3 Bathhouses in Chicago to Relax and Restore

As parents, we’re constantly someone’s chef, nurse, teacher, chauffeur, jungle gym and much more. It’s no wonder we often look back at pictures of ourselves before kids and say to ourselves, “What the [bleep] happened to me? Why do I have these wrinkles and permanent eyebags?” Oh, well, because you’re one person doing the job of 12 people! That’s why.

I’m a huge believer in self care, which can mean so many different things to people. Whether it’s a nightly soak in the tub with a good book or a weekly mani/pedi, self care is super important to keep us sane and allow us to continue to be kickass parents.

While researching self care spas for myself and my husband, I came across a handful of bathhouses in the Chicagoland area that looked like something straight out of Game of Thrones. While bathhouses typically conjure up thoughts of sexy, kinky stuff, this list does not include “those” type of places. The following are all legit options for rest and relaxation.

Aire Ancient Baths

Tucked away in an unassuming old factory from the late 19th century in River West, Aire Ancient Baths is something straight out of another time. Lit almost entirely by candles, this space still maintains its original bricks, columns, beams and also incorporates historical elements such as 16th century stone fountains and marble from Spain.

This is the largest (20,000 square feet!) and second U.S. location, featuring pools of hot, warm, cold and ice water, an indoor/outdoor pool, salt pools and two steam rooms. Add on a variety of different body work rituals and experiences ranging from Himalayan salt scrubs, massages, wine or argan oil. This is not an all-nude bathhouse, so bring your swimsuit!

Red Square Bath House

This Wicker Park bathhouse has been up and running since 1906. Rooted in Russian-Turkish philosophies, this is more than just a bathhouse. It features a full bar, restaurant, tanning salon and other amenities. There are separate facilities for men and women — changing rooms, showers, a wet sauna, steam room and a hot tub. The men’s side also has a cold pool. The dry sauna is a shared space.

Your day admission of $35 includes a robe, towel and slippers. Add on a platza (a rub) for $35, which is done entirely with a broom made of fully grown leaves of birch, oak or eucalyptus providing an organic aromatic experience that removes the dead skin cells.

King Spa & Sauna

Situated in the northern suburbs of Chicago, this 24-hour, 34,000-square-foot Korean spa is situated between a Korean market, Super H Mart and Home Depot. But don’t let the strip mall location turn you off. This place is no joke. King Spa has nine different saunas (salt, charcoal, etc), hot tubs, steam room, cold pools, massage rooms, a movie theater, a nap room and even a restaurant.

The day costs a reasonable $35 and for just $10 extra, you can stay overnight. No, I’m not even joking. Leave your modesty at the door (you basically shed all your clothes in the non-shared spaces), treat yourself to a scrub that will leave you feeling like a lizard with new skin and hang out until you are utterly and completely blissed out.

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