Come along with me as I travel to different places and experience the fashion, fun, and food! Can you guess where I'm headed next?
PS, don't want to spend a ton of money on a hotel the next time you travel? Check out the site Airbnb to rent the coolest apartments and houses for prices that fit your budget! We used this company to rent our apartment in Paris (for only $50 a night!) and we loved it. Use this link to get $30 off your rental!
This travel guide is a very special one, and something that is always going to hold a big place in my heart because it was the most amazing trip. It was the first trip that Jeff and I have ever been on together and the whole weekend was spent relaxing and finding things to do along the way. This might even be my favorite guide I've done because Jeff and I wrote the food section together, which was really fun for both of us.
We spent the most incredible weekend together, but unfortunately, received the news that Jeff's grandfather passed away while we were gone. We would both like to dedicate this post in loving memory of him. We love you, Grandpa Bob.
THOUGHT FOR FOOD
Portillo's Hot Dogs
My thoughts: Portillo's was by far my favorite place that we ate at all weekend. We loved it so much that we went back a second time! I loved the fun, upbeat atmosphere and the staff was very friendly. And the prices...so dirt cheap for such AMAZING food! My first time I had a hotdog, a chocolate milkshake, and cheese fries and they did not disappoint. I would also like to point out that I absolutely hate most cheeses and am very picky when it comes to nacho-type cheese, but this one was killer! So, so good. The hotdog was also by far one of the best I've ever had. I know that this is one place I'm going to always be craving now that we are home! Definitely a must-try for a quick lunch a little snack!
Jeff's thoughts: This was a tourist trap done right. Memorabilia and signed headshots everywhere. It was immediately clear that there was nothing to compare this to from back home. I had never even heard of an Italian Beef Sandwich, and the thought of dousing it in gravy (the way it comes by default) worried me because I didn't want a soggy bun. But somehow, it wasn't. Just like Raquel, I also had some of their delicious cheese fries. Everyone who visits Chicago needs to try this place.
Lou Malnati's Pizza
My thoughts: I'm not sure why but I've always thought that I would hate deep dish pizza. I think, for some reason, I always associated it with square pizza which I can't stand...the crust is just weird to me. I could not have been more wrong!! Jeff suggested this place from his last trip and it was great! We started out with garlic bread, which I might have liked even more than the pizza...it was that good. The pizza was not at all what I was expecting, I still wasn't 100% sold on the crunchier type crust, but the rest made up for it. I absolutely loved the pepperonis and the seasoning and sauce were soo good. PS, if you are stopping by for lunch, a size small is definitely enough for two people! We split that and the garlic bread and were completely stuffed after!
Jeff's thoughts: Lou Malnati's was the first pizza place I had tried on my previous visit to Chicago. Instead of trying a different pizza place this time around, I was confident enough that Lou would not disappoint Raquel, so we decided to go there for our one taste of Chicago style deep dish pizza. We started with an order of garlic bread which, like several things on this trip, was some of the best I've ever had. And the marinara sauce that came for the dipping was perfectly warm and seasoned very well. The pizza, a small pepperoni (with black olives on my half) was incredible. Surprise, surprise. The crust was buttery and flaky to perfection. Silverware: recommended, loose fitting pants: mandatory.
My thoughts: To give ourselves a little break from all the not-so-healthy food we were consuming all weekend, we decided to stop at this little underground yogurt place. It was so cute (and colorful!) and had lots of fun options for ice cream and healthy smoothies. We both ended up loving ours and were totally filled up by the time they were gone. A fun little place for a quick treat!
My thoughts: I spotted this little bakery across the street while we were walking to Portillo's on our first day and knew I had to stop on the way back when I saw they had macarons! Michigan has a select few places that sell these and never carry that many flavors, so this was really exciting for me! Macarons are one of my favorite desserts and seeing them brought back lots of happy memories from Paris. I won't go as far as to say they were as good as the ones from Laduree, but they did have some really delicious flavors! My favorites were the coconut-lime and the raspberry!
Hyatt Regency Room Service
My thoughts: I don't even know where else to start, besides the fact that these were the best freaking chicken tenders I've ever had. Yes, we got room service and ordered chicken tenders...best decision ever. I don't know if it was because it was late at night and we were starving, or the fact that the breading had the perfect amount of crunch, but they were amazing. The picture does not do those crispy delicious tenders any justice..
Jeff's thoughts: Room service is honestly something that I can't say I've ever experienced, as I always saw it as an unnecessary expense. However, seeing as we were flying high after rocking out at The Eagles of Death Metal Concert, and hungry as all heck, we decided to splurge on some chicken tenders. When you order chicken tenders from anywhere, you do it because it's a safe bet. The Hyatt-Regency kitchen, though, knocked this one out of the park. In fact, they may have been the best chicken tenders I've ever had. Juicy chicken meat in the crispiest, perfectly seasoned breading. 10/10 would order again. (And we did, if you were wondering)
My thoughts: Oh my goodness. I absolutely adored this place and wish that I could eat there every single weekend. Jeff actually led me to believe we were going to a different restaurant for lunch because this place was about 45 minutes from our hotel and not near anything else we had planned for that day. However, he tricked me by saying we were going to a different Portillo's (I am so gullible) and surprised me by taking me here instead! The atmosphere of this quaint little place is amazing and it reminded me of France in so many ways. The music, the dim lighting, the ambiance, everything was completely perfect. Definitely a place I will never forget. I ordered a crepe filled with Nutella, strawberries, and toasted coconut. To say it was magnificent would be understatement. This crepe was also completely unlike any I've ever had, for it was a little crisp, whereas most crepes I've had are completely soft. I actually loved it and it was one of the best I've ever had!
Jeff's thoughts: I don't have much to say about the food from La Creperie, besides the fact that it was very good. Admittedly, this was only my second crepe ever eaten, but I took a leap by ordering one with Nutella and sautéed bananas. I say that I took a leap because I am not much of a Nutella fan, but it turned out to be exceptional. The setting here is what really sold it to me. La Creperie was a little bit out of the way of everything else, but the 1/2 mile walk from the train station was down a very cool boulevard lined with Ma & Pa shops. Inside La Creperie was dim and the decor was themed to the early 1900's in France (I think). We went here on the recommendation of one of my friends, and I can't wait to thank him for the suggestion.
This is a very short list because on this particular trip we didn't have too many things (especially tourist attractions) planned. I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun and relaxing trips I have ever been on. There was no pressure to go to a million different places or squeeze in a ton of activities. All we wanted was to eat good food and have a good time...I think we accomplished that on this trip! Some of our most fun times were just exploring the city, taking the subway, and walking around with each other, just taking everything in.
Navy Pier: This was probably one of my favorite times during the trip. The one thing I really wanted to do was go here, since neither of us had either been. I kid you not when I say all we did was walk down the pier. It was actually the best ever. We spent a few minutes taking pictures, but most of the time here was spent walking, taking in the sunshine, and just talking to each other. The pier was alive with boat tours, music, and people eating at all the different restaurants and it was such a cool thing to experience. There was a cool rolling stones exhibit, fun little food vendors, and of course, the huge ferris wheel. If I lived in Chicago, I would be on that pier 24/7! I would definitely recommend for great views of the city, or a great place to eat on a sunny afternoon!
Magnificent Mile: On Saturday we spent some time on Magnificent Mile looking at all the stores and of course stopping in some of them! Jeff wasn't too interested in this (stops included Zara, Kate Spade, and Pandora) but he was pretty stoked every time he saw a car that he liked...boys.
Aragon Ballroom: This was actually our reason for this little weekend trip from the start! Jeff and I both wanted to see Eagles of Death Metal (a fun alternative rock and roll band) and even though they were playing in Michigan, we decided to make a vacation out of it! This venue was so cool and unique...definitely an awesome place to see a concert at! PS, if you were wondering, 99% of people were wearing black and I was rocking my pink denim jacket lol.
Millennium Park: Do I even need to explain this one?? The bean is a must! There is just something about Cloud Gate that I love every time I see it. There were also tons of flower gardens nearby and lots of spots to sit and read + have a little picnic on nice days!
* If you are staying for a weekend, definitely get a CTA pass for transportation! We only took a taxi twice (from the train station to our hotel and vice versa) and paid $25 for a weekend pass for the public transportation system! Jeff was amazing with directions and figuring the subways out and we used it all weekend! Best money ever spent!
* Bring blister bandaids! Although we both wore comfy shoes the whole weekend, our feet were still tired and sore from so much walking! In total we walked 27.5 miles over three days! So blister bandaids came in handy when we started to feel them coming.
* For a cheap hotel, use Hotwire!!! Trust us on this! We had an amazing experience with this and stayed at a 4 star Hyatt Regency hotel for around $90 a night!
* We didn't want to plan out the whole entire trip beforehand (the only thing that was set in stone was the concert, which FYI isn't actually a death metal band for those wondering lol 😉 ) but we tried to group certain things together. So if we knew there was a certain restaurant we wanted to check out, we would try to see if it was close to the things we wanted to do that day so we weren't traveling all over the place!
* If you are close enough, take the train! We had three transportation options...1) megabus 2) driving and 3) taking the train. While taking the megabus is definitely the cheapest option, it's not as comfortable, there is no wifi, and there are bag restrictions. Driving would have been doable but Jeff would have had to drive the whole way (I don't know how to drive a stick-shift), we would've had to pay every night to keep the car in the hotel parking lot, and we would not have even used it once we got there. The train was the more expensive option but we both will be using it again in the future to go back! It was very roomy, you can bring a ton of luggage, there is wifi (we watched movies) and a food cart!
Laduree - a must stop for the best macarons! My favorite flavor was the mint chocolate.
Berthillon - hands down the best ice cream in France! I have never tasted a richer chocolate in my life..
Pink Flamingo Pizza - a little hole in the wall Pizzeria, perfect to eat right along the canal. See the pink pic above!
St. Regis - one of my favorite breakfast spots... the hot chocolate is to die for!
Oh! Regalade de la Tour Eiffel - right across from the famous tower, this little stand has delish crepes and fries! Just watch out for the birds that will try to steal them...
Local Patisseries - some of the most off the chart bakeries are the best! Delicious, freshly made pastries that are super inexpensive. Croissants, beignets, donuts...sigh.
Rue Cremieux - a little street lined with colorful houses. Perfect for anyone who appreciates beautiful pictures.
Versailles - a palace that everyone must see at least once...the Hall of Mirrors is incredible! But beware, it's extremely easy to get lost in the gardens...a guided tour is definitely recommended.
Museum of Fashion and Textiles - this was my personal favorite of all the museums. They even had a whole exhibit dedicated to Barbie!
I was absolutely swooning over this section in the museum!
Colonnes de Buren - a lovely outside art exhibit, with not too many people around! A perfect little spot to escape all the tourists and relax for a while.
Musee d'Orsay - this museum is the perfect size and holds lots of Monet and Van Gogh! The inside is breathtaking.
Seine Cruise - a little water tour of some of France's most famous landmarks...perfect after a long day of walking!
Disneyland Paris - one of my favorite days in Paris was spent here...truly a magical experience! The park is the perfect size for a day trip and the rides are incredible. Ratatouille was my fave!
Galeries Lafayette - the most beautiful mall you will ever see..head over for some luxury shopping! I scored my blush backpack on sale from here, see my Disney outfit above!
Saint Chapelle - by far the most beautiful place I have ever been in...the second floor of this church is immaculate.
Street Vendors - one of my favorite spots to look for unique souvenirs! I scored these wall art posters and can't wait to frame them! The best part? They were only 10 euros for all 3!
Luxembourg Gardens - the perfect spot to spend a summer day reading, playing cards, or scarfing down some ice cream!
Eiffel Tower - and last but definitely not least, the beauty itself. No words to describe the feeling of seeing it in person! But they make look a little like this...
OTHER PARIS TRAVEL POSTS
Disneyland Paris Guide - view here
10 Tips - Paris - view here
FOOD + FUN GUIDE
some of my faves from the trip...
food trucks + acai bowl
dole plantation + henna tattoos
waikiki shopping district
haunama bay - snorkeling