Astor Street, Big Star, Bucktown, Chicago, Gold Coast, Magnificent Mile, Marc Jacobs, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Oak Street Beach, Old Town, River North, RM Champagne Salon, Roof on the Wit, Siena Tavern, Topshop, Wicker Park, Zara
As I’m slowly coming out of my food coma, I have had time to unpack and look through pictures from my trip to Chicago.
I had a blast kicking it with my friends, eating until we couldn’t move and being a tourist in the city I’ve already visited more times than I remember. The best part is being able to recognize the ways this trip was different from all those others.
Enjoy a mini diary of my vacation and some snapshots of Chicago.
Day 1: To kill time between when our bus arrived and dinner, we walked from Oak Street Beach to the Navy Pier. Dinner was at Coast Sushi Bar, whose popular White Dragon roll was definitely my favorite. We took the quick cab ride from Bucktown over to Wicker Park to sneak into a Speakeasy-style bar, Violet Hour. No flash allowed! It was a late night, and we finished it off by hitting a few clubs in River North.
Day 2: I like to call this the tourist day—and there was lots of walking. Starting in Gold Coast, we walked through the plaza surrounded by Gibsons, Carmine’s and the Tavern on Rush (you might know the area as Viagara Triangle), then stopped for macarons and lattés at Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula. We snapped pictures by the river and with one of my favorite buildings, the Tribune Tower, before heading to The Bean at Millennium Park. I had no clue this little garden was here, and it reminded me of Central Park. The long walk ended at the Buckingham Fountain.
With the day only half over, we hit up the beach. Cleveland’s beaches might offer similar views of a skyline, but it was invigorating to see so much more action on Lake Michigan. We ate dinner at Cedar Hotel beer garden and capped the night in style—at Roof on the Wit. #bottleservice
Day 3: The day started with a stroll through a different type of urban architecture. Astor Street and the surrounding neighborhood is known for the brownstones and townhouses, and it makes for a peaceful oasis in the heart of a big city. We returned to Wicker Park for dinner at Big Star for tacos. Before sitting to eat, we shopped in the new Marc Jacobs store and I found the one vinyl I’ve been searching for at Reckless Records—The Clash’s London Calling! We capped the day with dessert at RM Champagne Salon.
Day 4: Monday was dedicated as Magnificent Mile day. We hit up Water Tower Place for Macy’s and swung by Bloomingdales, but most of the fun happened in Zara and Topshop, two stores I adore and do not have at home.
More importantly, Monday was my best friend’s birthday. We returned to the River North area to indulge in a pasta-filled meal at Siena Tavern. I opted for gemelli with braised duck, baby arugula and shaved parmesan. But the real winner was my delicious “No. 5” cocktail, a mix of Maker’s Mark, marsala chai, averna amaro, allspice dram, angostura bitters and sparkling apple cider—who would have thought?
Day 5: With our bags packed, we took a walk over to Old Town, taking tabs on a few restaurants and cafes to remember for the next trip. Despite being full to the limit, we made a game-time decision to grab brunch at Hash House A Go Go. Girls gotta eat, right? Knowing the portions are gigantic, my friend and I split a corned beef dish. We all took turns nibbling on the giant brown sugar banana pancake.
We packed in a lot of sites—and a lot of food. If I had to summarize the highlights in one word, it would be “neighborhoods.” We took the time to see many different areas of the city.
I am already compiling my list of ideas for my next visit to the Windy City, and I hope that time comes soon. Anyone have suggestions for good food, sites and entertainment in Chicago? Bonus points for bottomless mimosas… or endless bacon.