna tataki. Ready, set, go!

Stop #7: Alliance Bakery

Step off tooth fairy, this little sweet shop can fix a sweet tooth with the greatest fervor. They’ve got cupcakes, cheesecakes and pastries galore and they’re damn good too. I absolutely love the red velvet, but gotta tell ya – the vegan chocolate peanut butter is real good too. Maybe you should get both. Perfect way to end your treat yo’self day!

And that’s all folks. Go home. Get the best sleep of your life. And then repeat as needed. You’ll want to do this again and again. And if you ever think maybe you shouldn’t just remember to treat yo’self:

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