Chicago

Have you ever kept talking about wanting to do something or go somewhere specific but never actually make the time to make it happen? That was Adrian and I for a few years, always talking about taking a trip to Chicago together, then finding ourselves at the end of every year why we haven't gone yet. Well, we finally did it and it was awesome!


ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.




Adrian had been before, but this was my first time. Been to a lot of major US cities, but Chi-Town wasn't one of them until last week.




Naturally, the first thing we do is locate the nearest place that serves some deep dish which was Lou Malnati's. That was intense! We couldn't eat anything else for the rest of the day/night. I could hardly even finish a coffee to help keep me awake! 


ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.





ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.



I did appreciate everything Chicago had to offer, besides the wind. It really is a windy city. "The Windy City" is actually a political reference, not exactly nicknamed after the weather. You can read more about that here. Since it is right on Lake Michigan, the wind just stabs it's way right through all your layers. I'm a cold weather gal, but when wind takes it down by -20 degrees, I'm out. We drank a lot thinking the booze would keep us warm and fuzzy as we bounced around all over the city, but it actually sobered us right up as we stepped outside onto the chilly streets. We were humbled by the gloomy weather and ashamed to be walking around in April dressed for December. To put it simply; Not from 'round these parts!








ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.


It was a nice escape from Los Angeles, I will say that. I never miss this city, despite how I always take for granted the weather here. Although a southern California native, I will always be way too used to slipping on some chanclas and leaving the house for an entire day without thinking twice about grabbing a sweater. That being said, I do love some cold and rainy weather. What really stole my heart about this city was the insane architecture. The detail was UNBELIEVABLE. Clocks on the corners of old buildings that weigh 7 tons?! That's what you get when a city endorses the arts. You can't turn a corner without running into some kind of statue, fountain, or other piece of art. I could live in this city. Definitely in Lincoln Park. Another thing that caught my eye were all the tulips and daffodils all over the city. I've never seen that many before! LA isn't exactly the place where water is a luxury these days so we only get succulents and weeds.












 






ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.



I forgot about all the quirky landmarks until we ran into them. We stumbled into a park and turned a corner and saw THE BEAN! I was like "Oh yeah! This!" it was fun for a few minutes, but there were definitely too many people around it, but that's par for the course I suppose. 


ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.







ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.


We spent the majority of our days walking around, eating pizza, walking it off, then getting drinks to warm up, then eating more pizza to sober up, then drinking again....wash, rinse, & repeat. I did find it a little difficult to try to keep warm and dry while carrying around my 5D and 24-70mm lens. Considered hauling around the 70-200mm, but there was no way that would have been a good time. I did also bring my new Instax Mini. I love that little thing.

A friend recommended Three Dots & a Dash, a really cool underground Tiki Bar. The entrance is in an alley, led by a blue light on a wall that leads to their front door. When you step in, it sort of looks like a vampire lounge, like the Catacombs beneath Paris with blue lights everywhere. Then you walk down the stairs and enter in what is obviously a Tiki lounge, and it's super fancy. The drink menu was impressive and the cocktails were strong. We had way too much fun there. It took a lot for us to not go back for more...we kind of regret it now, but we wanted to try newer bars. Some of my favorite things are eating and drinking and this is one of the perfect cities to do that in.




We got so drunk here and then stumbled in the rain to the closest Chicago-style hot dog place. We found a really good one, but don't ask the name, because there's no way I remember it. I don't eat hot dogs, but decided since this was Chicago, I had to give it a try. It wasn't bad, but I'm definitely in no hurry to eat another hot dog ever again...or deep dish pizza for that matter.


ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.














 



The next day, we decided to be tourists and do the Sky Lounge. Duh, you kind of have to when you're in Chicago. It was a pretty spectacular view. It took me a second or two to fully stand on the glass Sky Deck, but once we were comfortable on it, we were jumping up and down and doing handstands in no time. The glass on the bottom is 4ft thick, and it's pretty on-there, so there's not much to fret about unless you're truly terrified of heights. I only am when climbing a ladder for some reason. If for an reason I feel not secured or I could lose my balance at any time, then I start to get vertigo and get a little weird. Within 10 minutes of being up there, I actually became a little bored and wanted to leave. The "we came, we saw, we conquered" attitude set in and I had my mind set on Giordano's Pizza down the street. That was a delicious idea.

ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.






For some reason, we decided popping into one of these Garrett Popcorn shops was a good idea after scrafing down pizza and beer all afternoon. It was actually pretty good. I'm not bananas for kettle corn, but their cheesy popcorn and caramel popcorn together was total sweet fusion genius! I couldn't stop eating it. Super touristy, but damn it was good. It was recommended to me by an Uber driver I had a month ago who's a native of Chicago. He gave me a huge list of places to eat and we went to all of them except for one, which was Goose Island Shrimp. I don't think we had nearly enough food there, but our tummies said otherwise. 

 ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.













We went for a very cold walk alongside the lake, which you can literally walk right up to. We just walked for miles, freezing our asses off, but thoroughly enjoying our surroundings. We saw a lot of rows of trees and of course we turn into kids and start playing around and taking stupid pictures of ourselves jumping around.



ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.













No matter what corner you turn onto, there's always something incredible there for you, like the Buckingham Fountain, as seen in the TV sitcom, Married with Children. The water in it was drained because it freezes in the winter. Chicago felt like New York a little, but mixed with something else. I totally understood the vibe there, and I perceived it the same way I do when I watch movies like Ferris Bueller. It's definitely laid back and pretty cool for such a bustling city. The art everywhere was just amazing. More cities should endorse the arts like Chicago does. Chicago does it right.

On our last day, we felt really sad. We had to wake up early, pack up, and check out of our water-front hotel. We hopped on the train and took it to the Science and Industry Museum. We only had about an hour or so to spend there which was a mistake because that's a place you're supposed to spend the entire day. We had to rush through everything in order to make it to Lincoln Park for some delicious brunch at Orange w/ Orange Rosemary and Chai French Toast and fresh cold-pressed juice with vodka. Yes please!

ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.





















 Abe Lincoln's hair, below. No, seriously, that's a strand of his hair.






After we had our delicious brunch at Orange, we stopped by Oz Park. This was our last stop i the city before our drive to the airport. It was a long drive and we were both really sad to be leaving our much-needed getaway together. Three days in Chi-Town went by way too fast. Being back home in LA where it's become so dull to me is hard. I am anxious to move soon. Every time I visit a new city, I fantasize about a life there and whether or not I could see myself living in it. Lately, it's easier than ever to potentially pack up what I need and hit the road. 






I can't wait to visit Chicago again. There's still so much food to be tasted and drinks to be had. I consider it unfinished business.


ALL images property of Kelli Hayden and not to be used without prior written consent.