C U R R E N T Travels || Chicago Travel Guide

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"+ they say CHI-CITY...do you think about me now + then? Cuz I'm comin' home again." - Kanye + Chris Martin

1. C H I C A G O

Our anniversary plans switched up from a week in FLORIDA {aka Hurricane Dorian that never happened} to a weekend getaway in one of our favorite cities! If we have learned anything these past nine years it's to make the best out of every situation, even if it's not our original plan. Today I'm sharing my first Chicago Travel Guide of all things style, stays, eats + local love!

C U R R E N T Style
Chicago weather is pretty similar to Michigan this time of year, so deciding what to pack wasn't an issue. The weather was p e r f e c t + I made sure to bring pieces that didn't wrinkle + would fit our tourist itinerary. I wore my black denim jacket as a layering piece, my comfiest high waisted jeans and packed my favorite fanny pack to stay handsfree! I did end up wearing a dressier look for our anniversary dinner {an emerald green shift dress with a high slit}. My footwear consisted of platform sandals, ankle strap heels and dad shoes {which was the most popular style trend in Chicago that weekend}.

C U R R E N T Stays
Since our original plans switched up last minute, we were actually dreading the fact of hunting for a hotel, at an affordable price...ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND {seriously, these situations happen to us regularly lol}. I left the hotel hunt to Josh + he did not disappoint. Everything right downtown was SUPER PRICEY + while that was the convenient choice it wasn't our first trip to Chicago, so choosing something outside of the city was the more practical choice. We ended up staying at Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont minutes away from the airport + we LOVED it! The location was conveniently off of the highway, there was a fashion outlet mall right behind the hotel + there were two restaurants on-site not to mention inside of the hotel. When we arrived we were blown away by the modern aesthetic {this location was recently remodeled in April} + customer service. We checked in during the evening hours + they upgraded our room to the 12th floor + comped our parking since we were visiting for our anniversary. {Talk about making a girl feel special!} Our room was s w a n k y, I treated myself to their complimentary coffee + of course had to stunt in their super comfy robes! Loews is definitely on our list to stay wherever we go {there's even a location in Downtown Chicago}.

C U R R E N T Eats
If you've been following my travels or even everyday life, finding the best LOCAL eats is what I love to do! + of course CHICAGO NEVER DISAPPOINTS! Since foodie spots was my job, I hit up my friend Ashley + browsed a Chicago Travel Guide via my girls at 48hrs for a few recommendations + my list got long QUICK! We were in Chicago for less than two days so we made sure to make every bite count!

- Brunch | Big Star Wicker Park - THIS WAS FIRST ON MY LIST! The last time I visited Chicago was on a girl's trip while 6 MONTHS PREGNANT. + Big Star was one of my most vivid memories. From the cool location to their to-go window, aesthetic was definitely on point. THE.TACOS.THO! I'm pretty sure I shed tears from hunger + memories of how good their food was! We ended up ordering their Morning Star Chorizo with Egg, Panza & Carne Asada tacos for brunch. I passed on the mimosa and went with a Mexican coke because frankly I went TEW hard the night before at dinner, but I know it would have been A M A Z I N G !

- Dinner | RPM Italian - Every recommendation {whether it was from friends or scouring the internet} began + ended with RPM Italian + I can totally see why. The location is sexy {for lack of a better description} which meant it was perfect for our anniversary dinner. I tried to make a reservation ahead of time, but they were literally booked out FOR THE WEEK! {TEW LEGIT} A random reservation did open up at 11:15PM, but we took our chances + just went to the restaurant with the hopes of being able to sit at the bar. Within in 15 minutes two spots opened up + we were sitting with drink in hand + stuffing our faces. Our eats consisted of the Prime Beef Meatballs for an appetizer, RPM Caesar Wedge, Mama Dipandi's Bucanti + Creekstone Filet Mignon with Whipped Potatoes. We sipped on the R {Cocchi Rosa, Cherry Blossom, Fresh Berry's, & Giuliana Prosecco} + an Eagle Rare on the rocks. Josh ordered the Chocolate Torta for dessert + the bartender comped our first round drinks for our anniversary! What a guy!

- Brunch | Kanela Breakfast Club - Also another vivid memory of my past girl's trip! This location was also in Wicker Park {easily my favorite part of town} + was hoppin' when we arrived. Mimosas were back in rotation {we ordered orange + raspberry}. Josh is a Chicken & Waffles expert + said that Kanela's was one of the BEST he had ever had! I've been on an omelette kick lately, so their Spicy Feta option was a no brainer. I was also able to customize it to add bacon, onions and kale. S O G O O D !

- Dinner | Portillo's Hot Dogs - When it came to our final dinner we knew we wanted something more low-key that involved either pizza or hotdogs. Our pizza hunt hit a dead end when BOTH Pequod's Pizza locations had lines wrapped around DA BUILDING! {Will definitely hit that up next time.} We kept seeing Portillo's around different parts of towns + figured it had to be the hotdog to end all hotdogs. IT WAS! We both ordered the Chili Cheese Dog + Crinkle Fries + it was the perfect way to round out the foodie part of our trip!

C U R R E N T Local Love
- TRANSPORTATION | Water Taxi - Figuring out how to get around Chicago can be stressful, but since this wasn't our first rodeo it actually was easy! Since we weren't checking into our hotel right away we knew we would be driving into town + staying until dinner. Our first stop was Shedd Aquarium {which has valet but was full} so we parked in their parking garage + rode the Water Taxi for the rest of our day! The taxi transported us to Navy Pier + into the heart of the city, which worked out perfectly for everything we wanted to do!

- CITYPASS | If you want experience all of the touristy things - go with the CITYPASS! For ONE price, you receive access to FIVE city attractions + it ends up being less than what you would pay individually. Since we weren't in Chicago long + pressed for time, we ended up doing 3 of the 5, but it was still the most affordable option!

  - Shedd Aquarium | As many times as we have been to Chicago, we had never visited Shedd Aquarium {not Shedd's - locals will make fun of you for saying it that way lol}. This is where we started our trip + it was so much fun! The CITYPASS allowed us to skip the long line + choose a 4D 15-minute film to experience. IT.WAS.BUSY, but the aquarium is so big you didn't feel like you were on top of other guests. My favorite spot was watching the dolphins underwater. I wish we could have watched the Dolphin show, but we had j u s t missed it before seats filled up. We also loved the Sting Ray Exhibit - I touched one, but Josh's reflexes were too slow to have the same experience hahah {they are way faster than you'd think}.

  - Skydeck Chicago | {Willis Tower} | You know those photos you always see of people walking on glass 103 Floors above the streets of Chicago? Yeah, that's the Skydeck + another tourist attraction we hadn't experienced. It was definitely a view to remember! The only aspect we weren't a fan of was the fact that you only got 1 MINUTE to take it all in {+ they weren't playing around with the time limit}. Understandable since there are so many people, just means you have to perfect your selfie skills ahead of time!

  - 360 Chicago Observation Deck | {Hancock Building} | Trigger Warning - If you are afraid of heights this is not for you + if you are REALLY afraid of heights DO.NOT.DO.TILT! I thought I wasn't afraid of heights + I was fine looking out of the window 94 Floors up. Something in me wanted to experience Tilt - where you are holding on for dear life as you are tilted OUTWARDS BEHIND GLASS OVER THE CITY! It was the most amazing + terrifying thing I have ever done {mind you I have ridden some of the tallest + fastest rollercoasters}. I legit started tearing up from fear + amazement. There was also a bar on the opposite side {which if I knew that I would have taken a shot beforehand lol!} where everyone was hanging out to take in the sights. I did score an awesome coffee mug to add to my collection - so in the end it was worth it!

- Fashion Outlets of Chicago | We were pretty pumped to find an outlet mall located directly behind our hotel. Josh ended up at Cole Haan + scoring a few pairs of dressy sneakers he can rock while DJing. I stumbled upon a Levi's outlet + came home with my first pair of Wedgie Fit denim that I have been hunting for all year long!

- Michigan Ave Shopping | If you don't end up on Michigan Ave to shop, you aren't doing Chicago right! I had to visit ZARA {since we still don't have one in GR + online shopping isn't my favorite thing} + of course ended up with dresses for BQ. Since I also had Levi's on the brain, we stopped by their location + I scored ANOTHER pair of coveted denim - this time the Ribcage wide leg pair + I felt like every mission on this trip was accomplished!

Chicago was SO good to us {our third anniversary hanging out there} + we loved experiencing it as full on tourists this time around! Every time we visit, I fall in love all over again + tap back into my creative side.

If you haven't been to Chicago in a while, I hope this Travel Guide is helpful. Be sure to share your recommendations + experiences in the comments. This trip definitely won't be our last!

If you'd like to see an inside look of our trip, head over to my shiny new TRAVEL VLOG on YOUTUBE!

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