Chicago Fabric: A Weekend Guide for Food + Fabric + Wrigley

Chicago-Fabric-City-Guide

​(Above photo cred: ME! This Chicago aerial shot was taken with an iPhone right before landing from QuiltCon, Savannah. I swear my beloved Rifle phone case gets me better photos.)

The Windy City. The Second City. The City of Broad Shoulders. Also, the city of Suzy Quilts. It’s my hometown, people! Welcome to Chicago – where the beautiful summers almost make you forget about the terrible winters.

Chicago is known for many things, but the aspect I love most about my fair city is….the food. Die-hard West Coasters will disagree with me and Lord knows New Yorkers will definitely disagree with me, but I stand firmly in my conviction that Chicago has the best food in the US. PERIOD.

Since I’m all about the food, we’ll start there.​

City-Guide-Chicago

​(Photo cred Starcevic/ThinkStock)


Where to Eat in Chicago...​

I almost want to say “anywhere,” but I’ll get a little more specific for you guys, since I love you and all.​

SpaccaNapoli_Chicago

Spacca Napoli

I’m not going to weigh in on the whole geographic pizza debate but… okay maybe I am. Chicago does pizza right. Spacca Napoli does pizza PERFECTLY. You can either sit inside and enjoy the coziest of all atmospheres, or people-watch on the picturesque patio. This beloved pizza parlor even has a custom-built pizza oven! You can’t go wrong with a classic Margherita.

Not only is Spacca Napoli yummy, it's also smack dab in the middle of the walkable AND adorable neighborhood of Ravenswood. Walkable, you say? Yep! Only a mile (be sure to keep that fitbit on) from two fabric shops (more on that below).

Location: 1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Hours: Tue - Thu 11:30am - 9:00pm, Fri - Sat 11:30am - 10:00pm, Sun noon - 9:00pm
Price: $$

Lula-Cafe-Brunch

​Lula Cafe

Are you ready to brunch so hard?? Lula was farm-to-table before farm-to-table was a trendy foodie "thing." This Logan Square staple is just as creative at cooking as we are at quilting, and all of their menu items are locally sourced. On a warm summer day the outdoor patio is where it's at. Get the Lemon Brioche French Toast or seasonal pancakes and simply savor how delicious your life is for an hour.​

Location: 2537 N Kedzie Blvd Chicago, IL 60647
Hours: Mon 9:00am - 10:00pm, Wed - Thu 9:00am - 10:00pm, Fri - Sat 9:00am - 11:00pm, Sun 9:00am - 10:00pm
Price: ​$$ - $$$

Doves-Luncheonette

Dove's Luncheonette

The counter-style interior of Dove’s Luncheonette is straight out of the ‘60s, and their food is straight out of the most delicious heart of the American South. From buttermilk pancakes to burnt-ends hash, Dove’s will make you feel warm and fuzzy and full of everything good.

Rumor has it that their chicken-fried chicken is the best lunch Chicago has to offer. ALSO, it's a quick walk from my house, so another major perk is that there is a high chance you'll run into me while there. 🙂

Location: 1545 N Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60622​
Hours: Mon - Thu 9:00am - 9:00pm, Fri - Sat 8:00am - 10:00pm, Sun 8:00am - 9:00pm
Price: $$

Now that we’re feeling fed and happy, let’s get into the real reason we’re all here…​


The Best Chicago Fabric Shops

Since I’m a Chi-Town native, you can trust me on these two. They’re definitely the best shops for any quilter visiting the Windy City. And better yet, they are within walking distance of each other. Get your shop on!

Oak-Chicago-Fabric

​Oak Fabrics (formerly The Needle Shop)

Oak Fabrics is my jam. Sometimes, I consider moving in and sleeping underneath the cutting table just so I can forever be surrounded by all the beautiful things. ahhhhhh....

Oak specializes in natural fiber fabrics, bold prints, and everything you want to hoard in your sewing studio. Even though Rachel, the owner, prefers garment sewing, enough sassy quilters (*cough* me *cough*) walk in demanding quilt-weight cotton that a little over half the store is dedicated just to quilt stuff. To satisfy said sassy quilters, Rachel fully stocks a wide assortment of Kona Solids, Liberty of London lawns as well as a range of substrates – so you’ll be able to find much more than just quilting fabric on these multi-colored shelves.

If you check out the website, the first words you’ll see are “Indulge Your Obsession.” Trust me. You’re going to want to.​ There’s also one additional super-special thing about Oak Fabrics… they’re the only shop ON EARTH who carries an exclusive kit of my Sew Mojo #1 mini quilt pattern! It basically earns this shop celebrity status.

When you stop by, tell Rachel that Suzy sent you and she needs to give you a discount. I circled her face above so you know who she is. (Rachel, I thought it best to tell people about the discount and then ask your permission later. xo)​

Location: 3738 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613​
Hours: Tue - Fri 11:00am - 6:00pm, Sat 11:00am - 5:00pm

Second-City-Quilt-Chicago-Fabric

​Second City Quilt Co.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little smaller and a little bit more traditional than Oak, you are going to love Second City Quilt Co. It’s kind of like a quilters-only club in the middle of Chicago.

Second City is packed full with top-knotch pre-cuts, patterns, notions, kits and everything you could ever need for quilting… and then all of those cute accessories that you don’t really need but really, really want for living the quilting life. 

It's a lucky day if you catch Becky, the owner, in the shop – she stays very busy when she's not quilting by serving the Chicago community as a police officer. She is literally saving lives by day and sewing by night – i.e. my hero. Someone needs to make her a cape.

Location: 2153 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618
Hours: Tue - Fri 10:00am - 5:00pm, Sat noon - 4:00pm


Amazing Places in Chicago that Aren’t Fabric Shops

Art-Institute-of-Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago

This is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the entire country, and it’s here in Chicago. There is a lot to see so it's not a bad idea to look at a map first, form a game plan and be sure to wear your Fitbit because after wandering through the many hallways of this museum you will definitely get those precious 10,000 steps.​

My husband and I are members of the AIC and try to go at least once a month. Even at that frequency, we still miss special exhibits and lectures. What I'm saying is, don't beat yourself up if you can't see it all, just enjoy what you can.

My perfect day includes a couple hours here and then a quick hop across the street for a cocktail at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Go through the main doors, up the stairs and into Hogwarts where you won't ever want to leave. Also, let me know when you go cause I'm always looking for a reason to visit.

Location: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603​
Hours: 10:30am - 5:00pm everyday

Lincoln-Park

​(Photo cred: Upout.com)

The Lincoln Park Neighborhood

Take a cab or get there early enough to find street parking in the popular neighborhood of Lincoln Park. Jam packed with family-friendly activities, you could visit the Lincoln Park ZooConservatory and Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – all at no cost. After waving at the monkeys, take a quick 10 minute walk to Lake Michigan and stroll along the boardwalk. Be careful though, on a warm Saturday afternoon, that boardwalk is buzzing with power-walkers, runners, bikers and rollerbladers.

Wrigley-Field

​(Photo cred: Expedia)

Wrigley Field

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, don’t count yourself out if the fam wants to get tickets to a Cubs game. I’m not a sports person, but I never pass up an opportunity to enjoy a hot dog and a beer at Wrigley Field. The people watching and snacking is so great, you don’t really even need to watch the game!​

Broadway-in-Chicago

​(Photo cred: travelchannel.com)

Broadway in Chicago

If my voice didn’t sound like a screeching crow and if I had an OUNCE of stage presence I would have thrown myself into the theater! If you can’t act, the next best thing is to go to the theater and WOW, does Chicago have a lot of them. There is so much acting talent here that you don’t have to stick with the Broadway shows to be impressed.

Yes, obviously go see Hamilton, but also check out chicago-theater.com for other amazing shows (and also go to hottix.org a few days before your visit to find discounted tickets!).​


Chicago is a great mix of urban excitement and Midwest hospitality. Like most big cities, though, there are some dodgy areas and basic common sense safety rules to live by so stay safe, have fun and report back with all of the exciting things you do!

City-Guide-Chicago

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23 thoughts on “Chicago Fabric: A Weekend Guide for Food + Fabric + Wrigley

  1. Kerina says:

    Love this post & love Chicago can I say even more than NY 😮 Only been once and so looking fwd to going again. Thanks for all the fun info for the next trip.

  2. Gwenyth Kay says:

    I live in England and dream of visiting Chicago ..it doesn’t seem possible but miracles do happen, so perhaps I will get lucky one day. I studied Arnish Kapoor at our local U3A and would love to see his sculpture in your main photo. gwen116@gmail.com

  3. Pat Reid says:

    Am visiting Chicago for the first time from Australia in May and was hoping to find fabric shops in walking distance from city centre. Looking forward to the trying the “best” food ever. Thanks for your local knowledge.

    • Suzy says:

      Sadly it would be hard to walk to the fabric shops from downtown Chicago, but the L (that’s the local train) is easy to figure out and can get you there pretty quickly. Also, when in doubt you could do what I do and hail a cab. Happy travels and I hope you have a great time here in Chi-town!

  4. Chris says:

    Suzy I love your blog and your quilts are beautiful. If any of your readers are on the Southside they need to visit
    “The Quilter’s Trunk” at 10352 S Western Ave. They have beautiful fabric and great customer service.

    • Suzy says:

      I’m glad you mentioned this. I was actually just lying in bed thinking that I’d missed one of the shops. I almost never travel south, but I’ve heard good things about the Quilter’s Trunk and need to make a trip soon. Thanks, Chris!

  5. Amy L says:

    Chicago is on my list, which I keep on my cell. Thank you and Chris for the fabric shops, which is where the hole was in the list. When my husband suggested a weekend in Chicago, I looked at him aghast, and told him it will take at least one week to hit the highlights… maybe two visits are in order!

  6. Suzy F. says:

    Thanks for the recommendations for Chicago. I live out in the suburbs and look forward to visiting your favorite spots next time I head in to the city. If you’re heading west check out the longarm machines in action at Quilters Quest in Woodridge (7440 Woodward Ave Suite M Woodridge, IL 60517). They have beautiful fabric and a friendly staff. Also Quiltfabrics.com in Westmont (Rt. 83 and Ogden) has some amazing sample quilts hanging in their store. It looks like a tiny unassuming shop in a strip mall, but they have a huge classroom with beautiful finished quilts and a good assortment of fabric and quilting supplies. I’m not affiliated in any way with either store, but have enjoyed my experiences visiting there.

  7. Fernanda Watts says:

    The last time I was in NY a good friend told me was crazy not to go to Chicago instead. After reading your post I kind of agree with her. So it’s settled, next visit to the US it’s Chicago all the way. 😉

  8. Melissa says:

    Suzy! I’ve just stumbled upon your blog – I live in Chicago too! I’m excited to take my friend fabric shopping this weekend for the baby quilt I’ll be making her – thanks for the recommendations on the shops! Do you ever teach classes or workshops? (And I agree about the Athletic Club – so much fun!)

    • Suzy says:

      A fellow Chicago gal! Woot! Hopefully we’ll bump into each other at the Athletic Club 😉

      Teaching quilting is new to me. I currently have a Saturday workshop scheduled for June 17 at Sew to Speak in Columbus, Ohio along with various trunk show lectures.

      • Melissa says:

        I saw that workshop! Now we just need to have you closer to home! I am sure you will be a great teacher, based on your talent and personality. I’ve taken quite a few classes (in Portland, OR) and can tell you’ll do great. Please be sure to keep me posted if you add new ones to your schedule! I’ll keep an eye out!

  9. Christine says:

    My little brother (who quilts) just moved to Chicago from San Francisco! I was excited to see this city guide. I forwarded it to him, and I am sure once he gets his new apartment and his Juki set up, he’ll be visiting Rachel. Thanks for the guide. I’m hoping I get to visit her with him!

  10. Sung says:

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I ‘ll forward
    this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a
    great read. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Pauline says:

    Hi Suzy – I’ve just started following you as I am eagerly awaiting the release of the Hexie Stripe Quilt I’ve been adoring all over Instagram. I also have just recently come back from 4 weeks in the US (I’m from Melbourne Australia) and had just over a week in Chicago – which I totally fell in love with despite the fact I was working – still had plenty of time for play, and did make it to Oak Fabrics which was fabulous and easy to get to on the L. Hope to be back there sometime soon and bring my husband too – and will follow on some of your guide recommendations for your lovely city.

  12. Linda Wilson says:

    Thank you so much for these tips. We are headed to the states from Australia in November and will be in Chicago the week before Christmas so I have put your suggestions onto my list of things to do! Any chance you will be doing a guide for Vegas and Houston too?

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