Chicago has a lot going on. With its culture, culinary staples and unique neighborhoods Chicago’s on my list of must-see cities in the United States. My trip to Chicago was everything I hoped for and more. Though I’d been to Illinois many times before this was my first extended stay in the windy city. It worked out well because I was there for 2 weeks. I’ve heard its best to visit in the summer or fall, but I lucked out with high 50’s in the middle of February.
I’d been to Chicago before but only for a day here and there. With it being my first real visit I made a thorough travel guide: a list of touristy landmarks and Chicagoan neighborhood spots. I stayed at the Blackstone hotel where my company had put me up. The Blackstone recently underwent renovations and was quite beautiful after the makeover. My room was a large suite equipped with a huge walk-in hallway, spacious bathroom large enough for couples and a perfect view overlooking Grant Park where they host Lollapalooza. I was very happy with the room. The hotel service and cleaning staff were really attentive. Everything was perfectly organized with little notes for towels, coffee and weather daily. One evening I came back to the room to find a sweet arrangement of chocolates, nuts and berries with a bottle of wine from the hotel to thank me for my social media posts. It was so sweet! Thanks for the great treatment @blackstonehotel. After the lovely stay I will definitely be back to stay again!
Being in Chicago without a day off meant trying to coordinate activities around work. My first night in Chicago I meet up with friends at Maple and Ash. The seafood tower was unbelievable. It was so good that I am going to write a separate post about the restaurant because everyone should know how great the food is.
I could bore you with a play by play of my trip but the truth is it’s better outlined in bullet points.
Tourist Attractions I enjoyed
- Skydeck (Willis Tower)
- John Hancock Center
- Art Institute of Chicago – Van Gogh’s Bedroom
- Chicago Skyline
- House of Blues
- The Chicago Theatre
- Cloud Gate “The Bean”
Chicago has a variety of great places to eat. Too many in fact. With a heavy work schedule I didn’t have enough time to explore everything, but here are a few places I loved and recommend.
- Maple and Ash
- Lou Malnati’s
- The Allis Soho
- Girl & The Goat
- The Purple Pig
- The Gage
If you are a shopper like me you’ll appreciate the premium shops. I found a cool concept store called RSVP. Its a trendy gallery with designer clothing and poster prints. I made friends with the buyer, Lance, who has an eye for fashion and fine taste. Shortly after we meet at RSVP I ran into him at Soho house. Great minds think alike. Checkout RSVP if you are looking for something unique. The store is located next to a few other boutique shops, coffee houses and cafes on N. Damen Ave. On the opposite side of town closer to the John Hancock Observatory is Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus near Magnificent Mile. I walked around the neighborhood and took pictures. Its a great area for photos. Checkout the riverwalk for pictures too. Its near the House of Blues and more affordable stores like Forever 21, Old Navy and Nordstrom Rack.
Though I had an incredible time in Chicago there is more I would have liked to have seen and done: She’d Aquarium, Navy Pier, Goose Island Beer Brewery, run along the lakefront and visit Logan Squares Farmers Market. Chicago is a beautiful city filled with architecture and history. Hopefully my itinerary will help point you in the direction of some great new restaurants, music and shopping.