There’s theater, live music, and more than enough food. I can’t think of anything that we don’t have besides perfect weather year round. It’s no surprise that many of Hollywood’s finest are now getting quite comfortable in their second home of Chicago.
One star-studded cast that’s regularly spotted out and about is the cast of Chicago Fire
Their newest cast member Miranda Rae Mayo is already making herself right at home. She’s the newest firefighter to join the team but she’s already become a Chicago expert.
We had a chat with the star about some of her favorite Chicago attractions. Plus, we tried to squeeze some Chicago Fire spoilers out of her. Without further ado, let’s explore Chicago with Miranda Rae Mayo.
Getting to Know Miranda and Stella
TCL: Hi Miranda! The season finale is steadily approaching. Can you give us a slight hint of what’s to come? We don’t mind spoilers 😉
MM: Slight hint..? hmm? There is going to be some serious heartbreak and some serious heat!
TCL: What would you say are some of the similarities between you and Stella?
MM:Well we do look very similar… her hair is a little bit frizzier than mine, but I mean overall, side by side it’s kind of uncanny.
Chicago vs. Cali
TCL: We know that your native of California has us beat in the weather department; but what’s something that you love about Chicago that you can’t find in Cali?
MM: The whole energy of the city is just different. You have historical districts here that are all about preserving the history of the city, which is so great and there really isn’t much of that in California, that I know of at least. And baseball is life. I remember during the world series looking out at the condo complex across from me and every single TV was on and playing the game. It was the coolest thing to be in the middle of. Go Cubs!
A Day in the Life of Miranda
TCL: Take us through a typical off day for you. What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago?
MM: Hmm it depends on when my call time is… but ok!… Morning routine: meditate, journal, do some affirmations, then head over to Buzz for some coffee, Cafe Robey for some work time, I might train with my trainer at Hifi Fitness, it’s an all trainer gym and everyone is so so great, and then run around on the CTA getting errands done! All the restaurants in Wicker Park are incredible, I’m always finding new things to do in the city and am loving it.
TCL: It’s our first time in the city and we only have 48 hours. What are some places that we must checkout?
MM: HAMILTON, anything playing at the Steppenwolf, the Museum of Science and Industry, Dove’s on Damen for breakfast, Buzz for coffee, the architectural tour on the river (if it’s nice out) Davenport’s Cabaret if you’re in town on a Saturday night. Daryl and George start their show at 10:30 and it is a hoot. But if you’re in on a Sunday night, the Revel Room Soul Sessions. A bunch of incredible musicians get together and play music off the top of their heads and always come up with something incredible. I look forward to it every week.
TCL: Let’s say we want some cocktails. What are your favorite places in the city to grab a drink?
MM: I love Heavy Feather on Milwaukee. It looks like 1975 inside and the cocktails are superb.
Untitled is also great. It’s underground, it looks like the Great Gatsby inside and they are always playing great hip hop and Beercade is a ton of fun too.
Sweet Home Chicago
TCL: Chicago has essentially become your second home. What has been your favorite part about living here?
MM: My set family. The city is beautiful and I love my neighborhood, but it wouldn’t be half as great without the people I work with. I also have a cute hockey player boyfriend I met here, so he is definitely a huge plus…
Singing with Miranda
TCL: You are also a very talented singer. What are some Chicago hot spots that are great for live music. Where can we see you perform?
MM: First of all, thank you!! Second of all, there’s Davenport’s, Revel Room, wherever the Jeff Gibbs band or La Royce Hawkins are having a show I will always try and sneak in to be a part of their projects. There is also a great event I just performed with called Broadway at the W where I got to sing alongside the incredible Chicago cast of Hamilton at the W hotel off of Adams st. Hopefully it won’t be the last time!
TCL: We’re just a few months away from Summer time Chi. Describe a typical Summer with Miranda.
MM: I am a very “go with the flow” kind of girl, which can be fun but frustrating if you are trying to make solid concrete plans with me. I love being outdoors, traveling and seeing live entertainment, but I am also a huge fan of staying inside, cooking and binge watching Game of Thrones. It all just depends on my mood that week!
TCL: While new to the city, what would you say is Chicago’s best hidden gem?
MM: Pilsen. I’ve only been exploring in that area a couple of times, but it’s a richly diverse community and there’s a ton of art. I love it. I went and saw Peaches at Thalia Hall with Monica last year and it was one of the greatest nights I’ve had in Chicago thus far.
TCL: What’s next for you Miranda?
MM: EUROPE! I’ve never been and am so excited to go exploring. I am continuing to write and perform my original music and I am also training with a group called The Holistic Foundation over the summer; an organization dedicated to teaching meditation and creating a space for mindfulness in public school programs. I mainly just want to continue to grow in my capacity for compassion, spreading love and my artistic expression! And I want to pay my bills – that’s on the list too I guess 🙂
Special thanks to Miranda for sharing her Chicago with us. Definitely check out these places because we definitely trust her judgment.
You can catch Chicago Fire on Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC. Stay tuned for the season finale on May 16th.
All photos are credited and produced by the following
Photography: Glenn Nutley
Hair & Makeup: ANDREW ZEPEDA
Production: BP MAJOR