I have a problem I would like to confess you about. I’ve noticed that when someone that I’m having “something” with (relationship or whatever) decides to end it by way of ghosting or your typical “it’s not you, it’s me” break up through Facebook messenger, I get the sudden urge to GTFO of Puerto Rico. It happened in 2013, it happened in 2014, and it happened this year. I already had a trip planned when my now ex bae decided that “we needed to talk” and that he wasn’t “ready for me”. At around that time (mid August) I was reading about how air travel was going to cost less this fall so I decided to check out the fares. I found that it would cost me $284 to fly to Chicago and NYC during the end of September. I had the money, I did the math to see if I could do it because I already had a bigger trip planned. Then I went on YOLO mode and bought the damn tickets.
I was so excited about Chicago. It was my first time visiting so I read up about it and checked out Anthony Bourdain’s Layover episode (Bourdain’s my hero). My main goal for Chicago and the weekend was to spend less than $200 on the trip. Here are some tips if you ever decide to visit the Windy City:
- Transportation: trains are the best way to move around the city. They’re very efficient but a little more expensive than NYC. If you’re going to be moving around a lot, and you should, purchase a day pass. It costs $10 and you can ride all you want during a 24 hour period. I would have saved some cash if I knew about this sooner.
- Where to stay: hotels are pricy and if you have a very limited budget stay at a hostel. Another thing you have to ask yourself before you make a reservation is: what are your plans for the city? Will you be drinking and eating? Check out places to stay in Logan Square or the West Loop area. These neighborhoods are known for their bars and restaurants. If you’re very young go to Logan Square, West Loop is pricier. Check out if there are hostels. Longman and Eagle, a very trendy gastropub in Logan Square, also has rooms available. Will you be checking out the sights? Chicago has some great architecture so if you’ll be on tourist mode stay downtown. I stayed at the Parthenon guest house in Greektown and the Willis tower was a short walk away.
- What to do: if you want to do a lot but have a limited budget never fear. There are a lot of museums that are free and they’re great. I recommend the National Museum of Mexican Art over at Pilsen. It’s amazing. I love Mexican art because it’s bold and colorful so I enjoyed it very much. It’s also outside of the city and you get another feel of Chicago because Pilsen is a Hispanic neighborhood. There’s also the Chicago Riverwalk and the “Bean” (Cloud Gate) over at Millennium Park.
- What to eat: not deep dish. I saw on The Layover that no one that’s local has much respect for the dish. It’s a tourist thing. I didn’t eat pizza on the whole trip. Logan Square has a lot of interesting eateries and one of them is Q-tine. It’s a BBQ restaurant that also has some awesome poutine. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with poutine. They gave me a LOT of food and it cost me about $8. I also went to Little Goat on the West Loop area. It’s pricier but the food and service are amazing. I had a frittata-ish dish called “KIMCHEE & BACON & EGGS & PANCAKES ASIAN STYLE BREAKFAST TASTY THING” (seriously, that’s the name) and it was delicious. The dish is $13. Last but not least I went to Wow Bao, a Bao chain (duh). I ordered a teriyaki chicken bao, a kung pao chicken bao and a bbq pork bao. It cost me about $6. So yeah, Chicago is very cheap when it comes to food. Take advantage of it and eat your heart out.
- What to drink: beer of course but there are a lot of great cocktail bars. I’ve read about Longman and Eagle. There’s also The Whistler. I decided on Revolution Brewing and I LOVE their Mosaic Hero IPA. They have a wide selection of beer and the prices are not bad for craft. Chicago has other well known craft beer breweries like Goose Island. So take advantage of it and DRINK DRINK DRINK.
By the end of my twenty something hour trip to Chicago, I’ve realized that I had a great time but just as I suspected, it left me wanting more. Chicago deserves more of my time and if you like what you read above, more of yours. So go visit if you have the chance. I know I will when I do.