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Since the Cubs are in the World Series, I thought it would only be appropriate to share a quick recap of my latest trip to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon.

I love Chicago. This was my fourth visit during my adult life (Travel recaps from last year can be found below.) and while the trip was marathon-centered, we definitely did some eating and sightseeing. I can’t wait to go back.

Scenes from Chicago

Goose Island Tour and Tasting

Architectural Boat Tour

This time around we stayed at the Thompson Chicago which we ended up absolutely loving. It was right in the center of the North Rush and Division restaurant scenes and easy walking distance to the lake, Magnificent Mile, and the Riverwalk. It was also a celebrity hangout where we met Eddie Vedder and saw Bill Murray, both in town for Cubs games. Meeting Eddie Vedder was definitely a highlight of the trip. . . and my life. Swoon.

Thompson Chicago

On our first full day we relaxed and roamed aimlessly around Chicago, just enjoying a beautiful fall day and the architecture before heading to the suburbs to visit with family.

Chica Fire

Chicago architecture

Chicago River

 

Chicago Marathon 

Chicago Marathon Day: I was injured going into this marathon and was definitely not feeling very confident about my ability to finish. Still, I tried to keep calm as I got ready to enter my corral in Grant Park. It was a gorgeous morning, clear and cool, and that nervous energy that fills the air before a marathon also filled me up, giving me the boost I needed as we counted down to the gun.

Grant Park

 Chicago Marathon Long story short; my first six miles were perfectly on pace, and I felt amazing, like I was barely working. Sometime after mile six, I felt a tearing in my injured calf muscle, followed by some pretty excruciating pain. That was it for me. I ran/limped the rest of the way,  giving up any hope of beating my PR or even running a time that I was happy with.

That finish line was the best sight. I just wanted it over with. And I want to do it again. Despite my struggles, it is an incredible race.

Chicago Marathon finish

If you’re a runner, I definitely recommend adding the Chicago Marathon to your running bucket list.

Other Chicago recommendations?

Hash House a Go Go

Hash House a Go Go for brunch – The Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles is a specialty and a spectacle. People came off of the street to gawk at this plate of food!

Navy Pier Spend a few hours wandering and relaxing at Navy Pier if the weather is nice. The views are gorgeous, and there’s plenty of people-watching to be done. 

Downtown Dog

Chicago hot dogs at Downtown Dogs

 

Chicago water taxi

Taking a water taxi AND an architectural boat tour – the water taxi is just a fun way to get around, while the architectural boat tours are super informative and a great way to spend 90 minutes.

 

Carmine's Chicago 

Classic Italian food at Carmine’s, perfect for pre-marathon carb loading!

 

Gibson's Steakhouse 

Dinner at Gibson’s, one of the best steakhouses in the US

 

Signature Lounge

Followed by drinks at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock building – the views are everything.

 

City Winery Chicago

Leisurely time on the Riverwalk, including a glass of wine at City Winery Chicago – the Riverwalk is one of my favorite parts of Chicago and a perfect place to log a few miles as a pre-or-post race wander.

I have so much of Chicago that I still need to see and a much faster Chicago Marathon left in me, and I hope to visit again soon. Go Cubs!

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Tags: Chicago, Chicago Marathon, cities, Food, running, Travel, travel blogger

Our trip to Chicago feels like it was such a long time ago, but I didn’t want to leave out posting about the architectural boat tour that we took, which was one of the highlights of the trip.

Chicago has many options for architectural boat tours, and since we really wanted a combination of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, we went with Mercury Cruises, which turned out to be a great choice.

First of all, it’s location was lovely, right on the River Walk, where I loved spending time.

Chicago Riverwalk

The boat was beautiful, and we got seats right on the bow so that we could see everything. The boat also had a comfortable interior where we went when it got a little windy. Inside was a bar that served local beer, which was a really nice touch.

Lake Michigan boat tour

Going through the locks from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan was a fun experience, and once out of the river, we were really on our way.

Chicago boat tour

Lake Michigan boat tour

Navy Pier

I can’t get over Lake Michigan’s vastness; it really feels like the ocean and with the windy day we had, there were some nice swells.

boat Lake Michigan Even though we had an overcast day, the sights were absolutely beautiful. Seeing the skyline from the lake was really special, and our Captain had all sorts of interesting historical tips to share with us.

Lake Michigan

Chicago architectural boat tour

Boating on the river was equally as beautiful and interesting. The skyscrapers really lived up to their name, and we saw Willis Tower, Aon Center, John Hancock Building, Museum Campus, Trump Tower, Marina City, and others. Chicago’s history is so interesting and rich, and I would love to do another boat tour as well as a land tour so that I can learn more.

Chicago skyline

 

Trump building Chicago

(The Trump Tower was as obnoxious as the person behind the name.)

There’s so much to do in Chicago, but when we were planning our trip everyone told us to do an architectural tour. They were all right!

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Tags: architecture, boats, Chicago, tours, Travel, travel blog, vacation

I loved our trip to Chicago so much. It felt like the perfect mini getaway not too far away. The weather was great, we got to spend time with friends and family, we walked a ton, and of course, we did our fair share of eating and drinking. And with all of the restaurants in Chicago, we could go back many times to do much much more. Below is a round up of our eating adventures.

For more Chicago posts you can read about our Goose Island Tour and my Scenes from Chicago post.

Public Hotel Chicago

We stayed at the Public Hotel, which had two elegant, old school bars, the Pump Room and the Library and Coffee Bar, both offering incredible cocktails. The craft cocktail menu, small bites, low lighting, and general ambiance added so much to our hotel stay.

mimosa Our first morning in Chicago found us walking for miles along Lake Michigan then finally sitting down to brunch outdoors at LuxBar. Mimosas, Salmon Eggs Benedict, and a gigantic breakfast burrito were all delicious and enjoyed while people watching. Brunch on vacation is just the best.

salmon benedict

breakfast burrito

stuffed shells

My friend who was running the Chicago Marathon wanted to carb load the night before, and of course we joined her. Carmine’s was the place to be the night before the marathon. The red wine was flowing, and classic red sauce Italian dishes like my stuffed shells were being served up to noisy tables. The atmosphere was festive and perfect for the exciting weekend that was in it.

Pops Champagne Bar I couldn’t miss the opportunity to taste Champagnes by the glass at Pop Champagne Bar. It’s so rare to have the chance to taste several Champagnes in one sitting, and we took full advantage of the menu!

Pops Champagne Bar Finally, there was the post-marathon celebratory dinner at Hugo’s.We originally set out for Gibson’s but they were completely full, and the kind hostess had someone escort us to their sister restaurant Hugo’s, which serves the same steaks and great food. We felt so taken care of right off the bat; the hospitality all throughout Chicago was remarkable, and we really felt it the most at Gibson’s and Hugo’s.

We wanted the Chicago steak house experience, complete with giant cocktails, meat, and sides.

cocktails in Chicago There were martinis and Manhattans and wedge salads, one of my favorite steak house dishes.

wedge salad When the entrees started to arrive, my husband’s steak was way too rare, so they whisked it away and while it cooked brought him a complimentary shrimp cocktail so he had something while he waited. It was only a matter of minutes, and this little extra touch meant so much. The shrimp were so yummy too!

shrimp cocktail

While my plate doesn’t look very appetizing here, it was simply amazing. I had the steak and crab cake combo, which came with two phenomenal sauces including their pink spicy mayo. 

steak and crab ccakes

My husband’s steak came covered in crab meat and asparagus and was out-of-this world. We also all shared chipotle corn and asparagus.

Hugo's Chicago 

This meal was special, decadent, and so much fun, one of those must-do things if you get to Chicago. It kind of felt like dining in a bygone era, where we really slowed down to enjoy ourselves.

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Tags: Chicago, Dining out, Food, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog

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