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“Lovely Little Plaza”
Review of Mariano Plaza

Mariano Plaza
Ranked #276 of 638 things to do in Chicago
Attraction details
Reviewed August 8, 2017

This charming triangular space provides a lovely place to chill out near State and Rush streets on the Gold Coast. A few blocks from my hotel, the plaza initially caught my eye because of its many yellow umbrellas, which provide shade over black wrought-iron tables. Benches and chairs abound, standing on a ground cover of brick pavers. A fountain provided a cooling effect on one of my visits that occurred on a hot, humid day. Circular flower beds surround tall trees, and flower baskets decorate earlier-era style lampposts.

As an architecture buff, I especially like the Prairie-style pavilion at one end, designed by a member of Frank Lloyd Wright's staff in 1895. This pavilion holds Whispers Cafe, which sells takeaway refreshments, such as coffee, tea, juices and gelato. I was disappointed with its decaf coffee but thoroughly enjoyed a small cup of chocolate and raspberry gelato.

My stops here occurred in late mornings when few others were around. But I suspect the plaza brings in many local residents later in the day.

The plaza is named after Louis Mariano, who was a reporter and editor for the Chicago Daily News.

Thank Rumples
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2 - 6 of 7 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2016 via mobile

This is a tranquil area of the city with great food weighted by the pound and priced accordingly (in other words, fill your plate and pay around $7)
I had fennel sausage with beautiful salads and cheeses! We saved a lot of money by eating here every evening. Mariano's has an outdoor terrace to eat during the summer with plenty of space.

Thank AmyGracey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2015 via mobile

If you're staying in the Gold Coast stroll over to this little slice and enjoy an espresso or gelato and watch the people. It's a quaint little park.

Thank Nicole H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2014

We live just a few blocks from here - and I was surprised this plaza was listed as an attraction on Trip Advisor. I Googled the plaza to see if there was any significance that I was unaware of and was really surprised. The little ice cream / coffee shop is over 120 years old and was built by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's students.

I wouldn't make a special trip here - but if you are in the area it is a small little spot to rest. There are a lot of restaurants and bars in the area.

Here's the scoop on the small shop from the Chicago Architecture site:

The Mariano Park Pavilion at 1031 North State Street is the fulcrum of the area known as Viagra Triangle, at the intersection of North State Street and North Rush Street. These days the pavilion houses a Whispers cafe, and is a regular stop for many people who live in the area and for the occasional tourist that ventures into the neighborhood.

Although it looks like a reproduction of Prairie School architecture, it's actually the real thing. It was built in 1895 and designed by Birch Burdette Long. He was on Frank Lloyd Wright's staff before going out on his own.

The pavilion was renovated in 1979 and contains many easily-overlooked details. Pay particular attention to the glazed columns flanking the service window, and the details under the roof gables.

Most people just think of it as a place for a quick cup of coffee, but it only takes a few minutes of quiet inspection to develop a different appreciation for this gem hidden right under our noses.

2  Thank Diane K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 15, 2016
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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