24 Hours in Chicago

millenium park in the fall

The Cubs, crisp air, and city views. These few words basically sum up the whirlwind of a day I spent last week in The Windy City! Though I was able to visit Chicago in the spring, this trip was an entirely new experience. Chicago is such a special place, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit this fall for a super special upcoming project. It goes to show how even just a day away from campus can be entirely refreshing from the normal routine. I’ll be giving you an entire play-by-play of everything I did in my 24 hours in Chicago, so keep scrolling for lots of pictures!

Tuesday, 8 AM (Austin, TX)

After asking my professor to let me take an early exam I was supposed to take on Tuesday evening, he agreed and told me to show up at his office at 7 AM that morning. Yeah…7 AM. I was like, “Say whaaattt?!” As much as I love my mornings, I love sleeping in just a tad bit more. Let’s just say I’m glad I packed my overnight bag the night before, and I woke up in time for my exam. In fact, I showed up ten minutes early! It gave me plenty of time at the airport to relax, get some work done, and watch the beautiful sunrise that morning. 

Tuesday, 10:30 AM (Austin, TX)

southwest airlines austin bergstrom airport

Our plane left right on time. This super soft, cozy cowl neck sweater was perfect for the ride. It was a bit bumpy, but I was more productive on the flight than any other flight I’ve been on. I’m typically a plane sleeper, so this was a big win for me. Fun fact: I always get a V-8 or ginger ale on the plane. Do any of you friends stick with the same plane drink? There’s just something comforting about habits like this!

Tuesday, 1:30 PM (Chicago, IL)

beautiful chicago fall trees

Since I didn’t check in any luggage and sat at the front of the plane, I arrived at Midway Airport right on time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast earlier and didn’t pack a lunch either (whoops), so I was super hungry at this point. I waited for some other ladies, Mikkaela and Alayna, to arrive, so we could head to the hotel. Once we stepped outside the airport, I was immediately struck by how gorgeous fall is in the Midwest. I made sure to quickly snap a photo from the car window.

Tuesday, 3 PM (Chicago, IL)

radisson blu aqua hotel review

Chicago traffic is just something else. After the long, but scenic drive, we finally arrived at our hotel. We stayed at The Radisson Blu Aqua, and goodness gracious it was stunning! The super swanky hotel boasted some beautiful views of Millenium Park. This might sound silly, but I fell in love with the teal carpet inside my room. The lobby also had this gorgeous gold fireplace. I charged all my devices, finished up some more work, and got ready for dinner. More pictures of the hotel below!

radisson blu aqua hotel chicago review

The view outside my room had Millenium Park on the right (pictured below!) and this track down below. If I had brought my running shoes, maybe I would’ve gone for a run…maybe. Haha!

radisson blu aqua hotel chicago review
Tuesday, 5 PM (Chicago, IL)

Once all of the ladies arrived to the hotel, we headed straight to dinner. Since I opted out of lunch to work, I was starving and couldn’t wait for dinner. We took a cab to The Hampton Social, one of the top-trending restaurants on Instagram and most definitely the trendiest seafood restaurant I’ve ever been to. I met all the girls, got to know more about our project, and enjoyed down some delicious food. There were lots of options, but I went for the most seemingly adventurous item on the menu: squid ink linguine with lump crab. Lemme tell ya…it was so tasty, and I highly recommend it. Another thing I loved were those crispy bacon, Parmesan brussel sprouts. So good. Funnily enough, the Cubs game was going on and when they scored their first home run, the entire restaurant cheered in excitement.

the hampton social chicago brussel sprouts
the hampton social chicago squid ink linguine

Tuesday, 9 PM (Chicago, IL)

ghirardelli wrigley building chicago

I was completely stuffed from dinner, but some of us suggested having a second dinner at Lou Malnati’s. Unfortunately, there was a 45 minute wait at that specific location, so we went straight for dessert at Ghirardelli. Though it’s not a Chicago specialty, this location was in the beautiful Wrigley Building downtown, and that view just cannot be beat. The eight of us shared a few sundaes and cones, and we also received some hot chocolates to go. It felt so good holding my warm cup of salted hot chocolate in my hands outside in the cold, rainy weather.

ghirardelli sundaes chicago wrigley building

ghirardelli hot chocolate chicago
wrigley building chicago view

Tuesday, 11 PM (Chicago, IL)

chicago riverwalk
We decided to head back in early, because we knew it would get pretty wild from the game. I took a small detour and got lost, but this view of the city totally made up for it. There would be a long day ahead, so I watched the game from the hotel, finished my hot chocolate, and cheered on the Cubs in the comfort of my favorite jammies and my bed.

Wednesday, 7:30 AM (Chicago, IL)

I woke up this morning feeling super refreshed and excited for the day. I had a great sleep on that super comfy bed above. Plus, the view of Millenium Park outside my hotel room was just stunning! The day was looking to be a good one, so I got ready in about 20 minutes and met all the other girls downstairs.

radisson blu aqua hotel review view

Wednesday, 9 AM (Chicago, IL)

downtown chicago

We took a quick, but beautiful walk from our hotel to the office. Unlike the day before, it was an absolutely glorious morning. Sunny with perfectly crisp air! Plus, everyone was on a high from the Cubs win. Almost every local we saw proudly wore blue under their work attire, and smiles were all around! The view from the office was also absolutely incredible.

Wednesday, 1 PM (Chicago, IL)

tavern at the park review chicago

After a morning of super exciting work, we went to lunch at Tavern at the Park. Their wild mushroom & truffle risotto was so delicious. Even though I was already full, I couldn’t get enough of each savory bite. I think us ladies can all agree we were filled to the brim after this meal.
Wednesday, 3 PM (Chicago, IL)

college bloggers millenium park the bean

Since we ate right across Millenium Park, it was only right that we took a quick visit for some photo ops. I only spent under a day with these ladies, and I can say that I already miss them dearly as we shared such fun memories and this experience together! From left to right: me, @hungrygrl_bigcity, @nicoleerenard, @thecollegedish, @bowtifullife@alaynaflan, @oliviableeker and @mikksalamatin.
the bean chicago millenium park

Wednesday, 5 PM (Chicago, IL)

chicago radisson blu aqua hotel review
After the fun photo ops, we headed back to the hotel, so we could catch our ride to the airport and fly home. The cozy fireplace was the perfect place to eat take-out deep dish, take a nap, and chit chat with everyone before we had to part ways.

I’m so glad I got to give you a little inside peek of my trip, y’all! As a student, it’s rare to get the opportunity to pack your bags and jet off someplace else without the responsibilities of books and homework. If given the chance, I think everyone should take time for themselves and experience traveling outside their own city. Unfortunately, this week of school hit me like a brick, so I had to get back to work fast! With my last lab of the semester, a major exam, an injury, the election results, and a fever with symptoms of bronchitis, it’s safe to say I want to curl up in bed for the weekend. Did you know that 10 Things I Hate About You is on Netflix? If you’ve seen my Seattle Travel Guide, you know I can’t get enough of this movie. You can bet I’ll be curled up in bed watching it this weekend! 

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Leave a Comment


  1. 11.12.16
    Molly said:

    This looks like such a fun trip and a great group of girls too! Can't wait to see the project!!


  2. 11.12.16
    Unknown said:

    I've always wanted to go to Chicago! Looks like a ton of fun and great photos!

    Kirsten – http://www.thewanderingbrunette.com

  3. 11.14.16
    Sarah said:

    It was such a quick trip, and I so wish I had more time to explore! I hope for another opportunity to visit again. Can't wait to share about the project!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  4. 11.14.16
    Sarah said:

    It's such a fantastic city. I highly recommend a trip there!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  5. 11.14.16
    Jennie said:

    I love Chicago in the fall. So glad you got to experience it!

    Sincerely, Jennie

  6. 11.14.16

    Looks like such a fun trip! I totally feel you on ordering the same drinks every time you fly, I almost always order a ginger ale! I'm from Seattle area and 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed at my rival high school! I can't wait to check out your Seattle post!

    XO, Olivia

  7. 11.14.16

    Yay! Seems like you had wonderful time, dear! Wow that dessert looks amazing!


  8. 11.15.16
    Unknown said:

    Loved reading this. Please check out my latest winter trend alert!

    Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love

    Instagram @alionawithlove

    Twitter @alionawithlove

  9. 11.15.16
    Sarah said:

    It's so beautiful. I would love the opportunity to return!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  10. 11.15.16
    Sarah said:

    Right?! There's nothing like some familiarity and comfort in ordering the same thing. That is SO cool you went to the rival high school! I love that area of Seattle. Thanks for stopping by, Olivia.

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  11. 11.15.16
    Sarah said:

    The dessert was absolutely incredible! Super yummers. Thanks for stopping by, Katya!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  12. 11.15.16
    Sarah said:

    Thanks so much, Aliona!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  13. 11.15.16
    Tijana said:

    nice post and amazing blog 🙂


  14. 11.15.16
    Unknown said:

    I love Chicago! I went there for memorial day weekend. It was amazing the nicest people ever. I think I stayed at the same hotel too

    Life is just Rosie

  15. 11.16.16
    Sarah said:

    Thanks so much, Tijana!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella

  16. 11.16.16
    Sarah said:

    It really is incredible! And I totally agree with you about that. The hotel was also amazing. I would love the opportunity to stay there again. Thanks for stopping by, Rose!

    XO from Austin,

    Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella