Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Destination: Chicago, IL

I thought it would only be fitting to start with dear old Chicago, IL because I currently live in this beautiful, lively city! Chicago has so many great things to see and do and for all ages.

Classic Tourism:
Photo Credit
  • The Sears Tower (currently called The Willis Tower): okay, I know they changed the name, but who knows it by The Willis Tower?  Either way, this tower is the tallest in Chicago, yet alone the Western Hemisphere! On the 103rd floor of this building is the Skydeck which has amazing views of the city and the Ledge, a glass box that lets you see what it's like to be 1,353 feet in the air. Pretty freaky if you ask me. See more info here.
  • The Cloud Gate (pictured on the right): referred to locals as "The Bean" due to it's shape, this structure is an interesting one to see! The mirrored surface gives amazing reflections of the city! It's located in Millennium Park, in downtown Chicago.
  • Navy Pier: Although Navy Pier is seasonal, there is much to do and see if the weather's right!  One of its most famous attractions is the Ferris Wheel.  At 150 feet high, Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel will also give you a great view from above.  Other Navy Pier attractions include a putt putt course, carousel, kid's theme park, boat rides, and many restaurants (including Bubba Gump Shrimp).  This is a great attraction for families.  See more info here.
  • Wrigley Field: Come during baseball season and go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field! This baseball field, located in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, is historic with its beautiful green ivy wall.  Also, it is one of the most fun baseball games I've ever been to.  Sit in the bleacher section for a great time filled with beer (try Chicago's Old Style), classic and Chicago Style hot dogs, and a great crowd!  Come before and stick around after to experience Wrigleyville bars and restaurants with the rest of the Cubs game fans.  It's sure to be a great time!
  • The Magnificent Mile: Famously known for its shopping, the Mag. Mile has everything from upscale shopping at Neiman Marcus to sportswear at Niketown.  Also located on the Mile, fine and casual dining.
  • Chicago Pizza: Save one meal for the famous Chicago Style deep dish pizza! There are a few delicious pizza serving restaurants, some of my favorites include: Lou Malnati's, Giordano's, and Gino's. Be aware, this pizza is very filling!

Hidden Gems:
  • Neighborhood Festivals: During the summer (late May-September), more than 400 festivals take place in different Chicago neighborhoods.  These are one of the best ways to see different areas of the city while enjoying live music, good food, and refreshing beverages for a low cost (less than $10) entry fee. Come and enjoy the locals scene! Some of the larger, more popular, and well known festivals are Lollapalooza and the Taste of Chicago. See more info and schedules here.
  • Old Town: A great Chicago neighborhood, Old Town has some great shopping, restaurants, bars, and not to mention a little place called Second City.  Second City (not really a hidden gem, as it is very well known) is only one of the many hilarious places to catch a comedy show in this city.
  • Photo Credit
  • Lake Michigan Beaches: I never really thought of going to the beach in Chicago before I lived here, but believe it or not, this city has some great Midwest beaches!  Come to North Avenue beach and lay out, and when you're hungry or thirsty you can stop by Castaway's, the north avenue beach bar and grill.
  • Volare Restaurant: My favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago! It has the ambiance of a restaurant you would find in Italy and some of the best food! My go to dish every time is the gnocchi with vodka sauce. Delish.
  • Rise Sushi & Sake Lounge: This upscale sushi restaurant has some of the best signature makis.  My favorite is the Flaming Maki, served warm it is simple with only salmon, avocado and spicy mayo.  And for presentation, it comes circled around a little bowl of flame!

While there is much more I could tell you about Chicago, I think you should just come and see for yourself!  Have you been to Chicago? What were some of your favorite places and things to do?


  1. Next time I hit up a baseball game in Chicago, I want to try one of those roof top bars that over look Wrigley field. Have you done that?

    Meggy from Chasing Davies

    1. I have plenty of times. Ususally they are reserved ahead of time for private or corporate parties, or you can win/buy the tickets otherwise. It is awesome!

  2. The Museum of Science and Industry is a must on my mother's, a retired teacher, list of Chicago activities. It is full of hands-on exhibits and perfect for families. I love Oak Park with its gorgeous homes and wonderful gardens. It's the home of both Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW's home and studio are there, tourable and absolutely amazing. You can also take a walking tour that takes you to all of the homes/buildings he designed in the area, I want to say there are 30+. A few years ago we discovered Lula Cafe in Logan Square which has the most amazing breakfast I have ever had. Last year we ran across Big Star under the Damon L station. Big Star has amazing tacos that are seriously cheap and a great beer selection. We are also Gino's East (the one east of Michigan Ave) people and last fall were introduced to the 3rd floor patio that is absolutely amazing.

  3. Love the hidden gems section :)

  4. Meggy: Yes, Wrigley Field Rooftops are a fun way to experience a Cubs game! They usually run about $80-$150 a game, but include your food and drinks throught the game. Visit http://www.wrigleyvillerooftops.com/ for a season schedule and tickets!

    Ashley: I agree, the Museum of Science and Industry is one of Chicago's great museums, along with the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum!