Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Kind of Town

This summer we went to Chicago for the first time ever. I can't believe how much I loved it, and that I don't usually hear people talking about it in a "you have to go there" sort of way. Where else would you be able to walk ten minutes from your hotel, down to the lake, swim, play in the sand, meet some kids, and then walk back to the hotel, through downtown, with your swimsuit on and a towel around you.  
Other highlights:
We loved our meal at Longman and Eagle (loud enough to go with a kid, but certainly not a place for picky eaters that need to be accommodated. We also checked out the inn they have upstairs, and it's a great neighborhood-vibe inn if you were on your own in Chicago. Definitely not a family destination--unless your kids are older, and could sleep in a separate bedroom (no adjoining rooms).

We loved our meal at Publican. Another very loud place, and a place that has a bigger menu so more possibilities for kids who may not want what you're eating. Get a booth where they shut you in like you're in a stable.
We were lucky enough to stay at the Elysian, which is a new-ish hotel, and is fantastic. Loved the staff (who don't accept tips), the indoor pool, and the hotel restaurant Balsan. In that neighborhood, we liked to get coffee and pastries at this Belgian cafe, Hendrixx.
We didn't get to fully check it out, as this airport playground was on our way to baggage claim, but it looked great from the outside.
And although everyone said to try a hot dog from Portillo's, we didn't love it. The more discerning locals said Hot Doug's was a must, but they had weird hours. I know it sounds crazy, but our best hot dog was in the airport.
One night, we were exhausted and wanted to eat somewhere we could walk to, so we went to the Rosebud Steakhouse. It was a great old-school restaurant, where you walk out with a bag of leftovers, because each portion could feed a whole famly. We ate the mac and cheese for 2 days. On our walk back to the hotel, we checked out the Drake Hotel. 


  1. Hi Yolanda,
    Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time at Chicago!

    I am writing on behalf of Women's Web, an online women's magazine based out of India. We are planning on a travel series, profiling interesting women bloggers from across the world.

    I came across your blog recently and looking at your expertise I am thoroughly impressed! Would you be interested in contributing a guest post for us on some fun things that a mom and her kid can do in NY?

    If you are, then please drop me a word at anne.john@womensweb.in and I'll get back to you with further details. Hope to hear from you soon!


  2. i just went to chicago last week for first time too and just LOVED it. great restaurants, clean streets and that architecture tour was my favorite. the only underwhelming thing of the trip was the deep-dish pizza. i'm just not a fan. everything else was wonderful. i was without kids, but had to check out the art museum's kids space which i was in awe of.

  3. Chicago is amazing, with or without kids! Navy Pier and the Shedd Museum are so fun. And there are so many amazing restaurants and cute neighborhoods. So glad you went.

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  5. Chicago is amazing with or without kids! I'm a local mom and it seems like tourists often have the same attitude you do in your post... "why didn't anyone tell me Chicago is so great?". Whenever you're back I highly recommend Lincoln Park Zoo, a free zoo just north of downtown.

  6. Chicago is fantastic! Upon your return trip, try the Garfield Park Conservatory. I believe it's the largest public conservatory in the country. It's beautiful and often has exhibits in it: chocolate, dinosaurs, Dale Chihuly glass...
    Thank you for a great read!

  7. Chicago is great. I recently moved from the City to Mass and miss Chicago everyday. Except, the weather. It's the most beautiful city in the US.

  8. Thanks for showing our city in such a great light! I think it is such an underrated destination, and we absolutely love living here. Even after living here so long, there is still so much to discover, and I especially love seeing it through everyone else's eyes.