Early last month, a couple of my girls and I packed our bags and ventured off to Chi-Town. Everyone thought we were crazy for abandoning the sunshine for Chicago’s 18 degree weather, but we could not resist a $98 flight. And as crazy as it may sound, neither of us had ever seen snow! In Florida, we only experience two seasons, hot and hotter, and though I hate cold weather, I could not wait to experience another element!!
Our accommodations were at Courtyard Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile, and the location was awesome!! It was within walking distance to EVERYTHING!!! The hotel staff provided us with exceptional customer service and ensured that all of our needs were met. For all of you coffee lovers, there was even a Starbucks downstairs in the lobby so we didn’t have to go outside in the blistering cold for a cup of joe!!
I can’t stress the location of the hotel enough. The Magnificent Mile shops were only a block away!! One block away!!! We did very little shopping, surprisingly, because we actually went to Chicago to explore. We made it a priority to catch a history lesson at the DuSable Museum of African-American History. To our surprise, it started snowing as soon as we finished our tour of the museum. We quickly ran outside and started playing in the snow. Locals thought we were crazy until we explained to them that we were Floridians, and it was our first time seeing snow. As the temperature began to drop, we sought refuge inside of the John Hancock Observatory. 1000ft above sea level, we caught a glimpse of the skyline. Because I love lights, I purchased the Sun and Stars pass for $25, which grants you access to the observatory during the day and at night. If you purchase this ticket online, you will receive a 10% discount.
Even though I have not skated in decades, we attempted to go ice skating at Millenium Park, but sadly, the wait was entirely too long and the sun would be setting soon. There was so much to do and not enough time. The Navy Pier was also on our list, but time wasn’t on our side. We were fortunate enough to have Alejandro as an Uber driver. After taking us to our destination, he stuck around and gave us a tour of Chicago, stopping at points of interest and allowing us to jump out to take pictures. He was easily one of the best Uber drivers I’ve had. I love when my driver is a local. They give the best recommendations, and they know about all of the hidden gems!!
Whenever I travel to another city, I make it a habit to eat at a restaurant that is not accessible at home. We tried the pizza at Giordano’s, and it was AMAZING!!!! The true definition of a pizza pie!!! After performing research on the restaurant, I discovered that there was a location in Kissimmee, FL!! One can only imagine my excitement!!! Garrett Popcorn Shop is also a must!!!! I’m not even a popcorn lover and have contemplated driving to the nearest location in Atlanta on several occasions!! They have a variety of flavors and allow you to sample them before purchasing. For breakfast, I met an old classmate at Wild Berry Pancakes & Cafe who just so happens to recommend this restaurant to everyone, and I’m glad she did. Aside from being scrumptious, their food was reasonably priced and they weren’t stingy with their portion sizes.
There was so much more that I wanted to see and even more that I wanted to explore, but time wasn’t on our side. Whenever I return, I will make it a habit to visit those places that slipped between the cracks. What would you recommend to someone visiting Chicago?