There are not words for how amazing my trip to Chicago was last week. I’m not the world’s best traveler; however, this trip really left me feeling energized and happy (instead of drained and tired). My feet were certainly sore, but my heart was as full as could be.
When booking the trip, I tacked on a few extra days for my meet and greet because I found such a great price for flights. I was hoping Garrett’s schedule would allow him to travel, but he couldn’t get away, understandably.
This was also a little bit of a different trip for me. I didn’t pack my days with minute by minute agendas or try to squeeze in outfit shoots. Instead, I made time for friends and Garrett’s family, meeting with a few brands based out of Chicago, and plenty of time for wandering around.
Chicago is my favorite city. It’s so walkable, everyone is ridiculously nice (the rumors are true), and it feels so much cleaner than what you’d expect.
I just missed the peak of the tulips, but still managed to find some great ones around town.
I also think I should note that I really lucked out with the weather. It was gorgeous. I think Chicago was showing off for me and putting on its best behavior.
I had lunch with my friend Liz at the Ralph Lauren restaurant. It was incredibly cute, and the food was fantastic. I wanted to go back again and sadly didn’t have the chance.
After seeing 3 Arts Cafe in the Restoration Hardware all over Instagram for months, I was dying to go. I ended up having a meeting there for breakfast on Thursday and then drinks at night with a friend on Saturday. It. Is. Awesome.
I also had lunch one afternoon with Jess and Hallie at The Hampton Social. The decor here is everything navy and nautical!! We had so much catching up to do that we sat there for hours chatting and eating too many French fries.
I prioritized time with friends and family over being a tourist, but I still made some time to see a few things. The Art Institute of Chicago was at the top of my list, and it’s open until 8 pm, which helped a lot with scheduling! I’m no art history buff, but walking around and reading as much as I can about the artwork is my favorite. This time around, I went straight for my favorites.
One thing that I did this trip that I’ve never done before: switch hotels last minute. I realized that where I was staying wasn’t in the best location. I found a great, last minute deal at the Loews Hotel. It was the best decision even if it was a little out of character. It made getting around so much easier and, not going to lie, the room service part was a favorite.
See what I mean by beautiful weather????
And, of course, the reason why I was there in the first place… the meet and greet at Vineyard Vines. Meeting readers is one of the highlights of blogging. It puts everything into perspective, and it’s always nice to put actual faces to avatars and handles!
Garrett’s brother and sister live in Chicago, and it was fun to get to see them (and his brother in law and sister in law and niece!). I went to his sister’s condo one afternoon, and we sat outside soaking up the sun and taking in the downtown skyline. How great is that panoramic view?
There was still a lot on my “want to do” list, so I think I’m going to have to make another trip out there.
Remember when I did that reader survey to vote for my next meet and greet city?! I was blown away by the thousands and thousands entries. It was also amazing to see how far and wide TCP readership is. It made me so happy to see.
Chicago was one of the top three cities! A few things all fell into place within a couple of days of each other (including a $20 Jetblue flight?! amazing!) and we finalized the plans for the meet and greet!
Mark your calendars for May 21st at the Vineyard Vines in Chicago. I’ll be sharing more details soon but I wanted to make sure you could schedule it.
I’m actually going to be spending a few full days in Chicago and I absolutely cannot wait. I’ve been a few times, but my last trip was the summer after I graduated high school. So I’d love your recommendations for restaurants, shops, cafes, hotels, photo op spots, things to do, people to see!
I dug through old photo albums on my computer for these. Above is a photo from a freshman year chorus trip. Below is a photo from a sophomore year journalism trip. And the last photo is from a family trip after I graduated high school. I’ve loved it every single time I’ve visited so I’m quite excited to visit as an adult. It’s always been one of my favorite cities.
Hope I get to meet you on May 21st!!!