Vacation in Chicago: I left my heart in the Windy City.

Vacation in Chicago: I left my heart in the Windy City.

Chicago and I have a love affair. No matter how much time you spend in the city you can always stumble across something new. For me, every trip is entirely different from the last as I try to focus on a new neighborhood. This time we focused on the up-and-coming Wicker Park and knocked out some "touristy" spots that I had always been too stubborn to visit. 

Holiday Jones
Holiday Jones
Holiday Jones room

Holiday Jones is conveniently located on W. Division in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. When you step out of the front door you're within walking distance from live music and nightlife, amazing eats, and art. Whether you're looking for a latte and some tasty macarons (Alliance Bakery) or to dig through records (Reckless Records) this neighborhood has you covered. When you want to hop downtown to take care of some of the must-see tourist spots all you have to do is walk a block and hop on the "L". The hostel has an accompanying cafe and a guest lounge in the basement if you need to pass some time before check-in but you have the option of dropping off your luggage if you can't wait to explore. The staff were hip to the neighborhood and gave some awesome recommendations on where to go. This was my first stay at a hostel and I am definitely hooked.

The Bean Cloudgate

If you're debating between the Skydeck and 360 Bar the views are both breathtaking but the glass boxes of Skydeck and their panoramic view of the city hold more appeal than 360's Tilt. The Bean and the sprawling Buckingham Fountain are both a visitor's "must-do" and are within walking distance of the Tower. Shedd Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry are great family-friendly spots but are something I probably could have passed on. It is worth noting that the Museum of Science and Industry is located at one of the original sites of the Chicago World's Fair, something I was definitely interested in seeing after reading The Devil in the White City, but the interior of the building is completely modern. 

Field Museum
Field Museum

It took three trips to Chicago for me to get inside Field Museum and after now I regret not stopping by every time I've been. Getting to see Sue alone makes the admission price worthwhile but there is certainly no shortage of things to see. The exhibits are captivating, informative, and appeal to all age groups. The temporary but extensive exhibit on tattoos was a personal favorite.

Chicago is home to some of the most talented street artists. JC Rivera, The Bear Champ, and Joseph "Sentrock" Perez were two that I discovered and fell in love with this trip. After oogling the painted walls make sure to pop by Galerie F on N. Milwaukee for a pint-sized piece or print to take home, wherever that may be.

Jeremy Piven once said "My heart beats differently when I'm in Chicago. It slows down and I feel more at ease." I think Jeremy nailed it.

Laura is a native St. Louisan giving you the front row view by photographing your favorite artists.