Chicago is known for having big city vibes with a Midwestern personality - the perfect combo! After 4 years of employment with a software tech company, headquartered in Chicago, I've been lucky enough to travel to The Windy City countless times for work functions, every time, discovering something new.
This time I arrived a few days after St.Patty's Day and got to see the Chicago River with a tinge of green in it. Dying the Chicago River green has been a tradition since 1962 and gathers roughly 40,000 spectators on St. Patrick's Day. And not to worry - the dye is vegetable based and Eco friendly - so, it does not harm the river. I hear the St. Patrick's Day festivities get pretty rowdy, I'm a little sad I missed it but happy I got to see the famous green river, in all its emerald glory.
What to do:
The Bean + Millennium Park: You can't go to Chicago without visiting The Bean! Located right downtown, the metal sculpture and gigantic parks provide a great place to hang out, have a picnic, or go for a run.
Magnificent Mile: If you love shopping, this is the place to be. Located on N Michigan Ave, there are 13 blocks of premier fashion outlets, cool restaurants and historic landmarks like the Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building.
Art Institute of Chicago: Visit the famous Art Institute of Chicago for only $25. Open daily from 10:30 - 5pm, with extended hours on Thursdays.
Navy Pier: It's a bit of a tourist trap but good to do at least once, especially on a warm summer night.
Architecture Boat Cruise: I haven't done this yet but my boyfriend says it's something everyone must do when they visit Chicago. There are so many renowned landmarks, you don't want to miss anything legendary and the cruise covers it all!
Where to eat:
The Veggie Grill - I got this delivered right to me, thanks GrubHub! Perfect if you are craving fast food. I highly recommend it! Below is the Buffalo Bomber Sandwich!
Chicago Diner - Located in the trendy Wicker Park, Chicago Diner is a comfort food must do! Famous for their milkshakes (which are super yum!) and longevity, these guys have been around since 1983, wayyyy before being vegan was trendy. The Reuben is super yummy, I brought a bunch of carnivorousness coworkers and they absolutely loved it.
Native Foods - The meatball sub is incredible. I've gone a few times and always say I'm going to try something new, but I never do, ha!
Ema - Chef CJ Jacobson from TopChef Canada has truly outdone himself. Two friends and I arrived on a Wednesday evening and ordered 12 dishes to share. It was amazing. The food is Mediterranean style and meant for sharing. Chef CJ was accommodating to my veg requests (there are already a ton of options) AND came out to chat with us when we asked if he was working! It was one of the highlights on our trip.
(My friend who is a Chef CJ's biggest fan)
Intelligentsia Coffee - I got caffeinated at Intelligentsia, which has a quite a few non dairy milk options.
Where to stay:
Palomar Hotel - The pool is my favourite! At night I was the only one enjoying the city views as I did a few laps in the pool. It has a lovely gym and offers happy hours with free wine everyday between 5-6.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel - So such character! Great for some much needed R&R and in the heart of all the action!
If you have any cool places that I need to go to next time I'm in the Windy City, please let me know by commenting below. I would love to hear all about YOUR fav places too!