A few weeks ago, Martin and I spent 4 days in Chicago. It was the first time for both of us, and thankfully, we had a wonderful host and tour guide. A close friend moved to the city two years ago, and we've been waiting for the chance to go visit her!
Our trip took place in mid September, and I would just like to say that it was the PERFECT weather. I highly recommend going that time of year. If you're planning your first visit to the city like we were, here are a few of our favorite activities! (and wear comfy shoes!)
1. Magnificent Mile Shopping
This is probably a given, but I would still recommend it. Being from a smaller city, we loved walking down Michigan Avenue staring at the buildings, architecture, and shops on every corner! We did a little shopping, which is always fun. I think we just enjoyed the bustle of a bigger city as we walked and enjoyed the sights along this stretch of downtown Chicago.
2. Art Viewing
During our time, the city was hosting a modern art expo at the Navy Pier. So we had a great time walking through part of the exhibit. If we had more time, we wanted to go to the Art Institute. So I'd add that to your list!
3. Comedy Club
One of the highlights of our trip was going to IO Comedy Club on Friday night. We saw a performance of the Improvised Shakespeare group...talk about talent! They were phenomenal at improv. Before the show, you can watch a slideshow of all the SNL stars that started out doing comedy at IO. It was like looking at an old yearbook from Saturday Night Live. (pretty cool)
4. Wrigley Stadium
Martin wanted to watch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and I'm so glad he suggested it. This year was their 100th year anniversary, and it did kind of feel like the stadium was full of history. It was also a fun outdoor activity that gave us a break from walking for a little while! ha! We loved the walking, but it is was also nice to sit for a little while and enjoy the game. (they won!)
5. Brunch Everyday
Well, that would be my motto at all times, but especially in Chicago! We had some great breakfast food while we were there. One of our favorites was Yolk in downtown Chicago. We probably could have split one meal because it was so much food, but it was all so delicious and so filling!
Another great brunch was at Ann Sather on the way to the Cubs game. You have to get the cinnamon roll side! Just look at the picture if you need convincing!
6. Architectural Boat Tour
This is an activity we didn't actually have time to do, but it would be high on my list to do when we go back. I heard from others that it is an interesting tour and just fun to be on the boat. There are a couple of companies touring. Some were leaving from the Navy Pier.
7. Millennium Park
Home to the famous Bean! I guess if you visit Chicago, you have to get a picture in front of the bean looking sculpture called "Cloud Gate" found in Millennium Park. The cool thing about this stainless steel sculpture is they it reflects the city around you. After researching the significance, I also learned it was welded together and has no visible seams. The park area also has some pretty grassy areas where you can sit and enjoy great people watching.
The park is also home to a huge pavilion for outdoor shows and concerts. It looks like something out of the Hunger Games. When we stopped by, they happened to be having Senior Fest, so we got to watch some entertaining music events and hear the mayor speak.
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And a few more random suggestions:
During our trip, we found some pretty interesting spots. We stopped in a lovely stationery and paper store called TwoSided. Being a lover of paper goods, it was like walking into a candy store! The place is full of great gift ideas. I probably could have stayed there for a very long time. Another random find was this store in downtown called Eataly. It was like a bakery, gourmet restaurant, Italian fresh market, cooking store, and cooking school all formed into one! It would have been a great place to pick up several items for a picnic. I think we were in there for a while just taking it all in!
(dessert counter at Eataly)
We also made a visit to Heritage General Store - a coffee shop and bike shop. I had read about it in Southern Living, and it was just as cute and original as they described it. The owners combined two of their favorite things - coffee and biking! I tried the Thai coffee flavor...pretty unique and very tasty.
(the atmosphere at Heritage General Store)
On Sunday, I visited the Moody Church with my friend. It was a great message on being too in love with ourselves and trying to be our own god. Definitely worth a listen. If you click here, you can listen to September 21st's message. It was also a beautiful building as you can see in the picture below!
That about sums up our trip! I hope this helps you if you're looking to go there yourself!
Chicago was a nice change in scenery and definitely a city I want to go back to!
What city have you fallen in love with?