The Sweat Lodge
Want to escape Chicago’s brutal cold but don’t have the time or money to fly away? For twenty-five dollars the Sweat Lodge offers a mini-vacation in warmth and splendor. Strip away your snow-soaked boots and the rest of your heavy clothes and wade into the steam room where you’ll view an ethnic Chicago scene that has been re-enacted for over a century. Sweaty men yell through a thick cloud of steam in Ukrainian, Russian, Yiddish, Spanish and sometimes English while sitting in the 100-degree-plus room insulated by four tons of Belgian granite. Some complain about their wives, others brag about extra-curricular affairs, but most are busy dousing themselves with buckets of ice-cold water or engaging in the almost medieval act of rubbing their bodies with dried oak leaves. For the whole body effect, jump into the 35-degree wading pool long enough to catch your breath and then run back into the steam room. There is also a dry sauna made of two tons of red stone, dozens of soft lounge chairs and a kitchen that offers surprisingly good and inexpensive soups and salads as well as a selection of beers as varied as the clientele. As you once again put on your armor to face Chicago’s miserable winter, it is guaranteed that you will do so with a renewed sense of warmth and bravado.
3500 North Cicero