Before school started up again, we wanted to try to get away for a quick weekend. After debating between two cities, we decided to go with Chicago. Zach lived there for a few months after college, and one of my closest friends recently moved there, so we knew we’d have plenty of suggestions of where to go. It was a PACKED 3 days. Here was our itinerary!
We arrived in Chicago around 8am and were lucky enough to be able to check into our hotel room to freshen up after our super early flight. We were starving but anxious to get started with our day, so we stopped for breakfast at Little Branch Cafe.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Field Museum. We paid extra to see The Jurassic World exhibit, which brought so much excitement to these 90s kids’ hearts. Two hours flew by while we looked at the endless animal displays, but the most fascinating were the man-eaters of Tsavo. If you have not seen The Ghost in the Darkness, it’s a MUST!
We headed to Shedd Aquarium, which was WAY overcrowded. Travel tip: if you choose to stack the museums, do the Aquarium FIRST. My friend Ashley recommended Pickwick Coffee, so we stopped there on our way back downtown. It was tucked away in what felt like an alley, and had the most instagrammable storefront!
The weather was beautiful for strolling, so we decided to walk until we became too tired to go on. We ended up covering ALL of the Magnificent Mile and ended up at Eataly for dinner. If you read our New York post, you know we visited Eataly three times in one weekend and absolutely loved it. By the time we were finished for dinner, our feet were aching, and we felt exhausted. We had racked up 30,000 steps on the first day. HUGE MISTAKE!
After waking up, we hit a quick 30-minute upper body workout, because our legs were too tired from all that walking the day before. We walked through the CUTEST area called Maggie Daley park, saw the Bean, and grabbed coffee at Dollop.
After coffee, we walked to Navy Pier. I was fully envisioning a pier similar to the Fairhope pier, which is maybe 25 feet across. My mistake. This one is super famous for a reason. We walked and walked until it was time to meet my friend for brunch. One of her suggestions was Beatrix, which I had read about on multiple blogs. We enjoyed our food SO much that we considered going back for brunch the next day…and dinner the next day. It was the cutest atmosphere, and all three of us inhaled our meals. Hands-down a place to visit. I mean, just look at these desserts! We took home three.
We took a rest at our hotel, before it was time for church. We knew we were having dinner near Lincoln Park, so we scouted out St. Vincent de Paul, which was gorgeous. Dinner was at Mon Ami Gabi, which is known for steak frites. From the beautiful outdoor seating, the food, the drinks, and the DESSERT, this place was 10/10.
For our last day, we ventured back down to Toast in Lincoln Park. We got our own breakfasts and split the strawberry/cinamon crepes (with Nutella), which was life-changing. For our coffee stop, we checked out La Colombe, where I got a latte ON DRAFT. It was incredible. We checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo, but the weather was ominous and many of the animals were still inside. We walked ALL along the lake from Lincoln Park to the John Hancock building…and continued walking. Eataly was our lunch spot of choice, partially due to our location, and partially due to my gelato craving. We racked up another 28,000 steps before it was time to the leave to the airport.
If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen some insta stories or posts about our weekend in New York. Zach was there for two weeks for job training, and I decided to capitalize on that trip! I had three days in the city, and Zach was able to sneak away for two of them. This was my first time to New York, so please excuse my fascination with certain landmarks.
I arrived to our hotel about noon, and it was 38 degrees and raining. This NOLA/TX girl does NOT do cold or wet, but I was desperate to get started, so I threw on my barbour jacket and grabbed my umbrella. You can see how rainy and grey it was in these pictures of Times Square.
After walking the wrong direction three separate times, I finally got to fifth avenue. I figured this was a safe activity to do without Zach, because I’d surely want to take my time in each and every store. Around 2, my hunger caught up with me. Because I don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, I was a little limited as far as the temptation to grab a slice of pizza or pop into any restaurant.
Ralph’s Coffee came through. I found warmth and peace inside this second-floor coffee shop inside Ralph Lauren on 5th and 55th street. It was so precious that I had to bring Zach back later in the weekend.
I joked on my Insta story that I was on a quest to eat all the pastries in New York. I really did my best. The most enjoyable was the marble cupcake from Magnolia Bakery inside Bloomingdale’s. Yup, I was that girl standing alone at a countertop with a fork and a cupcake, as happy as could be! After shopping from about 1:30-6:30, I met Zach at the hotel to trek to dinner at Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant.
We had to stop in Times Square in the daylight to take a selfie, and thank goodness it was NOT raining on Saturday-just brutally cold : )
We hiked three miles down to Cafe Clover in West Village. This was by far the best meal I ate all weekend. I had sweet potato latkes with poached eggs & a kale/tomato side. It was the cutest atmosphere, and we loved all the windows.
After brunch, we headed down to the 9/11 fountains and museum. This was an experience to say the least. We found ourselves somber throughout the entire experience but saw/heard so many stories and recordings that we hadn’t heard before. We loved reading the stories of countless heroes during the entire situation.
We wandered right across the way to the shops in Brookfield Place and discovered Le District. WOW! This place is like a French Eataly. We were enamored and couldn’t get enough. We went straight to Eataly after that (for more food, obviously) and Century 21 and a bunch of shops in Soho.
Dinner on Saturday night was at The Little Beet Table. It’s an entirely gluten-free restaurant. The food was amazing. We stopped at the Flatiron Eataly just to round out the night and make sure we saw more than one.
After watching Eloise at the Plaza COUNTLESS times as a kid, I had to drag my husband to the Plaza Hotel for brunch. We ate at the Palm Court, and it lived up to my expectations.
After we went back to the hotel to change and pack up, we decided to revisit some of my favorites on Fifth Avenue on our way to Central Park. We stopped back in at Ralph’s Coffee, because Zach wanted to see it, and I wanted to actually order coffee! We made our way to Central Park, where the weather felt ten degrees warmer in the sun. It was such a beautiful oasis, and SO overpacked. We wish we could have spent more time exploring the whole park.
I keep saying that I could go back for three more days and do completely different activities. There were so many things that we wanted to accomplish but didn’t have the time for. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions on what should go on our list for our next trip to New York! You know I’m already working on a second trip!
We were itching to get away for a short weekend trip, and Austin was where we settled.
We started our trip by stopping at Common Grounds, which is undoubtedly one of the best coffee shops in Texas. I mean, just check out the menu. It’s in Waco, a city about halfway between Dallas and Austin. They have a great coffee menu and fantastic indoor/outdoor seating.
Once we got to Austin, we went to Forthright Cafe. The weather was chilly, but we were starving. We offered to sit outside in order to get a table faster, but we were FULLY freezing. The food was delicious.
We spent most of the afternoon shopping. When we got to the Domain Northside, where we were staying, we couldn’t believe how many new stores & restaurants went in since the last time we visited. The Nordstrom was absolutely incredible and even had a Zella section for men!
Dinner was at an adorable restaurant called Epicerie. Based on the menu and reviews, we were expecting this place to be crowded. It wasn’t at all. Zach ordered the tri-tip, and I ordered the chicken thighs and requested broccoli.
On Sunday, we fit in a quick workout at the hotel gym, walked ALL AROUND downtown Austin (11,000 steps worth), and brunched at Austin Java. No trip to Austin would be complete without Jo’s Coffee either.
There is not time in a weekend to visit all the amazing shops, restaurants, and active opportunities that Austin has! We can’t wait to get back soon. Any suggestions for things to do in Austin next time?