Chicago in the Summer

From time to time, Nate has to travel to the Chicago area for work. I usually stay back in Cayman to hold down the fort, but when I found out he had to be in Chicago in the dead of summer, I knew I had to find a way to go along.

Because Chicago in the summer is downright glorious. 

We only had three full days to be in Chicago and its suburbs, so we made sure to prioritize and do the most important things first. Like go to the Chicago Hot Dog Fest near the Chicago History Museum.

Girl on the left: "But you can see my face. It's awkward."
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My favorite dog was the North Carolina-style: Pulled pork and coleslaw on top, baby.

[ missing photo. must have scarfed it down too quickly. ]

And doesn't Hot Dog Fest just scream classic Americana summer?!

Along with hot dog festing, we spent much of our first day meandering the streets on the city's Divvy bikes.

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We started out riding the length of the Bloomingdale Trail - an elevated railway-turned-bikepath running east/west through the city.

via iPhone

via iPhone

With tons of stations at which to pick up and drop off, we had plenty of excuses to stop.

One such stop was on the waterfront, with epic views of Chicago's famous architecture contrasted with the natural crystal blue waters of the great lake.

I may be partial to the white sands of Grand Cayman, but Chicago has figured out how to do summer on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We later enjoyed dinner at the Purple Pig - a restaurant right along the river with personable staff, and inventive menu, and no reservations (so you know it's good.)

A "Smear": Salt-cured Greek yogurt with Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves & Pistachio
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We ended our first night at a Second City show - a famous comedy club that had me in stitches from the first sketch. 

Laughing is my favorite.

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We stayed in an apartment in Wheaton, and it wasn't long before I was crushing hard on this sweet, little college town.

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Cupid's first arrow: Waking up to the bustling French market right outside our doorstep.

I have a major weakness for farm-fresh fruits and veggies.

And I have an even bigger weakness for pretzels.

I do not classify these as carbs. I consider them to be Life Bread.

Arms full of summer berries, locally-made jams, and of course, hot pretzels, we parked ourselves inside River City Roasters, where a perfectly prepared cortado tried to convince me to do something productive with my lazy Saturday.

But I wasn't having it. I instead perused Instagram for about an hour.

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The most difficult thing we did all day (by far) was attempt to outwit the puzzles of one of the rooms of D.O.A. Room Escape in Addison. If you haven't tried an escape room, you are missing out on an excellent hour of challenging, mind-bending entertainment. 

photo credit: D.O.A. Room Escape

And if you just so happen to leave feeling a little stupider than when you walked in, know that you're in good company.

After a delightful dinner at Cooper's Hawk, we sampled another local Wheaton gem: Kimmer's Ice Cream.

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The girls behind the counter could not have been nicer, and the worst part of the whole experience was trying to narrow down the flavor possibilities!

On Day 3, we started our day with a walk to the Egg Harbor Cafe, a friendly diner-style place with huge tables, an overwhelming breakfast menu, and bottomless coffee.

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via iPhone

With enough food in our stomachs to last us the day, we went back into the city to see Kurios - a traveling Cirque du Soleil show. The show had endless creativity, from set design to costumes to unexpected thrills, and the acrobats and actors had limitless talent.

Check out the promo video:

It ranked right up there as one of the best Cirque shows I've ever seen. Absolutely outstanding.

The rest of the day we spent furniture shopping (all looking; no buying) on North Ave. Talk about a furniture Mecca: Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, CB2, west elm, Pottery Barn, and The Container Store all in a one block stretch.

We toured them all. We are power shoppers.

Lest you think this was the worst day of Nate's life, let me assure you that shopping for couches has its inherent perks:

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And as if the plethora of furniture stores wasn't enough, when we'd tired of lamps, side tables, and headboards, we waltzed through the pearly gates of the most amazing Whole Foods on the planet.

Picnic dinner in our living room just got fresh. Real fresh.

The next day was work-from-Wheaton and fly-to-Cayman day. 

Our vacation was a short three-day trip, but we packed in so many of my favorite things that it felt like we'd gotten away for a week. For this island-dweller, Chicago in the summer is an absolute delight!


  1. I love Chicago! Wow! You guys covered a lot of ground and did so many different things!

    1. It's wonderful there this time of year! We enjoy our city adventures, that's for sure!