CHICAGO TRIP: SNOW IN APRIL?
Hello! Welcome to Iced Lattes & Cashmere, thank you for being here and I hope you enjoy my content. Today I decided to share with you all the details about my recent trip to Chicago, Illinois.
Back in December, my best friend Annemarie decided to enroll in a work-and-travel program in Colorado. When she finished the program in April, we decided to take a trip together to Chicago, to celebrate the end of her program. We were very excited, since we hadn’t seen each other in 4 months, and we reunited in the Windy City at the beginning of April. We’d both had really early flights to get there, so we were exhausted by the time we got to the hotel. We were able to check in immediately even though it was about 1 PM, so that was amazing and quite a relief. We stayed at the Inn of Chicago, in the very center of the city. The hotel was nice and clean, and the location was incredible.
Since we decided to visit the city in April, once Spring had supposedly started, I didn’t think it would be so freezing, but it was. It even snowed a few times. So much for Spring! I didn’t have the best clothes for that kind of weather, so I had to layer up big time! I really really loved Chicago. It has a big New York vibe, but it’s a lot more relaxed and a lot cleaner! I just wish it had been warmer since we could barely enjoy being outside without feeling like our limbs would fall off lol. There were so many cool spots outside that I would’ve loved to spend more time at, like the Chicago Riverwalk! So I definitely want to go back at some point, but during a warmer time.
In spite of the cold, rain and snow, we still managed to get to know the city pretty well and we had an amazing time! We went to all the best spots and ate delicious food!
FIRST OFF, MY TIPS TO MAKE THE EXPERIENCE AS GREAT AND EASY AS POSSIBLE:
- Buy a Ventra card and use the trains/buses instead of renting a car. You can get an unlimited 7 day pass for $28, which saves you a bunch of money in the end, since you’re not paying for pricey parking lots in the city, and you don’t have to worry about finding a spot. The public transportation is really good, it takes you anywhere you want to go!
- Stay at a good location in the city, one where you’re pretty close to everything, since that will make moving around so much easier! I recommend staying anywhere in the Chicago Loop, or around the Magnificent Mile, which is where we stayed. You are pretty much walking distance to most things, if it’s not too cold for you to walk.
- Take advantage of all the Quick Service food options, to save some money. You can plan ahead for 2-3 sit-down restaurants throughout the trip and opt for Quick Service options for the rest, there’s so many good options, I’ll share some of my favorites below. Also, if you can, buy snacks at the grocery store to keep in the hotel/your bag so you don’t go spending money at overpriced, touristy places.
- Buy a City Pass. This will save you a lot of money when it comes to visiting the main spots in the city, plus you get to skip the lines, so you also save time!
- If you’re traveling during the cold months, I recommend for you to bring a really warm coat, because it can get really uncomfortable without one. I didn’t bring one, and I so wish I had! Not only is it cold, it’s alsowindy, and the wind is freezing! You will definitely need it if you want to walk around without being on the verge of hypothermia.
- Take one of the boat tours! The views of the city are amazing and you will love it. However, if you take the Architecture tour make sure you go during warmer months or take a lot of warm clothes, because there’s no heating whatsoever. Anne and I shivered for hours after the tour!
Most of these are pretty touristy, I know, but it was my first time there, and if you have never been, I hope you find this useful!
1. Cloud Gate at Millennium Park (or The Bean, as it’s most commonly known). It’s so shiny and pretty, definitely one of the first stops you must make! Also go ahead and explore Millennium Park for a bit, it’s lovely! We didn’t stay too long because it was really cold and we were hungry.
2. Walk and shop at the Magnificent Mile! So many shops and restaurants!
3. Visit the Chicago Theater! And if you can, go see a play! We usually go to plays when we travel, however this time was the exception since it didn’t really work with our budget.
4. Skydeck Chicago. The views are breathtaking! And if you’re patient and don’t mind waiting in line, you can take a cool picture seating on the glass floor.
5. Visit the museums! They are so cool. We went to the Field Museum (sort of a Natural History museum, very interesting with lots to learn) and the Art Institute of Chicago (check out the miniatures section, it was incredible).
6. Explore Navy Pier and take an architecture boat tour! You’ll learn a lot about the city and take really cool photos! (We didn’t take pictures here because we were a bit busy trying not to freeze haha)
7. Visit at least one rooftop. It could be a restaurant, bar or a lounge. The view is so pretty.
8. The John Hancock building has a 360 observatory at the top, which is amazing! It has couches and a bar if you want to chill there for a while, and it also has the TILT! experience, which we didn’t try but it definitely looked like fun.
As for food, I wish we could’ve eaten out at more places, but I’ll share the ones I really liked. I realize some of these are common restaurants and if you live in the US, they are places you go to all the time, but since I don’t have them at home and several people reading this don’t either, I’ll still talk about them because they’re great
- Lou Malnati’s, you must go there if you want to try Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. It was delicious! I’m still a thin-crust pizza kinda person, but this was definitely good, and you feel more than satisfied with a couple of slices.
- Armand’s Victory Tap, for Italian food. We had the jumbo shells filled with ricotta cheese and OMG, soo rich, so good.
- Mughal India. I’m obsessed with butter chicken. And theirs is really, really good. Slightly spicy and creamy, I couldn’t get enough of it. Try it with some basmati rice, and some garlic naan, and you’ll have an amazing meal.
- Giordano’s, Pizza. They specialize in Deep Dish Pizza, however I actually tried their thin crust version, and it was really really good, I highly recommend it.
- Sweetgreen, for healthy food. Love the Curry Chickpea Bowl. I know this is in several places in the US, but I love it and wish we had it at home. The bowls have so much variety and they’re super filling, while still being healthy and full of real, non-processed foods.
- Pret A Manger, again, pretty common place, but I’m always obsessed with it when I visit the US. The place is always so cozy and inviting, and the food is healthy and so full of flavor! My favorite menu item there is the Moroccan Lentil Soup (it’s so comforting, especially when it’s cold out!).
- Stan’s Donuts, you must try these, they are so good! They’re all around the city, you can’t miss them.
- Shake Shack, everybody knows this place, but their Vanilla Shake is out of this world. If you haven’t tried it, please do! With a side of cheese fries, OMG, can I go back and have some right now?
I hope some of this was helpful and that you enjoyed reading about my trip! We had a great time and I can’t wait to start planning my next destination.