Our birthdays are only two weeks apart, so instead of gifts this year, we chose to spend a celebratory weekend in Chicago! There’s something so magical about spending time in the city. I didn’t plan much- our favorite memories of living in the city are simple walks through neighborhoods and a few favorite places to eat, so we spent most of our time exploring and walking around. We visited our “spots” and also explored a few new-to-us neighborhoods and restaurants. The weather was perfect for our adventures- overcast and a little chilly- ideal for being on our feet as much as we were (40 miles in 3 days!). Here are a few highlights of our Chicago birthday weekend:
Waldorf Astoria Chicago – while it’s a little bit out of the way from quintessential downtown, we love the Gold Coast location! Our room was on the 23rd floor with incredible city views and a fireplace. And they have the coziest robes and slippers!
Goddess and the Baker – there are a few locations in the city including Goddess and the Grocer (so good!). What to order: besides choosing anything from their incredible bakery, try a macadamia nut milk latte, granola bar, acai bowl, or a pepper & egg sandwich.
Luxbar – we stumbled across this restaurant the first time we stayed at the Waldorf on a very chilly and snowy weekend. It’s only a few blocks from the hotel with an amazing happy hour. We love sitting at the bar and outside – can’t go wrong either way! What to order: truffle fries, avocado toast, hummus, and the burger.
Fairgrounds – a friend recommended we stop here for lunch while exploring Bucktown and it might be my favorite meal of the weekend. Anywhere that serves breakfast all day is a winner in my book! I’m not one for fancy food – I prefer ordering at the counter and places with a super casual vibe. This was it! We shared a donut to start and each got an egg sandwich for lunch.
Willow Room – we used to live just a few blocks from here and never stopped in. I have no idea why because it was incredible! We had a drink at the bar before dinner and could have stayed all night. I had an old fashioned and Grant had a Kentucky mule.
Stella Barra – delicious pizza and one of our favorite places if only for the nostalgia. When we first visited the city on our apartment hunting trip in 2016 we had pizza and drinks at the bar and the kind waiter brought us warmed up cookies from Summer House, their sister restaurant (they share an entrance/building). We stopped in again during the week we moved in, and then made it our regular Friday night pizza place!
Lincoln Park + Lakeview – we could spend days simply exploring all of the gorgeous streets and neighborhoods in the city! A few favorite streets are Sheffield, Southport, Armitage, Lincoln, Orchard, Dickens, Webster… I could go on and on!
Amazon Books – one of my top 3 favorite places in the city! Not only is the bookstore amazing, the coffee shop is fantastic and they have the best granola bars from Southport Grocery (just down the street if you want to stop for a meal). We stopped in a few times and each picked out a new book!
Lincoln Square – a new to us neighborhood and it’s so pretty! Take the brown line north to the Western stop. There are so many cute stores, restaurants, and great people watching! We actually walked here from the Waldorf on Saturday morning – about 6 miles – and then walked south through other neighborhoods on the way back to the hotel before dinner.
Downtown – it’s always fun to walk around Michigan Avenue if only for the people watching! I also love walking across the river and taking in how magical the city truly is.
That’s our weekend recap! Lots of fun, lots of miles, and lots of happy memories.
Question: What are your favorite things to do in Chicago?