Live Like Kara Mann in NYC, LA and Chicago

The tri-coastal designer (it's a thing) is sharing all her favorite spots with us

Interior designer Kara Mann shares her favorite places in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago
Continued sheltering-in-place due to *gestures in the general direction of everything* has us actually looking back fondly on work-related travel these days—and that might be especially true for the interior designer behind our latest collaboration, Kara Mann. Now mostly based in Chicago (again, due to … all this), Mann also has offices in New York City and Los Angeles. Before the pandemic hit, she’d bounce between them as needed, working on projects all across the country.

So, with the vague hope of someday being able to return to our favorite haunts—and discover new ones—we asked Kara to share her favorite spots in her three US home bases. If you’re local to one of these cities, add these to your list of places to check out. Even if you’re not, they make great itineraries for future travel. And in the meantime, of course, you can live that Kara Mann life from the comfort of your own home by shopping her new collection for CB2.


“If you’ve never been here on a lazy August Sunday, you don’t know what summer feels like.”

Start your day at Nomad Chicago with a coffee with a bit of oat milk. If you can, get on a boat on Lake Michigan “for an amazingly different perspective of the city” and an excellent vantage point to appreciate Chicago’s architecture. Even if you’re not on a boat, Mann recommends “just taking a moment to look up at the skyline.” Garfield Park Conservatory will “blow your mind,” or head south to the bike path at Northerly Island for a hidden gem that’s “right in the heart of the city but feels worlds away.”

Pop over to Ikram to shop “things you can’t find anywhere else in Chicago” before heading to the Chicago Riverwalk for a summer cocktail stroll. Book dinner at Avec to experience both the incredible staff and delicious focaccia, then head back over to the Gold Coast to hang out with the Piano Man at the historic Zebra Lounge.


“Every walk is an amazing mix of modern and historic. It’s inspiring to see a townhouse from the 1800s next to a steel-and-glass architectural jewel.”

Start your day at Happy Bones with a coffee with a bit of oat milk. Wander the streets, taking in the melting pot of cultures, until you stumble upon the Elizabeth Street Garden, Mann’s favorite NYC hidden gem. Raoul’s is in the same neighborhood for dinner (“It’s so intimate”), but don’t discount a detour to midtown for shopping at Dover Street Market to work up your appetite, which Mann notes is full of “so much edge under one roof.” And if Kara Mann thinks something is edgy, you know it’s worth the trip. Crash at the “impeccable” Greenwich Hotel to end your day in Manhattan. Mann also recommends a trip to Red Hook, Brooklyn: “It’s like a little ocean village in the middle of NYC. Have a lobster roll and watch the sun set over the Statue of Liberty.”

Interior designer Kara Mann shares her favorite places in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago
Interior designer Kara Mann shares her favorite places in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago


“There’s something about the sun in Southern California.”

Start your day at Paramount Coffee Project with a coffee with a bit of oat milk. Feel like shopping? Mann loves that Maxfield on Melrose reminds her of the Louvre. More into hiking? Drive out to Malibu and experience the “gorgeous coastal views” at Inspiration Point. Drive back through the hills at sunset and stop to see the city lights.

Dinner and drinks are something of a choose-your-own adventure of Kara Mann favorites: experience a Venice speakeasy at Old Lightning, grab a cozy Italian dinner in the middle of Laurel Canyon at Pace or venture into the heart of Hollywood for classic cocktails at MiniBar Hollywood—a “pretty obscure” bar hidden in a Best Western, of all places, with “a cool scene and amazing cocktails” nonetheless. And Mann says you must stay at the iconic Chateau Marmont while in LA: “It has so much soul and the service is incredible.”

New York City and Los Angeles photos via Unsplash.

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