Chicago is my favorite city in the United States. I have visited more times than I can count, and I have stayed in many of the different neighborhoods (Downtown, The Loop, West Loop, River North, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Wriggly). Each of them are unique and awesome in their own way. I would recommend to anyone to stay in any area of Chicago.
Chicago has an amazing and world famous called the Shedd Aquarium. It is really fun to go for any age. It’s a little bit expensive, but definitely worth the price. They have every type of aquatic animal to see.
Millennium Park and the Cloud Gate – “The Bean”
One of the most popular places to take a photo in Chicago is at the Chicago Bean. It is an art installation right off of the Magnificent Mile which is known for its shopping.
The Willis Tower (formally known as the Sear’s Tower), is a 110-story skyscraper featuring expansive views of Chicago, and you can visit the 103rd-story Skydeck. I went with my family, and this was the first time I learned my dad was terrified of heights! It is a process to get to the top, but it is worth it for the view. Also, you can stand on a glass box that jets out from the building, so you can see straight down to the street below; pretty crazy experience.
The Chicago River runs through the middle of the city, and it is a really beautiful river that brings some nature to the city life. Every year for St. Patrick’s Day, the city dies the river bright green. I love any type of nature in a city.
Every year, Chicago hosts many great music festivals and concerts. For many years in a row, I made the four hour drive over there to experience the fun.
- Tiesto 2010: My first large concert in Chicago was to see Tiesto, my favorite DJ since 2005. Some of my friends from high school lived in Chicago, and there were 20 of us in total that went to the event. I’ll never forget how much fun we had and how excited everyone was. On our way home, we couldn’t find a taxi to get back to Lincoln Park. We ended up stumbling upon a Limo that was waiting for am event to get over, and we paid him cash to get back. It was so much fun.
- Lollapalooza 2011: A bunch of my high school friends went to Lollapalooza together for the first time. Perry’s Stage was my favorite because mostly electronic dance music DJs played there. My favorites that we saw were Skrillex, Ellie Goulding, and Pretty Lights. For Skrillex, the crowd was so wild and jumping the entire time, we were so sweaty after. Ellie Goulding was very chill and relaxed, but I loved her music so I really enjoyed it. Pretty Lights was also chill, but up beat and very fun as well. I went on my friends shoulders for part of the set, and I ended up making their video they posted on YouTube for it. Another great artist we saw on the main stage was Coldplay. They had these huge colorful balls that everyone was bounding around with the Chicago skyline in the background. It was a really great time. Finally, I loved seeing Deadmau5. I’ll never forget we were waiting for them to set up his stage, and the second he played the first note, it started down pouring raining on us. We danced through the entire set soaking wet. Afterwards, we had to take the train back to Lincoln Park, and we were drenched, but it was such a great and memorable weekend.
- Lollapalooza 2012: The second time I went to Lollapalooza, I went with some girls from my sorority. The weather was not great, and we actually couldn’t go one of the days until really late because there was a terrible thunder storm. Overall, we made the most of it and still had a great time.
- Spring Awakening 2012: This festival was one of the wildest experiences in my life. A bunch of my friends were crashing at a friend from colleges apartment; we were squeezed on the couches, air mattress, beds, and the floor. We all woke up bright and early, and had breakfast and began to pregame for the festival. Looking back, we definitely didn’t need to start so early, because we had a long weekend ahead of us. The festival was at Soldier Field, Chicago’s professional football stadium, with stages all over the grounds. We saw all of our favorite and popular DJs during the day at the festival, and then went to the after parties as well. The festival was in June, so it was just after we graduated from college. We definitely celebrated graduation with a bang.
- North Coast 2012: This was a much smaller music festival than the others I went to this summer. Me favorite parts of it was the silent disco that they had, and also how close we could get to the front of the stage.
- Swedish House Mafia 2013: A stop on the Swedish House Mafia farewell tour was in Chicago. I went with a large group, and we all thought we had floor tickets, but apparently we didn’t. We ended up sneaking down and getting on the floor anyways. Some of my friends got chased by security, but we all ended up making it on the floor together. It was such an emotional and great show.
- Spring Awakening 2013: The second time I went to Spring Awakening was when I realized I was starting to get burnt out from music festivals, and I felt very old. Now that EDM was more popular and mainstream, there were so many kids at the festival, which only leads to problems. They were drinking and pushing in the crowds, and did not know how to handle themselves. I still had very fun time at the festival, but it made me definitely think about if I really wanted to go to more festivals in the future. It was fun to be with all of my friends again.
With all of the music festivals, we went to many after parties at the nightclubs. A lot of times, since we were with such a huge group, we would get a table at the club with bottle service and split it so that we had a space to dance the whole night. Some of my favorite clubs in the city were Sky Bar, Spy Bar, The Mid, Castle, and Underground.
Chicago has hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants to choose from. Below are some of my favorites that I think are definitely worth checking out.
- Sunda: Sunda is an Asian fusion tapas style restaurant where everything you order is meant to be shared. I have gone for both brunch and dinner, and both were absolutely phenomenal; everyone I have gone with has agreed as well. For brunch, my favorite is their tempura French toast with berries. It’s a beautiful and delicious dish. For dinner, we have ordered and shared almost everything, but my absolute favorite thing on the menu is the Brussels sprout salad; they chop them very small, and it’s extremely tasty.
- Signature Room at John Hancock: The Signature Room at the John Hancock building is located on the top floor of the second tallest building in the city. You can see for miles in every direction out the large glass windows. It’s a really incredibly view. When Mike and I visited Chicago, it was the first time we saw each other since we got engaged. He reserved us a table against the windows, and they had chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us at the table that said Happy Engagement, and a bottle of wine. I didn’t know he reserved a table against the windows, so after we checked in with the hostess, I was getting annoyed they kept taking people back that got there after us. Once we finally got to the table, it was such a great surprise, and totally worth the wait.
- Happy Camper: Happy Camper is a really fun pizza spot in River North. They have a huge selection of pizzas, and you can make your own as well. They play deep house music all day, so it’s a really fun atmosphere.
My friend had her bachelorette party in the city, and we had such a blast. We started with a fun wine tasting game where the wines were in bags and labeled and we had to guess what type of wine was what kind. We also went to the beach and took a trolley ride around the city. It’s great that there are so many fun things to do in the city to celebrate.