Happy Monday, friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Michael and I went to Nashville this weekend to visit a couple of friends who just bought a gorgeous, gorgeous house. It was one of those weekends that just makes you feel good – centering life around great food, beautiful places, and people you love tends to do that, right? I was soaking it up like a sponge.
I’ll tell you about Nashville tomorrow, but for today I actually have a Chicago recap of some things I’d recommend doing in the city! Michael and I spontaneously went to Chicago for the 4th of July and I thought I’d share with you some fun highlights of our trip if you’re just wanting to kick back, relax, and take in the city on foot.
So when I say this trip was spontaneous, I mean that we booked our flight the night before and then showed up on the doorsteps of our friends and family 🙂 Thankfully, our people are used to our nuttiness and kindly welcomed us into their homes with open arms.
**Pro Travel Tip from MD If You Have Airline Status and Are Willing to Take Risks**
Michael and I weren’t locked into a time that we needed to arrive by in Chicago so we booked the cheapest flight of the day that was going out of Dallas (a 9:30pm flight). We showed up in the morning, however, the day of our flight and asked at the gate if we could hop onto the earlier flight (leaving at 11am)…. and they let us on!
If you have airline status, are not locked into an arrival time, and don’t mind waiting around at an airport if you can’t get on a flight, I highly, highly recommend trying this. Like, fo realz. Go through security as normal and find the gate in which the earlier Dallas flight will be departing from. From there, let the agent at the counter know that you have ____ status with the airline and that you were hoping to catch an earlier flight. Also, check the fullness of flights online at home so you don’t end up going to the airport early and spending a day there for no reason.
Since our time in Chi-town was most focussed on friends and family, most of our gatherings were centered around food, taking in the sights of the city, and regular stops at Dunkin Donuts (which is the best coffee of life in case you didn’t know).
This was actually my first trip to Chicago! I had been once as a little kid to go to the American Girl Store for tea with my dolls, Samantha and Kit, but that is my only memory of that visit. I was blown away by the quality of the restaurants we visited as well as how beautiful this city was. There’s something about Chicago that doesn’t have the overwhelming vibe of a typical big city to me. I’m not sure if it was the wealth of trees or the kindness of the people we crossed, but it didn’t have the same hustle and bustle of the East Coast and I loved the chill vibe. I think part of the chill feel has to do with the water running straight through the city too. I loved that.
Speaking of water, we did the Architectural River Tour of the city and it was absolutely stunning. If you do one touristy thing while you’re there, I highly recommend this! It was worth every penny.
Our other big event, was honestly just walking the town, going into stores to explore and walking along the water. We wanted to see the different neighborhoods of the city and going around on foot is the best way to do that any place you go, right?
*Dunkin in hand at all times*
There are 2 important food groups in Chicago – pizza and hot dogs. And we definitely found both. If you’re looking for must have food in Chi-town, these are the places to go (according to our tour guides/family/friends and we agreed with their choices!)
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder – this restaurant in Lincoln Park Pizza is known for their pizza pot pie and I was honestly a bit skeptical of this situation since I know Chicago is the place to get deep dish pizza. I was proved wrong! This is definitely an entire breed of pizza and is fantastic in its own right. Their salad was also awesome. I definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area! As is the case with most restaurants in Chi-town, you will experience a long wait. Plan ahead by getting there early to get your name on the list or plan to drink wine for an hour or so 🙂
Pequod’s Pizza – This deep dish pizza was incredible. It was just absolutely amazing. End of story. I really liked the way the crusted caramelized and hardened on the layer that touched the cast iron skillet. Get one with pepperoni and veggies!
Portillo’s Hot Dogs – This is kinda the place you go to get a Chicago style dog because it’s soooo famous, but M and I both agreed that it’s about the experience. Definitely go here to get a great dog, but if you’re a hot dog connoisseur, I bet there are some mom and pop places that are even more fantastic.
And most importantly, go with your friends. Thank you to my brother-in-law, bestie Alise, and Alise’s bf/our dear friend Connor for a fantastic weekend in the city! We love you!