Chicago is one of my favorite big cities in America, rich in history, architecture and culture there are countless things to enjoy while visiting this bustling city. This post is broken out into 3 sections including; things to do, places to eat and drink and places to stay. If you're planning on travelling to the US anytime soon, find out about the ESTA Visa program at www.estaform.org
Things to do in Chicago
Architecture River Cruise
One of my favorite things to do when visiting Chicago is climbing board one of the river boats to enjoy a tour presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Learn about the architecture and design of over 50 buildings on a 90 minute tour. Cruises depart daily and cost approximately $40 for adults. The boats offer open-air and air-conditioned seating with a full bar service available onboard.
All tours depart from Riverside Gardens, Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge). Be sure to book your tickets in advance as they sell out quickly.
A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Millennium Park to see The Bean or “Cloud Gate” as it’s officially named. The park also offers a state of the art collection of architecture, landscape design and artwork that provides the backdrop for a wide range of free cultural programs. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy this tranquil oasis located in the middle of a bustling city.
John Hancock Center 95th Floor
If you want to enjoy a cocktail with a view then I highly suggest visiting the 95th Floor of the John Hancock Center. The Signature Lounge offers premium cocktails with a dazzling skyline view of the city. I would suggest arriving around 5.30pm and staying until sunset you won’t be disappointed.
I wouldn’t bother with the food here its average to say the least, the cocktails are good and the view is unbeatable.
Navy Pier is a 3,300 foot long pier located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Featuring a wide range of cultural activities, seasonal celebrations, festivals, fireworks and entertainment there is always something happening.
Comedy Show at the Laugh Factory
If you are looking for something different and highly entertaining I suggest booking a ticket for a show at the Laugh Factory. Since opening its doors in 1979, the world famous Laugh Factory has been recognized as the number 1 comedy club in the country. Countless comedians have taken to the stage in this iconic location and entertained audiences for years. I saw the Nasty Show which was unbelievably hilarious. Sit back order a cocktail and let the good times roll.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile, sometimes referred to as The Mag Mile, is an upscale section of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, running from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side and is a mecca for shopping. The mile offers the best shopping experience with an abundance and variety of boutiques and stores. The shopping is very diverse and sure to please everyone!
Places to eat and drink
The Terrace at Trump Tower
One of my favorite bars in Chicago has to be the sophisticated outdoor Terrace at Trump. Enjoy the most iconic views of Chicago’s skyline including the Wrigley Clock Tower, Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, while sipping on one of the many handcrafted cocktails on offer.
The Purple Pig
If you are in desperate need of a break from shopping on the Magnificent Mile stop in at the Purple Pig. This intimate restaurant has an amazing selection of cured meats, cheeses and classic Mediterranean fare. The staff are extremely friendly and will be happy to pour you a large glass of wine or mix up a cocktail to help you relax.
Sable Kitchen and Bar
With the tag line “the cocktail is king” you can expect to enjoy a drink or two at this restaurant. Located in the heart of Chicago the restaurant offers a variety of small plates designed to share. This restaurant is perfect for a medium sized group, with 5 of my girlfriends we managed to sample quite a lot of the menu and we were not disappointed.
Eataly is a smorgasbord of amazing Italian food including pizza, pasta, cheeses, cured meats, wine and my personal favorite Nutella. A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without visiting this amazing establishment.
Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House
This seafood restaurant and steakhouse is only a stone’s throw from the John Hancock tower and a great place to eat after watching the sunset from the 95th floor. With a large variety of steak and seafood dishes there is surely something to please everyone. If you are big into seafood be sure to sample the Alaskan King Crab legs!
Rock Bottom Brewery
If you are lucky enough to visit Chicago during the summer months make the most of the sunny weather and head to the rooftop bar at Rock Bottom Brewery. With a wide range of beers, cocktails and light bites this out door bar offers great views in a cozy atmosphere.
Studio Paris Nightclub
If you are looking for a big night out in Chicago you can head to Studio Paris Nightclub which offers bottle service inside its chic indoor/outdoor lounge.
Places to stay
I have stayed in a few different hotels in Chicago all very different and unique in their own way. Depending on the type of hotel you are looking for, how much you are willing to spend and the location you want to stay in here are three hotels that I would recommend.
The Trump Tower ($$$)
In Chicago you’re either staying at the Trump or you’re not. The 92 story hotel is located right in the heart of the city and offers impeccable style and five-star service. You will enjoy the highest level of luxury during your stay and will not be disappointed. While the cost of staying here is quite high, if you book far enough in advance you can scoop up a bargain through any of the hotel deal websites.
The Talbott Hotel ($$)
The Talbott Hotel was built in 1927 and has been recently renovated in keeping its historic charm while offering all the modern amenities one would expect. I really enjoyed my stay at this charming hotel and found the staff and level of service offered amazing. The hotel is reasonably priced especially if you book well ahead of time.
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza ($)
If you are looking for somewhere inexpensive to stay that is located in the heart of the city then the Holiday Inn is for you. The hotel is clean, has friendly staff and is very reasonably priced.
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