Check out the recap of my weekend in Chicago, Illinois!
One of my favorite things about living in the midwest is living within driving distance of so many fun cities. I had only visited Chicago one time previously, so when Kyle mentioned that he had a friend that wanted us to come visit, I was 100% on board.
The first time I went to Chicago, I got to cross off so many things on the Chicago must-do list, like going to the bean, visiting the SkyDeck, having drinks at the John Hancock Center, and taking a photo in front of the Chicago Theatre. For this visit, we had a local guiding us, so I got to see a completely different side of Chicago that I didn’t get to experience before. It was nice being away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and still having a fun, authentic Chicago experience.
We spent most of our time in a neighborhood called Logan Square, and honestly, if I ever found myself living in Chicago, I wouldn’t mind setting up shop there. It really has everything you need.
Here’s a recap of our weekend in Chicago!
Dinner at The Spice Room
Chicago is about a 5 1/2-hour drive from where we live. After Kyle’s morning classes and dropping Gunther off at the pet hotel, we started the drive and got there just in time for dinner. I met two of Kyle’s best friends from high school, and the four of us chatted over dinner at The Spice Room.
I’m not usually a big Indian food fan. It’s honestly been hit or miss for me. The Spice Room was a total hit though. We ordered regular and garlic naan for the table. For dinner, I ordered the lamb korma, and holy cow, it was freaking incredible! We all shared entrees. I can’t remember what all the guys ordered, but seriously, everything was amazing.
After dinner, we went to Kyle’s friend’s house for a game night. We were all super exhausted from traveling, so we kept it pretty low-key the first night.
Brunch at Wyler Road
Y’all know I love a good brunch, so if you’re anything like me, you’ll lovelovelove Wyler Road. I love and appreciate restaurants that have brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays because you can’t find a lot of that in north Louisiana.
Wyler Road is a quaint little restaurant in Logan Square with some delicious brunch options. They also serve lunch during the week. For brunch, I had chicken and waffles. I was surprised by the fact that they used chicken on a bone for their chicken and waffles recipe. I’m used to having boneless meat with it, but it ended up being really good. The apple mostarda they serve on top of it was so, so good.
Bouldering at First Ascent Climbing Gym in Humboldt Park
If you know anything about me, you know that I’m literally the least athletic person, so trust me when I say going to a climbing gym was not on my list of things to do on my vacation in Chicago. The guys always go climbing when they get together though, so instead of breaking off and doing my own thing, I decided to just go with the flow. I had only gone climbing once before, and an incident where I literally almost fell on top of a child left me in tears, so I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy to go back.
That said, if you’re into bouldering at all, this climbing gym is a dream. It’s huge, and they have so many routes for all levels spread throughout the entire gym.
I stuck to L0, L1, and L2 routes (although I didn’t complete any of the L2 routes, but ya know, effort or whatever). There were some that I made my b*tch and others that did to me, but overall, I’m just happy I walked out of the gym with no dried tears. I will say that I spent the next three days absolutely sore everywhere, so that’s fun.
Fun fact: I freakin’ love skee ball. Notice that I didn’t say I’m incredibly talented skee baller because I absolutely 100% am not, but I just love playing skee ball for whatever reason.
I’ve always loved the idea of going to a barcade, but I had never actually been to one. I thought this would be a happy medium for all of us since, ya know, guys love video games, and I love skee ball.
If you’re into barcades (or the idea of them), Emporium is so much fun. They have tons of pinball machines (I didn’t think I liked pinball that much, but I was wrong), a few pool tables, some old school arcade games like Pac-Man and Frogger (I thought that I was really good at Frogger, but again, wrong), foosball, hockey foosball (yeah, I didn’t know it existed, and no, I don’t know the proper name for it), skee ball (did I mention it’s my fave?), and some other games. There’s literally something there for everyone. Also, you’re apparently allowed to bring in your own food, and, of course, they have a full bar.
Dinner at The Radler
After we used up all of our tokens at Emporium, we walked over to The Radler, which is a German beer hall and restaurant in Logan Square. I usually have to be in the mood for bratwurst, and admittedly, I wasn’t super excited about eating German food. But just like The Spice Room, The Radler did not disappoint. I had a knockwurst, and I definitely recommend. It was absolutely delish.
Stand-up at Lincoln Lodge
My only brush with stand-up comedy (besides the specials on Netflix) is open mic stand-up night at a bar that my friends and I used to go to when I lived in Shreveport. Needless to say, it was awful, so my expectations for a stand-up show in Chicago were pretty dang low. I guess I just need to let other people plan my vacations for me though because literally every act we saw at Lincoln Lodge was hilarious. I seriously cried from laughing so hard.
The Lincoln Lodge is a smaller venue, and we got there early, so we snagged front row seats. The room filled up pretty quickly though. Comedians like Hannibal Buress, Kristen Schaal, TJ Miller, and Fred Armisen have performed there, so you should definitely expect a comedic treat with some hilarious up-and-comers.
Sunday ended up being our longest and biggest day of the trip. Originally, we had planned to have brunch and hang out for a bit before heading back home, but when I found out my friend, Kelsey, had an improv show Sunday night, we pretty much rearranged our entire Sunday. Not mad about it.
Brunch at Same Day Cafe
Another Sunday, another brunch day, and again, Chicago brunch did not disappoint. We had our last morning meal at Same Day Cafe in Logan Square. I guess I was still in the Indian food mood because I ended up getting the curry chicken salad sandwich, which I loved! They have a menu posted online, but then they also have an extra menu with additional items for you to choose from when you dine in. So. Many. Options. Also, they don’t serve alcohol, but they have a soda fountain/bar with tons of unique soda flavors to choose from. I’m not a soda drinker, so I didn’t order one for myself, but Kyle got one of the sodas on the list of specials, and it was sweet and tasty.
Exploring Logan Square
After brunch, we spent a little time hanging out at Kyle’s friend’s house before we said our good-byes and parted ways. We decided to do some more exploring in Logan Square, particularly to see some street art. I went a little nuts taking photos. Here are some of the spots we visited:
“Greetings from Chicago” Mural
2226 N. Milwaukee Avenue
This was the only mural I really wanted to take a photo in front of, but when we got there, there ended up being two fun murals close by, so of course, we had to hit up all three.
Beer and Wine Cheers Mural
This mural is located right next to the “Greetings From Chicago” mural. There were three guys taking photos at the “Greetings From Chicago” mural, so we decided to take some photos at this one. I’m not sure if I would have if those guys weren’t there, so I’m glad they were having their little bro-toshoot. Plus, they offered to take a photo of the two of us, and one of them complimented my sunglasses.
“It’s Not Where Your From It’s Where Your At”
Yes, that’s how it’s spelled on the wall. This is located near the “Greetings From Chicago” mural. You just have to walk under the bridge. I loved taking pictures in front of the zigzag.
Robin Williams Mural
2047 N. Milwaukee Avenue
As soon as I learned there was a Robin Williams mural in Chicago, taking photos of it quickly because a priority. I had no idea how huge it was going to be though. It’s painted one side of Concord Music Hall, and it legitimately feels like Robin is peering into your soul. It’s magical.
If you wander around Logan Square long enough, you’re bound to run into some incredible murals. Here’s a guide to murals in Logan Square if you’re on the lookout for some photo ops.
In addition to checking out some street art, we also wandered into a small bookstore called Uncharted Books. I love exploring used bookstores. We ended up buying Wicked, in spite of the mixed reviews of it on Goodreads. We try to read a chapter each aloud to each other every night before we go to sleep. It’s been nice switching up our night time routine from scrolling on our phones until we get tired.
DePaul Art Museum
Kyle and I are super into visiting art museums when we’re on vaca, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go a free art museum. The DePaul Art Museum is located at DePaul University. They have a coat check, which I super appreciate. They feature just a few artists at a time in their two-story building. My favorite part of one of the exhibitions was this interactive art where you actually got to play badminton (granted it used a volleyball net instead of a badminton net, but when it’s art, whatever goes, goes). Kyle had actually run to the bathroom, and I wandered into one of the badminton rooms. This girl asked if I wanted to play with her, and I did. We didn’t keep score, but if we did, I totally would have won.
SkyDeck at Willis Tower
After seeing some art, we decided to see some cool Chicago views at the SkyDeck. Even though I went to the SkyDeck on my last visit to Chicago, it was something I didn’t mind waiting in line for again because I wanted Kyle to experience it too. It’s seriously worth the wait, especially if it’s your first time doing it. They told us it was going to be a two hour wait time in line and an additional thirty minutes to get out onto the ledge. Both were false. It took us less than an hour to get onto the top floor, and we waited in line for maybe five minutes to take some photos on the ledge. Totally worth it.
The views are so gorgeous, and you can see so much of Chicago from all sides of the tower. The ledge is bucket list worthy, and they are much more organized now than they were the first time I visited. They legitimately have people sitting there with a stop watch because you only have a certain amount of allotted time on the ledge, depending on how many people are in your party. I managed to get some cool pictures and enjoy the view, even under my feet. Even if you’re scared of heights, this is worth it. I’m absolutely scared of heights, but this wasn’t even scary for me. It’s exhilarating and gorgeous.
Dinner at WJ Noodles
I was really in the mood for noodles for dinner, so we walked over to WJ Noodles. Let’s just say they don’t call Chicago the “windy city” for nothin’. The wind makes it so much colder than it actually is, and I struggled on the walk to and from. It was worth it though because our food was super good.
For appetizers, we shared an order of Peking buns and some Shanghai dumplings. The Peking buns were my favorite part of the meal. Seriously. I wish I had just gotten three orders of them because they were so good. For dinner, I had their seafood bowl with rice. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll love this bowl. It literally has everything (okay, not everything, but you know what I mean).
Improv at The iO Theater
As I mentioned, my friend, Kelsey, had an improv show, and I decided that we just had to go see it. I met Kelsey while working at a summer camp in college. We became fast friends, but we hadn’t seen each other since we left camp. When I found out she was living in Chicago, I reached out to her about meeting up while I was in town. I’m so glad that I did because not only did I get to see my first improv show, I also got to catch up with Kelsey after the show, and introduce her to Kyle. I also got to meet her boyfriend, some of her friends, and a few of the people that were in the show with her.
I know zero things about improv, and as I mentioned, this was my first one, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but this was seriously the most hilarious show ever. I am in awe of how they take something from the audience and just run with it. Kelsey is in the Moms improv group, and they performed with Deep Scwha. I was li-ter-al-ly crying, y’all. Do yourself a favor and go to the iO Theater to see an improv show.
After the show, we drove straight home, and we crawled into bed at 4 am, so that was cool. Totally worth it though, to be honest.
If you’re planning a trip to Chicago and want even more ideas for your upcoming trip, be sure to check out this post.
Have you ever visited Chicago?