top of page

Chicago, Illinois {Travel Guide}

Happy Monday! Today I have my very exciting Chicago Travel Guide. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Chicago for my birthday, and I had the best time. I will be recommending where to stay, what to do and where to eat. I was only in Chicago for 24 hours, so I did not get to see or do everything I wanted. I will share everything I did then recommend some other fabulous places to check out as well. Let's jump right in.

Where I Stayed

I stayed at the Courtyard by Mariott Chicago Downtown/ River North. This hotel is very pricy. I am very grateful we had received a gift card that we could use. The view from our room was amazing. We were on the 14th floor. I will share the shot below. You can choose either valet parking for $72 a night or self-parking that is 10 minutes from the hotel for $55 a night. There was no free breakfast, which was super annoying, for the price of the room, there should have been. The pool was closed due to maintenance and the hotel restaurant was recently shut down as well. We could hear people talking and T.V. noise through the walls. There were so many cons of this hotel. Next time I go back to Chicago, I am staying at a different hotel.

Other Places To Stay

Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/N Loop/Michigan Ave- This is where I originally wanted to stay. It just opened in the old AAA Chicago Motor Club building. The lobby has a modern design to it with historic bits from the motor club and even a vintage car proudly displayed. There is an Art Deco Lobby with Jack's Place Bar, and free breakfast every morning. There is no pool. Self-parking is $43. There is no valet parking. Also, this hotel is pet friendly for both cats and dogs.

The Drake- This historic hotel is celebrating 100 years. There is afternoon tea in Palm Court. Fun fact, this was once visited by Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. There is another restaurant called Coq D’oR, one of the first venues to secure a post-Prohibition liquor license, serves cocktails and comfort food. Lastly, Café on Oak’s counter is carved with the initials of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. They serve their favorite Eggs Benedict in their honor. Room service is available from each of the restaurants. There is no pool or free breakfast. Valet parking is $75 a night or self-parking is $53 a night. Pet friendly for dogs only.

What To Do

Millennium Park- You need to check out Millennium Park no matter what. A public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago, operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The park, intended to celebrate the third millennium, is a prominent civic center near the city's Lake Michigan shoreline that covers a 24.5-acre section of northwestern Grant Park. There is an interactive face board that squirts water, the famous Bean, a water fountain and more.

The Bean- The Bean is a work of public art in the heart of Chicago at Millennium Park. The sculpture, which is officially titled Cloud Gate, is one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art installations. The monumental work was unveiled in 2004 and quickly became Chicago’s most iconic sights.

Buckingham Fountain- The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is one of the largest in the world. While in operation, the Fountain produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour. During the major display, a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. Major displays begin daily at 9:00 a.m. and continue thereafter, every hour on the hour. Beginning at dusk, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major display. Beginning every hour on the hour for 20 minutes. Each evening, the final major display begins at 10:35 p.m.

Grant Park Rose Garden- This rose garden is just steps away from Buckingham Fountain. I love the archways you can walk though while still having the city view right behind.

Wings of Mexico- The “Wings of Mexico” sculpture is a symbol of immigrant journey. This sculpture has travelled around the world and had just arrived in Chicago on May 5th. I knew I just had to see them while I was there. The wings celebrate Chicago as a sanctuary city that is at the forefront of the defense of immigrant and refugee communities. This artwork interacts with visitors, bringing communities together while embracing the values of freedom and hope. The “Wings of Mexico” will be displayed at the Plaza of The Americas on Magnificent Mile from May 5 to October 1, 2022.

Chicago Theatre- Built in 1921, originally known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, is a landmark theatre located in the Loop area of Chicago. I did not get to go inside, but I hope to one day. I definitely want to come back and see a show here.

Chicago River Cruise- Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on a boat tour. With commentary from the onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower.

Kelsey Montague Wings- Now you all know I had to check Kelsey's Chicago wings off my bucket list. The colors are beautiful, the flowers are stunning and the location is perfect. They are located at the Yorktown Center Mall on a nice quiet building. There was no traffic and hardly any people around. I just purchased Kelsey's hoodie she designed with wings on the back, so I just had to wear it, of course!

That is everything I did. I am going to share some other places I wanted to go to as well; however, did not have enough time to do.

Shedd Aquarium- Get ready for unforgettable encounters with belugas and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons, sea stars and sea otters and so many more animals from aquatic environments around the world. Large or small, freshwater or marine, favorite friends or new ones, the animals at Shedd will surprise, mesmerize, inspire and move you. Shedd’s exhibits bring you face to face with incredible animals from around the world and right in your backyard. From sunny Philippines reefs to the Amazon’s flooded forests, the rugged Pacific Northwest coast to the vast Great Lakes, explore a world thriving with aquatic life.

  • Adults (Age 12+): $39.95 (Chicago Residents $19.95)

  • Children (Ages 3-11): $29.95 (Chicago Residents $14.95)

  • Infants: Free

  • Member Adults (18+): Free

  • Member Children (3-17): Free

Navy Pier- Navy Pier is home to one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions: the magnificent Centennial Wheel. Offering soaring views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience, as well as a wide variety of other rides in Pier Park, games and amusements for all ages. From apparel and accessories to collectibles and convenience items, the Pier and its retail partners offer something for everyone. Pilsen to Wrigleyville to Lincoln Square and everywhere in between, the restaurants offer guests authentic Chicago food in one of the most iconic venues in the city. More beloved Chicago attractions, including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Children’s Museum, and more. So many things to do here, and I am so sad I did not go. I will come back and go to Navy Pier one day.

Where To Eat

2d Restaurant- I went here for my birthday. This is an all-black and white eatery. Based in France that transports you into your own comic universe using monochrome illusions. The entire restaurant is hand drawn. It was so cool to see in person. I had been seeing this restaurant all over Instagram and had to go see it for myself. I will say, it was very crowded and tight inside. People were watching me as I posed for pictures. The donuts were very delicious. The actual food was alright and took forever though. We waited over an hour for chicken tenders to come and they never did. We ended up getting a refund and free pack of donuts for all of the trouble on my birthday. Would I come back? Probably not. It's a once in a lifetime experience.

Nutella- The exclusive cafe menu has been carefully crafted to let one enjoy special occasions at Nutella Cafe. Including such delicacies as, grilled baguette with Nutella, flaky Nutella-filled croissants baked daily, pound cake “Panzanella” with yoghurt, Nutella and berries, overnight oats with almond milk, Nutella & berries, gelato made with Nutella and many other inspiring items as well as a lineup of delicious hot beverages. Such a cute little spot for breakfast. Definitely recommend going here, especially if you love Nutella, as this is the only Nutella Cafe in all of the United States.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab- I have heard many good things about this restaurant. Known for its Florida Stone Crab and Key Lime Pie. Very expensive, but if you have the money, I would make a reservation here for lunch or dinner. Some may say this is the best restaurant in all of Chicago.

Rivers Restaurant- While you are in Chicago, you need to eat on the river. It is such a fantastic sight. They have broad selections of fresh fish, seafood and steaks. There is also soups, salads and sandwiches. Price is very reasonable especially if you are on a budget.

Fast Food Options Chicago Has- Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Subway, Chick-fil-A & Five Guys.

That is my complete Chicago, Illinois Travel Guide. That was a long post, I know. There is just so much to do and see in the city. I will say, the driving was crazy. I drove the entire time; however, I still had an amazing time. Chicago really makes me want to visit New York City in the future. I have never been and would love to go. Have a great week everyone. I start a new job today. As you know, I previously had another job {besides blogging} being a salesman for Home Depot and have left that position to get back into the fashion field. I am nervous and excited for a fresh start.




bottom of page