Chicago Favorites

A couple of weekends ago, Nate and I went to Chicago.

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We were joined by some crazy kids.  Also known as my parents.  In case you were wondering, I get my wit from my dad.  I get my height and blog photos from my mom.  My mom took 500 photos in Chicago.  Nate and I took like 30 combined.  She was that crazy tourist taking pictures of other people's weddings, dogs, etc.   Totally embarrassing.  As a mother should be.

Nate and I were their tour guides.  My parents told us to show them the cool stuff.  Nate and I are by no means Chicago experts.  We only go once a year and usually do about the same things.  They are all pretty touristy so I thought they might be useful for anyone planning an upcoming trip.   You may notice that our trips revolve around food.  One of my favorite parts of Chicago.


When traveling to Chicago, we prefer to stay downtown.  The room rates are obviously higher than the suburbs but we like the convenience.  For this trip, we stayed at The River Hotel.  


This was our first stay here and we were impressed.  The hotel is clean and quiet.  Checking in and out was easy.  Check in wasn't until 3pm but they let us have our room right away.  The location is wonderful as it is right next to Michigan Avenue.  The other nerdy thing we like is that there is free bottled water on every floor.  It's the little things.

We have also stayed at The Central Loop Hotel and  Wyndham Grand Hotel.  We like both.  The Wyndham is located right next to The River Hotel (right off Michigan Avenue).  The rooms are huge.  The Central Loop is very similar to the River Hotel. We've stayed here a few times. The only disadvantage is that is located further from a lot of the restaurants we enjoy.

Tip:  Don't be afraid of Priceline.  We've booked all of these hotels for around $120-150 per night. We recommend starting to look early.  We search for hotels that are 4 star and higher in the Millennium Park/Loop/Grant Park area.  We start around $100. 


Oh, the food.  Where to start. How about breakfast?

My all time favorite is Yolk

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On the left is my all time favorite.  It is cinnamon roll French toast which is also known as what dreams are made of.  I would eat this every day of my life if I lived in Chicago.  Seriously.  Everyone enjoyed their breakfast, even my dad who is a pretty tough critic of breakfast food. 

The second morning we headed to a doughnut shop recommended to us by Alli.  (Alli gave us some good food tips before heading in.  I still have a few more restaurants on her list to try! )  We are now also big fans of Glazed and Infused. With flavors like Maple Bacon, Creme Brulee, Cherry Granola and Toffee, how can you not be?  I want to go back now.

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You can't go to Chicago without getting deep dish pizza.  At least we can't.  I know the choice of deep dish establishments is controversial with Chicago residents.   I received many complaints on Instagram that we prefer Giordano's over Lou Malnati's.  We've only had Lou's once but we weren't impressed.  Maybe it was an off day.  We aren't willing to risk our yearly deep dish experience so we stick with Giordano's.

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One of our lunch time favorites is Portillo's.   The food is tasty.  I find the atmosphere amusing.  It's very fast paced and loud.


We are also big hot fudge sundae fans so a stop at Ghirardelli's is a must.   The following photo is a result of my mother's constant photographing.  She should be a blogger.  Nate also finds it important for his desserts to match his shirts.

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One of Alli's dinner suggestions was Bub City.  Their website states they serve barbeque for their whiskey drinking crowd.   The food was good.  The Whiskey Tango I had, however, was amazing.  Who knew peach sweet tea with whiskey could be so amazing?  I might need to get out more.

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Things To Do

One of Nate and I's favorite things to do in Chicago is just walk around.  It's probably our small town living that makes us find wandering the city enjoyable.  Besides walking, here are some of our favorites. 

Chicago Cubs Games

Love them or hate them.  Either way, going to a Cubs game is still a good time.  Nate and I appreciate the history of the ballpark.   (It also doesn't hurt that my dad has a business partner that gives us free tickets.)

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Field Museum

We always enjoy a trip to the Field Museum.  It's a good place to stop if you're traveling in the Summer.  The air conditioning break is appreciated.  I think the museum is entertaining for kids and adults. 

Tip: I'm not going to lie.  One of the reasons we love the Field Museum is because we can get in free (with guests).  Nate is a member of a museum in town that also offers free admission to select Chicago museums. If you have a local museum membership, check to see if it covers museums in other cities! 

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Architecture Boat Tour

We didn't take a boat tour this trip (because we have multiple other times) but we do recommend it.  The boat tours are great way to see the city without having to walk.  We both actually learned quite a bit about architecture and the city's history. 

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Navy Pier

Navy Pier has a special place in our hearts because Nate proposed on the Ferris wheel.  Cue the "awwws".  Barf.   We usually visit the pier at night.  There is usually some kind of live music and there are fireworks on Saturdays.

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Buckingham Fountain/Millennium Park

We always make a trip to the fountain (where I sing the theme song to Married with Children).  We also wander the gardens at Mellinnium Park and make stops at the Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain.

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Tip: Visit the Cloud Gate early in the morning.  (Preferably after donuts.)  We went at 7:30 on Sunday morning and there were very few people there.  The following pictures are from noon on Saturday and then Sunday morning.

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Second City

We caught our first Second City show during this trip.  Second City is a sketch comedy/improve show.  It's the place where Tina Fey and Chris Farley got their starts.  The fours of us all enjoyed the show.  We plan on going to another show in the future. 

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Read about past trips here and here!

Is Chicago on your destination list? Do you have any favorite Chicago stops?  I think I'm heading back in October with some of my favorite people so suggestions are welcome! 

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