01Jun

Last year for my birthday, I went to Portland & Seattle. This year’s trip was Chicago. It was my first time there and I just loved the city. The weekend was predicted to have terrible weather, but everyday when we awoke, the skies just cleared right up.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We left the airport in DC after work on a Friday night.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We stayed at a perfect little Air Bnb right near Wrigley Field. It was super walkable. When we landed we got late night pizza. In the morning, we found a cafe close by for coffee & hopped on the Red L train to get around.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We started off at a farmers market and got doughnuts and then walked around a park.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Since the first day was my actual birthday, we went to the Art Institute after breakfast. I loved wandering around and getting inspiration! The museum itself was beautiful and so much bigger than I had anticipated.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

I loved the architecture.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

I saw plenty of things I hadn’t thought about since college. I wish I could still name things on a whim like I used to.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

All the modern work was my favorite and I want to use some of the clean lines later on this summer in a stained glass class I am taking.Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

The roof of the museum had a sculpture and a great view of the city.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

My boyfriend, looking all snazzy in the museum.
Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We had lunch across from the Bean at The Gage. I strongly recommend it!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We wandered Millennium Park and soaked up the weather.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

I finally saw the Bean!Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Then I got the best surprise birthday present. There was a North America gelato competition in the park and for $10 you could taste 16 flavors and vote on a winner to continue on to the international event in Italy next year.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

The one we picked (passion fruit with dark chocolate) was the winner, though they were all crazy unique. I had so much fun people watching and trying them all!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We finished off the evening meeting up with one of my college friends for cocktails and deep dish pizza! He knew just where to go and called ahead so we didn’t have to stand in a few hour line.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

The next day we went to the Skydeck at Willis/Sears Tower. The line was a little rough, but I wasn’t expecting to get to do this at all with the bad weather prediction so it was a nice surprise.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We stepped out on the skyledge and enjoyed the view. It was crazy to look down underneath you and see the city.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Looking up you could just see clouds for days.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Got a quick photo sitting in the ledge!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Check out those puffy clouds!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

After taking in the city, we hit the streets for lunch at Publican Quality Meats.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We looked around and did a little shopping after that.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Dinner was at Little Goat and was delicious!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We crossed the city to see Buckingham Fountain at sunset.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

And bunnies in the surrounding park. We had late night drinks at the Aviary.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

The next day we did a riverboat architecture tour. I think of all the things we did in the city, this was by far my favorite. I will say finding the tour’s starting point was incredibly challenging. Once we were ON the boat though, it was smooth sailing.

We sailed right under the Wrigley Building!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

This tour was very thorough. We learned about different types of buildings, how one building mimics the one next to it to help it blend into the space, how the city was planned so early on and more.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We sailed out into the lake and turned around to look into the city.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Just gorgeous. I need to get this wrapped on canvas or something! I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to see this.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

After the tour we went to Green Street Meats with some of my boyfriend’s friends. They had great bbq. It was nice to catch up with some people even though we were across the country.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

His friends graciously drove us to Navy Pier where we wandered and sat on the beach enjoying the locals swimming for memorial day. The lake was filled with boats blasting music!
Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

After the Navy Pier, we walked around shopping for our birthday’s. We found a rooftop bar to enjoy dinner. By this time the temperature had dropped a lot, but the bar had these great shawls to lend out! I was so thankful.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

My drink was called Peaches on Peaches on Peaches, and it was delicious. So was the sushi we shared. The last day was my boyfriend’s birthday. We walked around and got him a mimosa brunch and then found a surf store where the guys working treated us to free drinks.Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We took a walk by Wrigley Field and stopped in the Cubby Bear for a White Gummy Bear drink. Then we hopped on a bus to the zoo.

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

We played at a swing set across from the zoo before checking out the cat house! We saw an adorable newborn lemur too!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

There was a whole farming section and my boyfriend hopped right into a tractor.
Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

I got to see goats & jersey cows and they taught us about milking. Since it was a Tuesday, the zoo was empty as could be!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

About twenty minutes after I took this picture, the wind picked up tenfold and it started to pour down rain. We walked in the rain back to the airbnb to grab our bags. We made sure to get a Chicago hot dog before the wet march to the airport. The storm was nuts but considering it was the only drops of water we had to deal with all week, I was praising God!

Travel: Chicago | offthebeatenpress.com

I splurged after we got home and purchased the picture taken of us in the SkyDeck. It was amazing and such a great shot of the two of us for our birthdays! I will have to visit this city again for sure, just not in the winter!