I recently visited Chicago with the hubs. Aside from almost freezing to death (hah!), we had quite a lovely time eating and playing tourist. I lived in Chicago 10 years ago (not sure how I survived!), so it was fun to come back and revisit some of the same places, but also see how much the city has changed. Check out my fave eats and sights below!
Where to eat
Real Good Juice Co.
Address: 1647 N Wells St
What to get: a custom smoothie with all the fancy add-ons + GF avocado toast
Why go there: it's super Instagrammable and yummy, the staff is the sweetest, and they have free WiFi
Address: 2878 N Lincoln Ave
What to get: they have a huge selection of acai bowls, smoothies, avocado toasts, salads, and wraps, as well as loads of hipster coffee, so come hungry!
Why go there: it. is. beautiful. The service is meh, the food is good and healthy (California style). But really, just go for photos!
Address: 1110 N State St.
What to get: Falafel, Fish n' chips, Ahi poke (or go more traditional - lots of choices here!)
Why go there: DELICIOUS TACOS. Gross name, but what can you do. But seriously, amazing, incredible tacostacostacos. Really cute presentation too, and fun Chicago feel.
Address: 2333 N Milwaukee Ave
What to get: the Quinoa Chili is SO DARN GOOD. Also, Buddha's Karma Burger. And honestly anything on the menu.
Why go there: because it's comfort food except it's ALL VEGAN. This is not a drill - this place actually exists. Go to the Logan Square location because it's newer and cuter.
Address: 110 W Illinois St.
What to get: they have a huge menu (Asian Fusion), and everything we tried was super yummy. I recommend the Crispy Brussels Sprouts salad, Tuna Crispy Rice, Pad Thai, and Sunrise roll. They also have dim sum. And other amazingness. Just go!
Why go there: super sexy setting, so prepare for romance. Yummy food, nice staff. The only issue was it was a huge space but super tight, so walking around was tough. But you can just sit and eat!
Where to take photos
Millenium Park / Crown Fountain
Touristy? Maybe (yes, definitely). But still super cool. This is a walk along the water with amazing art, huge skyscrapers, and the amphitheater.
The Crown Fountain a super cool art installation of local's faces cast on 50-foot LCD screens. The faces move and the people change, and in the summer, water spurts out of their mouths!
Clouds Gate (The Bean)
Everyone knows the Bean, but definitely go see it and take photos. Go super early if you want less people, otherwise expect tons of people constantly photo-bombing you (see below).
Is it worth the money and the line? Yes, yes it is, for the photos alone. Skydeck Chicago is a glass cube bulging out of the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. You can wait in line to take photos in it, and it's well worth the wait because the photos (and the views) are amazing. It's actually not scary at all - the floor feels super solid - so don't worry about your fear taking over your fun. They give each group time to take as many photos as you'd like, so definitely milk it once you're in there.
The Chicago Theater
An obvious photo for Chicago, but a must-do/see. It literally says Chicago on it. How could you not go?
Where to stay
Kimpton's The Gray
Super old-school luxury, straight out of a mob movie, but with a modern twist. We loved staying here - check out my in-depth review here: juliaotest.com/blog-index/the-gray
Where to get boba (MOST IMPORTANT)
Te'amo Boba Bar
Address: 1115 E 55th St.
No matter where I am, I will find boba. Boba will find me. We'll find each other. We need each other. Is it far away from downtown? Yes - it's by the UofC campus. Does distance matter? No, it does not. This is the only boba IN ALL OF CHICAGO that I found that came even close to comparing to Boba Guys (i.e. fresh teas, milks, delicious balls, no fake additives, etc.). GO HERE. GO HERE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT. DRINK THE BOBA. FULFILL YOUR DESTINY.
Overall, I love Chicago (despite the cold winters) - it has amazing food, music, history, and culture. Definitely go visit and take some tours to learn about all the interesting back stories of this big metropolis. Also doesn't hurt that Gotham is based on Chicago, and some of the Batman movies were filmed here!
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.