The Ultimate Guide To Summertime Chicago

The Ultimate Guide To Summertime Chicago

What to eat, what do to, and everything in between!


When in Chicago, you might wonder.. what to do? Where to go? What to eat? Where to stay? Well have no fear, I have it all figured out for you.


Chicago has so many AMAZING places to eat. Honestly it's hard to decide to where to go. These are some MUST have places to eat that you absolutely need to try out.

1. Portillos

Portillos Buena Park

This is hands down my favorite place in Chicago. NOTHING beats cheese fries, a chocolate cake shake and a cheeseburger. Or a Chicago style hotdog. Or an Italian beef. Just remember, if you put ketchup on your hot dog, you will be shunned.

2. Deep Dish Pizza

You can't go to Chicago and not have Chicago style pizza, otherwise it's like you didn't even go to Chicago. My personal favorite is Lou Malnatis, but Pequods and Giordanos are a close second and third.

3. Molly's Cupcakes

Molly's Cupcakes on Sweetist

Yes, the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is super cool, but the cupcakes... OVERRATED!!! Molly's is a must-have. The cream inside and on top of the cupcake literally is as soft as a cloud. I highly reccommend the peppermint cupcake which is sadly seasonal.

4. Gordo's Ice Cream

Gordo's Fully-Loaded Bars ~ Gordo's

If you're picky or just like to eat a lot, Gordo's is a good go-to! You start out by picking an ice cream flavor, then you pick what you would you like to dip it in, and lastly the topping! My favorite is the strawberry dipped in milk chocolate with smashed Oreo's on top. There are so many options, everyone can find one they love!

5. Joy Yees

Ugh, this pan-Asian restaurant is so delicious. I love the red Thai curry and shrimp fried rice. On the plus side, they also have about a million different types of bubble tea and fruit freezes.

6. Cheesie's

Cheesie's Pub & Grub

Basically, mac and cheese and grilled cheese had a baby and boom! Cheesies has a special place in my heart, especially because they are open until 3 AM.

7. Pita Inn

I grew up on this Mediterranean food. So yummy. Shish kaufta, gyro, chicken, falafel, steak, rice, and salad all for $8 during lunch time on the weekdays or $11 on the weekends and after lunch. What more could you ask for?

8. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company

Pizza pot pie.... enough said.

9. Dick's Last Resort

If you're looking to have a silly time and bar food- Dick's Last Resort is a great place, not sure if it's super family friendly, but it's really fun. Each guest gets a paper hat and their waiter writes on it and puts it on their head. Sometimes they put some inappropriate things, but hey, it's all fun and games.

10. Oberweis

Exspensive-but super rich and creamy ice cream. The chocolate shake is to DIE for.

11. Hartigan's

You already know if the menu is written like this, the place is going to SLAPPP. By far my favorite ice cream. So many different flavors. I highly reccommend the Mint Mackinaw Island Fudge

12. Uncle Julio's

A little bit pricey but VERY worth it. High-quality Mexican food. My favorite part is the chips and salsa you get when you sit down, and the salsa changes every week. I had the watermelon salsa and it was SO good.

13. Reza's

Also a little pricey, but nothing hits better than some delicious kabobs. My personal favorite is the lamb shank. I would honestly get married to it if I could. Lunch time specials include an all you can eat buffet.

14. Carnivale

Renegade Craft \ Carnivale Restaurant chicago-spring

If you're looking for some fun, unique food, I recommend trying Carnivale. They have some really good food and desserts.

15. Alinea

If you're looking to ball out with a nice, expensive, boujee dinner- I would hit up Alinea because it will not disappoint.

16. 3 Arts Club Cafe

3 Arts Club Cafe

This place is all about the aesthetic. If you're looking for an Instagramable lunch, make your way here.

17. Summer House Santa Monica

Summer House Santa Monica - Chicago, IL on OpenTable

If you miss your beach house, especially in Santa Monica, go here and you'll feel like you're there!

18. Hampton Social

The infamous "Rose all day" restaurant where everyone goes and takes a picture. If you want to feel like you're in the Hamptons for a day, hit up Hampton Social.

19. Hamburger Mary's

There is nothing better than Hamburger Mary's. If you love burgers, you must go here. They have so many different types, you won't be able to decide. I highly recommend going on Friday and Saturday nights to eat while you watch the drag show!

20. Stan's Donuts

New 'Stan's Donuts & Coffee' Debuts In The Loop

If you like donuts, you will LOVE Stan's Donuts.

21. Bombo Bar

All I can say is...Italian Donuts.

22. Public House

After looking at those shakes, how could you not go to Public House?

23. Nutella Cafe

It's a cafe... of NUTELLA!!! What more could we want!?


Chicago is such a beautiful, amazing city. There is so much you MUST do!

1. Winky Lux

Winky Lux is a beautiful makeup company that has an awesome display of rooms you can go to and take some super cute instagram pictures.

2. Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl is a really fun arcade, bowling alley, and bar. It's fun to get together with friends and head over there. Not to mention... there is a super cute Instagrammable spot in there too!

3. Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley park is so beautiful. The whole park is just amazing and unique. I highly recommend going if you have kids or if you're a kid at heart.

5. Wndr Museum

This museum was supposed to be a few-months-thing only, but it was so popular they decided to keep it and switch around the different rooms every few months!

6. Shedd Aquarium

My absolute favorite place in Chicago! You can't go to Chicago and not check out the penguins and dolphins.

7. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

If you're an artsy hipster who likes a good pic for the gram. Hit up the the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

8. Buckingham Fountain

The fountain is so beautiful at night when it lights up.

9. Michigan Ave

Michigan ave is the equivalent of Rodeo Dr. So get your shoppin' on!

10. Millenium Park

The best part of Millenium park is the movies in the park. Bring a blanket, a nice cheese board, some wine. It's the ultimate summer date!

11. Navy Pier

Everyone's heard of Navy Pier, in fact, just within the last few years they installed a new ferris wheel. It's down by the pier and so fun!

12. Willis Tower

True Chicagoans like myself call it the Sears Tower. But the politically correct name is now Willis Tower. If you want to see the whole city from the tallest spot in Chicago, go al the way to the top of the Sears... uh I mean Willis..

13. Riverwalk

Walking along the river is so beautiful, you can even rent kayaks and go into the river yourself!

14. Magnificent Mile

It's a very long walk, but definitely worth the beauty.

15. Wrigley Field


16. Lincoln Park Zoo

So many animals! I highly recommend going for some family fun. In the winter they have zoo lights which is also really cool.

17. Water Tower Place

The water tower is such a cool building. Inside you can find shops and great restaurants.

18. North Avenue Beach

Imagine laying in the hot sand, tanning, looking up at the tall beautiful city buildings. This is a great beach with a stellar view!

Now you have a complete guide to the great city of Chicago!

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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