Can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year. Tristan and I spent New Year’s Eve 2018 in Chicago so I wanted to share all about our trip! I also linked all of my outfits at the bottom of the post!
I’ve been to Chicago 3 times in the past, but only during May and August. I was excited (and slightly nervous) to go during the winter. Luckily for us, the weather was slightly mild compared to the usual below freezing temperatures… it was in the 20s and 30s the entire time we were there. Two of the days we were there it snowed for hours and I was so happy. I absolutely love snow and wish we got more in Charlotte. We stayed at Hotel Julian, about a block from Millennium Park and the bean. It was a really new and very nice hotel and we had zero complaints. We had a nice room and it was a great price for the location. We booked through Hotel Tonight (one of my favorite travel apps!)
Day 1 – Saturday
When we arrived on Saturday, we dropped our bags off then walked to The Purple Pig in River North. It is a Spanish and Mediterranean tapas restaurant, perfect for lunch. We each had wine, the butternut squash soup, Greek cornbread, seafood saganaki, and meatballs. Everything was delicious and I highly recommend checking this place out (tip: make a reservation!) After lunch, we grabbed a glass of wine at the hotel restaurant, About Last Knife. After checking into our room, we headed to Frosty’s, a Christmas pop-up bar. Since it was after Christmas, there were only a handful of people there, and it was snowing, so the entire experience was magical! It’s the cutest, most festive place, and had the best Christmas themed cocktails. After about an hour, we headed to Bar Ramone, a Spanish tapas restaurant in River North, for dinner. That was an amazing meal and I’d highly recommend.
Day 2 – Sunday
Sunday morning we took an Uber over to Wicker Park for brunch and shopping. We ate at Kanela Breakfast Club and had the BEST monkey bread ever. After brunch we walked around the neighborhood, did some shopping, and grabbed coffee at a Starbucks Reserve Bar (such a cool setup!) We headed back to the hotel and walked over to the bean, which was incredibly crowded, as to be expected. We walked over to Maggie Daley Park to see if we could ice skate at the ribbon rink. The line was a mile long so we opted not to wait. We went to the Chicago Athletic Club to the game room bar there and had drinks. That evening we had dinner at Baita, an Italian Alps inspired pop-up restaurant at Eataly. The pasta was so fresh and delicious.
Day 3 – Monday (New Year’s Eve)
The next morning, New Year’s Eve, we woke up to pouring rain and heavy fog. We had gotten tickets to the Skydeck at Willis Tower and they were nonrefundable and nontransferable so we went anyways. When we got there, they told us it was 0% visibility up at the top but we went anyways. You could not see a single thing! It felt like being in a cloud. I thought it was pretty funny because I had been up there once before on a clear, sunny summer day. I hate Tristan didn’t get to see it so we’ll definitely go back next time!
We went to brunch afterwards at Beatrix in River North. They have really fun brunch cocktails (I had the boozy banana joe, SO good!) and delicious food. After brunch, we walked down Miracle Mile and shopped a little. We made a reservation at Duck Duck Goat for dinner at 4:45pm because that was all they had available. It was a fixed menu with 10 different courses, including dumplings, noodles, salad, soup, and dessert. It was an awesome and SUPER filling meal. Since it was cold and rainy, we went back to the hotel and hung out the rest of the night. I just barely stayed awake until midnight.
Day 4 – Tuesday (New Year’s Day)
New Year’s Day we got ready, checked out of the hotel and left our bags with them. We walked over to Wildberry Pancakes for breakfast. The meal was good but they the service was awful so I wouldn’t recommend. After breakfast, we took an Uber over to Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the country. It is free admission and neither of us had ever been so I was really excited to check it out. It was snowing and pretty empty but we had so much fun. We went over to the Conservatory and walked around in the warm, tropical gardens. After that, we walked around the Lincoln Park neighborhood, grabbed donuts at Firecakes, and then lunch at Soupbox in Lakeview East. It was snowing and just really fun to explore the neighborhoods before we had to head back to the hotel, grab our bags, and get to the airport.
It was a really fun trip and I would definitely go back during the winter, preferably before Christmas next time so we could check out more of the festive light shows and the Christmas market (it was closed by the time we got there). I hope you enjoyed my recap of our New Year’s Eve 2018 in Chicago!