Illinois Snapshots (Chicago)

Chicago, chicago, chicago.. what can I say? You are a beautiful city full of life.

This past weekend I finally made my way up to Chicago, Illinois and the whole city honestly blew me out of the water.

The people, the architecture, the food, and the art were all spot on. I feel kinda of bad for underestimating Chi Town, because I enjoyed my time there way more than I thought I would.

On Thursday, my friend from University and I drove up to Chicago and spent the night in the Pilson Area of Chicago.

It was heavily populated with street art and by Hispanics so the Mexican food trucks were hella authentic. That night we scarfed down quesadillas made from scratch with chicken, lettuce, cilantro and onions.

The next day I made my way into the Chicago to meet up with Christine, who I’ve been friends with since middle school and we stayed with one of her friends who lives right next to Grant Park right off of Michigan Ave.

The view from her place was amazing, you could see the Navy Pier in the distance. It looks a lot closer but in reality it’s a 40 min walk!

It felt cool to be able to walk out of the building and have so many options at a walk-able distance.

We started off our day the Chicago way and tried out some deep dish pizza from Giordanos’. We ordered a pepperoni and it was very cheesy and pretty tasty.

Our day continued as we strolled along through the gardens and to the Buckingham Fountain which was so beautiful.

The open space, greenery and the view of the shore makes you feel like you’re in another country for only a second.

Our destination was the Navy Pier so we walked along the coast where everyone was enjoying a calm and cloudy day on their boat.

About 40 minutes later Christine and I arrived at the Pier, took in the sights, and enjoyed some Dippin Dots before our Architecture Boat Tour through Shoreline Sightseeing.

At 7:30 P.M. we embarked on a 75 minute boat ride down the riverwalk and learned about each building and the history behind them as we sailed by.

Our guide was crazy knowledgeable and entertained us with several jokes. In addition, we were treated with a beautiful sunset that bounced off the buildings towards the end of our tour.

This tour is a must if you go to Chicago!

Once the tour was over, we walked straight down Michigan Ave back to where we were staying and saw the massive Abraham Lincoln statue and Millennium Park at night.

On Saturday morning, we went to brunch at Kanela Breakfast Club with a group of our hosts’ friends from work and oh my god the food was so good.

Ordering the fried chicken and waffles with sriracha honey sauce was a solid decision, because it was the best chicken and waffles I’ve had to date.

I highly recommend Kanela Breakfast Club if you’re looking for a brunch spot in Chicago.

(Here’s a picture of their Avocado Toast!)

The restaurant was in Wicker Park so after Christine and I walked down the street and did a bit of shopping. The street was flooded with a mix of normal retail stores and thrift and vintage shops special to Chicago like KOKOROKOKO.

It was definitely one of the cooler vintage stores we went into because they catered to the 80’s and 90’s era. They had an array of books, sunglasses, accessories, trinkets, collectables, and clothing to sort through.

After our shopping excursion, we stopped into Stan’s Donuts to see if it lives up to the hype. The interior was really cute and appealing and everything looked yummy.

I got the chocolate sprinkled cake doughnut and it was good but sorry Stan, Shipley’s Donuts is still #1 in my heart (Shout out to you if you know about Shipley’s).

We even found this bright mural around the corner and had an impromptu shoot with our donuts.

Once we freshened up, Christine and I headed out again to get a view of Cloud Gate (aka the Bean) during the day. We also strolled through the beautiful gardens throughout the city on the way there.

Millennium park was packed as expected and everyone was trying to get their best shot with the Bean. It was really cool to see the warped reflections and take notice to how the curves can capture the entire city in the background.

Our next stop was North Avenue Beach and although we didn’t go in the water, we spent some time laying in the sand and just taking it all in.

There was families and groups of friends enjoying the sunny day, as well as a party going on, so the beach was pretty poppin’.

I’m also quite jealous that the people of Chicago have the option to go less than 30 minutes out of the city still feel like they’re on vacation for a bit.

Spending time at the beach always leads to a hungry stomach so we decided to check out the imfamous The Weiners Circle, which is known for treating their guests with crude language and humor after hours.

There are tons of videos on YouTube people have posted about their experience there!

We walked through Lincoln Park on our way there and it was very interesting to see the more modern parts of Chicago compared to the more cultured.

The Weiners Circle specializes in char-grilled hotdogs and burgers, so we ordered cheddar fries and a char dog with grilled onions to share.

I’ve never had a hotdog with anything other than ketchup and mustard, so I was excited to venture out and try one with stuffed with tomatoes, pickles, and other goodies.

The cheddar fries were average, but the char dog was pretty good, so I would recommend trying it out if you’re hot dog fanatic.

Later that night, we enjoyed a night on the town and checked out The Violet Hour which was wayyy to swanky for us that we had to bail and go to The Slippery Slope which is considered a dive bar.

Although we didn’t say out super late, it was very evident that Chicago has an booming night life and not to mention that some bars don’t close till 4 A.M.!

Christine and I ended up spending our last day in Chicago at Pitchfork Music Festival, since we found Sunday passes for $50 on Craigslist.

Out of all the music festivals I’ve been to, Pitchfork is definitely one of my favorites because it was small, calm and filled with an older demographic.

We spent the day sitting/laying in the grass listening to the sounds of Jamilla Woods, Nicholas Jaar, and Ride, who were all amazing.

Solange closed out the festival with an AMAZING performance, highly highly highly recommend anyone to see her live if they have the chance.

Honestly, I never listened to her recent album, Seat at The Table, but I became a huge fan after seeing the songs performed live.

The set was beautiful, the lighting was beautiful, the choreography was beautiful, the singing was beautiful, everything was beautiful.

What a way to end an jam packed weekend trip to Chicago!

As I said in the beginning of this post, I enjoyed my time in Chicago way more than I thought I would.

There’s so much life, art, history, food, greenery, and attractions to discover throughout the city. I could definitely live in Chi for a bit if the opportunity presented itself.

The last place I visited that made me feel this way was San Francisco and I looooved SF, so that says a lot.

Have you ever been to Chicago if so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!

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