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A PHOTO ESSAY: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Chicago, Illinois, is a city we have visited many times over the years, but most of our visits have been prior to our travel blogging days. Because of this, we have only written a couple of posts on the Windy City, so it was about time for a return visit. Chicago is located an easy 6 hour drive from our home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and even though we only had a couple of days open in our schedule and the weather was cloudy and overcast, we still packed in quite a bit of fun!
The whole trip started with my childhood obsession with the TV show, Saved By The Bell. There is a pop-up restaurant called Saved By The Max (based on the restaurant in the show) that opened in Chicago last summer, and I was dying to visit. Since it is a temporary restaurant that is only open until the end of May 2017, I just couldn't resist making reservations. We will share lots more about our super fan experience at "The Max" in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!
In addition to our cheeky dinner plans, we indulged in plenty of delicious meals, coffees and treats around the city. We also had Chicago CityPASS booklets courtesy of Choose Chicago which enabled us to visit the Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower, 360 Chicago at the John Hancock Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Unfortunately, we couldn't visit all five stops offered by the City Pass on this visit, but we certainly made a good dent in one day!

Here's a look into our two days of adventures in Chicago:
Our first stop was lunch–we wanted something quick, cheap and Chicago style, so we stopped at the much discussed Superdawg Drive-In. I tried the traditional Chicago Dog and Micah ordered a double cheeseburger. Stuffed in a small box with fries, the Chicago Dog came on a poppy-seed bun and was topped with golden mustard, onions, piccalilli, a dill pickle and a hot pepper. We both enjoyed our picks and it was a good, cheap lunch served in a fun style. We had two nights in Chicago, and we ended up basing ourselves at the Urban Holiday Lofts in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Urban Holiday Lofts is a funky hostel with a fun design, and we booked a private room with a shared bathroom. The location was perfect for exploring the Wicker Park neighborhood, which was an area I had been wanting to check out on several of our past visits.
After settling into our room, we set out on a walk to get ourselves a treat at Katherine Anne Confections. I had my eye on their drinking chocolate flight, and wow…it was amazing! We couldn’t decide on which flavors to get so Micah ordered a small glass of the semi-sweet drinking chocolate with a homemade cinnamon sugar marshmallow. I wanted to sample a few varieties so I picked the flight with Salted Caramel, Mexican Hot Chocolate and the Grapefruit Maple Coconut drinking chocolate. Each cup came with special toppings and marshmallows, and the chocolate was so creamy, rich and smooth; it was divine. Although it was a close call, I think the Mexican Hot Chocolate was my favorite—I loved the subtle but spicy kick! Next time we visit, I have my eye on their creative line of truffles!
On our walk back to the hostel, we stopped at The 606, which is a multi-use trail and park that spans 2.7 miles. The path was built along an abandoned rail line, and now it’s a great spot in the city to go for a walk or bike ride. All too soon, it was time for dinner at Saved By The Max. I was so excited I could barely contain myself, but after all the food we had already consumed that afternoon, I wasn’t exactly hungry. We had a three course meal and ended up boxing up more than half of it—we were just too full! Thankfully the food was good, especially for a restaurant where the atmosphere is the main draw, and we had a blast pretending we had time traveled to the 90’s with the crew of my favorite childhood TV show. The restaurant looked just like it did in the show and the attention to detail was absolutely fantastic—I couldn’t stop laughing and singing along to the songs blaring over the loudspeakers.
The next morning we wandered around the neighborhood and did some window shopping before making our way to the Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea for breakfast. I can never resist ordering a flight when there’s one on the menu—I love sampling a variety of options—so I ordered the coffee flight and we tried a few different blends of coffee. To eat, I had the breakfast tacos and Micah ordered the oatmeal—both great choices!After breakfast we made our way to downtown Chicago and picked up our Chicago CityPASS booklets. Since the weather was still overcast and slightly rainy, we made our way to the Art Institute of Chicago to check out some art. I have been wanting to visit this museum for years, so it was fun to finally make it inside! I loved gazing at the fantastic collection of Impressionist paintings, as well as all of the other galleries we had a chance to walk through.