TRAVEL GUIDE: Chicago, Illinois
Every year it seems as if one city and one country gets put in the spot of "places most people visited" this year. This year was definitely Bali, Indonesia and in my opinion Chicago, Illinois. At least that's what it seemed like. Let's start off with a few of the many names Chicago has:
The Windy City- (I learned this really quick in that frigid 12 degree weather!).
The Second City-refers to that Chicago had the second largest metropolitan area in the US for most of the 20th century.
The City that Works- a slogan by Mayor Richard Daley's describing Chicago as a hard-working city.
Chi-City- a name used by Kanye West in his song "Homecoming"and by Common in the song "Chi-City". Both are from Chicago and both talk about life in Chicago.
WHAT MADE ME GO?
IT WAS CHEAP! $99 non-stop roundtrip on United Airlines from Tampa, FL.
Now, I will tell you that the main reason the ticket was cheap was because it was freezing in February (about 12-37 degrees which in Florida language means stay home! ). But, a majority of cheap tickets have an inconvenience (some will call it) attached to it. I, on the other hand am always down no matter the climate as long as it's cheap and I have time to dress appropriately. I found an even cheaper one on American Airlines for January but said "Hell no! It's too cold!". Ended up going one month later.
WHERE TO STAY?
Chicago has an immense amount of hotels in the heart of downtown all of which you'll get amazing views of the city line. Again, I work for Marriott International and they have beautiful brands in downtown as well. But, you know me by now and if I can save a couple of pennies, count me in!
We stayed here with Danielle and her amazing dog Max (most well-behaved dog I've ever met!). Danielle's place is in the Prime Gold Coast putting you within a short walk or uber/lift to everything. She gave us so many recommendations and even took time to sit and chat with me about her own travels. I lovedddddddd her apartment, its chic, private, and very lit (my profile picture was taken in her room! So you know all of my selfies were BOMB!)
WHERE TO EAT?
*does happy dance*
To start, I will say that Chicago should be every foodie's dream to visit! I have never seen so many different restaurants all within a few miles, its insane! Obviously I couldn't go to all but the ones I did get to try were nothing short of AMAZING!
Lou Malnati’s pizza
THE BEST DAMN PIZZA EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR !! Anyone who has been will or at least should recommend you to go here. It's that damn good! You can preorder while on the waiting list so when a table is free, most likely your food will be ready. And let's not start with the buffalo wings. O M G ! The sauce had a kick but the best flavorful kick! I could not stop!
For breakfast, I would definitely recommend either LUXBAR (pic 1-3) or The Bongo Room (pic 4). If you're a sucker for eggs benedict, The Bongo Room not only has the best I've tried so far but there's FIVE different kinds to choose from! LUXBAR had the best french toast my friend said and amazing omelettes.
Gino’s east pizza
Gino's East Pizza UHMAZINGGGGGGGG! So amazing I ate half the leftovers cold for breakfast the next morning. So yummy! *drooling just thinking about it*
Gene & Judes I didn't get to go here but you definitely should. I was told it's the best hot dogs in Chicago. It's a little outside of the city but well worth it; there's over two thousand good reviews on Google! And, trust me that many people can't be lying!
WHAT TO DO?
All the touristy things! Seriously, I had a blast going to the main tourists TRAPS in Chicago.
• 360 Chicago -Inside the John Hancock Building. The tickets to go up were $21 + the view was spectacular! If you go on a Sunday and make reservations, I heard the Brunch is amazing! Plus, you get a view!
• Skydeck Chicago -If you're going to go, CHECK THE WEATHER! The (bottom-left picture) is my result of a "zero visibility" due to weather. I couldn't get my picture with the view which was a bummer since I already pre-paid for tickets (DO, prepay for tickets so you can skip that line and go straight to the wait time)
• Cloud Gate ("The Bean")- I went mid day and of course there were tons of people there but if you really want a picture in front of it alone I suggest going early morning or late night. Either way, do not leave Chicago without doing this or you technically didn't go to Chicago!
I'm sure you've heard just as many horror stories about Chicago as I have and why you shouldn't go. In all honesty, anything "bad" can happen to you no matter where you go. Y'all know Florida is the hub for "craziest things to happen to you" so don't even do Chicago like that! Three things to keep in mind: always be aware of your surroundings, know where you are and where you're going and ask questions if something seems off.
I really enjoyed Chicago and have replaced all my negative thoughts about this city with so many great memories; still leaving space for more because I PLAN TO RETURN! I love Chicago and I hope you'll put it on your list of places you should visit as well!