TRAVEL DIARY: CHICAGO
Last week, I visited the "Windy City" to perform for various colleges & universities across the Midwest. I'd never been to Chicago and I was so excited to experience all it had to offer. We left Nashville EARLY Thursday morning. We pulled into the city around 2p... Our first stop? Pizza. Chicago is known for their pizza and everyone has their favorite "spot" that they swear by. Pizza is a little tricky for me because I'm extremely sensitive to wheat. But, luckily two of the more well known pizza places in town, Giordano's & Lou Malnatis, offered a gluten free pizza. Our first stop was Giordano's. Y'all - the cheese they use was on another level! It was so flavorful and rich - I'd also heard that sausage was the way to go when ordering pizza in Chicago, so I ordered my pie with sausage and let me tell you - I was NOT disappointed. Once our bellies were full, we headed to the hotel to check in. After freshening up a little, we made our way into the city. "Made our way" = rode the L train! I didn't grow up in a town with a major public transportation system so navigating to the city via train was so fun! Once we figured out how it all worked, we were CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) pros!
Chicago reminds me of a smaller version of New York City. The streets are lined with high dollar apartment buildings, luxury stores, and vibe-y restaurants. While we were there, most of the stores had window displays outfitted for the holidays with sequins, lights, and Christmas trees. We strolled around State Street past the Chicago theater before stopping in Buddy Guy's Legends for a late night blues jam. C'mon, you know we can't visit a new town and not check out the music scene!
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Friday morning, we woke up and grabbed breakfast at Walker Bros. This cozy, rustic pancake house had the BEST gluten free waffle I've ever tasted. The dining room in Walker Bros feels like you're in a mountain lodge. It's very homey and in the middle of the room is a big, brick fireplace. It was snowing while we were eating, putting us in the holiday spirit. After breakfast, the day was filled with soundcheck, performing, and meet & greets so we didn't do any exploring but, we had so much fun performing for all of the schools & I really loved meeting everyone after the show. The outfit featured above is the one I wore to perform in - of course, it's all linked below. I LOVED this jacket... and the shoes? Oh my. The air was really cool which cause my hair to have a ton of static electricity, so I re-created this super cute, edgy ponytail to keep it under control!
Saturday morning, we bundled up and headed downtown to explore all of the tourist attractions. We arrived around lunchtime so naturally... more pizza. This time, we stopped at Lou Malnati's. Lou's pizza was my absolute favorite. The homemade crust was delicious! After lunch, we walked to Millennium Park where we saw "The Bean" and some really beautiful views of the city. Then, we trekked down to Navy Pier. This pier was nothing like the piers we have back home on the East coast. The concrete structure is very wide and lined with restaurants, coffee shops, and stores. It was FREEZING at the end of the pier but the sight of Lake Michigan and it's grandness was so beautiful. Lake Michigan looks like an ocean because it's so vast and appears never-ending. I was frozen from my head to my toes so John and I stopped to share a hot chocolate. After our bones were warm again, we walked the "Magnificent Mile" on Michigan Avenue. The Magnificent Mile is every girl's dream - block after block of restaurants & retail. I was happy to just look at all the window displays and holiday fashion. People were hustling & bustling all around, getting a head start on their Christmas shopping. After walking what seemed like ALL of Chicago, we snagged a bag of Garrett popcorn and headed back to the hotel. We settled into bed and recalled all the exciting things we'd seen that day before falling fast asleep.
I absolutely LOVED Chicago and I can't wait to go back because there are things I wanted to see and experience but didn't have the chance to - like the views from the John Hancock building & Willis Tower. I'd also like to catch a show at one of the theaters sometime. I HIGHLY recommend going to Chicago around this time of year. The weather is frigid but not too terribly and something about the city this time of year really puts you in the holiday spirit. We wont be traveling much for the rest of the year as we celebrate the holidays with our families but 2018 has MANY adventures ahead!
G E T T H E L O O K
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