Chicago Bucket List: Chinatown

Chicago Chinatown

It is no secret that Chicago is one of the most residentially segregated cities in the nation. Throughout the city’s history, a variety of factors have lumped its residents into neighborhoods based on race, language, religion, socioeconomic status, and even sexual orientation. This is obviously problematic, and the city has attempted to implement solutions to combat this gentrification, but this segregation has also created a city full of drastically different neighborhoods, each with their own culture and personality.

Chicago Chinatown


Chicago Bucket List: Architecture Boat Tour

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

One of my favorite things about Chicago is that it’s old. When I was in Spain for a semester abroad, I was constantly amazed at the gorgeous buildings, cobblestone streets, and the immense history everything contained. Walking down the street, I could almost hear the whisper of ghosts who had walked those same streets hundreds (even thousands) of years before, and I was humbled that in another hundred years I would be one of those ghosts, just another (minuscule) piece of history.

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

When I returned to the United States, everything was suddenly mind-numbingly boring. The oldest buildings around me were built in the 1920s (if I was lucky), and my everyday sense of awe was no more. After graduating, I moved to Chicago and suddenly the ghosts of history whispered to me again. Granted, Chicago is much more young than anything in Europe, but it has a rich and colorful history of its own, not to mention a Historical Society which works to protect some of the gorgeous buildings downtown.READ MORE

Chicago Bucket List: Bobby’s Bike Hike

Bobby's Bike Hike Chicago

I have always loved biking, but it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I fell in love with biking. I finally bought myself a high-quality road bike and started calling myself a “bike commuter.” This past October, I found a groupon for Bobby’s Bike Hike “haunted” bike tour. I immediately pulled out my credit card and bought two tickets for Alex and I as a fun Halloween activity. And it was so much fun. Bobby’s provides the bike, helmet, and lights (if necessary) for the tour, but more importantly they have awesome guides who clearly love what they do. We loved the haunted tour so much that we decided to schedule a tour for when Alex’s friends were visiting. This was a new tour: the Southside Gangster Tour.

Bobby's Bike Hike Chicago


Chicago Bucket List: Big Star

One of the most coveted summertime activities in Chicago is scoring a table at Big Star‘s outdoor patio. This Mexican food/bar is plopped right in the middle of Wicker Park, and I used to pass it every day when I lived there because it is right next to the Damen blue line stop. You can’t miss it because it’s always busy. This popular hipster hot spot is even listed as a must-do on the Redeye’s Summer Checklist.

Big Star Chicago

Last weekend, after a beautiful morning spent in the Garfield Park Conservatory, I suggested we try to get a seat at Big Star since it was a perfect summer day and nothing seemed more appealing than an outdoor patio. Big Star does not take reservations, just names and phone numbers, and then they call you when the food is ready. So, we put our name in at 5pm and were told there were 90 people in front of us (this is a 30 table patio). None of us were especially hungry at the moment so we figured it wouldn’t hurt to wait a couple hours, and worst case scenario, we could go somewhere else.READ MORE

Preparing for el Camino: The Shoes

Hiking Shoes

When I was a young princess, I went shopping with my mom for a new pair of dress shoes. This was the first time I was given the choice to pick out my own pair of shoes (as long as they were black), and being the extreme girly-girl I was, I immediately fell in love with a pair of ultra-shiny flats which had bows on the straps. These shoes were especially eye-catching because you could wear the strap over the top of your foot or around the back of your heel, depending on where you wanted the bow to sit. I was so in love with them that I grabbed the display pair off the shelf (probably a size too small) and jammed my feet into them.READ MORE

Chicago Bucket List: Garfield Park Conservatory

This past weekend two of Alex’s college buddies came to Chicago for a long weekend visit. We’ve been doing a horrible job of knocking stuff off our Chicago Bucket List, but having some out-of-towners around gave us the perfect excuse to jam-pack our weekend with some of the touristy things we wouldn’t normally do by ourselves.

Garfield Park Conservatory

We decided to kick off our Saturday morning at the Garfield Park Conservatory, something we’ve been wanting to see since I lived in Wicker Park. Although it was absolutely gorgeous in Chicago and trees all over the city are flowering and leafy, it was a much-appreciated retreat to nature from our otherwise touristy weekend in the city. There’s no better mood-lifter than spending the morning surrounded by plants (even if you have horrible seasonal allergies). This would be a great little adventure in those miserable winter months, and the best part is that admission is free (donations suggested).READ MORE

Preparing for el Camino: The Map

I have mentioned several times that Alex and I are planning our trip to Spain this summer to complete the Camino de Santiago, and I’ve promised that I would discuss what exactly the Camino is in more detail, so here we go. Although the Camino is a very famous pilgrimage (with tens of thousands of pilgrims walking it each year), I have found it to be relatively unknown for those who are not adventure travelers or who do not have obnoxious friends gushing about it 24/7 (hi, my name is Caitlin).

Camino de Santiago

The first step to adventure is to choose a road.


Chicago Bucket List: Cafe Iberico

Date Night at Cafe Iberico

We’re at our two month mark of time left in Chicago. Both excited and sad to leave, we want to make the most of our time left by saying goodbye to some of our favorite places and making a point to go see the places/things we’ve always meant to before we leave. I made a rough list of things on our Chicago Bucket List awhile back, so now that the clock is ticking, we’re really going to start checking things off.READ MORE