Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicago Bucket List #CoCoInChicago

Next week I will be getting on a plane to Chicago. I grew up in the suburbs about 30-45 minutes from the city. I loved going downtown to visit the museums, zoos, parks, fountains, beaches, attractions. 

See the follow up post to my trip HERE.

I moved to Arizona back in 2000 and I have only been back to visit a couple of times. My last trip to Chicago was over Christmas in 2011.

This trip is scheduled around the SoFabUotR conference on July 9th. I attended my first conference a little over a year ago in Phoenix. I made it a goal to attend the Chicago conference and I made it happen. I fly into the city on Wednesday, July 6th. 

I will only be in Chicago for 4 days and 4 nights. With one day for the conference and traveling time that only leaves 2.5 days for cramming in as much as I can. I decided to write up my own bucket list for my trip.


The first place I want to go for Chicago food is Portillo's. They finally opened a location in AZ but it was after I moved 150 miles north of that neighborhood. Something about having a great Chicago Dog in Chicago makes it taste even better. There is a location about a mile from my hotel so I am sure I will make it over there for an extra piece of chocolate cake before I leave town.

As I was mapping out my trip on Google maps, I saw Cupcake ATM listed a few blocks away. It turns out that Sprinkles actually sells cupcakes from a machine. I think I will have to check that out.

Donuts! I miss having yummy donuts from a bakery or donut shop. In AZ, there aren't anything besides chains and grocery stores. I am planning to check out The Doughnut Vault before I get on the train to visit my mom. 

My brother told me that the line for The Doughnut Vault wouldn't be worth the time. Instead I went to two different locations of Glazed and Infused while I was in the city. I loved the donuts I bought. They even had some mini donuts for $1 that I shared with some blogger friends at the conference. 

Attractions and Locations to Visit:

Willis Tower Skydeck - I went up to the 103rd floor as a child. Back then it was called the Sears Tower. Since I moved away, it became The Willis Tower and they added THE LEDGE. I am excited to stand in the glass box and see the city from a unique perspective that I never could (or would) have done as a child. (I am receiving a free ticket to the Skydeck in exchange for mentions on my social media channels.) 

Photos– Courtesy of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower

Millennium Park is where you can find Cloud Gate (aka The Bean,) Crown Fountain, Boening Galleries, Wrigley Square and Millennium Monument, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

You can even download a free app to see the day's events Google Play or Apple Store.

Transportation and Lodging:

O'Hare airport can be overwhelming in size but the amentities and artwork are amazing. After I collect my luggage, I will be heading to the Metra Train. I can ride all the way downtown and be a few block from my hotel. 

When I head out to the Willis Tower, Historic Water Tower, and to Michigan Avenue I will be using the Chicago Water Taxi to get around. I am hoping to get some great photos from the river as I float to my next destination. (I received some complimentary day passes for my trip.) Wendella Sightseeing, Co. Inc., a Chicago family owned and operated business is entering it's 80th season as one of Chicago’s premier sightseeing and tourism venues.

The first half of my trip I will be at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza on the river. 
After having my first reservation canceled with a billing error, I called the Front Desk to rebook my room. The reservations agent was rude and short with me on the phone. I finally agreed to an additional $30 per night charge since I needed to have a hotel room when I arrived. Hours later I still had not been sent a confirmation email. I called back and spoke with John at IHG Rewards. He let me know that there was NOT a reservation set up for next week. He apologized for the trouble and got my room booked. I am still paying a higher rate than I wanted to because no media rate was given. Hopefully my stay will prove to be better than the customer service given over the phone. 
The views from the hotel should be amazing. The lobby is on the 15th floor! IHG and Holiday Inn did reply on social media and have said they are confident I will be taken care of during my stay. I promise to update after I check in. Also, I currently have the IHG Rewards app downloaded to my phone to track my reservation and reward points. 

The second half of my stay will be at The Westin Michigan Avenue. The SoFabUotR conference is being held here so there will be a lot of bloggers in the halls. I am getting to share the room with a couple bloggers that I follow online. It will be nice to finally meet them in IRL.


The Field Museum Shop is located at O'Hare airport. I won't be able to make it to the museum but I HAVE to bring a dinosaur present home for Sam. 

The Magnificent Mile is filled with shops, hotels, restaurants and historic sites. 

Dylan's Candy Bar  
Alex and Ani  
Disney Store

Water Tower Place Shops which includes a Lego Store. I hope to find something specific to Chicago for the boys. 

The State Street Macy's Store has the only licensed official visitor center in Chicago. I will be taking a mini tour of the visitor center and will share all the details during my trip. Look for some live social shares while I am there next Thursday or Friday. This historic store was once Marshall Field's and housed the kitchen that made my beloved Frango Mints. 

Future Plans:

I am hoping to schedule a trip for the boys and I to visit Chicago. I want to ride the train and see the towns go by. I hope to check off all the above items plus add these additional spots.

Field Museum
Museum of Science and Industry
Shedd Aquarium
Adler Planetarium 
Lincoln Park Zoo
Art Institute of Chicago
Cubs Game at Wrigley Field 

What are you favorite places in Chicago? Make sure to follow me on all of my social media channels for updates during my trip. Search CoCoAndTwins to find me online. Follow the hashtag #CoCoInChicago to keep updated.

Twitter Facebook Page Personal Facebook Instagram