Last week we took our son to Chicago as part of his birthday present. It was just a short trip, but it was jam-packed with adventures. This was his first time being on a plane (that he’s old enough to remember) so he quickly claimed a window seat so he could take it all in.
Once we dropped our luggage at the hotel, we headed out to lunch at Portillo’s. I had a chili cheese dog, Aiden chose a cheeseburger, and Jonathan had the polish sausage dog; cheese fries and a chocolate cake shake were shared by all. Then we headed to an afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you’ve never been, this is probably my favorite zoo I’ve ever visited. It’s free, it’s gorgeous, there are lots of atypical zoo animals, it’s intermingled with city park amenities, and there are some truly breathtaking views of the city skyline. Did I mention it’s FREE? The weather was perfect for a day outside too!
After relaxing and refreshing at the hotel, we headed out for the evening. First we ate dinner the at Navy Pier location of Giordano’s. Deep dish pizza is such a quintessential Chicago thing and Aiden had never tried it! This location can have a long wait, but they will let you pre-order pizzas while you wait since they take longer to cook. We got a table quickly, but ordered mozzarella triangles and a caesar salad while we waited for our pizza. Everything was great!
After dinner we went to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to see Six the Musical. It was such a fun show and I’ll talk more about it next month when I recap all the theatre I’ve seen in June. Aiden got pizza on his shirt at dinner and we had to pick him up a new shirt at a Navy Pier souvenir shop. Oops.
The next morning we had breakfast at Yolk, which was right around the corner from our hotel. I had the cheesy egg sandwich, Jonathan went with the chicken & waffles, and Aiden went with the happy cakes and a side of eggs. Apparently there are some Yolk locations all over the place, even not too far from home. Highly recommended!
We spent most of the morning at the Hamilton Exhibition on Northerly Island. It’s a 360-degree immersive museum-like exhibit that combines real history with the scenes of the musical. IT IS A MASTERPIECE. We spent about 2 hours going through it and I could have spent more time if Aiden had been up to it. There’s a fun surprise at the end too. It’s just breathtaking. I hope I get the opportunity to visit again.
Next we headed to find lunch! We went to Frontera Fresco inside the Macy’s on State St. I had the chipotle steak quesadillas, Aiden had cheese quesadillas, and Jonathan had the chipotle steak tacos. It was all very good and full of flavor. After lunch, we stopped at a couple of stops for necessary shopping – Garrett Popcorn and Fairgrounds Coffee – before walking over to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate sculpture (aka The Bean).
We did another afternoon of resting up at the hotel before heading back out. For dinner, we didn’t go anywhere too special – just Corner Bakery. It’s a simple casual dining chain and we have them at home, but it was nearby to our main attraction, Hamilton. We attended the evening performance of Hamilton and got to go onstage after the show with A. Ham himself, Miguel Cervantes. I didn’t tell Aiden about the onstage bit until intermission, so it was one last surprise. Aiden was so excited and also a little nervous to meet Miguel. It was so sweet!
All good things must come to an end. The next morning we grabbed some breakfast from Stan’s Donuts, packed up our stuff, and headed to the airport. Like I said, it was a quick trip – but it was great!
I love Chicago! I can’t wait until the next time I go back!