Travel Diary: Chicago

IMG_6667.JPG

I spent Labor Day Weekend in the Windy City, and naturally ate and drank my way through town! Read on for some of my favorite restaurants & activities!!

Millennium Park

A trip to Millennium Park is obligatory when in Chicago! The Buckingham Fountains and the famous “Bean” are must-dos every time I’m in Chicago, and are always worth it for the amazing photo ops!

IMG_6425.JPG
IMG_6462.JPG
IMG_6400.JPGIMG_6679.JPG

The Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Tower

Love the Signature Lounge, because it’s free to get to the top of the Hancock! Instead of paying $20 to go to the observatory deck, you can go to the bar level and spend that money on delicious mojitos and snacks!! Eat and drink while enjoying breathtaking views of the city.

IMG_6675.JPG
IMG_6674.JPG
IMG_6459.JPG

The Purple Pig

This place is wine / cheese / cold cut heaven! It took us two hours to get a table for seven (beware: the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations!). There’s a cute patio where you can wait, so be prepared to grab a bottle of wine and enjoy the ambience!

IMG_6660-0.JPG
IMG_6547.JPG
IMG_6552.JPG
IMG_6666.JPGIMG_6669.JPG

Eataly

Eataly is a combination of Costco and Italy. If you’ve ever been to Italy, you walk into Eataly and realize that it’s a much cleaner, more organized version of every Italian street market! There are various restaurants, shops, and wine / cheese / meat stations throughout the two-story Costco-like warehouse. Basically, it’s the best place ever!! (DOUBLE BONUSES – It’s just down the street from TopShop ANDDDD you can finish your night at the Nutella station!!!) 

IMG_6518.JPG
IMG_6480.JPG
IMG_6478.JPG
IMG_6510.JPGIMG_6678.JPGIMG_6676.JPGIMG_6677.JPGIMG_6672.JPG

The RIver Boat Tours

We did the Architectural River Boat Tour, which is a 75 minute tour on the river that explains the history of Chicago through it’s impressive architecture! No matter the time of day, it’s lovely to sit atop the boat, sip some vino, and enjoy the sunshine and the breezes of Lake Michigan!

IMG_6670.JPGIMG_6671.JPG

Wrigley Field

Historic Wrigley Field is worth a visit, even if you can’t get tickets to a game! We sat outside at a bar across the street and cheered with the stands every time there was a homer!! Such a fun part of town, it’s hard NOT to be a bandwagon Cubs fan!

IMG_6668.JPG

Pequod’s Deep Dish Pizza

You can’t leave Chicago without eating deep dish (at least a few times!). Pequod’s is the best because they — GASP — never wash their skillets. That’s right, they wipe their pans down but they never wash them! This creates a deliciously sweet caramelized layer on the crust.  The sweet + savory combo is unreal and way too delicious.

IMG_6385.JPG

Suffice it to say that my trip to Chicago was a foodie experience. When combined with lots of vino and my very best friends, the city has become one of my favorites! (Just don’t bring this Cali girl there in the Winter, PLEASE!!).

What sites did I miss in the Windy City??! Share below!

Advertisements

Travel Diary: Spain

After 2 weeks in Spain, I feel like I’m on a high of sangria & sunshine! If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Southern Spain (if you’re not, you should be!), I hope you visit some of my favorite spots! These are MUST-DO, MUST-VISIT places in beautiful Andalusia.

»RONDA, SPAIN«

This little gem of a town is set in the hills of Spain and is known as the “White City” overlooking the Gorge El Tajo. The most famous bridge in town is absolutely breath-taking, and is over 100 meters tall (that’s like a 30 story building!!). You can have a drink at a cafe or stay in a hotel that sits on the cliffs overlooking the gorge and the beautiful bridge. Make sure to stop at the museum inside of the bride for a more detailed look!

Have a picnic in the Alameda Park and catch the view of endless rolling hills and vineyards! There’s also a historic bull ring in Ronda with a small museum to visit.

This town is GORGEOUS and definitely one of my favorites in Spain. There are endless tiny cobblestone roads to explore, littered with cafes and shops. Ronda is must when you’re in Spain!

IMG_5440.JPGIMG_5437.JPGIMG_5327.JPGIMG_5447.JPG

»GIBRALTAR«

When you’re this close to Gibraltar, there’s no excuse not to visit! There’s a gondola line that can take you to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, where you’ll see views of Africa. Beware of the f*@$* crazy monkeys (Barbary macaques) that have taken over the rock – they’re completely desensitized to humans and will jump on you and steal your snacks!

If you have time, stop to see St Michael’s Cave, the Apes’ Den, the Great Siege Tunnels, the Moorish castle, Military Heritage Centre, the 100-tonne supergun and the ‘Gibraltar: A City Under Siege’ exhibition. This is a FULL DAY with TONSSSS of walking (but worth every step!).

IMG_5311.JPGIMG_5210.JPG
IMG_5304.JPG

»SEVILLA«

Sevilla is cultural overload and worth way more than one day of your time! Make sure to visit the Cathedral, which is the third largest in Europe. It’s full of artifacts and incredible architecture, so allocate at least 2 hours to see the entire thing.

Other must-sees include the  Plaza de Espana, the Alcazar Palace, the Plaza de Toros, and one of the many Arab baths!

IMG_5892.JPGIMG_5893.JPGIMG_5797.JPG

»GRANADA«

Granada is such a fun city to just stroll around and explore! Make sure you’re ready to WALK, because the Alhambra Fortress is one of Granada’s main attractions! The fortress is full of patios and gardens and culture! It’s super picturesque and a great place to take photos! When you’re done, stop at St Nicolas Point. Make sure to see the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel, and the Great Mosque. If you want to shop, walk along the tiny street of Alcaiceria to find tourist shops and souvenirs.

IMG_5755.JPGIMG_5744.JPGIMG_5781.JPG

»MARBELLA«

Marbella is a BABE of a town. It’s the chicest beach town around and is THE party scene of Andalusia. I had more fun here than I ever would have thought. This town is Spain’s best kept secret — it’s the beachier, more laid-back Barcelona of Spain! Don’t plan to go out before midnight, and make sure you’re ready to fiesta until past 4am!

Marbella also has gorgeous beaches where you can rent cabanas / beach chairs for a few euros! The food is to die for, and if you’re trying to shop for some haute couture, Louis V, Dior, Hermes, Ferragamo, and all their friends basically line the sand. Heaven on earth?

IMG_5842.JPGIMG_5332

»MALAGA«

Super cute city with great history. Stop at the Moorish Fortress, and go to see Picasso’s house! The Cathedral is gorgeous (aren’t they all?) and is lined by adorable squares where you can grab a beer and listen to street musicians.

IMG_5433.JPG
IMG_5647.JPG

»MOROCCO«

(You can take a ferry across from several locations in Spain! Read more about my trip to Morocco in a separate post, coming soon!)

IMG_5529.JPG

»BOLONIA BEACH«

AWESOME TURQUOISE WATER!! But beware, this beach is pretty windy and the waves are much bigger than those on the Mediterranean side.

IMG_5558.JPG

»NERJA«

Love this little beach city! It’s known for sitting on beautiful ocean side cliffs. There are so many small private beaches that you have to take a little bus down the cliffs to reach the most exclusive among them! When you’re there, rent a small sail boat and get lost at sea.

IMG_6120.JPG

»TORREMOLINOS«

Noteworthy beach! Check it out if you have time.

IMG_6122.JPG

»CADIZ«

Another beautiful beach city! The ruins are super cool and the cathedral is gorgeous, but spend most of your time at the beach.

IMG_5674.JPG

 I’m basically ready to become a professional adventurer! My trip to Spain consisted of new sites and experiences every single day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! What I’d do to be back on my €6 floatie, dozing in the midst of the Mediterranean, sangria in hand.

Where did you spend your summer holiday!? Where should Halfsies go next?? Share below!!