A quiet garden oasis five minutes from the action of the city, our space is an excellent value. Run with the efficiency of IKEA, our guests save money, making relaxation in WP affordable. We look forward to facilitating your travel adventures!
A quiet garden oasis five minutes from the action of the city, our space is an excellent value. Run with the efficiency of IKEA, our guests save money, making relaxation in WP affordable. We look forward to facilitating your travel adventures!
Welcome to Wicker Park, the best neighborhood in Chicago! We live just 1 block from the action that happens at Damen & Division every night (but we're in the back of the building, so it's "secret-garden" quiet). Our proximity to the Division Blue Line stop on the "L" (subway) makes getting to the "touristy stuff" (museums & Michigan Avenue... and WINTER HOLIDAY SHOPPING) not only quick & easy (3 subway stops!), but so much fun! Our Zagat-rated restaurants (much better options in terms of proximity, quality, & price than downtown) and the oh-so-romantic Wicker Park make this a get-away mecca!
Our uber-efficient system makes our bnb one of the best values, and most flexible stays, in the area. I've answered nearly every question you could have in our Guidelines and Directions to which I'll send you the link (and most are already answered here in our profile).
We are now allowing Instabook! Yay! Just make sure you've read through our listing thoroughly b/4 booking, please... : ) I'll send our must-read Guidelines & Directions once you've booked. Please remember: no "man's best friend" (dogs/pets) or smoking allowed on the property. A butt-free property is good for everyone!
Our space is its own PRIVATE APARTMENT in a four-apartment building with its own entrance, key, living space, etc. My husband and I live in a separate apartment upstairs, so you will have the space completely to yourselves, unencumbered by having to "converse with the hosts." (Unless you want to!) : )
LEAVE THE PLANNING TO ME!
For an extra $25, if you give me a brief description (I've got a system, of course!) of what you want to do while you're here, I will create a customized itinerary for you and yours... Having traveled to just over 30 countries and having lived here for 11+ years, I can easily plan a vacay for you that has you well-rested, eating great food, staying within your personal budget, and maximizing your time in our fair city.
Now let's be clear. I listed that we can accommodate 8 people, but the reality is that we currently have one full size bed in its own bedroom with a Sealy Posturpedic mattress, a queen-sized bed with a Sealy Posturepedic Wareham Plush mattress in its own bedroom, two luxury twin air mattresses, a camping cot, a large (6' x 4') custom butcher block eating/cooking/work area with 2 bar stools, and a kitchen table with two chairs all sitting on glistening, hardwood floors. (We also provide extra chairs upon request (beneficial to large groups). That's our space. We welcome a large party, and the floor space is vast, for those looking for uber-budget savings in exchange for slumber-party-esque sleeping arrangements.
Fan or AC? It's your choice: Save $5/night and skip the AC. Or splurge $5 more dollars per night and bask in the cold. This is my way of keeping your costs down. We have two oscillating, height-adjustable fans, two ceiling fans in the living room, and an AC. But the space is usually cool enough that you won't need the AC.
And I marked "Breakfast is Provided," but, again, for clarity's sake, I've got some b-fast items (and other items) "for sale" in the unit (personalized-sized cereal, NutriGrain bars, potato chips, candy bars, cookies, water, soda, beer, wine, etc.). A price list is on the fridge. If you see something that isn't on the list, it's because it's new or temporary (we happened to have it on hand, so we put it in the bnb). For those items, just give what you believe is fair.
Also, I've marked us as handicap accessible, because we're on the first level and have some bars on the bathtub wall. But there is one 2' portion of the walkway that is checkerboard stone ending in an 9" riser up to the patio. Please keep this in mind when booking.
(Oh, and that "review" we have listed under our name at the very beginning was an auto-review by Airbnb. We cancelled that reservation back then b/c we decided not to do Airbnb, so we hosted that couple for free instead.)
As we do love traveling, we might be home during your stay or we might have gone off on an "adventure" somewhere in or out of the country last-minute. Our life is spontaneous like that. Just yesterday my husband decided to cancel his local bike trip and booked a 3a flight to Guatemala for five days. So you're expected to be pretty independent. Read the Guidelines and Directions before arrival, as they'll answer all of your questions...
OUR EXTERIOR (aka: THE GARDEN)
Enter our home by pushing open a black gate, walking over the cobblestones covering the front patio from which you can sit at the wrought iron table or lounge on comfortable furniture, watching friendly neighbors walk past our lush 6-year-old English flower garden. Bring your computer out and enjoy free wi-fi while you bask in the warmth of Chicago.
Continue on through another, taller black iron gate, down a pathway (sometimes it's candlelit!) to our rear garden, filled with hyacinths, lilies, a trumpet vine, and a hummingbird-attracting honeysuckle vine. Sit on this large shaded patio, eating your breakfast (they say it's blasphemous to eat indoors during the Chicago summer months!) just next to our modern Japanese-inspired river rock garden... or rest in one of our hammocks. A tall birch fence on the north side and the garage blocking the view from the alley ensures privacy, while a shorter fence on the alternate side allows sociability with the neighbors. In the evening hours, plug in the fairy lights (the plug connection is right by the stairs) for a romantic ambiance. (I was pretty excited, b/c it turned out prettier than I had even planned!) We have worked hard over the past 6 years to create an inviting, peaceful garden with plenty of variety and interest... future plans include a water feature, an outdoor shower, a vertical garden, and a pond...
Enter your living space through the rear door on the first level. This space will be yours while you are our house guests. The house is over 100 years old, so it has beautiful ARCHITECTURE, but all of the modern features so that you can actually enjoy its character.
As you walk in, you will see an open floor plan, with a BRAND NEW IKEA KITCHEN, cooking supplies (if you find that you need something culturally specific, like a griddle, a tortilla roller, or an idli pot, or even a specific spice, we probably have it upstairs... just ask!), and a large repositionable (it's on wheels!) multipurpose butcher block surface. Two bar stools accompany a bar-level eating/work space. Plug in your computer and other electronics in one of three power strips. Two are located under the work space. One is hidden under the kitchen counter next to the stove. Eat a proper meal at the kitchen table. We have a bagel/toast toaster, 12-cup coffee maker, electric tea kettle (added due to many requests for tea!), coffee bean grinder, & 1-cup french press in the apartment. (The free gourmet coffee is in the freezer.) A dishwasher, gas stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, & washer/dryer complete the amenities. Plus, for the grilling types, we have a new outdoor grill on the 2nd level just waiting to be tried out! If you need something else, you can always text me and ask if we have it... who knows?... we probably do and we're more than willing to lend...
OUR "SNACK SHOP"
For those late arrivals and those rushed mornings... or for when you've walked all day & are starving, but can't bear the thought of running out for a snack... I've stocked the space with goodies. At the moment, until they run out, we have chips, snack-packs of cookies, pudding snacks, wine, regular and diet Pepsi or Coke, local beers, & Nutri Grain bars and Snickers bars. The snacks change based on what we happened to pick up when we were shopping. You can pay for your cravings by putting money in a vase on the counter.
OUR FREE "COOKING ESSENTIALS"
I've also stocked the kitchen with free-for-you-to-use cooking essentials, should you want to save a bit of money there. (Though I'd take advantage of Wicker Park's amazing culinary rainbow!) The fridge has pre-chopped garlic, ketchup, mustard, & relish. There's also oil, a sea salt grinder, and a black pepper grinder. Feel free to text or call and ask if we have specific spices (we have loads for you to borrow) upstairs. You're more than welcome to them and we have loads. Sometimes there are other goodies that have been left behind by other guests (butter, red wine vinegar, etc.). I leave them in the space... no need to be wasteful...
Off to the right are the bedroom, a bathroom, a 2nd small "city" bedroom, and a "laundry room" (this is just a closet in the 2nd bedroom).
The bathroom was a recipient of the renovations, with brand-new wall-length 8-inch deep medicine cabinets, perfect for hiding away your travel kit and extra toilet paper. But, really, why even bring your shampoo/conditioner/blow dryer/etc. when we have it all on hand? Oh, and, hundred-year-old homes come with charming quirks. Our bathroom sink has one: cold is hot and hot is cold. But the fixture is pretty and new and European, so... ! ; ) Outside the bathroom is a large (7'? x 2'?) IKEA mirror (turn it on its side if you have a large party and everyone wants to pretty themselves up at once!).
We have a lot here (cotton swabs, shampoo/conditioner, quality soap, lotion, nail polish, razors, etc.). A hotel-style curved shower curtain rod allows ample space for washing up in the tub. The whole room is bright white, with a window facing the gorgeous Chicago brick, letting light and air in.
THE QUEEN-BED BEDROOM
The bedroom includes a brand-new (as of April 2014) Sealy Posturepedic Wareham Plush Mattress Set for maximum comfort with white 1500 thread count sheets and duvet cover... along with a medium-sized closet with plenty of hangers for storage. There are fold-away hooks on the wall for hanging your... whatever. Umbrella? Pants? Coat? Scarf?
THE FULL-BED BEDROOM
This room has a full bed with white 1500 thread count sheets and duvet cover, along with fold-away hooks on the wall for clothing, etc.
THE "LAUNDRY ROOM"
Our "laundry room" is essentially a closet off of the 2nd bedroom, where our washer/dryer resides. Our full sized ironing board is in the "laundry room". On top of the mini-washer/dryer (it's a condo-sized washer/dryer, so the cycle runs longer), you'll find the iron, detergent pods, & dryer sheets. One wash is $1 (including 1 detergent pod & dryer sheet).
Need a book to read or a magazine to peruse? We've got a decent library in the interior stairwell and plenty of mag's (Time, Photography, etc.). And Lonely Planets from about 40 countries. Just ask.
Speaking of storage, you probably won't need it, but this is our home, so our renovations created huge amounts of overhead, out-of-the-way, but easily accessible, storage. No need to worry about where to put your "stuff". If you have a large party, you can ask us for an additional storage shelf that we can roll in to store everyone's luggage for easy access to maximize the floor (website hidden)
Because this is a garden-level apartment, you probably won't need the air conditioning (few have needed it)... Even so, it is available for an additional $5/day. As for heat, we have central heating.
Free wi-fi is part of the gig, both inside and out. For this reason, we do not have a television. Watch TV inside or out by logging on to one of the many websites offering quality television for free.
IF YOU NEED IT... don't be afraid to ASK...
Also, because we live in the building, if you need it, just ask (when we're in town). We probably have it. Once you confirm your stay, I will send you "Guidelines & Directions" that will have more specific information.
We have very easy access to O'hare & Midway via the Blue line or 90/94. (My hubby and I always take the subway to the airport whenever we travel. It's more predictable than a taxi, depending on the traffic!)
We are equidistant (half a mile) between two "L" stops. (The "L" is our subway system.) Damen stop & the Division stop... and we are 3 stops from the Magnificent Mile! (5 stops from the Art Institute)
We are less than 5 minutes driving distance from 90/94. This is a big deal, b/c it eliminates having to drive through traffic to get to the highway. That can mean taking more than a half an hour to 45 minutes (not to mention stress) off of your driving trip.
We also have great bus stops near our home: Division, Damen, Chicago, and Ashland buses are all super-efficient... and will take you to museums, shopping, etc.
You can easily park on the street for "free" in front of our house. (You'll need a city sticker, which we'll provide for $1 per entire stay... a bargain, given Chicago's limited parking...) Keep in mind that if you arrive on a Friday night or Saturday night, or if you have a large vehicle (full-size van, large truck, etc.) parking becomes exponentially more difficult and you may have to look harder.
Chicago's an extremely bicycle-friendly city (over 200 miles of protected street biking! and the Lake Shore Drive bicycle path along the lake is gorgeous and has some of the best views of Chicago!), with bike lanes on most major streets.
We have two bicycles available (one women's & one men's) for $5 rental each per day. But keep in mind that if you get them stolen, we'll ask for a $100 payment to cover them. You'll have to read the gig about how NOT to get them stolen, as bike thieves are professionals around here!
If there are more than two of you who'd like to bike around Chicago, take advantage of Divvy Bicycle Rental. It's new as of 2013 and very popular in Chicago! It's an automatic rental system, so it's "open" 24/7, and we happen to have a bike station a block from us.
Keep in mind that we're "kid friendly," but are not a child-proofed apt. That's your job as the parent when you arrive. (You might want to remove the knives from their ultra-convenient location under the counter. And if you're not into building your kid's immune system, you might want to wash the toys prior to usage.) But we do have a fun backyard area for the kids, hidden from street view (so very safe), with loads of kiddie stimulation. And we have electric socket covers for you to use. You'll find a bin of toys under the bed. And we have a couple of baby items that you might be able to borrow. In other words, you might not have to pack as much as you think... And your stay might just be a little more comfy. Ask us if we have a kiddie item available and we'll let you know.
We can also give you some trusted babysitting contacts, so that you can try to have a night out on your own! The going rate in Chicago is $11/hour.
We've been voted the best neighborhood in Chicago... for good reason!
Our home is very peaceful both inside and out. We're in the back, but even sitting in the front courtyard, you won't be assaulted by noise pollution.
Walk 5-10 minutes and you have the option of all of the Zagat-rated restaurants you could possibly want. On a budget? We have that. Ready to splurge? That's here, too. But no matter what, it all tastes delicious. We're a knowledgeable neighborhood when it comes to food and those spaces that offer mediocre food or overprice do not last long here in Wicker Park. Don't waste your time in the Loop. This is some of the best food (with authentic offerings from all over the world: Argentinian, Thai, Italian, Latin, tapas, southern comfort, sushi, etc.) at some of the best prices in the city. (A 7-minute stroll will have you eating at one of the best rib joints in the city.)
Not into nightlife or just need a break? Sit in one of the many parks within 10 min's walking distance. Wicker Park (the actual park) is one of the best. Most have beautiful fountains... Or sit in one of the many restaurants or cafe courtyards... Or just take a walk... I love walking in our neighborhood... The residents here care about their homes and their gardens and it shows... The building stock is fabulous and we've been established as a historic district, so the facades of these gorgeous, old buildings are not allowed to be changed...
It's got NIGHTLIFE...
More into the party than the peace? 5am bars within a 7-10 minute walk let you experience Chi-town's love of a good time. Restaurants are open until 10p-12p, with some bars offering food until 1am or later. Bars are open until 2a, some until 3a, and others 4a on weekdays (5a on wknd). And these are some of the best in Chicago. You can live here for years on end and not exhaust the bar scene.
It's got COFFEE...
Seriously. How our neighborhood supports the amount of coffee shops it does is beyond me. But our cafes are high-quality, laid-back, historic, and don't mind if you people-watch for hours.
It's got BRUNCH...
We Chi-towners love brunch. And WP does brunch well. We live literally 2 minutes' walk from Milk n Honey, one of the absolutely to-die-for best brunch places in the country.
It's got GELATO...
We have at least three amazing gelato spots within 5-15 minutes' walk. Mexican chocolate gelato at Black Dog Gelato (Chicago & Damen)? Yes, please!
It's got MUSIC and ART...
Music and art are the fabric that make up our soul in WP. More than three legendary music venues (including the Double Door) are within walking distance. The flat-iron building teems with art studios. Walk around and you'll find some beautiful graffiti walls that change every few months. Bands love to stay here due to the price and proximity.
It's FASHIONABLE and QUIRKY...
Love shopping? People come from all over to shop in our boutiques. Jewelry designers, clothing designers, baby stores... For instance, walk down our street to the corner and you instantly see an upscale flower shop that I frequent (Cattails... say hi to Lisa!), walk a few feet to the right and you'll see a boutique offering high-quality goods from all over the world. (Great if you just got back from Zimbabwe and forget to get your sister a gift!) Walk to your left and you can buy your baby nephew a high-priced t-shirt from Sprout. Cross the street and buy some hand-made earrings or go into the door next to Cattails and make your own at one of the best bead shops I've ever been to.
It's got SUSHI...
So many sushi restaurants in our neighborhood, many open late... Crazy-high-end (many say that Marai has the best sushi in town) or 1/2 price sushi on the cheap.
It has PROXIMITY to HOLIDAY SHOPPING, parades, etc....
We're only 4 subway stops from State Street: the mecca of holiday shopping, the Thanksgiving Day parade, the famous Macy window displays, the lighting of the Daly Plaza Christmas tree & the Kristkindle Market, etc.
It's got WHATEVER I FORGOT TO NAME...
Seriously, our neighborhood has it all for everyone...
Because it's just been renovated, it's clean-clean-clean. Brand new paint job, brand new everything, means super-clean for the serious germ-phobic in you. I will expect you to clean up after yourselves (call us the IKEA of BnBs), so I've included a list of "extra cleaning items" on our Directions and Guidelines. Should you decide, for instance, not to do your dishes or clean the coffee maker thoroughly after using it, or track dirt/mud in all over the floor, your deposit will be kept in full. This reduces the overall nightly cost for you.
The INTANGIBLES... (Well, some are tangibles.)
I like making our guests happy. Perhaps you'll arrive and there will be tea straight from Nanjing waiting for you. Or Girardelli chocolates on your pillow. Or truffles. Our goal is to make this better than a hotel would be. You are our friends-without-strings. And let's face it. We're nice.
If you really want, and if we're not out seeing the world during your stay, I can even make you breakfast for $10/person, but you'll have to let me know in advance (otherwise, we probably won't have the food to make breakfast) and we might not be home, so I might not be able to offer this (definitely not on weekdays). I'm no chef, but I can make your basics if you're in the need of relaxation: Omelette, Toast, & Coffee.
We're also HANDS-OFF...
You may see a lot of us; you might not see us the entire time you're at our home. We don't really have a routine schedule. We both have full-time jobs and lives that are pretty unpredictable. I'm super-detailed, so as long as you read our info, I'll make your arrival very easy, your stay super-smooth, and your departure just as simple.
When you book, you'll receive an electronic version of our DIRECTIONS & GUIDELINES. This will give you more information about your stay than you'll even care to know. It will list our comprehensive recommendations for restaurants, bars, boutiques, music, etc. It'll include lists: "What to do in Chicago when you're too tired to do anything." "Where to get the best hot dog." "Where to get a cup of coffee."
You'll have the option of buying a 3-day CTA card (subway/bus) from us rather than having to seek out a vendor. (They're $20.) It doesn't really make us money or save you money, but it saves you the hassle of having to go buy one.
We basically have our own little tourist/visitor center (brochures, maps, etc.) that has been weeded out to include only the items you'll need. (Want to take trapeze lessons? We have a brochure for that!) And if you need help with your trip, we can assist.
All of this will save you time... an important commodity when you're on vacay.
Oh, yeah, and we have hammocks. I love hammocks. Everyone should have hammocks.
At the end of the day, we know you'll have a lovely stay with us. Hope to see you soon!
You will have access to a whole apartment set in a garden, three outdoor spaces where you can dine, read, or nap... Two bedrooms and ample floor space for larger groups, if you'd prefer savings over personal space!... Free wi-fi... a convenience "store" in the apt... plenty of kitchen items and counter space for cooking... reading materials in lieu of a television (Sorry! We don't have a TV!)... A "travel center" with plenty of info... and more...
We communicate with our guests primarily through the Airbnb website. This provides a secure platform for our guests. We may or may not be home during your stay and upon check-in and we have full-time jobs, so we expect you to read through our listing and Guidelines and Directions thoroughly before arrival, as we've answered nearly every question you have before you've asked...
Wow! We love Wicker Park! The history! The eclectic vibe! The Zagat-rated restaurants with cuisine from all over the world! The gorgeous parks! The access to practicalities! Easy transportation to anywhere in the city and the world! All within 5-10 min's walking distance! And a quiet backyard from which to relish in our fortune to be able to live here... and to share our neighborhood with you...
The L is a half-mile away (10 min's walk).
The buses are a block away (2 min's walk).
The airport is 45 min's away via the subway.
Taxis pass constantly and usually take 0-5 minutes to hail.
We expect you to read the listing... as well as the Guidelines and Directions... This is a required part of agreeing to stay in our building. No. We don't have a TV. Etc.
We just loved our stay in this apartment. Although Lyney was away when we were there, she left clear instructions, and everything was perfect. We are a family of 5, and all felt there was lots of space for sleeping and living. We ate breakfast out on the lovely back deck. The area is perfect for staying in Chicago, away from downtown, and full of interesting restaurants and shops. We picked up Divvy bikes at the corner, and that was our transportation all over the city. I would highly recommend staying here and would certainly stay again if we are back in Chicago.
Great apartment in an excellent location--we had a fun time. Lyney's a wonderful host.
The apartment is charming, comfortable and well-appointed. The neighborhood is vibrant and accessible - a great property. The neighborhood is busy, but we found parking within about 1 block. Thanks for a great stay!
A really charming two bedroom apartment in the heart of the Wicker Park neighborhood. We stayed here with our kids (so two kids and two adults) and it was a perfect fit. If you bring kids here, be sure to check out the many parks and playgrounds in the area--I think our kids enjoyed Wicker Park as much as they enjoyed Millennium Park.
So sorry that there weren't any dish towels down there! We have several that are specifically for the bnb... I didn't realize they weren't in the bnb. (Must have gotten mixed in with the sheets?) Also, wish I'd known about the oven. It does work... It can just be a bit confusing... Anyway, glad u had a great time and we'd be happy to host you again!
Wonderful location with great restaurants in a very short walking distance. The apartment was clean, nicely decorated, and even had a number of drinks and snacks available for a very reasonable low-cost. Lyney was welcoming and if we had needed more direction on where to go or what to do, she was available. Everything is labeled in the apartment and the instructions prior to coming are quite lengthy but leave no room for misunderstandings on what is expected of guests/host. I will most likely book this again for our next Chicago visit.
We had a great experience at the apartment in Wicker park, everything was as we expected or way better! To start with the location was perfect for us, Wicker park/Bucktown is a neighborhood where we loved to spend our time with just walking around, drinking good coffee in one of the may cosy cofeeshops, hanging in the park where our kid could play, or shop in the original shops, or of course eat all the delicious food of the restaurants, there is so much choice. We spend most of our time in this neighborhood and loved every minute.
Than the apartment, it's close to everything in Wicker park. The apartment itself is very cosy and nice, it's well equipped, we had everything by hand. The beds are wonderful! We were happy to have a kitchen but didn't cook a lot because of all the great restaurants and take-outs. We really loved hanging in the apartment as well and it was so nice we had a patio so we could sit outside. The apartment is very quiet and stayed cool although it was very hot and humid outside.
Last but definitely not the least; the host Lyney, she was very friendly and helped us so much. Whenever we had a question she was there with a solution. Our one year old traveled with us and she borrowed us all the necessities (which are quiet a few) like the bed, high chair and a lot of other stuff. Very convenient!
Also convenient are all the little snacks and drinks she provided which you buy for the same price as in the supermarket, because we couldn't go out anytime we wanted.
When we arrived my husband said he could live here for a few months and I couldn't agree more! The week went by very fast but we surely hope to be back one day!
I wouldn't hesitate one second if I were you, just book! Chicago is an awesome city and this is the best place to stay!!!
A few people from my Chicago Ragnar Relay team were looking for a place to stay after our race so I decided to give airbnb a try. This was my first airbnb experience and I couldn't be happier with it. Lyney was very quick to respond to my questions and even went out of her way to help us secure a parking spot on a busy Saturday afternoon. I would stay here again without question!
This was our very first time using airbnb. After this pleasant experience, it certainly won't be our last! My business partner and I travel often to Chicago for work, and I'm originally from The Windy City. Staying in Wicker Park was like staying with friends in my old neighborhood (which, is one of the coolest neighborhoods you could possibly stay in Chicago!) We never met Lyney, but her hospitality was fantastic. LOVED the snacks/drinks you could buy for late night cravings. The location was awesome. Parking is a challenge in these neighborhoods, but 'round the block a few times and you'll be just fine :)
We all liked the apartment, it's a cozy place, decorated and furnished with great taste. You can find small pink messages all over the place telling you where things are, what to do or not etc, usually with a good sense of humour :) We did not spent enough time to really use all of the apartment commodities so all I can say is that the bed was great, the neighbourhood is REALLY nice and quiet, the bathroom is ok, the subway is close. What else? We only met Liney very briefly and I communicate with her mostly by email, and she was very nice and effective in her answers. She also put a large set of good addresses for tourists to use in Chicago, and there are city guides in the apartment. Next we go to this wonderful city, we hope apartment will be available!
easy going, on the ball, I recommend strongly
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