Eric Keune
Eric Keune / Courtesy SOM
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Courtesy Jordan Fischer via Flickr
Eric Gene Siskel Film Center
Gene Siskel Film Center / Courtesy Neal Jennings via Flickr



Eric Keune is a design director at Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s Chicago office. Since joining SOM in 1998, Keune has worked on projects of varying scales, including the widely acclaimed Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California; the North American headquarters of Kia Motors Company in Irvine, California; and two projects for the State Department: the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulate General Complex in Guangzhou. He is currently working on two large-scale urban projects for the multinational Chinese real estate company Vanke, as well as a 280-meter-tall, mixed-use tower for Kerry Properties. Keune is the author of Paffard Keatinge-Clay: Modern Architect(ure)/Modern Master(s) (2006) and has curated a traveling exhibition of the same title. He has taught design studios at the University of Tennessee, California College of Arts, and Illinois Institute of Technology.


Best Sightseeing

Chicago Lake Front: Drive up and down Lake Shore Drive. Head toward Northerly Island along Solidarity Drive for iconic view of Chicago skyline (day and night visit).

Millennium Park: Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, and Anish Kapoor's hugely popular Cloud Gate.

Art Institute of Chicago: Renzo Piano's new Modern Wing has a nice rooftop restaurant—Terzo Piano—which is well worth a lunch.

John Hancock: Forget the observation deck, just go to the Signature Room bar for a cocktail. Make sure to get a seat by the windows.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: See the symphony in a charmingly intimate space.

Lyric Opera: A grand dame along the Chicago River.

Along with the much older Music Box Theater near Wrigley Field, the Gene Siskel Film Center is the premier venue for art films in the city.

Best Restaurants and Bars 

Kuma's Corner is famous for great burgers and long lines. Although it has a Japanese name, nothing here is Japanese. A biker bar frequented by hipsters. Good food, if you can stand the wait.

Moody's offers cheeseburgers and beer in a dark wood room filled with lots of fireplaces. Cozy in the winter. A nice outdoor terrace in the summer. Since 1959.

Del Seoul is Chicago's representative of the Korean taco truck trend in L.A. Rather compelling tacos and Korean versions of Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwiches

Slurping Turtle, a ramen restaurant in River North, is always running Miyazaki films over the bar.

Laurent Gras brings a little of France and Japan to Chicago fine dining cuisine at L2O, which is part of restaurantuer Rich Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.

Spiaggia is Barack Obama's favorite Italian date-night restaurant overlooking the Lake.

Best Bookstores 

Powell’s in Hyde Park—there is also one on South Halsted St. near UIC—but the Hyde Park location has the most interesting selection.