I had a chance to take a bit of a mini vacation and visit two of my best friends from school who are studying improv for a few weeks in Chicago this summer. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, so needless to say, 3 pm Friday afternoon could not come soon enough. It took four hours (traffic into Chitown at rush hour? Not my favorite thing in the world), but I made it–and had such a great time.
There is, in my opinion, no better cure all than getting away for a few days. Without further ado, here are five of my favorite things from this trip:
1) The Lincoln Park Zoo
Two of my favorite things: cuddly animals, and free stuff. This zoo is nestled in the middle of downtown Chicago in a beautiful wooded park. The architecture alone is worth visiting, but I thankfully have friends as willing to coo over cute fluffy things as I am. Favorites included these friendly meerkats, and an adorable otter who kept swimming back up to the glass to say hi.
2) Walk it out
I am not used to public transit, but that’s the way it goes in the Windy City–and I’m not complaining. After being cooped up in traffic on my mini road trip, I was absolutely down to spend the weekend on my feet. We logged miles, walking all over the city. Favorite neighborhood to go for a stroll? Old Town, near W. North Ave and Wells. Beautiful shops, temping restaurants, and the Second City and Steppenwolf theatres all within a few blocks!
3) Millennium Park
The girls were super excited about seeing the Bean, so we bussed over to Millennium Park one afternoon. I loved pointing out all my favorite stores I can’t afford on Michigan Avenue! We took the requisite pictures at the big reflective art installation, and then found a cozy patch of grass out on the lawn to lay in the sun. I think the best relationships are the ones where you can do nothing, and still be perfectly contented. The sense of peace that lying in the grass with your best friends gives you…one of life’s treasures. Did I get sentimental enough for you? Okay. I’ll move on.
4) Watch and Learn: Improv Comedy
Chicago is regarded as the comedy capital of the country, especially when it comes to improv and sketch. I am not very well versed in either of those art forms, but I was lucky enough to watch several shows of both varieties this weekend. If you’re ever in town, don’t miss it! I would recommend the Second City and Improv Olympics. Both companies are incredible. Watching these shows made me excited to get back to school and keep on working–there’s nothing like seeing people have fun on stage to make you wanna get back up there!
Chicago has some amazing restaurants. I mostly window shopped, since I didn’t have a lot of time to eat. But I was lucky enough to have brunch at Nookies in the Old Town neighborhood, where I had the best pancakes of my life. They were simple: multigrain, with a little butter and a tiny bit of syrup, yogurt and fresh fruit on the side. But my god, were they delicious. I would have made the trip for the pancakes alone. I am absolutely going to try to recreate them in my kitchen. I don’t know if I can survive without them for long.
While all of these things were amazing, the best part of the trip was just spending quality time with my girls. I can’t wait to get back to school and have them in my life everyday!