I recently had the pleasure to visit my sister Lauren and her fiancé Jordan in Chicago to celebrate my 22nd birthday. It was so much fun and amazing, definitely one of the best birthdays yet. I can't wait to see what this year brings! I also now have an excuse to sing the song by Taylor Swift! Although I'm not a huge fan of hers, but I'm still gonna sing it whenever I'm in the mood to.
Chicago is hands down one of my favorite cities to visit. It's better than New York City in my personal opinion. It's not as crazy, it's more clean, the people are more nice, and it's a very unique place. There's so many different things to do and go to, the list is wide open with several opportunities! I got to do and see a lot of cool places during my birthday vacation, and of course I still have some favorites from previous trips. So I thought with summer coming, it would be great to make a list of some of my favorite spots in Chicago that you should check out for your next trip!
- Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise
- I didn't think I was going to enjoy this at first, but then I loved it. Not only was it a boat ride on a warm sunny day relaxing but it was so fun to learn about Chicago's unique architecture!
- Millennium Park
- Where else are you going to find a ginormous silver bean or crown fountains that spit out water?
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- It's one of the coolest zoos I've ever visited. Plus, admission is free!
- Art Institute of Chicago
- I'm a sucker for art museums. This one is definitely a must-go on your museum bucket list! Chagall's America Windows display is so beautiful and there is even a statue of LeBron James! Well, it's actually a statue of a goat, but you know what I mean ...
- Shedd Aquarium
- It's a little expensive, but seeing all the amazing aquatic creatures from beluga whales to seals is totally worth it.
- Howl at the Moon
- This is definitely one of the best bars I've ever been to. Not only do they provide every kind of alcoholic drink you can imagine but all music is performed live by pianists. And if you request any song, they'll perform it right off the bat without practice!
- Chicago Theatre
- A landmark feature and theater in the Windy City. Just to see the sign and snap a picture of it is well worth it!
- Water Tower Place
- I LOVE this building. Even if I'm not visiting to shop (which rarely happens), I have to stop by here just for the feel of it. This place has almost every retailer and food rest stop you can think of. They have Chicago's famous Garrett Popcorn store which has the most amazing Garrett Mix (gourmet cheddar and caramel popcorn). They also have Foodlife, a self-serve food hall with every kind of food you can imagine. Italian, Chinese, desserts, burgers, Mexican, Chicago style, they have it all!
- Macy's on State Street (Marshall Fields)
- Fun fact: My mom worked here while she and my dad lived in Chicago in the 80s before they changed it to Macy's!
- The Magnificent Mile
- Located on North Michigan Avenue, it is a busy and vital premier commercial district flooded with so many amazing famous shops, fashion outlets and restaurants that you can only find in big cities such as NYC, LA and of course, Chicago. From the Disney Store to Burberry, there's no great store that you cannot find. I feel cool just walking around the district and taking pictures!
- Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
- My family and I have been dining here for as long as I can remember. The service and atmosphere is very delicate. Their sangria, prosciuttio, goat cheese marinara with garlic bread, buttermilk-fried chicken thighs, and fried calamari are even better!
- A very delicate Italian restaurant with great pizza, spaghetti, wine, and much more. My mom and I went last fall and we had the nicest and funniest bartenders!
- Awesome Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park with great margaritas and cheeseburger tacos, as well as a pink Instagrammable sign saying "Feed me tacos and tell me I'm pretty."
- My sister, her fiance and I went here for my 22nd birthday dinner. The thin crust pizza is so good. The interior design is all wooden, even the menus are wooden plates!
- Hampton Social
- This is where we went to brunch for my 22nd birthday. It's a little expensive, but it's still worth the experience. It's very Instagrammable (it's where the famous sign "Rose All Day" exists that bloggers love) and cute. And it's hard to turn down a mimosa and breakfast sandwich with avocado, scrambled eggs, American cheese, bacon and arugula!
- I pretty much covered this above when talking about Water Tower, so you get the gist of it already.
- You're typical breakfast restaurant with everything you can imagine. It's perfect if you're hungry for something specific, it's right on menu. They have delicious cinnamon french toast with strawberries!
- I had a "Bombolato", a donut with vanilla gelato, salted caramel icing, and fruity pebbles. It sounds like a heart attack, but the calories are "cerealisly" worth it!
- Stan's Donuts & Coffee
- As a donut lover, this is a must-do on my Chicago list. The doughnuts are hot and fresh out of the oven, and there's so many different unique flavors to choose from. They also have great coffee that makes stopping there convenient. Coffee and donuts no doubt always make a great combination!
Chicago Instagram Hot Spots
- Hampton Social
- Like I said above while mentioning it it in my favorite restaurants, it’s very Insta worthy for bloggers like me!
- Skydeck Chicago
- This is a definite photograph hot spot! I haven't gone yet, but I so badly want to and get a picture standing over the glass room! This is perfect if you're a daredevil or not but looking for ways to step outside your comfort zone! The only downfall is that you do have to book tickets ahead of time or else you have to wait in line for three hours (meh).
- The Bean at Millennium Park
- This place is a legendary icon, how could you not post a selfie reflection of yourself?
- Navy Pier
- Get a vivid shot of the iconic ferris wheel lit up at nighttime and you're good to go!
- North Avenue Beach
- Not only will you enjoy a pleasant walk along the shore during the summer, but you can snap some great shots of the city skyline. Thanks to Tom Haverford and Andy Dwyer taking a piggyback ride picture here in a Parks and Recreation episode, it's well worth it!
- Chicago Riverwalk
- There's so many different angles and poses you can do on the bridge or sideline near the river. It's definitely a great place to take pictures, even in the winter. The river also turns green for the famous Chicago St. Patrick's Day celebration which you don't want to miss out on for a cool picture. It looks slimy yet super cool!
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport
- The third biggest airport in the USA, big enough to take some really cool pictures. This is perfect especially if you're a travel blogger, you can share some pictures of you on an adventure as you go through and explore the airport. Share your journey!
- Lincoln Park murals
- That picture of me above? Yeah, Lincoln Park has some pretty dope graffiti walls that are worth the picture.
What's your favorite place to go in Chicago? Comment down below and share!