Chicago is one of those places that keeps you coming back for more. Visiting Chicago during any time of the year seems to be the right time. Even though my most recent visit to the city was only a month ago, I am already planning my return. Read on to find out what you should do, where you should eat, and where you should stay in Chicago from someone who has done the research for you!
WHERE TO STAY IN CHICAGO
I have had the chance to visit Chicago three times now. Each time, we used a different accommodation and I have, overall, been pleased with them all! Check out these options when visiting Chicago:
The first place I will mention is Loews Chicago. If you are looking for a place smack dab in the middle of the city, this is definitely a great option. With amazing views, modern rooms, a great bar and restaurant, and friendly staff, you really can’t go wrong with this option. For a fee, you can also bring along your pets.
If you are looking for a hotel that isn’t directly in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago, you can opt for the My Place Hotels North Aurora location. I’ve had some great experiences with My Place, and I am sure you will love them too! Although this location is around 40 minutes from Chicago, you can easily reach the city and spend the day exploring. I like this option because it allows you explore some of the amazing suburbs of Chicago. They also allow you to bring your pets along.
Going the Airbnb route is also an option. We stayed at an Airbnb located in Chinatown that was just a short walk away from so affordable and amazing authentic Chicago food. As I am sure you know, Airbnb quality varies greatly, so please be sure to read the reviews before making your decision.
WHAT TO EAT WHILE VISITING CHICAGO
If you are looking for a fun and quick way to try a lot of famous spots while visiting Chicago, I would highly recommend checking out the Second City food tour held by Chicago Food Planet. Below, I’ve listed some places I have tried through the food tour as well as places I have tried on my own.
Lou Malnati’s – Looking for that classic Chicago deep dish? Look no further than the delicious Lou Malnati’s. Their classic pizza comes with a sort of sausage patty on top, which I am personally not crazy about. BUT I am absolutely in love with their pepperoni deep dish. For those who are not fans of deep dish, they also have a delicious butter crust thin crust option. Not only are there several options around the city, but they also had one near our hotel in North Aurora. Do keep in mind that this specific location is take out only.
Old Jerusalem – Located in Old Town, this is the restaurant where I first tried falafel. This family has been serving up traditional Middle Eastern food since the 70’s. Not only is the food delicious, but the prices are so reasonable. The only regret that I have that still haunts me to this day is the fact that I did not get to try their baklava!
Maxwell Street Depot – We found this small little place during our second trip to Chicago. It is open 24/7 and serves traditional Chicago style hot dogs, polish hot dogs, burgers, and pork-chop sandwiches at a super reasonable price. If you are looking for a nice dine-in experience, this isn’t the place for you. If you are looking for a place to grab a quick bite for cheap, you should definitely check it out.
Wow Bao – This small footprint Asian restaurant is a yummy and innovative place to eat. You simply place you order on a screen and then your food will appear in one of the containers on the wall. Talk about futuristic. Here you can get steamed buns, potstickers, and rice and noodle bowls.
ETA Restaurant and Bar – Inside of the Loews Chicago, you will find ETA Restaurant and Bar. This upscale and delicious restaurant is great for a night out on the town. Everything we tried here was wonderful, and had a delightful way that the food was linked to the rich history of Chicago. Perhaps my favorite was their unique blood orange creme brulee.
The Fudge Pot – When looking for some delicious dessert after eating your way through Chicago, you really can’t beat The Fudge Pot. They prepare all of their confections in house. You can smell the fresh treats as soon as you walk into the building. From chocolate and caramel covered apples to their mouth watering toffee, you really can’t go wrong when choosing your sweet treat. As an added bonus, they’re open until 10pm through the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO
During my visits to Chicago, I have had the chance to really explore the city. These are some of my go-to places and activities that I recommend to anyone while visiting.
Navy Pier – Conveniently located, Navy Pier has tons to do for the entire family. Whether you want to take a ride on the Ferris wheel to get a great view of the city, or you just want to browse, the pier is a great place to spend a few hours. Being over 3,000 feet long means it has plenty of room for interesting museums, good places to eat, and even a botanical garden. Definitely a must see when visiting Chicago.
See a baseball game – Here you will find both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. During my most recent visit, I was invited to see a White Sox game. Although I am not the biggest sports fan, seeing the game played in person is a really fun experience. I believe that anyone and everyone can have a good time at a baseball game.
Chinatown – Speaking of the White Sox, around this same area you will find Chinatown. This is a great place to explore with tons of culture and great food. You can find the restaurant Maxwell Street Depot (mentioned above) here as well.
Explore Old Town – You really can’t go wrong when walking around Old Town. Not only will you find great food at reasonable prices here, but it is also full of bars and nightlife. This is what I would consider to be one of the more fun and affordable parts of Chicago. There are also plenty of historic buildings in the area.
Douglas Park – If you are on the lookout for nature, taking a stroll in Douglas Park is a great option. Many events are held here throughout the year; however, you can usually visit the park without any issues. Take this as an opportunity to take in some greenery after exploring the city sites.
GREAT FOR A WEEK OR A WEEKEND VISIT
Whether you are visiting Chicago for a week or maybe just a weekend, you can still see a lot of the city. Not only is the city very walkable, but they also have a great pubic transportation system that allows you to easily get around. Let me know if you have visited Chicago, and what your favorite experience was!