This was my second time in Chicago and I was so excited to go back and have more time to explore the city. During my first trip I was in and out in less than 24 hours; this time I had two full days. Needless to say, I was beyond excited and felt so much more prepared.
Where I Ate
Do-Rite Donuts: On my first trip to Chicago, I learned that the city has a huge donut scene. I was honestly so confused by this until this girl I met started talking to me about it. She mentioned a bunch of different donut shops, and this was one of them. Last time I visited Glazed and Infused (which I talk about here) and it was amazing. But let me tell you, Do-Rite possibly has the best donuts I have ever eaten on planet earth. They are massive and buttery and melt in your mouth delicious. My only advice is to get there early because they normally sell out.
Brightwok Kitchen: If you love healthy, organic, locally sourced food like me, then this is the place for you. Basically, Brightwok is a build your own stir-fry place. You choose rice, noodles or salad as a base, then add in any veggies, sauce and protein you want. I am not going to lie, I went to this place twice while I was in town because it was just that good. Plus there is a really cool stick mural inside that is definitely Instagram worthy.
Real Good Juice Co.: Not going to lie, I saw this on Sophia Bush’s Snapchat/Instagram story the day I was in Chicago and decided I needed to check it out. Mostly because I live for a good acai bowl. And shoot was I not disappointed. The vibe in the storefront was so chill, the staff was crazy friendly and the food was great. Outside of smoothie bowls, they also make a bunch of different juices. If you are on that healthy lifestyle train, this is the place for you.
What I Did
The Art Institute of Chicago: My obligatory museum for this trip was to the Art Institute of Chicago. There are many art museums in Chicago, but this one is probably the most well known and extensive. The museum has everything from modern paintings to ancient Greek sculptures to Victorian area furniture. And it is HUGE; there are four floors that are jam packed with content of all times. I easily spent close to three hours here and still wasn’t able to make it to every exhibit. Monet is probably my favorite painter by a longshot and they had a massive collection of his paintings. They are on the third floor, make sure to check them out. All in all, I highly recommend this stop to anyone visiting the city.
Lincoln Park Zoo: A friend of mine is from Chicago and when I told her I was visiting, this was one of the stops that she suggested. I heard “animals” and “free” and was automatically down. Honestly, the zoo was amazing and I felt like I was still walking through a park when I was looking at the different exhibits. Plus, they had a huge monkey/ape/gorilla section and they are my absolute favorite. Many of the exhibits have both an indoor and outdoor section so you are able to oogle the animals even if it is chilly outside. I will warn that everything is fairly spread out in the zoo, so you will do a lot of walking. Lastly, the zoo is complete free to visit, so consider buying something from the gift shop or food court or donating to the zoo here. This is how this is how the zoo is able to allow us to see these sweet animals for free.
Millennium Park: Sometimes you just need to go for a long walk to work off all the food you eat while traveling. Millennium park is massive and even though I have spent a lot of time walking through it, I don’t think I covered everything. The first time I visited Chicago is was snowing, so visiting the park was not a super fun activity. Luckily, the weather was much better this time and I was actually able to explore a little. In millennium park is where you can find the famous bean statue, an outdoor amphitheater and the Crown Fountain. You can also get to the waterfront walk if you walk directly through the park, which is another fun walk/run/bike ride if the weather is nice.
Saw a Show: I was pleasantly surprised by the number of shows running in Chicago while I was there. The show I saw was at the Private Bank Theater, but if I were to go back I would want to see something at the iconic Chicago Theater. The reason I chose going to a different theater was because… I FINALLY GOT TO SEE HAMILTON This was a pretty big moment in my life. I have been obsessed with the soundtrack, mixtape and most of the original cast for a while now, which made this trip that much sweeter. I will admit I was a little worried that the actual show was not going to live up to my obsession, but after leaving the theater I have no idea why I ever had this worry… it was simply amazing. I also want to give a huge shout out to Vivid Seats for there amazing customer service when I was purchasing my Hamilton ticket. Seeing this was super last minute (like I didn’t buy a ticket until two hours before the show started) and their customer service rep stayed in constant communication with me for over an hour until all of my ticket issues were resolved.
Chicago has easily become one of my favorite cities to visit. The culture, the passion for the city, the people and more make it an easy place to love. Until next time… CB