Palmer House Hilton Chicago is by far the biggest and most gorgeous hotel I've ever stayed in. You feel like you travel back in time and are on the set of the Great Gatsby. Our room was small with a double bed but for a reasonable price, was suitable for the trip. The hotel is a hop, skip, and a jump to Millennium Park and was within a short walk to the waterfront which was great. Although, most of the restaurants we went to were about 20-30 min walks away in River North so next time I think we'd definitely stay closer to that neighborhood.
BEATRIX (RIVER NORTH)
Everything about this place - the decor, menu, cocktails, service - was outstanding. This is definitely the hot brunch spot! The best part, there's a full coffee bar with coffee, tea, juice, pastries, etc. for you to grab while waiting for your table. I had quinoa cakes with poached eggs and instead of hollandaise, it came with a fresh tomato basil sauce, such a delightful and delicious twist. Their bloody mary was also amazing and came with a big slice brown sugar bacon, I mean - can you get any better?
KANELA BREAKFAST CLUB (STREETERVILLE)
When I saw Crunchy French Toast on their menu, I almost lost my sh*t! Possibly my favorite breakfast item and not an easy find. Kanela did NOT disappoint! Such a cozy spot with another outstanding brunch menu and similar to Beatrix, has a coffee/tea/juice bar for the wait. I ended up going with the California benedict which had spinach, bacon, tomato, and avocado with a side of fruit. And if you thought I'd leave there without the crunchy french toast, you're crazy! We got an order to share amongst the table and my lord was it GOOD.
GODDESS & THE BAKER (WABASH & LASALLE)
We visited G&TB twice, funny enough on the first and last morning of our trip. The first morning was at their Wabash St. location right near our hotel which was a bit smaller than their Lasalle St. location in the West Loop that we visited on our last morning. I'd definitely say my vote was with Lasalle St. since they had a full bar of baked goods. I spotted the blueberry muffin right away and needed it in my life! It is definitely on my list of best muffins I've had. Their avocado toast on sourdough with herb ricotta that I got day one was also very good (and very basic, I know :D). G&TB is definitely a great, quick (but quality) sit down or grab and go breakfast spot. They also have a full menu of coffee, tea, juice, etc.
HI-VIBE JUICERY (RIVER NORTH)
I am so sad that this place doesn't exist in Boston. Such a cool spot with a unique menu of superfood smoothies, tonics, juices, bone broth, etc. After a late breakfast, we grabbed some smoothies mid-day as a quick snack before dinner. My smoothie had banana, hemp protein, hemp milk, MCT oil, almond & coconut butter, maca powder, cinnamon, turmeric, and raw honey. My boyfriend's was pretty similar but had coffee & cacao. They both were delicious!
REAL GOOD JUICE CO. (@ WHOLE FOODS)
We were killing some time walking around because our hotel room wasn't ready yet so headed over to WF for some snacks and grabbed a smoothie at the Real Good Juice Co. location inside. Mine had kale, avocado, coconut cream, cinnamon, and almond butter. I really wanted to try their bottled "Punky Juicester" which has matcha, almond milk, chia, chlorophyll, and mint but our hotel room didn't have a fridge to save it for the next day (super sad face). Just going to have to wait until next time.....or until they decide to open in Boston (fingers crossed)! Coolest part about RGJ was ordering! You order right at a kiosk, customizing your own smoothie and send it along for them to make. That was a first for me, very efficient!
TALLBOY TACO (RIVER NORTH)
When I walk into a restaurant on a Friday night and they have a live DJ bumpin' some 90's hip-hop, my heart is instantly won over. Tallboy is definitely a hip, casual spot that's great for a fun night out with friends. The tacos are served individually, tapas style, which I dig because I'm insanely indecisive and want to try everything! I decided on the crispy veggie avocado and beer-battered crispy fish, both which were unbelievable. We also had some tortilla chips, salsa, and guac for the table...OBV. Everything about Tallboy Taco was an A+ for me, cocktails and service were also on point.
BAR SIENA (WEST LOOP)
By far the BEST food I had in Chicago and very close to in my life, ever. I actually found out about Bar Siena while reading a Chicago dining magazine while waiting for my massage earlier in the day. What sold me was not only their menu with brick oven pizza BUT their fresh made Italian doughnut bar attached to the restaurant called Bombo Bar. Like....are you serious!!?? I'm SO glad we decided to do our last dinner at Bar Siena, it was UNREAL! It really gave the vibe of old school Italian with a modern twist. The kitchen is pretty open and you can watch the fresh parmesan being grated on to just about every dish. This place and it's flavors are no joke.
I decided on the proscuitto fig pizza with spiced pistachio, tallegio, and local honey and my boyfriend got the meatball calzone. Both were out of this world, the pizza dough was perfect and the meatballs were unlike anything I've ever tasted. I had to know what the secret was to the meatballs, so the bartender revealed they were made with wagu beef. MY LORD WERE THEY GOOD! We also shared a shaved zucchini salad with goat cheese and a rose vinaigrette, which sounds simple but was possibly one of the most flavorful dishes I've put in my mouth.
OF COURSE, we weren't leaving without those heaven like sugar cloud doughnuts!! You had a choice of three bombolini flavors, we went with maple cream, peanut butter fudge, and salted caramel. I was blown away by the creativity, when they arrived, each doughnut had a little squeeze bottle with the flavored sauce in them. The doughnuts were still warm and SO fresh!! Add the delicious sauces and talk about a flavor BOMB. ;) FYI: my favorite was the maple cream and the salted caramel, definitely recommend!!
CINDYS ROOFTOP BAR (DOWNTOWN - MILLENIUM PARK)
You CANNOT leave Chicago without visiting Cindy's on the roof of the Chicago Athletic Club. The outdoor terrace overlooks Millenium Park and the lake, it really can't get more magical. We went during the day and at night, each delivering an amazing experience. The drinks are definitely a bit pricey but totally worth it! Especially if you're a cocktail gal (or gent), Cindy's offers a unique and inventive drink list that is crafted perfectly by their mixologists. You can tell the bartenders are well trained and really know their sh*t.
OLD CROW (WRIGLEYVILLE)
If you're looking to grab some brews, especially before a Cubs game then this is your spot. This country/barn themed bar is SO awesome. There's a sh*t ton of TV's, making it THE spot for sports games. The first floor roof is retractable and thankfully, we landed a beautiful 80 degree day so they had it open. Nothin' like drinking with some fresh air and sunshine! We also hopped on to the roof deck which has a view of the front of the stadium. Very lively and fun spot to check out.
ISLAND PARTY HUT (RIVERWALK)
This tiki bar will make you feel like you're on a tropical island or resort vacation, when really you're in the middle of a city! Island Party Hut is right along the river and it's hard to pass by without wanting to sit on the deck or in a lawn chair by the water for a drink. They also have live music and ALL the (outdoor) games like cornhole, bacce, jenga and giant connect four. Such a fun spot to visit on a nice day!
Of course, when you visit a new city, you are bound to do the touristy things and hit all the popular parks, landmarks, etc. Here are a few that are definitely worth checking out!
If you've heard of Chicago, you've most certainly heard of "the bean" which lives in Chicago's Millenium Park. It was more entertaining to visit the bean and watch everyone taking photos/selfies than to see the actual structure itself, LOL. But, when in Rome. The park is much more than just the bean though and is a sight to see with gorgeous flowers, art structures, & fountains.
The Riverwalk was another one of my favorite things about Chicago and really made me fall in love. Not only is it a gorgeous stroll along the water with city views but there's a TON of restaurants and bars along the walk which give it such a lively feel. You'll also pass by some pretty unique street art and sculptures to keep things interesting.
WRIGLEYVILLE & WRIGLEY FIELD
If you're a sports fan OR can appreciate getting a good buzz in a new, cool environment then definitely take a visit to Wrigleyville for a game. The area is buzzing with people, especially when the Cubs are in town and there's a ton of bars! On a nice day, you'll find an ample amount of roof decks and outdoor seating. The stadium itself is gorgeous and gives a very old school Chicago feel. We grabbed standing room only tickets a few innings in to the game for VERY cheap and the view was perfect. We also met a cool couple from California that we ended up chatting with the whole game. Overall, a very fun experience!