When we left San Diego for Chicago everything went wrong. First the flight was delayed. Then the flight took longer than expected. And then when we finally landed we had to wait on the taxiway for another 30 minutes until we could finally exit the plane. Luckily (for us) we were like the only people on that flight who were not affected by that. We did not have to catch a connection flight but only a taxi to downtown Chicago.
So after getting our luggage and hailing a cab we were on the way to our Airbnb. As we landed in the late afternoon we had to face a bit of traffic on our way to the city. I watched the city coming closer and fell for Chicago in a heartbeat while Stefan fell asleep sitting next to me in the taxi. It was love at first sight. The beautiful architecture and the overall vibe of the city just drew me in instantly.
We arrived at our Airbnb – the most beautiful townhouse I have ever seen – met our more than lovely hosts and after a quick fixing up went out for dinner. We ended up in a Sports Bar around the corner and that was the moment my husband finally started to love Chicago as well. Comfort food, fantastic local beer and Football is all it takes to do the trick for him. He is easy going – I love that!
Chicago Day 1
We got up early and dragged our tired bodies to the next Starbucks. Pretty much the moment we stepped in it started to bucket down. People who came in only a minute after us were soaked! I don’t know if the weather gods pittied us or whatever but they gave us a nice little 1 hour time out there. We just sat there, caffeinated ourselves and planned the next few days loosely making good use of the free wifi. I also shot a nice little series of pictures of my husband in a pretty surronding which we agreed to name ‘my wife forces me to drink too hot coffee just for the shot’. Sadly we couldn’t agree on whether I am allowed to share them online. I find them hilarious! He doesn’t.
After that massive downpour we went outside and stumbled upon a giant installation that doubles as a piece of art and a water playground for the kids. I think I looked a bit like this heart eye emoji when we discovered that place.
We continued exploring by just walking through the city. My affection didn’t waver a bit. Chicago to me is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been. And I have high standards! Okay I don’t but anyway…
We ended up at Navy Pier. It was so colorful I didn’t know where to look first. Though this merry-go-round had my attention for quite a bit.
One of the things I really love about cities in the USA is that they do a lot for the people. They care about the people who live there and make it appealing to stay by providing leisure opportunities. Sure Navy Pier is a very touristy place but there are so many pretty public places and parks , the riverwalk and so on. You can do so many things for free. It’s amazing!
My favorite ‘place’ in the whole city was the extensive riverwalk. After leaving Navy Pier we walked down the river. There are so many cool looking places where you can sit down, enjoy the view and have drinks or food.
As it was already past 5 o’clock
in Germany we found us a nice place in the shades at a bar and consumed some cocktails. I couldn’t have asked for a better first day! This feeling of being in the moment is what I travel for!
Chicago Day 2
We decided to explore the local beer culture by booking a brewery tour at Off Color Brewing. To be honest I only wanted to go visit this particular brewery because I was in love with the ‘disclaimer’ on their homepage. “We brew beer. Sometimes we do other stuff, but not as well.” I could somehow relate. Besides that I have never brewed beer in my life.
I loved the humor and attitude of this little brewery as well as most beer they let us sample. The brewery is really really small. What stuck out in a funny way was thier love for animals. They had these cute little animal stickers everywhere and they had their four tanks named after their deceased pets. I wonder if Waffles is a boy’s or girl’s name? All in all it was a bit of a strange experience but worth the 45 minutes of walking to go there. We took the bus back to downtown! Walking was my personal Chicago Nemesis! My feet hurt ALL THE TIME!
So I got new shoes. It was high time.
And because the day had not been boozy enough we went to an ‘authentic’ Italian bar and restaurant where we had ‘authentic’ Italian food as well as a very refreshing cocktail. Or two!
If I get it together by next week I might have a new Cocktail recipe coming up, inspried by a night out in Chicago. And when I say night out I mean having a drink at then bar, the walking back home and falling tired into bed by 10 pm. I guess I am officially old now…
Chicago Day 3
As we didn’t have any particular plans for the day we decided to go on a walk. If my feet could talk the’d for sure had asked me what the fuck was wrong with me. They were already screaming at me! We walked through the parks and enjoyed the pretty lakeview.
When it got too hot in the sun we took a turn and walk more into the street canyons for some shade. We took the whole afternoon to just walk, take pictures and enjoy our surroundings. Next to the very cool street art I found a few phantastic looking scenes I wanted to take pictures of.
I LOVE industry design and Chicago is a street photography heaven. I was so happy!
Then I forced poor Stefan to go back to the same spot with me 4 times in total to take pictures of the Chicago railway. I am obsessed with trains and tracks. The Chicago Elevated tracks twist through the whole city and provide a ton of oportunites for cool looking pictures. I could have spent hours there. In fact I did. Until we got thristy.
So we hung out at the Vice District’s Tap Room that evening for a liquid dinner. They had 11 beers on tab and as
we’re borderline alcoholics we were curious we decided to sample them all. We had the best evening ever there playing a pub quiz against each other. A lot of not so humble bragging was involved. It didn’t matter who was the winner. We were both really obnoxious about it. Besides that we laughed the whole time until we got kicked out when they closed for the night. The only downside was that they don’t serve food there so we shared a bag of chips and got a muffin later on the way home.
Chicago Day 4
The next day I made Stefan get up at 5.30 am so that we could be at The Cloudgate by 7.00 am (a previous breakfast and especially coffee was not negotiable for both of us). It was completely worth it. Almost no people and a brilliant blue sky. At this point I might have to emphasize again that my husband is in fact a saint and I must have been really really good in my previous life for deserving him.
When I was done taking way too many pictures we then walked back to Navy Pier and boarded a boat to go on an Architecture Cruise. For the next 75 minutes we explored Chicago by the river and got a ton of information on the skyline, the architecture and also a few funny and quirky stories about Chicago in general. Entertained and with close to 200 more photos we left the boat around noon.
As we felt a bit hungry we went to do the most touristy thing of the whole Chicago trip and had lunch at Giordano’s at Navy Pier were we ordered the smallest available deep dish pizza Chicago style. It’s safe to say we had the smallest order in the whole restaurant. After a waiting time of 45 min the monstrosity of a pizza arrived at our table.
Guys, if you never had a Chicago style pizza think of a solid savory cheese cake with marinara sauce on top. It’s insane! The pizza was recommended for 1-2 people and I managed to eat 1/3 of it while Stefan
the nutjob ate the remaining 2/3. It was our last food for the next 24 hours!
We spent the rest of the day just hanging out and walking around a bit but not moving too much. If you have ever eaten that much cheese in one sitting you might be able to tell why. In the evening we walked to our Airbnb and passed a few spots where I tried my hand at a bit night photography. I didn’t hate the outcome.
Chicago you have my heart! This is not goodbye, this is until next time.
Wow. Wow. Wow!
Em where do I start on commenting on this!? Chicago is definitely on my must see list and your pics and recap only confirmed this. I mean I know for sure I have to experience that pizza during my lifetime!
As much as I love to walk in nature I also adore urban hiking too – something so magic about wondering the streets of a city and finding so many hidden gems! And not so hidden ones too!
The pizza definitely was an experience. Cheese coma! Literally!
Urban hiking is definitely more my thing. We walk endlessly when we visit a city. Best way to see everything 🙂
It’s a good thing Chicago and Cleveland are so close. Oh and by the way, you have now officially seen way more of Chicago than me. I guess I’ll have to meet you and Stefan there when you head back. 🙂
This trip sounds like so much fun. I’m not sure what I like best: oh wait, it has to be all that cheese, followed closely by the beer, the trains, and the night photography although the pier looks amazing too.
Definitely 🙂 I actually feel like I haven’t seen that muich of Chicago. Even though I know it’s probably not true. But as we have skipped a good part of the classc touristy things I feel like I missed something. BUT you always have to keep a reason to come back, right?
Wow – this was such a great recap of your trip. Thank God I have planned my holidays already, otherwise I would have booked a flight to Chicago right now. On a more serious note: Thanks to your post, I’ll visit Chicago some day, your pictures and description are simply awesome!
Hi Katharina thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂 I love to hear that you consider to visit Chicago some day. It’s such an awesome city!