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A Day In Chicago, IL

Looking for something to do during summer in Chicago that doesn’t include going to the top of a skyscraper? Want a little adventure and a lot of eating? I got you covered…



Trip-Tip 1:

Read the trip tip above by hovering over it or clicking on it with your mouse. Now, let’s get started.

If you’re a foodie like me, then walk, run, hitchhike, it doesn’t matter. Just get yourself to Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe . This is an absolute MUST! There are several locations, but the new one on E. Pearson St. in Downtown is a great starting location for our adventure since everything we’re doing is downtown. I started my morning at the one in Schaumburg, but that’ll change next time.

Trip-Tip 2:

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe in Schaumburg, Ill.

BE CAREFUL! The servings are huge, and we have a lot of eating to do today but don’t worry, you’re going to walk it off.  Please don’t eat like this every day. I’m begging you.

This is the 2 Egg breakfast which, includes a pancake on the side. However, you’re able to sub other items. The choices are ridiculous, and I had the most amazing Caramel Apple Pecan French Toast. My wife went for the Banana Coconut Creme Pancakes topped with Walnuts. I would go back to Chicago just for this place.

Now, it’s time to head to our next destination. No matter where you start from, try to head South on Michigan Ave. (AKA The Magnificent Mile). There are tons of shops and things to see. Just keep walking. I’m trying to save you money. Just keep walking. Till you reach Millennium Park.

Trip-Tip 3:

Views from the Riverwalk…

Here’s a few shots from the rest of our walk…


I caught this Window Washer in action.

When you arrive at Millennium Park, take in all the sites.  It’s a great place to relax, get wet, and people watch. There were so many great shots to take, and believe it or not, I’m holding back from overloading you…

Time for lunch! There are sooo many food places where we are going, but I’m taking you to a Chicago tradition for the locals. We’re going to Portillo’s Hot Dogs .  I got the Chili Dog w/Cheese. Oh so gooooood. Don’t worry, they have really good salads too if you’re going to insist on eating healthy today, but really, please stop that.

After Portillo’s go East 9 blocks to the coast of Lake Michigan. At N. Lake Shore Dr. there are plenty of underpasses to cross the road…

Once across the road, head North and go to Lincoln Park for the most amazing views of the Skyline, as well as concrete and sand beaches where you can jump in Lake Michigan, play volleyball, or just relax on the shore. the long walk is worth it for the spectacular view. See? You shoulda went for the hot dog instead of that stupid salad! You also have the option of going South to Navy Pier, and ride the ferris wheel, but we went North. Here’s some shots…

And now for my favorite part of the day! If you do nothing else from my suggestions, you must go kayaking in the Chicago river. This was the most amazing time! We rented our kayaks through WaterRiders . They were very courteous, extremely helpful and I would definitely rent through them again. Don’t forget to wear your swim clothes because water does get in the kayak at times.

Trip-tip 4:

Check out the view!!

Kayaking will take a couple hours. Now that you’ve burned off that chili dog, it’s time for dinner, and tonight we’re having authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza! The great debate between locals… Giordano’s or Lou’s? Tonight we’re going to Lou Malnoti’s .  Be prepared to wait! When we got there they had a 30min. wait, but they let you  place your order for your pizza with the to-go person before being seated. By the time we were seated, we still had at least 15mins before the pizza was to come out. Quite a bit different from that of Gennaro’s in New Braunfels! We started off with the calamari. There were no legs. Just beautiful, fat rings of meat… and the sauce, oh my!

Next came the Pizza. So full of rich sauce and toppings. We ordered a large for 4 people. I ate the most (whaaaat?) with 2 slices. Everyone else barely got past 1. Buncha Sissies.

After dinner, and if you time everything right, you can head back to the shore and watch the fireworks they shoot off from Navy Pier. The show is only on Wednesdays and Saturdays though, and the timing changes. So, check the schedule on the website.

I know we’ve done a lot of eating today, but there’s one last thing you have to try or at least take to go. Head over to Garrett for Kettle Popcorn, and ask for a bag of the mixed. It’s a mixture of caramel and cheese kettle corn. You’ll never be satisfied with simple popcorn, or any other kettle corn again!

Trip-Tip 5:

Enjoy your day!


6 thoughts on “A Day In Chicago, IL

  1. Great recommendations and love the pictures. For those looking for another local tavern/rib joint I would recommend Twin Anchors.

    1. Thanks Bill! You folks from Chi-town keep the recommendations coming. It’s good to have alternatives. Now, get over to Wildberry Pancakes, and let me know what you think!

  2. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing some of our local info. Nice pictures as well. I also wanted to pin point another fantastic place for deep dish pizza. Tip no. 6: It’s called Pequod’s Pizza in Lincoln Park. Also, a great place for lunch is called the French Market by Ogilvie Metra station. This place is awesome! You can find a variety of food and there is even a mini super market. There is something for everyone.

    1. Hey Marylin, thanks so much for the added input! Always love to receive alternatives to my suggestions in case people have already been there and done that.

  3. Well done! Next time get the Italian beef from portillos. Yes, Chicago dogs are awesome, but you can get them anywhere and it’s pretty similar. Lou’s, Everytime. Garretts, a must.

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Trip-tip: For our adventure, be sure to bring clothes that can get wet, and a bag to carry the wet clothes afterward. You'll understand why as you read on. Also, I happened to be staying near Rosemont. So, you might adjust your train route, or transportation type depending where you are. I purchased an all day pass at the station ($10 pp). It's more economical, and you'll be using the train a couple times during the day if that's your mode of transportation. I took the 'L' train Blue Line from Rosemont straight to downtown. Although the train can take up to 45 mins due to all the stops, you'll get there in half the time it would take in a car due to horrific traffic (every day!), and not only is parking expensive, but a little hard to find for newbies as well. Besides, riding the 'L' train in Chicago is a tourist must-do.

Trip-Tip: Get "No Waiting" app on your phone, and get your place in line. The wait can be quite long, and you'll understand why when you eat there.

If you took the Blue Line to downtown like me, then get off at the Clark/Lake stop, and walk 1 block North, and go down to the Riverwalk. Then head East to Michigan. The Riverwalk is great for sightseeing and photography...

Download the Groupon app on your phone ahead of time, purchase your tickets at a discount. Sometimes saving you 50% off the rental fee! Be warned though, you need to make your reservations 48hrs in advance or they might not be able to fit you in.

If you go to the one on W. Randolph St., Argo Tea is right next door. They have a huge amount of teas from all over the World to choose from. Both Garrett and Argo are open till 10PM during the summer. Both of these are great gifts to bring home to friends and family from your trip.