If you’re looking for a vacation getaway, consider going to Chicago! Chi town is one of my new favorite places. The architecture is amazing, the food is delicious, and there is so much to do. I spent (less than) three days there but was able to see most of the popular attractions. I am already excited to go back for another visit.
I have compiled a list of all the things I did/saw and highly recommend.
- A famous destination is Millennium Park, home of the ‘Bean’ (Cloud Gate). The park is about 25 acres, filled with beautiful landscape and public art. In the summer they offer live performances at the Pritzker Pavilion and in the winter they offer ice-skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
- Walk around Navy Pier. They have several restaurants (including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Ben & Jerry’s, Goddess and the Baker, Billy Goat Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chango Loco, Giordano’s, as well as burger and BBQ places.
- Enjoy endless shopping on the Magnificent Mile. As the name eludes, this shopping experience contains a mile worth of shops ranging from Nordstroms, Tiffany’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue to Nike, Topshop, and the Disney Store.
- Find the best view of the city at 360 Chicago. You can walk all the way around the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building both during the day and at night.
- If you are feeling especially adventurous, try Tilt. It’s a 30-degree extension out over the city. I will admit it is horrifying if you are afraid of heights but I would definitely still try it! It suspends you out 10 degrees at a time and you can step back if you feel uncomfortable. Completely exhilarating.
- Willis Tower Skydeck is another great view of the city. They have a glass ledge that you can step out onto that’s 1,353 feet above the city.
- Take a tour on Chicago’s First Lady architecture tour. This is definitely an amazing way to see Chicago because you go through the rivers and see interesting buildings while learning some history. They also have a Twilight Cruise and offer private events.
- If you love flowers as much as I do, visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory. They have beautiful plants within their glass-dome structure- perfect for a rainy day.
- Little Goat was by far my favorite restaurant. They have a gluten-free and dairy-free menu and are very accommodating for those with allergies. I ordered the Goat’o Goat’o salad and loved every bit of it. I will definitely try to recreate this meal at home. My dairy-free friend ordered the Chili with a side of fries- SO GOOD. They even have a dairy-free chocolate shake, which is worth a shot if you are dairy free, but all their desserts looked amazing. I definitely would give this a try if you’re in Chicago.
- Girl & The Goat is the ‘fancier’ version of Little Goat (same owner)- our hotel concierge said Little Goat has more “fun” dishes and baked goods. WARNING: You have to make reservations months in advance if you want to dine at Girl & The Goat. It’s a total hot spot.
- La Storia is a relish little Italian restaurant with incredible caprese, salmon, and chicken. The gelato trio is even more delicious.
- Avec is another popular restaurant in Chicago with Mediterranean/Midwestern mix shared plates. Their menu includes salads, salmon, cheeses, pork, and pasta. Avec is also a certified green restaurant, which is pretty cool. Be sure to make a reservation far in advance if you want to dine here.
- If you’re looking for an “upscale ‘diner’” as some people call it, visit Au Cheval. I do not believe they take reservations, so be wary of what time you go to eat. Much like Little Goat, they have a Gluten Free and Dairy Free menu available. Their menu ranges from a single cheeseburger to bratwurst and foie gras. They have a small but appetizing brunch menu if you are a brunch fan like me.
- After walking around the Magnificent Mile, visit The Purple Pig for delicious small plates. I read that they have a lot of vegetarian options, but they also have a lot of cured meat for pork lovers. They are well-known for their tapas.
- Bub City BBQ is a great place for BBQ, including BBQ sandwiches, chicken wings, and ribs. They also have a gluten free menu.
- 676 Restaurant is located inside the Omni Hotel and offers several different dining options. You can go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and enjoy a delicious meal. They also have a gluten free menu. They offer finely cut meats as well as various cheeses. I would recommend the bacon wrapped dates and bar meatballs.
- 1776 features local ingredients and includes a diverse menu. Some notable items include the coconut shrimp, flat bread pizza (GF available), lobster salad, center cut pork chop, and local farm chicken. This restaurant is very conscious of where they source their food and include several organic ingredients.
- Homeslice is an eclectic pizza place with a very cool outdoor seating area. They also offer gluten free pizza crust! Plus they have a ‘Meat-Free’ section for any vegetarians. If you’re craving yummy garlic bread, a cool venue, and a GF pizza, give this place a try.
- If you’re looking for a famous Chicago dish, go to Giordano’s for the Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza. They also have flat breads, salads, and other Italian food but the Deep Dish is their signature.