Nate Lielasus and Amanda Faber’s Insider Tour of Chicago

News | February, 2020
Amanda Faber, Director of Interiors and Nathaniel Lielasus, Senior Architect

With our headquarters in Chicago, the city is close to Northworks hearts. For an insider’s guide, we turned to Senior Architect Nate Lielasus and Director of Interiors, Amanda Faber, to create the ultimate tour. Nate’s strong background in vernacular architecture and Amanda’s eye for aesthetics gave us unique recommendations. They view the cityscape through an architectural and interiors lens, resulting in a cultivated list that any design enthusiast would enjoy indulging.

Nate and Amanda’s Insider Tour of Chicago is full of intriguing places and insightful tips for both locals and visitors, reflecting the vibrant urban environment.

The Robey Chicago via Conde Nast Traveler

Where to Stay

The Robey Chicago: Located in a Chicago Landmark District, Wicker Park, this art deco skyscraper was designed in 1929 as an office building. In the 1980’s it transformed from housing professionals to artists who called it the Coyote because its silhouette resembled a howling canine. Now, as a hotel, the interiors have a very cool mid-century modern vibe, for the best views select a corner suite overlooking Milwaukee Ave. For 180-degree views of the skyline, visit the rooftop Cabana Club. (NL)

The CAA,​ Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: Once a private men’s club, this Venetian Venetian Gothic building by Henry Ives Cobb on Michigan Ave, is now open to the public. Its extravagant exteriors, modeled after the palace of the Doge in Venice, features fin de Siecle styled interiors with sporting motifs. The traditional Drawing Room in the second-floor lobby has table service, while the contemporary Cindy’s on the roof boasts excellent views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. (NL)

Hotel Ambassador via

Ambassador Chicago:Ambassador Chicago:​ Located on the Gold Coast, this beautiful boutique-style hotel features a classic grand entry with high-end interiors and a modern twist once you enter your room. Amenities include a luxe library bar and eight special event rooms. If you want to experience downtown to its fullest while staying in lush contemporary digs, I would recommend the Ambassador. (AF)

Renaissance Chicago:​ This Theatre District hotel includes multiple comfy lounges, a rooftop cocktail bar, and an amazing outdoor space with panoramic views of the city. Walking distance is the Chicago Riverwalk, where you can watch the boats go by while grabbing lunch. (AF)

Esterio via @estero_chicago

Eat and Drink

Estereo: Logan Square has a ton of cocktail bars, but my favorite is Estereo​ ​at the corner of Milwaukee and Sacramento. Perfectly mixed cocktails and the bartenders also spin old school vinyl. The bar occupies the center of the room for great people watching. Paulie-Gee’s across the street makes delicious Detroit style pizza –vegan available!. (NL)

Cafe at the Humboldt Park Boat House:This cafe makes our list for the setting alone – seating is available on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Humboldt Park Lagoon. The lagoon recently made the news because of a new and temporary resident somebody let loose in the park, an errant alligator affectionately named Chance the Snapper. Now that Chance is safely at home on a Florida alligator farm, rent a swan boat, and have a glass of wine on the terrace afterward. (NL)

Two Lights, Designed by Northworks Architects, Photo by Daniel Kelleghan

Two Lights Seafood & Oyster:​ Designed by our Northwork’s team, Two Lights is a trendy casual spot to enjoy tasty seafood and amazing cocktails. Their decor is light and bright and perfect for summer. (AF)

Sawada Coffee via time out, Photo by Jaclyn Rivas

Fulton Market Kitchen:Once a meatpacking district, the West Loop is now a dynamic food mecca, including Fulton Market Kitchen. This unique spot showcases fantastic art and design. It offers multiple rooms for private dining/events, each with a different decor and feel. If you need a pick me up while in the West Loop, I would go to Sawada Coffee and get their Military Latte. Very cool interior with arcade games and ping pong tables. (AF)

Jayson Home via

Where to Shop

Floating World Gallery:​  An outstanding resource for Japanese prints and paintings in all genres Ukiyo-e, Meiji, Shin Hanga, Sosaku Hanga, and Contemporary. Or for something to memorialize your Chicago visit with an oil portrait by a local artist. You can’t beat the prices offered by Casey Despot for oil paintings on canvas. (NS)

Jayson Home:This place a must-stop Chicago shop for new and old home furnishings, accessories, and gifts. With skylights and plants strewn throughout, the venue has an open loft vibe. (AF)

Salvage One Antiques via Afar

Salvage One, West Town:​ If you are looking for authentic Chicago antiques this place is great. They feature a huge selection of recycled furniture and accessories in their spacious 60,000 sq ft warehouse. (AF)

210 Design House:With a new 3-floor showroom, this is the place to go for great design ideas if you are looking to redo your kitchen or the cabinetry in your house. (AF)

Second Presbyterian Church via Open House Chicago, Photo by William Tyre

See & Do

Second Presbyterian Church: Second Presbyterian Church: ​This​ landmark Gothic Revival church is a must-see for it’s impressive English Arts and Crafts interior and monumental sized windows including nine by Tiffany Studios. Two smaller windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones are the only example of the Pre-Raphaelite artist’s stain glass work in the midwest. After taking the free docent-led tour at Second Presbyterian, check out the Glessner House Museum nearby. (NS)

The Oriental Institute:​  An often-overlooked museum cram-packed with artifacts from the Mideast. The spoils from the University of Chicago’s archaeological digs in that part of the world. The collection includes a panel from the Processional Way that led to the Ishtar Gate. While in Hyde Park, check out the recently restored Robie House, one of the best of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style homes, and recently inducted into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (NS)

The Field Museum via Urban Matter

The Field Museum:The Field Museum:​ Another fantastic spot – especially if you can get on one of their behind-the-scenes science tours. The Field also does a lot of programming outside of the museum. They partnered with the Music Box Theater for Cinema Science, screening Hollywood classics with scientists rating the accuracy of the science behind them. I saw DNA specialists discuss their current research after watching Inception. (NS)

The Randolph Street Market:This indoor-outdoor market at the historic Art Deco Plumbers Union Hall in the West Loop is a ton of fun. It’s a 300 vendor event on the last weekend of every month. With vendors from all over the midwest and beyond shop for vintage, art, antiques, global goods, and much more while enjoying eats and drinks. (AF)