Chicago: The Ultimate Girl’s Getaway Weekend
How to have the time of your life
There’s much more to Chicago than meets the eye. Although what meets the eye is pretty spectacular, with amazing architecture, creative restaurants and plenty of high-end boutiques for shopping.
But it’s not always the first city that comes to mind when planning a girl’s getaway weekend. Make it a priority on your list to spend a few days in the Windy City with your favorite girlfriends, and you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.
How to get there
Luckily, Chicago is one of the easiest cities to reach by air, train or auto. If you opt to fly in, O’Hare is the city’s biggest airport, and Midway is another option. Rental car companies abound, but opt for Silvercar if you want an experience unlike any other. Silvercar takes the hassle out of car rentals, by offering only one vehicle type – the sleek and stylish Audi A4 – in one color: silver (of course.) The rental price ranges from $49 to $89 a day, depending on when and where you rent. You download the app, scan the bar code on your vehicle's windshield, and you're set.
So far, Silvercar is in 11 locations across the US, and it’s expanding fast. Luckily Chicago is one of its available markets. Be forewarned, if you do rent a car in Chicago, typical hotel valet overnight parking fees average about $65 a night.
Where to stay
Next up is where to stay. You can’t go wrong staying at the Hotel Felix, in the heart of downtown, with its spacious rooms and trendy vibe. Next door to the Hotel Felix is the The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, which offers an outstanding rooftop bar. And if you’re seeking a bit of relaxation and peace, as opposed to the busy city atmosphere, head up the lakefront to Evanston, and book a room at the uber-luxurious Stone Porch By The Lake. This recently remodeled turn-of-the-century mansion makes you want to pack your bags and move permanently to the area. Or at least sign up for classes at nearby Northwestern University.
Where to play
It wouldn’t be a girl’s weekend without a spa treatment or two. Visit the Spa at Dana for the ultimate aromatherapy massage. It’s 90 minutes of pure bliss. If a facial is more your thing, head to the Spa at Loews and get a reviving express facial that will leave you truly glowing for your night on the town. Afterward, head to the hotel’s rooftop terrace Streeterville Social for a round of cocktails with the girls.
If you want to sightsee, head up to Oak Park to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, and don’t miss the other homes he built in the surrounding neighborhood. Another architectural wonder is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House on the University of Chicago campus. The house is practically in the shadow of the magnificent Rockefeller Chapel, which is in the Gothic Revival style.
And of course, there is Millenium Park, with its famous Cloud Gate sculpture shaped like a giant bean. Head over to the Art Institute of Chicago for a bit of culture and you’ll be amazed at the array of famous works in the museum’s collection.
Walk to the south end of the park and you’ll find Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum. You could easily spend an entire day in each of these places, so schedule your time accordingly.
One don’t miss activity is the architectural river cruise by Chicago’s First Lady. You’ll spend your time cruising up the Chicago River and discovering all the best about the history of Chicago architecture. It’s an experience for all ages.
Where to eat (and drink)
Of course, it wouldn’t be a vacation without food and drink. Specifically, pizza. Since this is Chicago. A favorite place for a casually delicious dinner is Pizza East at the Soho House Chicago. This hotel is so hip it hurts, and the members’ club is a much-sought after destination. Luckily, you don’t have to be a member to dine in the restaurant, where wood-fired pizzas include delectable toppings such as black truffle and creamy burrata cheese.
When it's time for breakfast, lunch or late night dining, head to Miss Ricky's at the Virgin Hotel. You'll get to indulge in modern comfort food in a lively environment. Choices include french toast with bourbon barrel aged vanilla maple syrup, sriracha chicken and waffles and chilaquiles, which are basically Mexican breakfast nachos.
A convenient lunch spot is the Lyfe Kitchen, with its healthy and delicious menu choices. There’s even a skinny cocktail list, so you don’t have to worry about calories when you indulge. Favorite dishes include the kale Caesar salad, the sweet corn chowder and the ancient grain stir-fry. Add a glass of cucumber mint water or a kale banana smoothie and you’re set.
And at Tavern at the Park, you’ll have a perfect view of Millenium Park if you opt for the rooftop bar. If hunger strikes, you can either order from their expansive menu, or walk around the corner to Giordano’s for a taste of true Chicago deep-dish pizza.
Whatever you decide to do in Chicago with your girlfriends, you are guaranteed of one thing – a good time. It’s the ultimate city for shopping, eating and fun.