Chicago far exceeded my expectations – it’s a truly special city. We had purchased a truck that was being manufactured in Michigan, so we make the trip to Chicago as a little pitstop. And frankly, it was perfection. This post is a mash up, but pretty jam-packed with what we would suggest you do in Chicago whether you’re there for two days or a week. Enjoy!
We stayed in theatre district, which is in the center of the Chicago Loop. Originally we debated between Lincoln Park and Theatre District. We could not have scored a better location by staying at the Cambria.
At first it felt very “hostel-esque” upon arrival. It is basically right beneath the Goodman Theatre. So people coming to building are not only coming for the hotel, rather for shows. But the room was lovely, spacious and QUIET, especially for being very much so in the middle of the city.
It should be noted we wanted quick access to the metro. That was why we went with theatre district. Seeing as we rode buses and the metro every day of our visit, that was a wise decision.
If you’re driving in, know that parking prices are OUTRAGEOUS. It was a good deal to park out car at the hotels garage for $38/day. We parked in the wrong garage for 43 minutes upon arrival and we’re charged a whopping $34 for that. Do the math, that’s $800 per day. So, beware!
Get a 3 day pass for the subway from a Walgreens. We paid $20/person. Fair price for unlimited access over 3 days. The card activated the first time you use it.
Go to Intelligencia for coffee and a pastry if they have them.
DuSable Bridge by the Chicago river walk.
Go to the London Hotel side of the bridge for a great photo spot!
Yes, I know, it’s not actually called the bean. While this is silly to some, we thought it was way cooler than expected. It’s just a joyful little experience. The side parallel to the city buildings give the best reflection in our opinion! There will be people. Be courteous and patient. Everyone is there to get a fun shot! If you walk under the bean, you disappear due to the concave feature. It was enjoyable as an adult and I imagine even more fun for kids.
Get on the red line and head to China town!
Eat at Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
Hit up Garfield Park Conservatory for FREE!
They take reservations but we went without one and they let us in, no problem.
The conservatory is definitely laid it out in a manner that sets up great photo opportunities. Each room has a different feel based on the type of horticulture in a given climate.
Dinner at Ema (falafel, Mediterranean) – they had awesome drinks, and fairly priced foods for an expensive culinary area of Chicago. Their beef and lamb kebabs were so good – paired with a lemon rice.
Beatrix for breakfast
This restaurant came highly suggested from humans on the internet. It did not disappoint. It wasn’t anything over top, just super quality food. Nate’s steak and eggs came with some compote on top that he said was amazing. My simple bacon and eggs was elevated by the bacon having some kind of candied effect. But not too sweet by any means. And it was PERFECTLY cooked. Also the Valencia orange juice did not disappoint (we drove through Valencia in Spain and loved the region).
GET RESERVATIONS to most places. We got in quite a few without having them but it was always smoother and more time efficient when we made them in advance.
Go to the zoo
In March it was free and most animals were inside but visible. We were surprised to see the lions out in the 40 degree weather. Lincoln park is a great half or full day due to lots of walkability and views along the water.
Head to North Avenue Beach
Walk passed this ship looking vendor thing. Then you’ll get a nice city scape view.
Dang Good Wings for wings and pho. The sweat and spicy sriracha was bomb, as was the beef pho.
Out of the way classics
Chicago was a lovely city which delightfully exceeded both our expectations. It was clean in the city center, was walkable and/or easy to navigate with public transport, the city is aesthetically pleasing, on the water, with rivers, and of course the food culture is to die for. We even got some snow flurries on our last day in town. How classic.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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