Getting there: Air Canada on points.
Where the 2d’s stayed: Aloft City Center Chicago thanks to Starwood Points and then Chez Uncle T’s pad in the ‘burbs. There was some sort of convention in Chicago, so the downtown hotels were mostly sold out, but we found that we could snag 2 nights on Starwood Points at the Aloft. This was my first stay at an Aloft and I’d call this brand the baby sibling of the swanky W Hotels. It’s basically for the (slightly) cheaper crowd who still want to be hip and minus the club vibe in the W lobby. We had a decent room that actually had a window that opened (bonus for a hotel room!), free wifi (another bonus!), and a free, well equipped gym (bonus again! …. you will understand why if you’ve already scrolled to the pictures below). Location was brilliant – 2 blocks from a subway station and really walking distance to everything we always hit up downtown. It was also a $10 cab ride to Union Station for when we took the train out to the suburbs, too.
Fun: So after nearly a whole month at home and more than that without being on a plane, I was itching for a change of scenery, with the kicker being it had to be cheap (i.e. just ruled out New York). So we decided that a trip to Chicago was just what we needed. Basically we had 3 days of: hit the gym, walk all over the city, find hot bargains (Hello, half price sale at Barney’s! Is that you calling my name, Nordstrom Rack?), eat terrible, but delicious foods, and just enjoy ourselves in general (not a challenge usually, and certainly not in Chicago). This time we explored some new places to eat/snack/stuff our faces: Doughnut Vault (recently voted best vanilla glazed donut in America – yep, I’d have to agree, given my penchant for donut-sampling all across the country, also note that we actually woke up early to hit this little hole in the wall before they sold out for the day), Rickshaw Republic (authentic Indonesian food – YUM), Lyfe Kitchen (who says healthy can’t actually taste delicious?), old eating favourites: Sprinkles Cupcakes, Epic Burger, Firecakes Donuts, and hung out for a bit in Lincoln Park – a neighbourhood we visited awhile ago, but haven’t been to for a few years (and sort of feels like Boston or New York in spots).
After 3 days of that pace, it was time to head out to the suburbs to do some work at Uncle T’s. I love the summer at his place – corn and alfalfa fields, lots of animals around, and great scenery for my long runs this time of year (a mix of subdivisions and then being on a country road with no one in site). And did I mention that he spoils us with tasty food including bbq and our must-have deep friend wonton night? I have my 30 km run coming up in 2 weeks – I’m pretty sure I carbed up for a couple of those, at least.
Another amazing visit to one of my favourite cities which definitely quenched my thirst for a change of scenery!