Chicago Go-Tos

Chicago Go-Tos

For someone who enjoys traveling so much, coming home to Chicago is always an amazing feeling. As I  look out the window of my Uber, I always love being greeted by the skyline and know I’ve chosen a world-class city to call home. Between showing around out of town guests or receiving texts from friends asking for suggestions before coming into the Windy City, I  felt like it was time to chronicle my favorites over the past five years of living here.

Eat: If you’re coming to Chicago and you only have time to do one thing, it better be eat! I’ve been to some amazing places around the world with great food and Chicago is honestly my favorite food city. Some of my top picks include:

 

Willow Room for Brunch, RL Restaurant and Honey Butter Chicken for Lunch, and Little Goat Diner, Mott St. and Antique Taco for Dinner.

Restaurants here come and go, but the real winners stick around. Do you research first, or just come to me first. 😉

Drink: Chicago is also home to some spectacular cocktails and mixologist. Keep in mind a good drink is gonna cost you, depending on your location. The farther from the city center you go, the more affordable your drink will be. Think… $17 for the Grant Park view at Cindy’s or the $8 house punch at my favorite, The Whistler, in Wicker Park.

 

Other musts include The Broken Shaker (inside Freehand hotel), Billy Sunday in Logan Square, MoneyGun and Park & Field.

Do: You can never get bored here, another plus of the city. Even in its coldest months, there’s at least a handful of events or exhibits to check out. For a scenic views, try Field Museum, (featured pictured) the greenery around Garfield Park Observatory, or just walk around Lincoln Park Zoo!

 

For brunch and home inspiration, try Restoration Hardware and its 3 Arts Cafe.Shopping is just as good too, my personal favorites are UnaMae’s in Wicker Park, Festive Collective, and Gather Home+Lifestyle.

 

My absolute favorite part about Chicago is that it’s always changing. I’ve been here for five years and my list of new places to explore continues to grow! I’m always finding new murals to snap, bites to savor, or hidden gem bars in different neighborhoods.

Curious to hear what your favorite places in Chicago are, whether you’re a local or not! Comment them below if you’d like, just don’t forget to grab some Garret’s Chicago Mix on your next visit.

-TW

O-Canada-Duh!

O-Canada-Duh!

After traveling outside North America in high school and abroad in college, I realized I had a lot of ground to cover in my own backyard. It shocked me that I hadn’t even been to neighboring Canada after all of these years. Last summer, I wanted change that! As a kick-off to adulthood, Vancouver became my first trip to Canada and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my visit.

Celebrating college graduation, Vancouver was the perfect combination of adventure, great hospitality and fantastic food.

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I’m breaking down some highlights from my 2016 trip:

Where to stay:

Hotels ranged $200/night so it seemed more cost effective to stay in an AirBnB. It was my first experience but it was honestly fantastic! Clean, modern, and in the trendy Chinatown neighborhood, we loved having a place to ourselves. Having the option to play Netflix during downtime didn’t hurt either. I’ve attached the listing here.

Where to eat:

Bao BeiChinese is my absolute favorite cuisine, but I won’t lie, it’s because I love General Tso’s and spring rolls. This was no Panda Express. Bao Bei was a great trendy asian restaurant in Chinatown with plenty of noodles and spicy dishes and just steps away from our Air Bnb.

Miku– If you’re looking for fresh seafood and sushi, Vancouver is the place to do it. Every bite was fresh and full of flavor.

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Where to drink: 

Belgard Kitchen After a long day of tours, Belgard Kitchen was like a brewery for wine. The rosé flight was a perfect refreshing way to end a long day of touring. There’s plenty of charcuterie boards too!

The Keefer Bar- Just steps from Bao Bei and our AirBnb, The Keefer Bar had amazing and unique cocktails. You could really tell the bartender knew what she was doing, asking what flavors and liquors we preferred to craft the perfect creation.

What to do:

Granville Island Pubic Market– Plenty of shopping and local markets cover Granville Island Public Market. Lots of great gift shops and breweries are perfect pit stops in between trying lots of local fare.

Capilano Suspension Bridge– Test you balance and photography skills at this landmark. The bridge and surrounding trails are breathtaking, and there’s a great cafe serving poutine after you’ve crossed back and forth.

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Grouse Mountain– If you need to fulfill your sense of adventure, I’d suggest checking out Grouse Mountain. High above Vancouver, you’ll get a perfect few of the mountaintops while zip-lining in the summer, or skiing in the winter. You can also hike trails or watch Lumberjack themed games.

Gastown– The best shopping and dining is probably around Gastown! It’s a very scenic area, with cobblestone streets and old world charm.

I’ve chronicled every stop we made on this google map. As you can see, Vancouver is quite small, and extremely easy to travel around, by foot or even bike. **Uber was unavailable when I was there.

Keep in mind that Vancouver is quite expensive, but its kind locals and charm are worth it! It’s a great melting pot of many cities I’d been to before. Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, it’s part New York and part London with a dash of European flair and a sprinkle of Boston. It’s so uniquely like everywhere else, a tour guide told us it’s a popular filming location because it can easily be dressed as other metropolis cities. I can attest, as we walked through several filming shoots and even saw Seth Rogen on our first night out.

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So if the question is, should I visit Vancouver, the answer is … O, Cana-DUH!

-TW