the windy city– chelsea edition.

I’m so proud to say I was able to convince Chelsea to do a guest post for Sunscreen Required.  Not only do I adore her as a friend, travel buddy, lover-of-the-finer-things-in-life, fellow crafter and travel connisour, we also share a common history in the fact that we’ve known each other since first grade and grew up on the same street!

She and her hubby recently traveled to Chicago for a long weekend. Considering I have never been to Chicago (AND because she takes incredible photographs!),  I thought this would be a great introductory opportunity to commandeer her help.

Chelsea and I at Pike's Market
So without further adieu….
(Oh and make sure you give her lots of love by commenting here. That way maybe she’ll consider coming back to us again!)
Let me start by saying that I am very excited to be Jaime’s first official guest blogger!  I am also a travel fanatic and dream of my next trip every chance I get! My husband, Sergio, and I traveled to Chicago last weekend.  It was the fourth trip there for each of us, but our first trip traveling there together.  Sergio had only traveled to Chicago before for business so it was my turn to give him the tour of the Chicago that I know and love.  Below are just a few things that I recommend if you are traveling to the Windy City.
Magnificent Mile – There is something for everyone in Chicago, especially the shopaholic.  One of my favorite attractions is Magnificent Mile, or what I like to call Heaven.  One mile of back-to-back shopping with stores like H&M, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Filene’s Basement.  Guys beware: drop off your wife or significant other so she can shop until she drops.  Go to the local pub and a have drink… or a few.  You may be there for a while!

Millennium Park & Grant Park- In the heart of downtown, these parks are the Central Park of Chicago.  In Millennium Park, you’ll find the Cloud Gate (more widely known as the Bean), Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the Crown Fountain.  You’ll get some great photo ops while you’re there.  My favorite attraction is the Bean because of the great reflection pictures you can get of the city’s skyline.  Walk a few blocks south and you’ll hit Grant Park.  Make sure you check out Buckingham Fountain while you’re there.

John Hancock Tower vs. Willis Tower – Yes, that’s right.  Willis Tower. Formerly known as Sears Tower.  I know, I’m not a big fan of the new name either.  It’ll always be the Sears Tower to me.  So for now, we’ll call it Sears Tower for the rest of this post!  I’ve been to both.  They both cost around the same price to go up to the top and they both have fantastic views.  The Sears Tower has the Sky Deck which a glass ledge that you can walk out onto.  Very cool.  But in my opinion, John Hancock Tower is the better pick.  It’s in a more accessible location, right on Magnificent Mile.  Tip: Save yourself twenty bucks and visit the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor instead.  It doesn’t cost a thing to go up to the lounge and you’ll see the same views as the others who did pay.  I don’t know about you but I’d much rather spend the money on a glass of wine or two at the lounge while looking out at the beautiful view!  It’s even prettier at night.

Navy Pier – This is probably one of the most touristy places in Chicago.  It’s definitely a must see, but make sure you get your walking shoes on!  Navy Pier is 1.5 miles long, which means if you walk to the end and back, you’ll get in a good three mile walk.  My favorite thing about Navy Pier isn’t the ferris wheel or the numerous restaurants available to you.  It’s the view you have of the city when you walk to the end of the pier.  Oh my goodness!  Get your cameras out because it’s beautiful.

Boat Cruises – There are tons of boat cruises that you can choose from.  I recommend the Architectural Cruise with Shoreline Sightseeing.  It’s an hour long ride along the Chicago River. You see the city from a totally different angle and you can give your feet a rest!  Even better?  There’s a bar on board.

Oak Street Beach – If you walk to the end of Magnificent Mile, it is definitely worth walking an extra few minutes north to Oak Street Beach.  You’ll get a great skyline view of the city and the gorgeous blue water.  Go ahead and stick your feet in Lake Michigan.  You won’t even realize it’s not an ocean!

Good Eats:
The Pizza Challenge – Deep dish pizza.  It’s the one thing you must eat while in Chicago.  You’ll hear people argue over whose pizza is the best.  Gino’s East, Giordiano’s, Pizzeria Uno, they are all mighty tasty.  Can’t choose which place you want to eat?  You decide!  Take the pizza challenge and let us know what’s your favorite.  Mine is Gino’s East but that’s because of their gluten free options!

Garrett Popcorn – Hello, love.  If you like caramel or cheese popcorn, stop by Garretts.  They have several locations including Navy Pier and Magnificent Mile.  Seriously, finger licking good.

Where to Stay:
It’s always a good idea to go on Trip Advisor to check out the best places to stay while visiting any city. Like Jaime, I am a huge fan of the website.  I like to stay in a hotel near Magnificent Mile.  I prefer to be around the hustle and bustle of the big city.  This past trip we stayed at the Swissotel.  I highly recommend it.  A five to ten minute walk from both Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park.  Check out the view we had from our room.  It can’t get any better than that!

Fun Fact:
According to local legend, Chicago is called the Windy City because politicians who were filled with “hot air,” not the gusts of wind that they experience. Chicago is not considerably windier than any other city in the United States!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. laurahartson says:

    this looks fantastic, i really hope you had a great time

  2. The BC says:

    Great Job Chelsea! Beautiful pictures and great insight to the windy city! Thank you!

  3. Jaime says:

    Beautiful photography, Chels! I can’t wait to go for a visit!

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