Chicago on a Budget | The Geneva Convention: Chicago on a Budget

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicago on a Budget

Strawberries and Champagne
Home cooked steak dinner
Home cooked steak dinner

James and I officially hit two years together back in February! It's awesome. You know what sucks about it? 19 months of those two years have been at distances of varying lengths. We never seem to be on our own, whether it comes to roommates or our families. I think in the future we'll be perfectly happy to cook a nice dinner in and spend some quality time for our anniversary celebration, but since that's literally impossible right now, we have traveled instead. Last year, we spent time in the Hudson River Valley; this year, we went to Chicago.

I spent so much time in Chicago as a kid that at one point it felt like a second home to me -- a second home that was actually a hotel, kind of like Eloise. It had been a couple years since my last visit, though, and this was James' first time in Chicago, assuming we exclude O'Hare and Midway.

I plan to post in more detail about some of the things we did in the next couple of weeks, but for now, here's an overview of our trip and some of the things we did to make it affordable:

We stayed at an AirBnB in Lincoln Park, which I highly recommend. When we take trips together we almost always do AirBnB -- it allows us to bring and cook some excellent meals, it gives us more space than a typical hotel room, and it's often more affordable. 

We traveled during the off-season. Chicago's weather is far from pleasant in February, but we both know how to handle the cold. That's not to say that it wasn't a little frustrating wandering around the Lincoln Park Zoo in a blizzard, but I'd definitely take that over paying two to three times as much for lodging. We also went during the week, which made crowds at tourist stops virtually non-existent and reservations unnecessary.

We ate at a couple of restaurants and coffee shops (and got a deep-dish pizza at Giordano's), but brought all our breakfast food and two of our three dinners from home -- the first of which is pictured above, and was fantastic. A combination of easy-to-prepare and good-the-next-day dishes as well as a few snacks got us through nicely, and meant that we could splurge on a night or two out without feeling too guilty. More on that later, though.

We did some typical tourist things -- Millenium Park; the Cultural Center; Lincoln Park; the Magnificent Mile. We also did some wandering and window shopping and pointing out of things I remember from my childhood. And of course, we spent some quality time at Trader Joe's and in our apartment because that's what anniversaries are for!

It was a fantastic visit and I can't wait to tell you more over the next couple of weeks!

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