Chicago, 2016

You probably know by now that I’m a big fan of Chicago.

If you don’t then check out my last trip to the Windy City. I also lived there for a summer back in 2012. So many good times in this amazing city. It took me forever to complete this video (blame a college course, a full time job, changing projects, Christmas), so I would love for you to check out my Chicago video. I’m pretty sure I say this every time I make a video, but this was a nightmare to make! Unfortunately it’s not available on mobile. I’m still getting the hang of YouTube and all it’s copyright, but also, I had so much footage. I managed to eventually, ruthlessly cut it down. But it was a major struggle. I hope you like it and check out my Chicago diary below!

Day One

For the first time, ever, in my life, I missed a flight. Although it wasn’t my fault so I’m not counting it. Basically we were flying Dublin to London, then London to Chicago. We knew we were a bit strapped for time in London with just a one hour layover, so when the pilot announced that there was heavy fog in London and we were going to be delayed getting there, we knew we were going to miss our flight to Chicago. Luckily there was one just two hours later and we managed to get on that, although that was delayed by an hour too!

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When we eventually got into the city, we were greeted by a crazy thunderstorm, no cabs would stop for us, and we didn’t have umbrellas, coats, nothing! We arrived in our hotel room looking like we had swam there, great first impression. We quickly showered, changed and headed to Eately for some food, followed by drinks in Broken Shaker. From the moment I left my bed in Dublin, to the moment I got into bed in Chicago, it took 23 hours… Tired was an understatement!

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Day Two

Day two started off with breakfast in Stax cafe. If you haven’t been here, you need to go. No discussion, just do it. The most incredible pancakes I’ve ever had. We had the best morning doing some touristy stuff, visiting the Bean, having a stroll around Millennium Park, buying excessive amounts of products in Sephora.

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We ended the evening watching the sunset from John Hancock. Everyone thinks you need to be facing the sunset to get the best view, but my top tip is to sit with your back to the sunset. You’ll get to see the dreamy colours change over the city, casting long shadows over the lake, all without being blinded by the crazy bright sun.

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After an amazing dinner at The Taco Joint, and a pitcher of margaritas, we headed to Chicago Blues. The singing was incredible, the music was amazing. You definitely need to put a jazz bar on your list if you’re ever in Chicago.

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Day Three

Our friend Henry arrived into Chicago on the Friday, so we decided to head to Kanela for brunch before the parade. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the parade was for the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The parade ended up being the 7th largest gathering of people, ever! How insane is that?! Chicago was crazy, I lived there for a summer and I have never seen it like that. The streets were shut down, there was confetti and flags everywhere. There was a total carnival atmosphere.

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That evening, a group of us went to Green Street Smoked Meats for some food before heading to the Chicago Bulls to see them play. Unfortunately they didn’t win, but it was still such a fun experience!

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Day Four

The Saturday in Chicago was the whole reason we were there, the trip centered around this. We were going to see Ireland vs. New Zealand in Soldier Field. This was a huge game. We had never beaten New Zealand in our 111 year history of playing them. If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a huge rugby fan, and I was super nervous for this game.

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A group of us met up and went to Meli’s Cafe for brunch before tailgating. It was so fun walking to Soldier Field with all our Ireland flags and green clothes, but I was also internally freaking out! I can’t really describe the atmosphere, it was just so tense. At half time we were leading and I called my dad back home. He didn’t even say hi, he just told me to stop freaking out, he knows me so well!

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The second half was the longest 40 minutes of my life to be honest. I have never watched a clock like that in my life. When we won, everyone couldn’t believe it! Strangers were hugging, people were screaming, we all stayed in the stadium for ages while the team did a lap of honour. No one could believe that we were there to witness it! There was sporting magic in the Chicago air that week for sure.

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The celebrations outside were insane! If you watch my YouTube video above, you’ll see just a some of the madness. I had so much footage from that day, but there’s only so much chanting and madness you can put in a video before it becomes repetitive! I’ll never forget that day, my ticket is being framed!

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Day Five

Our final full day in Chicago, I woke up exhausted, with no voice. I would have paid good money for an IV drip of caffeine. We quickly grabbed coffees and went for a wander before meeting friends in Cochon Volant Brasserie. Really tasty food, unfortunately Jenny was robbed as we were eating. That was a bit of a downer, but after a quick trip to the police station to file a report we put it behind us. We met my friend Brent for a quick drink, and again for dinner before going to see The Naked and Famous at the Revival Theatre.

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I have been a huge Naked and Famous fan for years now. I happened to be looking at their tour dates to see if they were coming to Dublin and realised they were playing on our last night in Chicago. It was a total fluke! They were amazing in concert, I would definitely go to see them again. Side note, don’t bring a GoPro with you! I completely forgot that my GoPro was in my bag going to the concert and they wouldn’t let me into the theatre. I wasn’t going to have time to go back to the hotel and leave it there and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the concert. On a whim, I decided to go to the bar next to it, which turned out to be the Green Mill and see if they could mind it behind the bar for me. After explaining to the door guy, he agreed to mind it for me. After the concert I literally ran back to collect my GoPro! We stayed for a few drinks and listened to the music, definitely worth the panic. Big thanks to Patrick the door guy for helping me out!

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Day Six

Our last day in Chicago, and we were so tired! We packed a lot into our trip and as a result we were dragging our feet around. Note to self, maybe organise a spa day for your last day of a trip in future! One place that we were dying to go to was 3 Arts Club Cafe. It is the most stunning space I have ever been in. It was so nice to sit there, have a coffee and a bite to eat and just take in the surroundings. Well worth going to visit so put that on your list for Chicago for sure.

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We finished the day in The Purple Pig having a glass of wine before getting our bags and heading for the airport. I was flying direct to L.A, another post I hope to have for you all soon!

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Chicago is an incredible city. Winter, summer, any time of year, I’ve always had the best time. There’s so much to do and see, so many places to eat, the jazz bars, the sports (although I will admit that we happened to be there at an exceptional time by accident!), the views, the people. If you haven’t been to Chicago before, put it on your bucket list, and thank me later.

To see more photos from my trip, check out my Instagram. Big thanks to my Insta Wife Jenny for some pics too!

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