4xForth: Melissa Salvatore of A Little Photo Studio! / by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Chicago-melissa-salvatore Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community. Today we're talking to Forth alum Melissa Salvatore, photographer and owner of A Little Photo Studio. Today Melissa shares some of her most frequented spots (kid-friendly too!), plus her favorite places outside of the city, favorite activities with out-of-town guests, and her must-do activities during a Chicago summer.

Places I frequent in Chicago

My days are filled between our two shops and a toddler so my most frequented spot is Lincoln Ave between Diversey and Southport. When we get a chance to choose where we want to go beyond Lincoln, we love to head over to Antique Taco. As much as I wouldn't call it necessarily a "kid-friendly" hang-out, it is kid-friendly because of how easy it is: you get to order yourself and once you sit down, someone is helping you out. While sitting outside and drinking a margarita (with a rosemary sprig sticking out of it) and eating amazingly delicious tacos, I have a moment where I feel like a grown-up who is out on the town…until my 3-year-old spills water down the leg of my pants.

Another favorite spot is the lakefront. We love taking advantage of the early morning rides or just getting some sun and fresh air within 15 min from home. Our favorite spot is heading North towards Montrose Beach.

I guess most of our "hang-outs" end up being food choices, because we also try to spend nice Sunday afternoons on the patio of Parson's...another kid-friendly spot because of the large outdoor space. I can't help favoring the spots where I know my son will behave, eat the food, all while I get to actually eat amazing food and have a good drink.

Favorite places to visit outside the city

We have enjoyed our trips to the Elkhorn Flea Market in Wisconsin 2 years running now. It is an adventure-filled day that involved some street food, sun and shopping!

We get away to Camp Wandawega whenever the opportunity arises. That only word to describe this transfer through time is magical.

We head to Barrington where Mike, my husband, and his family have preserved an old horse farm that was purchased by his great uncle. Although there are no longer horses, there is a lot of land to enjoy with the kid and dog and a way to get out of the busy city for a weekend.

Favorite things to do in Chicago when out of town guests come to visit

I have this weird obsession with the Architectural Boat Tour and I do that every year with a guest around my birthday in October and then any other first time visitor usually ends up on the tour boat with me!

We are big foodies, so I always try to bring guests to unique food spots like Bang, Bang Pie, Antique Taco, Parson’s, Pleasant House Bakery, and our neighborhood favorite, Side Street Saloon.

Millennium Park is another touristy must-do. It is never so crowded that you can't stand it and it is a pretty unique experience if you have never seen a city park filled with art structures before.

The Lincoln Park Zoo! I love our city zoo, I love that it's free, and I love that it is close. And it is worth a visit in the summer and winter for zoo lights!

Your 'must-dos' during a Chicago summer

  • Head to the beach more than once
  • Make it to at least one street festival and more if possible (Renegade Craft Fair on top of that list)
  • Farmer's Market
  • Pools! Find Pools - in the city, outside of the city, wherever!

Thanks for sharing Melissa! I also share a healthy obsession with the architectural boat tour, having experienced it about 10 times to date, and it’s the first thing I suggest when out-of-towners are visiting during the warmer months. Bike rides up to Montrose Beach are the best, and that Antique Taco Rosemary Margarita can’t be beat!

Keep up with Melissa on A Little Photo Studio's blog, and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.