Posted in Daily happenings, Food adventures, Traveling Adventures

Traveling Tuesdays – Chicago edition

About a year ago, my traveling partner and I decided to head to Chicago after seeing a great deal on The Flight Deal. This is a great place to go if you’re not set on any particular destination and just want to travel.

A round trip ticket from LA to Chicago cost me $112 So off we went to the Windy City. We took a red-eye to Chicago, which in hind sight, wasn’t the best idea. Since Chicago is two hours ahead of us and it was only a four hour flight, we arrived in the wee hours of the morning (~4:30 am). What do we do at 4:30 am when no one is around and we can’t check into our housing accomodations until 2:30 pm?


What perfect way to make use of the situation than to visit the really touristy spots without any of the tourists. First stop? Millennium park to see Cloud Gate aka The Bean.

At the Bean

This was one of the best decisions we made during the trip. We enjoyed the beauty of the Bean in silence and to top it all off, we got to wake up with the city. We watched the dark and desolate streets slowly become populated with people as the sun rose and with more light, the city got louder and louder. It really was a wonderful experience and although we spent part of the morning passed out at a Panera, I’d recommend doing this at least once in your life. We were able to visit the Bean, walk around the Navy Pier, grab a hot dog from Portillo’s, and get a massage to relieve our tired bodies all within a short time.

Highlights of our trip

Chicago Greeter program – I am such a huge fan of this program. Chicago, along with most major cities (even international cities), will have a greeter program and most of them are free. People who live in the city volunteer their time to give you a tour of their city favorites. You can set an appointment online a week before your trip and this tour can range from 2-4 hours (Their instagreeter program is 1 hour long if you’re short on time). You’re able to pick your language preference and a few interests that you might want to explore (i.e. food, architecture, nature). Our greeter, Bobbie, was fantastic. She is a huge fan of Chicago history and spent a good 3 hours showing us around downtown and giving us the 411 on the everything from the beginnings of the brownie to the uniquely colored cow statues we kept seeing. I had a blast and I suggest everyone use this greeter program at least once. It’s amazing.

Our wonderful greeter Bobbie

The Purple Pig:

  • Roasted Bone Marrow with Herb Salad & Sicilian Sea Salt – Enough said. When on vacation, do like vacationers do and indulge. You won’t regret it.
    On a cold day, this hot dish hit the spot

Lou Malnati’s:

  • Also, when in Chicago, get a deep dish Chicago pizza. Even if you’re not a fan, please go. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised like my date was. He liked it over Giordano’s.

The Second City Comedy Club

  • If you like laughing – and who doesn’t – I’d suggest dropping by here. Several SNL cast members have graduated from here and it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.

And there you have it – the highlights from my trip. Chicago is a wonderful city and you can bet that I’ll be back a few more times.

Who knows? Maybe if I survive my NYC marathon, I’ll try my hand at the Chicago marathon. 🙂

If you enjoyed reading my post, please let me know and like below. Thanks!



My name is Mai and I am a recent PhD graduate. :) When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland. Come join me on my journey and help me navigate this world. :)

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