I hadn’t been to Chicago in over 3 years. This spring break I found myself planning my first workation. The way things were boiling down back home, having ten days off was a breath of fresh air for my workload. Being an undergrad in a rural, northwestern Missouri town leaves few flavors of study spots to get down to brass tacks at. I figured the Windy City would be a great chance to catch up with some old friends. Most importantly though, it’d be a chance to catch up on school-work somewhere other than my university library or my desk in the newsroom.
During my visit, I was asked frequently what kind of work it was that brought me to the city. Trying to describe my courseload to anyone outside of my department is pulling teeth, so I found myself spreading the Workfrom word. It’s almost difficult for me not to use the word “meta” at least once in my pitch anymore. Here I am, a Missourian undergrad interning remotely for a Portland startup that finds the best places for people to work remotely all over the world. As far as my friends were concerned, I was in town to bug them about where all the good coffee shops were.
Sol Café was a nice little hub for anyone looking to Workfrom North Chicago. The walls were adorned with the work of local artists, and I swear the light tunes playing overhead were straight from one of my very own Ninja Tune Spotify playlists! I felt right at home. Free WiFi. Collaborative workspace with lounge seating in the back. Here, I found a wide variety of coffees, teas, hot sandwiches, pies, and homemade donuts. They even had a public printer! As much as I hate the word hip, Sol Café was just that.
The Bourgeois Pig found me in a bit of a different neighborhood, Lincoln Park. From the street, the Pig almost looks like a friendly neighbor’s ritzy townhouse. The shop is essentially split in two, a result of the owner’s combination of two different stores into one back in 1995. Entering from the left reveals some table seating and a counter for purchasing beverages. Entering from the right also provides a few tables, and another counter offering the Pig’s full menu, including all-day breakfast and some amazing sandwiches. (My friend Jack recommends the “Catcher in the Rye” Reuben, by the way).
Climbing a staircase in this section takes you to a second level with lounge, table, and booth seating; all surrounded by the décor of an exquisite collection of antique furniture. Upstairs, I was surrounded by students working diligently to the sounds of big band music playing softly overhead. The Wifi setup swapped an email address for 3 hours of free internet for the day, with additional plans available for purchase.
I’m looking forward to visiting more cities soon. Chicago was great for my short stay, but my next stop is Kansas City this summer. My first agency job should have me scouting the best of the Midwest in no time. ‘til then…
Wifi, coffee, and good vibes.