Grad Trip: Chicago

After graduating, my roommates and I decided we were in need of a little getaway. Strapped for cash and working with a short time period to escape, since we all have different work/school schedules, we decided to take a road trip to Chicago.

Chi Town, the Windy City, Bean Town: no matter what you call it, it’s a beautiful place.


We drove from Waterloo, Ontario on a Thursday morning and arrived mid-afternoon. The drive only took about 9 hours with stops, and there was hardly any traffic.

The city is magic.


Clean, bright, historic but modern – Chicago just feels homey.

Public art compliments the amazing architecture (take the boat tour, it totally lives up to the hype) and makes every corner unique and refreshing.

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We grabbed last minute tickets to Book of Mormon and laughed our first night away (Pitch Perfect’s Ben Platt nailed it) before grabbing drinks at a nearby pub.


The waterfront is beautiful, and while we found the Navy Pier to be a bit overrated, we enjoyed a ferris wheel ride that gave us a great view of the skyline.




The Art Institute of Chicago was incredible. I took art all throughout high school and found myself amazed by both the number of prominent pieces (Van Gogh, Magritte, Dali, Wood’s American Gothic – to name a few) the museum holds, and the scale of many of the pieces I had studied only as a slide or on a page in a text book. Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte especially surprised me.




Our deepdish pizza experience at Pizza Uno did not sit well with most of us but the other restaurants we ate at were great (shoutouts to Corner Café Bakery and Rosebud). The Magnificent Mile did not disappoint, with great shopping, more beautiful architecture (see Burberry building below), and a perfect place to people watch.


The nightlife was fun with a trendy, concentrated area in River North that made it easy to bar hop and check out different scenes.


One of my favourite parts of the city, which I didn’t expect, was The Bean (aka Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate)! Seeing pictures previously, I always thought it was random and strange. When you see it in person it’s just cool. You can walk under it, it’s super reflective, and the seaguls love it. Plus, Millennuim Park that surrounds it features gorgeous gardens, other neat art installations, and a great atmosphere.



[ Bestie Bean Selfie – totally necessary. ]


I’d recommend a weekend getaway here to anyone, from any age group, and I definitely wouldn’t mind going back! I know the city has so much more to see and do and we only scratched the surface during the three days we were there.

Judging by Lollapalooza’s lineup this year, that may be a perfect excuse to return in 2014!


[ This digital/water feature installation was incredible. It appeared to be Christie tiles, with two faces on parallel pillars that interact and change expressions based on the other’s reaction. We were surprised (and nearly soaked) when a stream of water emerged from one guy’s mouth! ]


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