24h in Chicago
If cities have souls, is it possible to partake in this collective soulmate experience as an outsider?
Even if you're just passing through, you can kindle a connection beyond latitude and longitude.
If cities have souls, San Francisco is my soulmate. No matter where I go, my heart aches for the first place I've ever truly felt at home. That being said, I've always felt a special connection to Chicago's energy, the pace, the electricity- its soul, if you will.
I've traveled to Chicago countless times- for family, for weekend getaways, and even a date with my now-boyfriend. It's a place with a lot of depth, diversity, and history, and a place where you'll never find yourself idle.
Over Labor Day weekend I decided to spend a few days to myself in his city before meeting up with family. Here's how my quick 24 hours in Chicago breaks down:
Thursday, 5pm: Check into beautiful downtown apartment. The views alone are worth the trip- by day you have a birds-eye view of the city, and by night, you're surrounded by a glimmering expanse of skyscrapers. I'd highly recommend this AirBnB.
7pm: Dinner at Frontera Grill. If you're like me and always forget to make a reservation, you can get your kicks at a Rick Bayless restaurant that's walk-in friendly. Try the yellowtail ceviche in dashi broth and, naturally, their signature margarita. Maybe pop into Xoco for a churro to round out the meal.
11pm: I'm an old soul, and a sucker for live music. Just a few blocks from my apartment lies Red Head Piano Bar. As a natural red-head I'm almost obligated to stop in for a gin and tonic. The piano music plays until 4am nightly, ebbing from Elton John to Journey. I always request "Bad Bad LeRoy Brown" before the night ends.
Friday, 10am: I grab a quick avo toast and iced coffee before heading to the Art Institute of Chicago. I could live within the impressionists, contemporary, and modern wings for ages.
2pm: Into the old Athletics Building I go, straight to the roof to Cindy's. It's a sunny, splendid day and the place is packed. I snag a seat at the bar and order a bite, afterwards taking in the incredible view of Millennium Park.
4pm: Stop by the Jazz Festival in Millennium Park for (you guessed it) more live music from very talented local artists.
7pm: Meeting my parents, fresh from dropping my sister off at Michigan, for a tapas dinner at Purple Pig. Must eats: cheese plate and charcuterie, tuna crudo, broccoli with breadcrumbs and anchovies, and lemon curd dessert.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of my favorite places to sip, snack, and see in this lovely city. Perhaps that'll be another post for another time.