Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Day in the Windy City

Yesterday, I joined my boss and co-workers on a super fab day trip to Chicago. It was originally her idea (how lucky am I to work for someone like that?), and the rest of us girls decided we wanted to spend the time at the Navy Pier and doing some shopping (imagine that). If you've never been to Chicago before and only have a day there, I highly recommend following our sort-of itinerary.

We got to Chicago a little before noon, and our first stop was the Navy Pier. It just so happened to be a drop dead gorgeous day out (sunny and 75 degrees with not one cloud in the sky, and a perfect breeze) so we were happy that we picked such a great day to enjoy the outdoors. The Pier was all a-hustle and bustle and I couldn't wait to explore it.

Beginning of Navy Pier

The first thing that caught my eye was the ferris wheel, which we didn't get a chance to go on but I can only imagine the amazing view you get to see from up there. We then walked by the Shakespeare Theater which was currently playing Beauty and the Beast. We also saw they had an IMAX theatre and a Cirque Shanghai show to watch, ensuring one can never be bored while on the Pier.

Ignore my intrusive finger

Apart from all the activities available (I haven't yet mentioned the Children's Museum, various rides, segway tours, etc.), it was impossible to miss the amazing view of Lake Michigan, all blue and sparkling and magnificent.

End of Navy Pier facing the city

We marveled at the water and skyline for awhile before deciding where to eat lunch. There were a lot of restaurants to choose from, but the City Porch reeled us in with its chic yet laid-back vibe with views of the water and skyline. I loved the breezy white decor, paper lanterns, and mason jar candles tied to the trees. 
The perfect blend of laid back and posh!

City Porch opened in June, and I had no idea that it is actually a "pop-up restaurant" and will only be open until September (SO bummed about that). Each month of the summer features a different guest-chef, and August is chef Jimmy Bannos. The menu was perfect for me, open to many foods but just picky enough to not eat everything. I had a hard time deciding what to get as the menu featured many different types of salad and sandwiches and a lot of hors d'oeuvres type food. I ended up going with a Cheese Stuffed Pretzel and Havarti Mac & Cheese (both were under the "Small Plate" section). They were each $6, which I thought was a very reasonable price as this restaurant was not only in Chicago but had one of the best views as well. The Pretzel came out first and I was pleasantly surprised; it was good sized and had a house dipping sauce. With just a few bites in I realized this was the best soft pretzel I'd ever had; it was soft but crispy on the outside, the outside was lightly salted and seasoned, and the cheese in the middle was the perfect touch. The dipping sauce was just the cherry on top of the cake. A few minutes later, my Mac & Cheese came and it was also delicious with great texture! I was so happy with my meal and all of us girls had no complaints (and everyone got something different). If you are in Chicago anytime this summer, you HAVE to check this place out before it's gone!!

Hello pretzel, my old friend...

After enjoying all of our delicious food, we thought it was time to be on our way to do some shopping. And where better to do that but on Michigan Avenue? For those that don't know, Michigan Avenue (AKA the Magnificent Mile) is 13 blocks long filled with stores, restaurants, hotels, and various attractions and entertainment. It is impossible to see everything in an afternoon, so we decided to visit the Water Tower Place, a glorified 8-level shopping center, and we even had time to step outside to visit Tiffany & Co and Saks Fifth Avenue (and even the Ghirardelli store, YUM). We certainly got our fix of retail therapy! Sadly, our time was soon up and we had to get back to the limo (yes, our boss got us a LIMO) to head home. 

John Hancock Center & Water Tower Place

I can not wait to get back to Chicago, hopefully before summer ends! There's just so much to do in this city that even if you lived here, it'd be hard to see it all. 

Did I miss out on visiting anything spectacular? I'd love to know so I can visit again.


  1. You did visit on a perfect weather day! Navy Pier is a great spot to enjoy such weather, and to take in views of Lake Michigan and the skyline. If you do return to Navy Pier, I recommend taking one of the boat tours; I'm a big fan of the Tall Ship Windy's Pirates of the Inland Seas cruise. So much to see and do here in Chicago! Let me know when you make it back and I can give you some recos :-)

  2. Yes a boat tour is a must for next time. And I'll definitely let you know when i'm back, I could use some suggestions from a local! :)

  3. Great post about Chicago, I love the city! Next time you're here, be sure to wander through Millennium Park and regardless of your love/hate for baseball, the Wrigleyville scene is a world within itself. At the John Hancock, ride up to the top (for free) for a drink at the bar at the top, to be fair, it'll be the same price as the tourist elevator, but you get a drink out of it and can get a table at the window. The views are better than the Sears! I hope you get back to visit Chicago soon, it's the best city in the world in the summer time!

  4. Hi Kyle! Thanks for the tips-I think I will be able to get back there before my big move out west so I'll definitely check out Millennium Park and the John Hancock! And I agree, Chicago is amazing in the summer:)