This will be considered mine & Hung’s first extended weekend trip we always talked about doing. Chicago was chosen random only because my coworkers just happened to be talking about Chicago a lot during the time we were trying to figure out where we should go.
Apple & Hung came over then Dad dropped all of us off. Pokemon on the flight!? Just for a bit before take off.
We rented a car which was not the original plan but turned out much smarter than not – words of advice: don’t be cheap – we were originally going to take public transportation around to save money but in the end, we would have been miserable not staying in the city and having to commute for an hour by train and bus one way on vacation. Although we had to spend a little more renting a car, paying for parking and gas, we were definitely a lot more stress-free than if we didn’t.
I’ve never used Hotwire before but my coworker was telling me that she has used it many times and always saved money and liked the hotels she stayed at – you just have to do a little research before you book. Tips for using Hotwire’s secret hotels option:
- Search the general area where you want to stay at
- Pick the hotel you are interested in
- You are provided with the area’s name, hotel rating (stars), price and in my case, I was given distance from the airport
- Go on TripAdvisor
- Search the area and filter by number of stars
- With the results and other information given, you should be able to narrow down the hotels and if you like all of them, it doesn’t matter which one it turns out to be
In my case, the hotel I thought it would be turned out to be the one we booked! But we did not stay in the main city so there weren’t as many hotels to narrow down from. I’m sure trying this for hotels within the big city may be harder to narrow down but it is worth a shot. We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Skokie and absolutely loved it! As soon as you check-in – physically – you are offered warm chocolate chip walnut cookies! When you check-in on Yelp you will also get a deal to redeem a free cookie. Let me share a secret with you! You can ask for as many cookies as you want at any time during your stay!
My favorite part about this hotel is their pool. It may look small in the photos online and at first glance. It says on their website they have an indoor and outdoor pool but it is actually 1 big pool! A divider comes down the middle but only up to the water level – you can swim under or pick up the flap to go in and out! SO COOOL! And because we were not that close to the city, we had the pool all to ourselves for 2 days. It seemed like this hotel is more for business people or smaller families. I would love to stay at this hotel again when I come back.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Lincoln Park Zoo
Paleteria Arco Iris
St. Alp Teahouse
Grandma J’s Local Kitchen
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters River North
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Oh and did I forgot to mention? We were delayed 2 hours on our way home – we were also there 2 hours early which makes the wait 4 hours. Apparently O’Hare Airport is known for that. No one told us why we were delayed and when we asked the people at the booth, they didn’t know either. But in the end, we all really enjoyed the trip. It has to have been one of the more relaxing ones.
Until next trip!