Hello friends! I have another incredible city to share with you and this one is close to my heart as it's one of our favorite nearby cities to gallivant, shop, and celebrate anniversaries. Such a fun place to visit! I asked two of my lovely online friends, Betsy and Jenna, to share their city of Chicago with us and I just knew they would not disappoint. The really went to town (quite literally) with this feature and I want to visit every single spot. Plus their pictures are just so beautiful, not to mention the fact that these girls are super models. I look forward to the day that I can actually hang out with Betsy and Jenna in person and visit their favorite places together!
First the basics: we're Betsy and Jenna. Iowa and Wisconsin-raised (GO PACK GO ;)). We met at college in Oklahoma and became fast friends. post-graduation, we both wanted to be closer to our mid-western roots, so through a series of job seaches, apartment searches, a wedding (thanks to Jenna and her husband's cupid skills), and a few cross-country moves, we (along with our best-friends-since-high-school husbands) ended up just 5 blocks from each other on the north shore of Chicago. We couldn't love it more!
This proved to be challenging for us since there is SO much to see and do in this fine city and its 77 unique neighborhoods, but we resorted to our "go-to's" - the places we just naturally find ourselves most often.
One of our favorite things about where we live is our close proximity to Lake Michigan. We can walk to the beach for a quick dose of sun or an evening picnic, and let us tell you, in the bustling metropolis that surrounds us the serenity of Lake Michigan is a treat. It looks like the ocean (for a few months out of the year)!Another thing we love about life in Chicago is its diversity and culture. Within a 2 mile radius of our homes we can find authentic Jamaican, Etheopian, Thai, Italian, French, Japanese, German, Mexican, Indian, and Polish cuisine. The food here is incredible and we try to force ourselves to try new places rather than resorting to the usual. We can't get enough of Cozy's Noodles and Rice, The Waterfront Cafe (a huge patio overlooking Lake Michigan), Golden House Restaurant Pancake House, The Heartland Cafe, The Growling Rabbit, Indie Cafe for sushi, and Mt. Everest for Indian.
Often when people visit, they are shocked by how much we walk. Parking is our one and only beef with this city, so the more we can avoid driving, the better. The last time we had visitors in town one had a pedometer which tracked us walking 5 miles in just one day. We love that we can get almost anywhere via train, bus, bike, or our own two feet.
Betsy works as an Art Director at Revelry Agency and Jenna works full-time as a research Study Coordinator at Northwestern University and part-time as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. For about two years, our offices were just a mile from each other downtown and we met halfway for lunch as often as we could. Water Tower Square became our fair-weather meeting spot and Fabcakes or The Soupbox our favorite downtown cafes to grab-and-go.
Chicago is known for being an expensive place to live, but we've made it our mission to discover the best free activities the city has to offer - there are many! One of our favorites is Millennium Park's Downtown Sound concert series, lovingly referred to as Music Mondays. The concerts are free and picnics abound.
The Chicago Electric Boat Company gives us something to look forward to every summer with their hourly boat rentals. We can't decide if we prefer evening or night cruises, but both offer spectacular views of the city, and you can bring your own snacks, drinks, and music!
We both have a mild sugar addiction and on the days our cravings strike we're always down for a pie run. A few of our neighborhood sweet-treat and coffee favorites are Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Bennisons Bakery, Lickity Split, Brother's K Coffee, and Andy's Frozen Custard.
When it comes to shopping, Chicago has no shortage! Although we love a good afternoon spent on Michigan Avenue, we have a special place in our hearts for small, locally-owned boutiques. Stumble and Relish sells handmade jewelry, stationary, and home decor and is the first place we go when looking for a unique gift. We always seem to find steals at Secret Treasures Antiques (last week Betsy found the purse she's wearing in the photo and Jenna found a vintage baby outfit!) and we're no strangers to thrift and consignment shops including Salvation Army and Crossroads Trading Co.We love Chicago and love helping people experience it for themselves, so don't hesitate to reach out to us if you'd like any more information on the places we mentioned. Thanks for reading this little peek into our lives. We had such a blast putting it together and hope you enjoyed it half as much s we did!"
Wow! Thank you girls. That was awesome. I can't wait to go back and check out your hang outs. I'm coming for Thai, macarons, and Stumble and Relish for sure. Ha! And a night time boat ride sounds just about perfect too. You girls are the best. xx
You can find Betsy on Instagram @bybetsy
You can find Jenna on Instagram @jennafahey
For more of this series, check out Raina's favorite spots in Queensland, Australia and Faith's favorites in Charleston, South Carolina.