Our first trip to Chicago was a year or two after we got married for a conference in mid-December. Windows were filled with colorful displays, there were brass bands playing outside the department stores, and–my favorite feature–when it snowed, the flakes would get caught up in the wind between tall buildings and make you feel like you were in a snow globe. It was heaven for my small-town, Southern self. We’ve come for the annual Chicago Brass concert, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (when they turn the river green), and we’ve seen more than our fair share of Sinatra-worthy destinations (cue the music). So today, I wanted to share a few of our favorite places in Chicago with you!
The Chicago Symphony
The CSO is amazing, but, more specifically, their brass section is world-reknown. If you ever have a chance to go to a performance, grab drinks at the Rhapsody downstairs (pictured above) and then arrive early enough to bask in the ornate details of symphony hall.
The food in Chicago cannot be emphasized enough. The Berghoff is close to our favorite place hotel and offers the best German comfort food around. I’ve started recreating their apple + onion soup at home and am a big fan of the house root beer.
Other places we love to dine:
Yoshi’s: Yoshi’s is a staple in Boystown offering French-Japanese fusion. The staff has all been there for decades, and we love our annual visit. We actually went last Sunday night and missed seeing Yoshi’s wife who would say, “Bye, Tennessee! See you next year!” As it turns out, Yoshi actually passed that same night. There’s a tribute to the chef here.
Hugo’s Frog Bar: This one is connected to Gibsons’ steakhouse (They share a kitchen.), but we actually prefer their fare. You can get a slice of key lime 6 inches high with meringue, and we’ve seen a celebrity or two while sipping our bouillabaisse.
Sepia: This is chef Andrew Zimmerman’s place–a bit more modern than the others. It offers fare that is often experimental and rich. The interior is gorgeous, and the wine list expansive.
Art in Chicago
At some point, I would love to take a trip and just show you all of the amazing art in Chicago. Seriously, while the Art Institute of Chicago boasts an amazing collection, the whole city is full of opportunities to see art. There’s a Picasso Sculpture in Daley Plaza that dates back to the mid-1960s while Millennium Park is covered in beautiful pieces that are a bit more recent. There is a bandshell designed by Frank Gehry that is a bit too epic for words, and one of my favorite pieces is “Cloud Gate,” a giant, stainless steel, reflective bean designed by Anish Kapoor.
Also, if you ever get a chance to see any live comedy in the city, do it! One of the funniest people I know in real life taught at Second City and took us to an improv show on one of our trips. The smaller theaters are interesting too because you feel more like you’re in on the jokes.
The Palmer House
We have tried other hotels, but we still go back to the Palmer House each trip–even if it’s just for a cocktail or two. The lobby is breathtaking! If you’re there during the holidays, try to catch carolers as they stop for a song or two in the lobby.
Do you love Chicago? What’s on your must see list?