I’m no stranger to Chicago.
…. though this is the first time I’ve been to the city when it’s not knee-deep in snow. One of my best friends from college, Meghan (who you met in Nashville), is from Chicago so we got to visit her while in school. That weekend happened to coincide with New Year’s Eve, so on the last day of 2011, we paid way too much money to sneak into a club (we were still one or two years short of 21 – sorry mom!!) and drank way too much champagne and then ate way too much McDonald’s across the street circa 4am.
Fast forward a couple years to everyone being of drinking age… and graduation came out of no where and we all wondered where the last four years had disappeared to. Much to our parent’s surprise, we all landed in pretty good spots (NYC, Houston, Dallas) and Anna – who you also met in Nashville – conveniently set up camp in Chicago.
Last year, we all flew up for St. Patrick’s Day and watched the river turn green. This year, we came up early for the Texas vs. Notre Dame game and wandered about a beautiful, much warmer version of Chicago. We kicked off the long weekend how we kick off every weekend…
Only this time we were spoiled on the veranda of Fig & Olive.
With happy bellies, we headed to Wrigley Field to watch a Friday afternoon Cubs game. The one good thing about Texas Football right now (if you’re not into the whole sports thing – insider tip, we’re pretty bad) is that Texas fans travel verrrrrry well. We bumped into hand full after hand full of friends from college. We talked a little bit about new jobs, new cities, new girlfriends, and old boyfriends, but mostly we talked about Texas and how it felt like no time had passed at all. There was also a lot of recounting old college stories, but those are probably best left not in writing.
Friday night was filled with more friends and a lot more dancing and then someone peeled me from my bed much too early in the morning to make the hour and a half drive to South Bend. The day called for party buses and tailgates, so for it’s own safety, I left the camera at home. At the end of the day, we didn’t win the game but we had so much fun being reunited that it didn’t really matter (at least now, at the time it definitely felt like it mattered).
The following days were spent wandering around Chicago in the most *perfect* temperature you could ask for. We popped down to the beach and stuck our toes in the chilly water and
strolled ate and drank our way through the river walk. Then we ditched the city and headed for a different lake, but I’ll dip into – pun intended – that in the next post.
If you’re thinking about a Chicago trip, here’s my guide (with a lot of help from the locals – thank you Anna).
Where to Eat: There’s no shortage of great places to eat in this city, but you can’t go wrong with any spots on this list… Spiaggia, Momotaro, Fulton Market Kitchen, Summer House, and GT Fish and Oyster.
Where to Drink: Hampton Social, Cindy’s, Maude’s, J. Parker, Dawson, Punch House, Pump Room (in the winter)
Where to Dance: The Underground, Paris
Where to Play: More touristy: The Bean (the pictures don’t disappoint), Sears Tower (you will feel like you might fall to your death, but you can’t beat the view), architectural boat tour; Less touristy: Walk the River Walk, visit the Art Institute, check out the food tours of the different neighborhoods,
run slow jog/walk along the path next to the lake, dip your toes into the sand on the beach (in the summer)