Monday, October 14, 2013


Hey guys!

It has been a crazy past two weeks with all of the protests going on at my university and getting ready to head back for a short vacation in the USA here in 1 week! Today I had the day off (because of all of the protests) so I decided that it was time to play catch up on here.

With that being said, here's the bare basics of the windy city, Chicago!

xo Jessica

The Windy City is probably the most well known city in the Midwest and for good reason. With great restaurants, museums, a view of beautiful Lake Michigan and a million events going on every weekend it is no wonder that many people love to spend long weekends away from home in Chicago, Illinois.

Jessica has been to Chicago many times (especially for last minute visa application trips-the Brazilian consulate is located in downtown Chicago) and Luiz has been there twice, with one of those times being a so-called last minute visa trip. For this page we're going to combine the highlights of all of the trips whether they were taken together or separately because let’s face it, there is so much to do and see in Chicago that you need multiple trips to do it justice.


  • Local Root
    • Local root is a small locally owned restaurant serving all organic and locally grown food and products. Located between Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier, Local Root is a cozy space with amazing food. I have only been there once but I am already looking forward to my next trip back to Chicago and with it my next culinary experience at local root. When I went, I went for lunch and ordered the Fish and Chips- local fresh catch of the day (cod) with hand cut fries and homemade tartar sauce. It was delicious and if the plate had not been overflowing with food leaving me rolling out of the restaurant I would have wanted more. Following dinner I had a lovely (and very strong) cup of coffee brewed in house and imported from South America. [-Jessica]
    • Our recommendation: Definitely pop in for lunch or dinner while in Chicago, you won't regret it. We would also recommend checking out their facebook before you go since they frequently offer events like wine tastings, discounts, special menu options and more. As an added bonus, the wait staff is great! They loved explaining what they were all about and making recommendations making lunch even more enjoyable.

  • Gino's East
    • Chicago style deep-dish pizza. There is an ongoing debate over whether Chicago style or New York style is the better pizza. The votes are in for us and we definitely pick Chicago! No wonder pizza can also be called pizza pie. The pizza is baked in a round steel pan and brought to the table still steaming in said pan. Layers upon layers of sauce, cheese, and whatever other toppings your desire even the biggest of eaters can only eat 2 pieces. 
    • Another cool thing about Gino's, aside from their fantastic pizza, is that the walls are covered in writing. While you're waiting for your pizza, which takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half (depending on how busy they are), you can ask the waiters for markers to draw/write/scribble on the walls anywhere you would like. 
    • Our recommendation: Chicago style deep-dish pizza is a must try while you're visiting if you like pizza. Check around online because they sometimes offer coupons, groupons, etc. making the pizzas cheaper or giving you a free appetizer, (their salads are huge and very good). Gino's is a really fun place to eat so we would definitely recommend it to any type of traveler. Keep in mind, you will have leftovers!


  • Navy Pier
    • The Navy Pier is a great place to spend an afternoon and will soon be featured in the book to film adaptation of Divergent (starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet). There is a giant Ferris wheel offering unbeatable views, restaurants, touristy stores for all of your souvenirs, museums, boat tours, and more. Although neither of us have done a boat tour we have both spent time on the navy pier and agree that it's a lot of fun.
    • Our recommendation: Definitely head over to navy pier if the weather is nice, it's a great place to spend an afternoon or entire day if you decide to do a boat tour. We highly recommend the Ferris wheel, even though it's a short ride you really get a great view of the lakefront that is worth the $6 ticket. 

  • Michigan Avenue
  • Skydeck Chicago
    • Unfortunately neither one of us has ever been to the skydeck (yet) due to tight schedules and other plans, we thought it really important to at least mention it (although we cannot review it) so that others will know that it is out there. From all that we have heard from friends or review sites, the skydeck is a can't miss experience. The skydeck has a glass observation deck, called the ledge, that sits on the 103rd floor challenging those with a fear of heights and giving a great view of the massive city down below. Located in the former Sears Tower [which I have dined in once-Jessica] (now the Willis Tower) guests can step out onto a ledge and have fun with the interactive games and puzzles while waiting. Admission is $18 for adults ($40 for a fast pass which is recommended during peak traffic hours) and $12 for kids ages 3-11. 


  • Field Museum of Natural History
  • Shedd's Aquarium
    • The Shedd's Aquarium is really cool and has a lot of neat add-on interactive experiences if you don't mind paying a little extra on top of your general admission ticket.



  • American Girl Place
    • One year for my birthday my mom took me by train to Chicago for a girls weekend and to surprise me with a trip to the American Girl Doll Store. Obviously since I am writing about it now as a 20 year old this memory has stuck with me fondly. The American Girl Doll Store isn't just any store, it is a little girls paradise. With shelves filled with dolls, outfits, accessories, etc there is a either a historical doll or custom made doll for everyone. I was given the Felicity doll right before she went out of production. But that isn't all. This store also includes a fancy "restaurant" where girls can go (it is best to make a reservation) and have a tea party with their dolls-real tea and tea sandwiches included. There is also a photo studio (where you can take a picture with your doll and have it printed on to your very own cover of their magazine), a doll hair salon, and a small theatre. [-Jessica]
    • Our recommendation: Even though our recommendations are usually made to fit any traveler, I felt that this one needed to be included even though it is just for a small group of people. If you have a little girl who loves dolls this is a must do in Chicago. They will have so many fond memories of the trip and it is worth every penny. Check out their website for special events and offers as well as to make a reservation for the dining experience. I really cannot recommend this enough, especially if you want to make a birthday or other event very special.
  • Magnificent Mile

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