Hello, everyone! It’s good to be back in Austin. Last week, I met up with my family in Chicago, Illinois for spring break. The trip was full of unexpected surprises, to say the least. I think of myself as a well-planned traveler. I typically do a lot of research before eating at new restaurants or seeing attractions in unexplored cities. My usual game plan is to ask for recommendations from personal friends and Instagram folks (like here), look at detailed online reviews, and search websites or other travel blogs for extra tips. I write everything I want to bring/eat/do/see down on paper and type it out on Google Doc files.

Chicago | The Bella Insider
{with Mom and Dad in The Windy City—see my mom’s hair?}

I learned from this trip that some things don’t work out the way you want them to, and it’s better to enjoy the given circumstances than be stubborn about sticking with a plan. First, my flight from Austin to Chicago was cancelled. Not delayed…just straight up cancelled! It was a surprise indeed, especially since there was no given reason for the cancelled flight. Thankfully, I had fun during my extra day in Austin, and my dad was able to get me on the first flight out the next day.

Chicago | The Bella Insider
{colors in the sky}

Chicago | The Bella Insider
{thinking face at the Chicago Midway Airport…probably looking up places to eat}

Another thing I wasn’t expecting was beautiful Lake Michigan. I’ve only ever seen pictures of the lake from my Sedimentary Rocks class, and the pictures from lecture had me under the impression it wouldn’t look very nice in person. I was so wrong. The view of the water from Northwestern University was stunning! I was able to sneak in a few pictures of the waterfront views between my sister’s information sessions:

Northwestern University Music Building | The Bella Insider
{Northwestern University’s beautiful new music building that overlooks the water}

Lake Michigan
{our windiest day yet, but the sand stood still for a second so I could take this picture}

This is the corner office of all corner offices, right?

Lake Michigan
{million dollar view of Lake Michigan and Chicago outside this meeting room}

Northwestern University itself was obviously very beautiful, too. I loved the different architecture around campus and how all the walkways are paved, unlike at UT.

Northwestern University | The Bella Insider
{the beautiful gated entrance to Northwestern University}

Since my grandma came along for this trip, it was more difficult to get around by foot because of her physical limitations. We rented a car, which helped our family get around town. I’m a car sleeper, so I unfortunately missed a lot of the nice views from my window. Whoops!

Chicago skyline | The Bella Insider
{quickly snapped this picture after visiting Cloud Gate; now on our way over to the Art Institute of Chicago}

We also ate a lot of food. A lot of food. I didn’t even get to take pictures of every meal. We most definitely got our Chicago fix of deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs (an all-beef dog on a poppy seed bun topped with chopped white onions, yellow mustard, sweet relish, a dill pickle, tomato slices, pickled peppers, and a dash of celery salt). I can see how both would be favorites if I grew up eating them. I was a huge fan of the Chicago-style hot dog. Take a look below of all the yummy eats:

Free hotel breakfast
{fueling up on free hotel breakfast}

Best ramen place
{chilly spring weather food: ramen + other delicious goods at Ramen House Shinchan}

Best deep dish pizza
{losing our deep dish pizza virginity at Pequods Pizza}
Chicago style hot dogs
{Chicago-style dogs and delicious burger at Fatso’s Last Stand; clearly the one topped with mac & cheese is mine}

hot dog topped with mac and cheese
{a closer look at my veggie dog w/ fries topped with mac & cheese}
boba drinks
{so many drink options at Joy Yee!!!}
best lattes in Chicago
{getting our afternoon latte and macchiato fix at Intelligentsia}
best sushi in Chicago
{Lawrence Fish Market has the best-quality cheap sushi I’ve ever eaten}
green tea ice cream in Chicago
{ice cream/soft serve everywhere I go…this time at re Leaf}

Even though we didn’t get to see as many attractions as we planned, our family still had a great time together. I definitely missed sharing hotel beds with my sister. She complains I take up a lot of space on the bed, but what can I say? I’m just a messy sleeper.

neat hotel beds
{the nicely made bed before my sister and I messed it all up}

We spent my sister’s 17th birthday here. I can’t believe she’s almost an adult, because in my mind, she’s still 10. She deserves the best, and I can’t wait to see God’s wonderful plans in store for her.

Chicago Travel Suggestions
{happy 17th birthday, Sophia!}

Thank you to all who contributed Chicago travel suggestions! I would love to go back and visit again…and maybe get a feel for the public transportation life there. I would love to know: do you travel with a spontaneous mind set or do you like to meticulously plan out your trips?

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  1. 3.22.16
    Unknown said:

    This looks like so much fun! Your pictures are awesome! x

  2. 3.22.16
    Sarah said:

    It was a lot of fun! Thanks for reading, Claudia! XO, Sarah

  3. 4.6.16
    Unknown said:

    I love all the food photos because that was 90% of what we did when we visited Chicago! lol

  4. 4.6.16
    Sarah said:

    Haha! How funny! Chicago is great for food. I loved everything we ate there. Thanks for reading, Jackie! XO, Sarah