First trip together! We decided to leave immediately after finals. We drove to Princeton, Illinois early to take the Amtrak train into Chicago. The train was so comfortable...the seats were bigger than an airplane. I fell asleep against him as we rode into the city :) Union Station was decorated so cute for Christmas with a giant tree decorated in the middle. We decided to go to our hotel first to drop off our bag. We stayed at the Staypineapple hotel right across from Millennium Park. It was the perfect location because we were so close to everything! Our hotel was adorable. For starters, dogs are allowed in this hotel. Secondly, it's pineapple themed so we got pineapple water and pineapple cookie refreshments.
For lunch we went to a delicious sandwich place, Potbellys, for a quick inexpensive bite to eat. The sandwiches were still really good, warm, and fresh. We then decided to shop around! Nate was so patient while I indulged in a little shopping...had to cop a fit for our fancy dinner. I had never seen Chicago in the winter time but I was obsessed. Pretty lights and decorations stood on every corner and within every store. I felt so happy to be there with him. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time. He's such a warm, happy person. We both skipped down the streets like little kids, memorized by the city and being there together. We saw the largest Starbucks in the world (had to). It had four floors and had coffee from all over the world. I don't know if I would go here to buy my morning cup of Joe because the line outside was so long and a bouncer had to gradually let groups of people inside. But, this Starbucks even had its own cocktail bar...(so maybe its worth it?)
We then got ready for dinner and went to the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza, which happened to be right across from our hotel. Little market shops were lit up all around the Plaza selling hot beverages and warm German food. We bought hot chocolate that came in these little booties and tried the German potato pancakes. We then headed over to Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse for a fancy dinner. This restaurant is iconic in Chicago mainly because it is named after the famous Chicago Cub's announcer, Harry Caray, who kept the crowd vibrant back in the days when a World Series win was wayyyy out of the question. Most of the waiters have worked here for a very long time and know the ins and outs of the food like the back of their hand. They will even bring out all the different cuts of steak and explain to you the differences. There even is an official restroom attendant who will spray you with cologne and send you out with a mint for the road. But the steaks were also closer to fifty dollars...so we decided pasta it was! The pasta was still so rich and creamy. I loved it (and that's saying a lot saying I indulged on authentic Italian pasta in Italy all summer). We then took an Uber to the Lincoln Park Zoo which hosts a free light show all night. We wandered around and saw all the beautiful lights, lit up at almost every exhibit. Thankfully most of the animals weren't out in the cold. Zoos honestly make me sad....but I still was happy to see the lights. We then headed back to Staypineapple to sleep.
In the morning we put ourselves on the waitlist for the Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe breakfast place on East Randolph Street. This breakfast place is one of the most widely reviewed places in Chicago with almost five stars and over 5,000 positive reviews. While we waited to get in to eat, we went to Millennium Park and watched ice skaters perform down on the ice. We went into Macey's and even saw the iconic huge Christmas Tree that's decorated at the top floor. At the cafe, we ordered the Eggs Benedict and Berry Bliss pancakes which where were both absolutely amazing and well worth the wait. Our food was brought out to us so quick (probably because of the amount of people that want in) but it was so delicious. I will be back here next time I'm in Chicago.
We had such a fun time in the Windy City :) We took the train back in the afternoon back to Princeton, Illinois. 10/10 recommend traveling by train to the city because it is so expensive and difficult to find good parking (not to mention stressful). Nate and I plan on making this an annual tradition! We loved loved the city around Christmas time!!