When I heard one of the largest blogging conferences, BlogHer was being hosted in Chicago; I jumped at the chance to attend. I love going to big cities, and this one has been on my list of places to visit for years. Unfortunately, I did not get to do a ton of sightseeing because I was in full-blown conference mode. However, I did get snippets of time before and after the conference to see some essential Chicago attractions. Here are a few of the things I discovered during my short stint in Chicago.
The Bean at Millennium Park
Right in the heart of downtown this gorgeous park has it all, including the famous bean! My friend Merry and I stopped for a quick break in our aimless wandering to enjoy the live orchestra rehearsing for that evening’s free outdoor performance, marvelled at the surrounding reflections in the bean and admired the gorgeous landscaping around the park. Millenium Park was number one on my list of things to see in Chicago, and you won’t want to miss it either.
Shoreline Sightseeing Architectural Tour
Thanks to the great advice by my friend Mike, a few blogger friends and I hopped on the Shoreline Sightseeing Architectural Tour. The entertaining cruise host enchanted us with the stories behind the gorgeous buildings along the river. The tour lasts about an hour, and I found it to be a much-needed break after spending hours stomping around downtown without getting a chance to look up and enjoy the view. This architectural tour is a must to fully and appreciate the design and history of many of Chicago’s iconic buildings including the Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, Trump Tower and more.
My friend Merry suggested I get properly sized for a new bra at Nordstrom’s when I was complaining to her about the lack of my girls’, shall we say, oomph. I decided to check out what they had to offer. I’ve been fitted several times in my local lingerie shops as well as department stores and even in a lingerie store in Paris. They all had the same method for sizing. The store clerk asked me what size I was wearing, picked out a few sizes for me and then adjusted the straps.
When I walked into the lingerie department at Norstrom’s, the experience was significantly different. I was measured with a measuring tape and brought three bras to try on. The sales assistant put her hand inside the bra and pulled, propped and plumped the girls until they were fitted correctly. The entire process took a couple of hours. Although a lady never reveals her size, let’s just say I’ve been wearing a bra with a band that was four sizes too big and a cup two sizes too small. Nordstrom’s will be opening stores in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary this fall (yay).
The American Girl store on the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) in Chicago is every little girl’s dream come true. The 2-storey flagship store is piles upon piles of sheer girlie pink delight. There is even a restaurant on the second floor past the café and doctor’s office (for broken doll repairs). Moms, daughters and dolls (yes they have a high chair for the American Girl dolls to dine) can enjoy a meal together in the American Girl store. Dad’s can come too, but there is a LEGO store just outside the restaurant where I know my husband and son would wander off to with an eye-roll and a sigh of relief.
My daughter generally does not play with dolls. She prefers mud. So rather than purchase the American Doll that starts at $110.00 in case she didn’t show any interest, I bought a mini doll for $24.00 along with a book about the story of that doll. I picked Kit. It was the doll that looked most like my daughter and Kit is a spunky little girl whose personality seemed the best fit for MY spunky little girl. I’ve started reading her the story about Kit and noticed Netflix actually features the movie about the doll! Both my kids love to watch the video while my daughter clutches her very own Kit doll. American Girl also ships to Canada.
The Purple Pig
The Purple Pig is a tapas restaurant and bar found along the Magnificent Mile (how can you tell we spent a significant amount of time on Michigan Ave, aka Magnificent Mile?). This restaurant came highly recommended on Yelp, so we stopped in for a bite to eat. The food was melt in your mouth yummy. Most of the menu items are small but are set up to share so you can order a few different plates and have a little bit of everything. It’s a great concept and a fun way to try out a variety rather than eating one big dish. If you need a great place to grab a bite to eat try it out, you won’t be disappointed.
This all-day breakfast joint had such great food; we went back a second time for brunch on our last day. I even ended up ordering the same dish as the first day because it was so scrumptious I had to have it again. The portion sizes are enormous so you can share a plate and enjoy bottomless coffee at an affordable price. There are three locations of this Chicago chain. The one we dined at was located on East Ohio Street.
Hopefully, if you get a chance to visit Chicago, you will have more time to get in a lot more sightseeing than I managed to, but at the very least, be sure to pop into these great places in Chicago.