Chicago City Guide

MileNorth Hotel
Whilst in Chicago I stayed in this boutique hotel. Located Downtown, it's just off the famous shopping street Magnificent Mile. The staff were really friendly and my room was insane. I was very kindly put up in a suite and it has to be one of the biggest rooms I've ever stayed in. It's even the proud owner of a rooftop bar - sadly it wasn't open for the season when I was there. The bed was massive and I slept like a baby all three nights. I'd really recommend this if you're ever in the city.

Wicker Park
If you've got a soft spot for second hand shopping, this is your neighbourhood to visit. It's got an abundance of vintage shops - some are quite pricey - alongside the famous consignment stores Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange. It's around $13-14 for a cab journey each way. Make sure you grab a bite to eat at Dove Luncheonette - well worth the queue!

The Signature Lounge at the 96th
The views from the top of this bar will blow your mind. I'm a sucker for a good view and this one is gorgeous. It's well worth the price of the cocktail to be greeted with that sight. Go at night and the city is absolutely stunning. It was one of my favourite parts of the trip. Try to go during the week and fairly early to avoid the queues. Keep in mind they don't take reservations.

Skydeck Ledge
The unique selling point of the Willis Tower is it has an impressive glass ledge that extends out 4.3 feet. It's such an odd experience to step out and peer down such a staggering drop. My legs felt like jelly as I tentatively stepped out but it was such an amazing feeling. It's the tallest building in the western hemisphere at 1, 353 feet. Definitely something not to be missed!

This strip is full to the brim of LGBT bars and clubs. We only went out to one bar and stayed a little while because we had a band to catch. But it looked like it would be such fun and I have from a source that it was so much fun. If I ever come back I'll definitely schedule in a night out here! It's not too far from Wrigleyville which is also a fun place to have a boogie.

Firecakes Donuts
Oh Americans know how to do doughnuts right? These were incredible. So sugary and sickly sweet which is the only way a doughnut should be. Pick up a cup of their freshly squeezed orange juice too. I personally had a soft spot for the Old Fashioned Buttermilk and the Butterscotch Praline. Grab a couple to go and wander around the city enjoying the hustle and bustle.
Lou Mitchell's Diner
Lou Mitchell's is the starting point of the original Route 66 in Chicago. The portions are huge and the service is quick and to the point. It sets you up fantastically for the day! Have the scrambled eggs - they're so fluffy and dreamy. It's not the most fanciest of food but it's very good food. Nice comfort food which is always the ticket. They've been feeding the hungry mouths of road trippers since 1923 so there's lots of history steeped in the place.

Millennium Park
If the sun is shining, make sure you head to the park. Here you'll find the infamous 'Bean' aka Cloud Gate sculpture. You'll be able to see the beautiful skyline of the city reflected - take a walk underneath it. The park is a great place to wander around and gaze at the different sculptures, fountain and outdoor galleries. Grab a takeaway and sit down for a spot of people watching.
Odyssey Dinner Cruise
Lake Michigan is absolutely huge and the best way to appreciate it is with this dinner cruise. Setting off from Navy Pier, you'll be able to enjoy a three course dinner as the sun sets. It circles the river, offering you stunning views of the city behind you - I'm overusing the word stunning right? I just can't think of any other word! You'll get a free glass of champagne and a disco thrown in too for the price. Make sure you hop up to the observation desk for some great picture opportunities.

Chicago Photo Diary

I'm going to be honest and hold my hands up - I was a bit worried about going on this trip. It was my first time I'd ever gone on a press trip, the first time I'd ever left the UK on my own, the first time I'd flown on my own and I was going to be spending a hell of time with five people who I'd never met. No matter how many times you google someone, you don't really know them. Funny that. Plus some people just don't get my sarcastic humour - I know, strange right?! I like to think that I can talk the ear off anyone but who knew, this could be the time I'd fail. I camped last year with around 12 people at Glastonbury and only knew three. So although I was thrown into the deep end, I still had someone to cling on to if I got out of my depth.

By the time I'd snuggled into my enormous bed on the first night after a glass of prosecco whilst admiring the Chicago skyline, I knew I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The trip was going to be a corker. I don't think I stopped laughing for the entire eight days. It was one of the best holidays I've had - it's hard to put into words just how much fun I had. In a silly way, I'm so proud of myself that I managed to travel solo without any catastrophes. I didn't even lose my passport! Let's forget about the minor detail that I left my phone charger in a hotel room.

On the first night the bar was set high with a gigantic burger oozing with gooey cheese and sweet bacon, the rest of the trip I just ate and ate. And ate and ate. After a quick mooch around the Harry Caray Sports Museum, we headed for a night cap at the Signature Lounge - a definitely highlight of the trip for me. The view was absolutely stunning. Chicago knew how to win me over!

The next three days were a whirlwind of buying too much make up, eating too much fried food, sore feet and a neck ache from spending too much time looking at the sky. I even took myself over to a neighbourhood known for it's vintage and made it back in one piece. I went to see an amazing band whose lead singer was ironically from Brighton. Just can't get away from those pesky Brits! I battled the crowds to seek out the Bean. I ate a Mexican dish that nearly blew my face off. I attempted a Man Vs Food dish and failed miserably. I went on a boozy dinner cruise around Lake Michigan. I stood 1,353 feet in a glass box overlooking the city with a severe case of jelly legs. I sampled the foodie delights of the city thanks to a culinary tour. God bless the person who invented deep dish pizza.

I only have New York and a day in Washington DC to compare the city too, but Chicago has my heart hook, line and sinker. It's skyline is gorgeous - New York is just tall, tall and tall. Whereas Chicago has so many different, interesting shapes. There's a lot less hustle and bustle and the people seem a lot more friendlier. It's very easy to navigate around the Downtown area and it's a fantastic place to just wander and soak up the atmosphere.
I know the lens of some of my pictures is dirty - I'm kicking myself!

OOTD: Textured Midi skirt

Khaki trench coat: Primark (similar)
Leopard print cross over bag: Primark (similar)
Black textured midi skirt: Topshop (similar)
Black long sleeved tee: Primark (similar)
Burgundy velvet midi heels: & Other Stories (similar)

I've just gotten back from the most amazing trip to Chicago and the state of Illinois. I feel like I've been away for a month when in reality it's only been eight days. I can't really put into words how much fun I had. America completely stole my heart!  I feel absolutely exhausted but in a good way. Not sure I'm quite ready to hit reality yet - quite enjoyed being in a bubble. I've got a few posts planned so keep your eyes peeled.

I shot this outfit just before I went away to see Charlie And The Chocolate Factory at the West End. Make sure you buy tickets sharpish if you haven't seen it- it's great fun being transported back to your childhood! I threw on something together last minute as all my more causal clothes were already packed in a suitcase. Although I looked liked I was spending a day in the office, I quite liked it. Maybe it's one for the office next week! The coat is certainly proving to be value for money judging by the amount of times it's making appearances.


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