For as long as I can remember I've loved Chicago. I'm not sure when my love affair with Chicago started, but I do know that it's still a very strong and passionate love affair despite my mother's hopes and wishes that it would fade. She HATES Chicago and even though I'd be a few hours away by train or car she still to this day asks me not to live in Chicago because it terrifies her. I chose to respect that request but every time I visit Chicago it gets harder and harder to not stay.
Chicago is just so full of life and movement, sounds and smells. Some of those smells are gross, I'll be the first to admit, but I can't help but love the chaos and excitement that comes from being in a big city despite being a country girl at heart, or so I tell myself.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to explore Chicago for a day with three great friends that I made on my last travel assignment in Elkhart, Indiana and we had a BLAST! We started the day by catching the South Shore Line train in South Bend, Indiana and taking it into the city which was a blast by itself. It was also a bit chaotic as Hailey missed the train and had to meet us at a different stop along the route, but that's just part of the adventure. I 100% thought that was going to me and am eternally grateful it wasn't by the way.
When we reached the city Seth was our official map keeper and he navigated for us as I have a TERRIBLE track record with trains in Chicago in the past. We left the train station and went up into the city and it was a GORGEOUS day, so we enjoyed our walk to the Bean and all the sights and sounds of the city. I was sad that we weren't able to go up to the Bean for pictures, but I finally got to check seeing the Bean off my Bucket List which was great! The only sad part was that I wanted a handstand picture in the middle of the Bean, so I guess I have to go back for that eventually when COVID restrictions are no more. Such a hardship, I know.
After the Bean we made our way to a coffee shop that I had found on Yelp and wanted to try and we were not disappointed! We stopped in to Goddess and the Baker at their location by Millennium Park and not only was it an adorable coffee shop, but the staff was so awesome, and the atmosphere was absolute perfection. Not to mention our drinks were straight FIRE. I ordered their glitter latte because I'm a basic white girl and I had to do it for the 'gram. I wasn't expecting the latte to be as delicious as it was but it was truly yummy! Seth told the barista to "fuck me up" and the barista delivered 100% with a spicy and yet smooth latte. Hailey got the same thing as Seth and again, it was surprisingly good for being so spicy! Unfortunately I don't remember what Taylor got, sorry Taylor!
After grabbing coffee we wandered around the city more and then hopped on the CTA to head to the zoo! I love the fact that the CTA exists and that it's easy transport all around the city so you don't need a car to travel. I hate dealing with parking and one way streets in big cities and you always have one way streets in big cities. It's annoying. Once we got to our stop we hopped off and ventured to the Chicago Zoo which is also a really great part of Chicago because it's free admission year round! Unfortunately some things weren't open while we were there between COVID restrictions and then renovations that were in progress, but when the renovations are complete and COVID restrictions are no more I can't wait to go back again.
After the zoo we wandered the city more just exploring and taking in all of the sights and sounds of the city and the warm weather before stopping for tacos and more coffee, though not together or from the same place. And then, of course, we wandered the city more until we ended up back at a CTA stop and we hopped on the CTA to take us back to Millennium Park and then to the South Shore train stop to head back home. It was a short day, but it was such a fun day and one that I"ll remember forever. Especially Seth cussing a cop out, Hailey missing the train initially, everyone worrying about me falling when I climbed on things to take pictures, and the zoo not having goats for us to pet.
Of all the places that I've traveled to Chicago remains one of my favorite to return to and explore any time of the year. The more that I explore the more that I fall in love and the more that I return the better I get at navigating the city. It's a forever love affair and I can't wait for my next trip to Chicago to continue falling more in love.