I thought I’d do a short post highlighting a little bit of our Chicago trip!
The only running I did while in Chicago was the marathon. We planned to sightsee on Saturday morning, so I knew I’d get a lot of walking in which meant I didn’t really need a shakeout run. We did walk along the lakefront trail which is obviously an iconic spot to run.
Eating in Chicago was great! We arrived on Friday evening and just wanted something quick. My husband had been craving tacos all week, so we decided to look up if there were any near our hotel. We landed on Flacos Tacos which was a short walk from our hotel. This was the perfect spot for us on Friday night. It was a casual atmosphere, the staff was friendly, and dinner was inexpensive. We both had two tacos and my husband had a beer while I just had water.
Saturday morning we took advantage of the free continental breakfast at our hotel. This wasn’t that lame breakfast with bagels, boxes of cereal, and a banana. Saturday morning they had French toast and sausage. They had a permanent Belgium waffle station, fruit, cereal, muffins, hardboiled eggs, and other things! I didn’t eat there Sunday morning, but my husband did, and Monday morning before we left we grabbed a quick bite there, too. That morning they had scrambled eggs and pancakes.
Saturday for lunch we took a recommendation from a friend in the city and got sandwiches from Cafecito. My husband had the Pollo Chipotle and I had the La Costa and they were both awesome!
We had booked a reservation for the pre-race dinner about two months before at an Italian place called Quartino. There are a ton of great Italian places in Chicago, but this one was an easy walk from our hotel, had good reviews, and took reservations, so we picked it! They make fresh pasta which was absolutely delicious. The food is supposed to be family-style, but we found the portion sizes to be small enough that we each were able to order what we wanted and finish it on our own. I did have a little wine with dinner to calm my nerves.
After the race on Sunday, we had made plans to meet up with some friends at Cheesies. If you’re from the Richmond area, my friend that suggested the place described it as, “Sticky Rice, but with grilled cheese.” And that’s pretty much what it was, tots and all! They have multiple locations and we went to one closer to where my friends live, outside of downtown. It was a cheap and easy Uber ride there and back and nice to get out of downtown for a little bit. This was a great post-run meal, especially since I’m always looking for grilled cheese or mac & cheese. They actually have a grilled cheese made with mac & cheese, but I just kept it simple. We also had a few beers here and enjoyed hanging out.
This was a late meetup, about 4pm, so we didn’t really have a formal dinner on Sunday night.
I didn’t do much drinking on this trip for obvious reasons! We visited the Signature Lounge on Saturday afternoon for the views (“Best view is from the women’s restroom.” – My friend, Chad) and my husband had a cocktail while I sipped on some sparkling water.
The race offered Goose Island Beer afterward, but I couldn’t stomach it so my husband drank it. Later Sunday night, we met up with another of my friends for drinks who lives in Chicago. The place we intended to go to was small & didn’t have any seats, so we just headed over to Emilio’s Tapas Restaurant and sat outside to have some drinks.
Another thing I love after really long runs is a good margarita, probably because of the salt, and Emilio’s did not disappoint. I was posting an Instagram story while we were there and saw that Kathryn from From Dancing to Running had just posted from the same place, so I really creepily went inside to congratulate her on her race. But hey, for us to end up at the same restaurant in all of Chicago, I couldn’t not say hello! (Sorry for being creepy, Kathryn!)
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Magnificant Mile. I booked our hotel through the Chicago Marathon rooming website for a “discounted” rate. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone traveling to Chicago, but especially for the marathon.
It was easily walkable to many restaurants, stores (like Walgreens &Trader Joes!), tourist attractions like The Bean and John Hancock building. It was a short walk to the red line, or if you hate the red line as much as we did, just an easy mile-ishwalk down to the orange line on the loop. Race-wise, it was about a mile walk down to the start/finish area. It was also right across the street from the Nike store which meant getting to skip the craziness of trying to buy gear at the expo and free medal engraving post-race. It also meant a one block walk to pick up the free shuttle to/from the expo.
Like I mentioned, the hotel had a great free continental breakfast and the dining area for the breakfast was really spacious. It also had free wifi, a comfortable bed, and quiet, clean rooms. We didn’t have a car, but I heard parking is expensive which it is in any city. Honestly, there’s really no reason for a car, so if you can avoid driving I highly recommend that.
That’s about it! We obviously went sightseeing and my husband had been to Chicago twice before so he already had some things planned for us to see. We didn’t quite get everywhere we would have liked, but we crammed a lot into our short weekend and really enjoyed ourselves.