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Best Art Tour

If the city were a museum, Rena Sternberg would be its docent. Most gallerists, artists, and collectors know her by sight, because she shows up everywhere. Sternberg isn’t your typical private art consultant (i.e., expensive and unavailable): She prefers to travel with an entourage. She helps collectors find great work by teaching them about it … Read more

Best Yoga Studio

If your preferred yoga style is vinyasa, which focuses on flow, you’re probably already a devotee of this excellent mini-chain. Its teachers are experienced, the classes are small and varied (from power-yoga sweatfests to stellar restorative sessions), and the New Age spirituality is kept to a minimum. (Radiohead soundtracked a recent visit.) Even the mats … Read more

Best New Public Art

The 2.7-mile urban greenway is the most adventurous thing to happen to Chicago’s public art scene since Millennium Park. Kay Rosen’s graphic repurposed billboard art; a graffiti garden with 78 murals; a solar observatory created from spiraling mounds of earth; Chakaia Booker’s scrap tire sculptures. What’s not to love? And this is just the beginning: … Read more

Best Rooftop Boozing

Both Zagat’s and Michelin’s 2013 and 2014 Chicago guides recommend bartender Rico Salinas’s bright cocktails, such as the Effen Avocado, made with cucumber vodka and avocado, and a punched-up margarita mixed with cranberry purée. Seats fill up fast, but there’s plenty of standing room and lots of skyline to gaze upon. Get bottle service at … Read more

Best Sailing Class

Even if your style leans more Popeye than Kennedy, you’ll feel welcome at this unpretentious downtown yacht club. Other sailing schools might possess one of the following key qualities, but Columbia claims all three: first-rate, U.S. Sailing–­certified instructors; a diverse fleet of boats, including easy-to-maneuver J/22s and 420s; and a kick-ass clubhouse (the 7,000-ton icebreaker … Read more

Best Golf Instructor

Suttie has the distinction of being the most recent Illinoisan named PGA Teacher of the Year (albeit back in 2000). He’s kept just as sharp since earning that award, coaching players both amateur and professional ($190 for a one-hour session; $550 for three hours). Look for his student Mark Wilson on the PGA Tour—he’s currently … Read more

Best Ballroom Dance Studio

Competitors and clubby types, move along: It’s all about social dance at this studio, which forgoes private membership and DanceSport for an arms-open approach. You’ll find the range of amenities you would at any top-notch studio—wedding prep, private lessons, a benevolent staff, classes from zouk to fox trot—and weekly dance parties ($15) that provide a … Read more

Best Art Class

It’s not every day that a neighborhood art center offers one-on-one instruction with a rising star. Rodrigo Lara won Mexico’s National Prize of Visual Arts for sculpture in 2010 with a work depicting a tree sprouting ceramic hands in place of leaves. Fittingly, the first assignment in his 10-week class ($305) is to make—what else—a … Read more

Best Reweaver

Snagged tweed trousers and moth-eaten cashmere sweaters arrive here from all over the country, thanks to Without a Trace’s mastery of the dying art of invisible French reweaving. (Seriously: It leaves not a lump or pucker behind.) The staff won’t quote prices until inspecting a garment, but fixing a small hole in a merino sweater … Read more

Best Florist That Won’t Break the Bank

Creative types love this place for its unexpected flower combinations and unusual containers (in a recent arrangement for the Gene Siskel Film Center, succulents were woven in with metal hardware). But the staff can also whip up a more traditional—but still inspired—arrangement like nobody’s business. Prices start at $25 for a small julep cup design.