As we enter another school year, I am already reflecting on the little things we do during the semesters to help relieve some of the stress that inevitably builds up. Last school year for spring break we carved out two days to spend in Chicago. As teachers, our spring break isn't the kind of break the students get. We are usually using that week to catch up on grading and class prep and the multitude of other things that go on behind the scenes for teachers. But we also realize that we need to recharge if only for a day or two.
Winter in Chicago is actually pretty great. I mean, I don't necessarily recommend January--it can be wicked cold and windy (the above photo was taken during a January trip a few years ago when the windchills were -30℉ 😉)-- but March is totally doable. It is brisk and windy but there is something refreshing about walking the streets and riverwalk or lake with the crisp air rolling in from the water. Also, staying in Chicago is much cheaper in the winter compared to the summer.
For this particular trip we managed to snag a room at a bed & breakfast we had toured during an architecture event. The Publishing House Bed & Breakfast is located in the West Loop area in a renovated 100+ year old building. The renovation is perfection. The space is inviting, relaxing, and chic all at the same time. You can't help but want to hangout in the common spaces. The breakfast options were varied from one day to the next and delicious no matter what you chose. The owners were interesting and friendly. We will definitely be back to stay again at some point. Check out the video ☝︎ for a quick tour and some of our other stops in the city.
Since this was a recharging trip, we walked around the city and toured some open-to-the-public architecture and free art galleries. Art and architecture feeds our souls and we often make time for jaunts like this in Chicago. We also chilled in front of a fire place with cocktails at the London House after a cold walk from the West Loop to Downtown. If you have never been, take the elevators up to the 21st floor which is the indoor lounge/bar and find a cozy spot there or make your way up to the rooftop bar if the weather is nice. You can't get to the rooftop via the main elevator. You either have to change elevators on the 21st floor or take the stairs up from there. Even if the weather is less than inviting and the rooftop bar is closed you can still pop up to see the view--which is totally worth it. There are plenty of amazing indoor spaces to spend those cold winter days in. We also love the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel's main lobby on the 2nd floor. You can cozy up on a couch with a drink in a dim corner or have some fun in the game room.
Of course, we ate amazing food per usual. When in Chicago, stay away from big chain restaurants and find the more unique options. The West Loop where we were staying is a food mecca and it is hard to go wrong there. I recommend Leña Brava, High Five Ramen, Green Street Meats, Little Goat, avec for starters. We still have a lot of places to try in that area so if you have a recommendation, let me know!