In one week, AJ and I will be in Chicago for BlogHer (well, I’m going to BlogHer, he’s just coming along for the adventure)! For most of the trip I’m going to be at the conference or private parties, but I do have gaps in my schedule for some quality tourist time.
So with a lot of research, we created an official “bucket list!” This is the list of things we absolutely, positively need to accomplish in the “windy city”
We’re leaving for Chicago extremely early in the day so we can start off with a trip to the Shedd Aquarium. Being only a few hours away from Chicago, we’ve heard how cool the Shedd Aquarium is more times than we can count! I can’t wait to see all of the aquatic animals (Over 8000 of them!)
I’ve always wanted to visit Navy Pier, and now I get the chance to! Our Thursday night of parties actually ends on the Navy Pier (for The Awesome Party) so this works out perfect! I can’t wait to see the Navy Pier at night, I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous. Plus, as a Wisconsinite I’ve always had an appreciation for how beautiful Lake Michigan is, so I can’t wait! I’m hoping we get a chance to ride the ferris wheel!
We’re basically required to visit the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. It’s an automated machine that with a robot arm that hands you a beautifully packaged cupcake, what’s not to love?
Our biggest problem? Choosing a flavor!
Yes, more cupcakes…I can’t help it! We live in a small town where cupcakeries are definitely not in existence!
I heard Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique offers the best cupcakes in town, and they even offer breakfast cupcakes and cake pops. I think we’ll go there one of the mornings and maybe even enjoy them at Millenium park when we visit the next attraction on the list!
I’m a blogger, we take photos and selfies at every chance we get, right? (For the record, that’s not me at all, I still feel awkward Instagraming in public)
I’m a modern art junkie, so I have to go see Cloud Gate! Millenium Park in general sounds amazing with all the modern architecture and I can’t wait to visit it!
When you think Chicago, you automatically think: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.
We were told by a friend (a Chicago native) that Gino’s East Pizza is the best Chicago style pizza in the city, so we have to experience it ourselves! We’re definitely going to try the Cheese & Famous Sausage pizza!
AJ is a beer snob, he’s always like imported beers, but ever since exploring home brewing he’s an even bigger beer snob. Howells & Hood is the bar (and restaurant) that he absolutely needs to visit.
Howells & Hood offers 114 draft beers, from local brews to rare imports. They also have what sounds like an amazing Sunday brunch. We’ll probably be stopping here for drinks and brunch if we have enough time!
I hope we get to everything on the list! I’ll update on here after we’ve settled back in home (and catch up on sleep!), but if you’re dying for instant updates follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I will be updating often on the BlogHer trip!
Update: Here’s what we did on our first trip to Chicago. After going back quite a few times I would suggest Girodano’s pizza over Gino’s, and if you’ve never had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake, go do it! Chicago is such a fun city to travel to, I suggest grabbing a hotel on the Magnificent Mile (read my review of the Virgin Hotel Chicago here) so you’re within walking distance of everything!
Remember when I posted our Chicago Bucket List? I know you’re just dying to see how much we accomplished. I think we did pretty good at playing tourist! There was so much to see and do in the city.
Our first stop was the Shedd Aquarium. It was pretty cool to see, but you didn’t get to see the really cool parts unless you paid $20 or $30 extra for your ticket. So we stuck to the basic ticket and saw a whole lot of aquariums full of so many varieties of fish!
Here are some of the fish (and a frog) that we saw at the aquarium.
Next on my bucket list was:
I kind of failed on this one. I technically was on the pier on Thursday night for a private party in the Crystal Gardens, but the Navy Pier closed when the party ended so I basically only got to see the pier through the venue.
Our hotel also had an amazing view of the Navy Pier, it was so fun to see the Ferris wheel lit up every night. It would have been the greatest view of the fireworks too, but we missed them on both Friday and Saturday, what are the chances? We were so close to seeing them on Saturday, but the hotel had screwed up the reservation and checked us out a day early so the room keys wouldn’t work. So we had to get that all sorted out in the middle of the night and the fireworks were done when we got into our room.
Friday night wasn’t too chaotic and I got to have dinner with my husband and best friend from Illinois who came to visit us for the night. We got to check off another part of our bucket list:
I had a brief panic attack when I saw the line outside of Gino’s East, it wasn’t even 5:00 and the line was pretty huge (I didn’t have that much time for dinner.) Luckily it only took a couple minutes before we were seated.
Cue another panic attack when they let us know it would take about an hour for the pizza to bake. The restaurant staff were extremely speedy though and the wait wasn’t that bad. We ordered cheesy pizza bread as an appetizer and it was so good. It was the first time I had real food since getting to Chicago, so I devoured it.
It helped that the music was exactly the kind of music we listen to, which is odd for any venue especially a restaurant. We had everything from Green Day, Nirvana, The White Stripes, and more that I can’t remember right now.
The deep dish pizza was to die for, the pizza had a single sausage patty the size of the entire pizza on it as one of the layers. So good! and we even finished our meal with plenty of time to spare!
After I went to a couple BlogHer parties it was time to check the next item off our bucket list!
I got back to the hotel room and had to convince AJ and Mary that we had to go get cupcakes from the Cupcake ATM, they were exhausted and didn’t want to go, but I forced them. I needed a freaking cupcake, we had gotten lost on our way to a different cupcake shop that morning and never had time to find it, so I had to make up for that!
So on the journey we went.
There were some awesome buildings on the way.
Mary and I freaked out about seeing a real TopShop. We love British culture and have only heard great things about TopShop. It was closed for the night, but we admired it from outside.
It was at least a 30 minute walk to the ATM. It was so exciting to see Sprinkles in person, the bakery is adorable. We were so excited that we made it there..
When we approached the ATM the screen was black, when we got the screen to light up…
I was a little bit heartbroken. This Chicago trip was supposed to be full of cupcakes, but it definitely wasn’t at all. Seriously Sprinkles, you can’t be broken during a blogging convention.
Bloggers live off of three things: Cupcakes, coffee, and wine.
At least we had a surplus of wine and coffee in the city.
I pretty much think it’s a crime to have something like this that could be called a tourist attraction, remain broken on a weekend.
Next on the list! Saturday morning we found our way to an amazing breakfast at WildBerry. It was amazing, they serve the best coffee and amazing meals. I had a berry vanilla latte, and it was basically the best coffee I’ve tasted ever.
Then we went across the street to:
at Millenium Park!
I’m pretty sure I took half a million pictures. It’s amazing to see in person.
It looks crazy when you step under it.
Millenium Park is so much more than just Cloud Gate though!
Don’t mind my emergency flip flops that AJ bought me after my feet hated me for party hopping on Thursday night. I am so not a flip flop person normally.
I loved all of the modern art.
Even the amphitheater looks like an amazing work of art, there were so many people doing yoga there that morning.
They had some really cool hand painted statues on display.
This fountain changes periodically, the faces will blink and twitch and then they’ll “spit” water out at you. I was so hoping that unsuspecting person would get hosed, but they got out of the way in time.
Then it was time to get some cupcakes, for real!
We found Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique and their cash register wasn’t working. It’s the cupcake curse.
We all ended up getting a cupcake in the end though, and we ate them in our hotel. They were really yummy!
The next day we went to finish the last thing on our bucket list:
We went out for brunch at Howells & Hood. It was amazing!
I loved watching the chef make omelettes for both of us, and I actually learned how to make omelettes myself now! See, it really was a great experience!
I took a picture of some of their dessert selection. I love that they were all bit sized, so you know…I could sample five of them…
My favorite part of our Chicago trip was that Sunday morning, we didn’t have anywhere we had to be at a specific time and it was the first time I could actually relax and enjoy the city.
That morning we actually got to take a good look at the buildings that we had been running past all weekend. The architecture alone would be reason enough to go back to Chicago.
My favorite building was the Tribune Tower.
The lower levels of the tower has rocks from important places around the world embedded in the tower. Here you can see a piece of the Great Pyramid. I couldn’t even count how many rocks there were. I made sure to touch as many as I could, because when is the last time you got to touch the Great Pyramid on your way to brunch?
The Tribune Tower is just gorgeous in general, there’s just so much detail.
That was just the part of my trip where I was playing tourist, and I’m exhausted just typing it out! I don’t know how I did everything I did in those four days. Next I’ll talk about all the fun private parties I went to and then I’ll talk about all of the official BlogHer events I went to!
Written by, Brittany, the geek behind the blog. I share lots of recipes, my thoughts on the latest tech gadgets, my favorite geeky games, and snippets of life as a Work-at-home mom.