I have been a big encourager for solo travel on this blog. It definitely takes a little planning so I thought I would share what I did in Chicago for 5 days. While I did visit for the Curvy Girl Conference (more on that later) I spent much of the time zipping around the city! So from the Water Taxi’s to the Signature Room there is plenty to share with you so let’s go!
When I landed in Chicago I headed straight to the Ambassador Hotel on the Gold Coast of Chicago near the lake and after marveling at the hotel and its beauty I asked one of the wonderful employees for a restaurant suggestion. She suggested I walk 2 streets over to Restoration Hardware and have lunch at 3 Arts Cafe. Look my friend, if you are in Chicago you want to eat here. This place is like a fairytale. I love chandeliers and beautiful spaces and a great glass of wine. This place has all of that plus french fries. Good french fries so go! Heads up, this seems to be THE place for brunch with long waits, like 2 hours+ soooo, you will do much better going in the middle of the day during the week. I went on a Thursday around 3 and I had a 20 minute wait. While I waited I was peeking around the rest of Restoration Hardware and they will text you when your table is ready. You will love the everything but I had the grilled truffled cheese it is the best with a glass of rosé. They also have a lovely rooftop deck so be sure to go up.
After all my peeping around I needed some basics like water and a little candy because serious bloggers need candy to write thank you very much. I like to walk around the neighborhoods I am staying in, so I walked a couple blocks to find the local Walgreens and buy the necessities I mentioned before (I will pay a lot for a hotel but I refuse to pay $7 for a bottle of water). Walking is a great way to see what is close to you. I found out my hotel is a few full blocks from the Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. It is also a short ride to premium shopping (you know the kind you will just look at and not buy) there is also an H&M close so winner winner chicken dinner! One random thing about me, I don’t like to travel with large pieces of luggage so I usually look for a Fedex or UPS store so I can ship things that I buy instead of lugging them thru an airport. So that’s a trick for shopping it up but flying with only a carry-on bag.
I spend a lot of time when I am out of town writing for This Curvy Life but I always make time for shopping. 3 stores I had to get to in Chicago are Milk Handmade, Akira, and Eloquii. They could not be more different but here is a quick rundown. Milk Handmade is a boutique that specializes in handmade products. Home of my favorite Teakwood and Cardamom candle (I hate to write without it). Akira is a very fun and trendy clothing store that is all over Chicago, so visit for great service from fun young people with low prices. Finally, I went to Eloquii. Eloquii originally was an online store. They have 3 locations in the country and its 2nd is in Chicago. It specializes in stylish plus-sized clothing. Think of it as the Banana Republic of plus-sized clothing. Must go.
The entire Saturday I was there was spent attending the Curvy Girl Conference. This conference is full of panels on marketing, branding, modeling and casting. This was the inaugural conference and I cannot wait to return next year. It was held in the trendy Fulton Market District filled with cool restaurants and the huge Google office complex.
The next day I was able to spend the entire day with a friend and we jumped on Chicago’s Water Taxi which goes through the downtown area all the way to China Town. It’s a great way to see parts of the city, take great photos and end up in China Town. I loved my boba tea and tried some new products in some of the shops.
After we finished in Chinatown we übered over to The Signature Room at 95th in the John Hancock Complex. Unfortunately, it had been raining that day so there was absolutely no view to see while we were 95 floors in the air. But I will be trying again next time I visit. I did snap this cool pic of the art installation in the lobby so I hope you enjoy that in lieu of a view…
It was very easy to get around Chicago via Über. I will tell you I learned quickly that Chicago’s traffic to the airport is pretty crappy so 1 – plan for traffic. Lot’s of traffic. 2 – if you haven’t taken an Uber pool before don’t try it the day you need to catch a flight (It sooo does not mean you are carpooling to the airport and noone told me that till I was in the car LOL). Finally 3 – Chicago’s airport is not hard to navigate and you pretty much end up on your concourse at the entrance so you don’t have to worry about navigating a huge airport like we do in Atlanta to get to your gate.
I don’t think its hard to guess from this post, but I adore Chicago and if it wasn’t for the crazy cold winter I would move there tomorrow. This is pretty much what I did there by myself for the most part. I did visit a few places with my 2 fab friends that live there so I will write more about that in another post. For now, I hope I gave you a few ideas of places to visit and I can’t wait to hear what you do when you visit Chicago!