Weekends Are For Adventuring

It’s impossible to see everything in a sprawling city like Chicago. Even if Ryan and I go to three new places a weekend, we could never see all the city has to offer. That being said, we’re doing our best to make a dent.

We both had extremely busy weeks at work – I launched a new marketing campaign and nurtured a guest post my team submitted to Entrepreneur.com. I developed content for the guest post, which has earned 16,000 social shares in just five days and was also one of the top pieces of content on Entrepreneur.com for two days. Pretty exciting stuff! I work with an incredible team supported by phenomenal leadership, and I’m excited for more wins like this ahead.

To celebrate (and recover from) our busy weeks, Ryan and I made weekend plans to explore parts of Chicago we haven’t yet seen. We started with a Ghosts & Gangsters kayaking tour on the Chicago river on Friday Night and spent two hours paddling up and down the water listening to impressive storyteller, Joel, speak about the history of the city.

Ghosts and Gangers Kayak Tour Chicago

The trek combined three of my favorite things – exercise, history and stunning views of the city at night. Because the tour started at sunset, I could take incredible pictures like this:

Ghosts and Gangers Kayak Tour Chicago Ghosts and Gangers Kayak Tour Chicago

I can’t wait to take friends and family members on tours like this over the next several years. It was a completely new way to experience Chicago.

Retro Can BeerWe continued our exploration on Saturday by going west of the Kennedy Expressway to Bucktown and Wicker Park. We’ve spent the first five months in Chicago checking out places within a mile or two of our apartment, but it’s definitely time to venture further away from the comfort of our own neighborhood. We started at Jack & Ginger’s in Bucktown, where I took advantage of a retro can beer special. While I prefer craft beer and sampling new brews as often as possible, I love a good old-fashioned Schlitz, Stag or Old Milwaukee, especially when it’s cost-effective. $2.50 beers in Chicago don’t exist (at least as far as I know) unless you’re drinking something out of a retro can. I tried a Coors Banquet, which I had never heard of. It was surprisingly good.

After a quick lunch, we moved across the street to the Map Room, a travel-themed bar touting foreign beers served on draft. There were dozens of back issues of National Geographic magazines on bookshelves, tabletops made out of foreign currency, draft beers I couldn’t pronounce and free pretzels on the table. Basically the best bar ever.

Unique Bars Chicago

The whole point of the day was to make it to Revolution Brewery, which is only a quick mile walk from the Map Room, but a torrential afternoon downpour killed our plans. Ryan and I chased a bus down and went home instead. No worries – we have plenty of lazy Saturday afternoons ahead of us to make it back out there anyway.

After a nap, we decided to return to Wicker Park to Geek Bar Chicago, which has been on my list of Chicago to-dos since I heard of the Kickstarter effort to get it open started two years ago. To give you a quick primer, we walked in to a crowd cheering on someone playing a video game, 8-bit bottle cap artwork on the walls and Sharknado up on a big screen. Ryan and I grabbed a few specialty drinks, ordered some food and played nerd trivia games for a few hours. We were probably the weirdest ones there – we’ve never played Settlers of Catan. We had so much fun! I can’t wait to return.

Unique Bars Chicago
Unique Bars Chicago
Fun Bars Chicago

The night also included two donut stops: Stan’s Donuts and Glazed and Infused.

Donut Shops in Chicago

Unique Donuts Chicago

Nutella and banana donut. It’s healthy if fruit’s in it, right?

Ryan and I rounded out our weekend by popping in to Eataly  on Sunday to pick up a few ingredients for my best Italian dish – Chicken Marsala – and ended up jumping into a free bread-making class.

Eataly Chicago
After hearing the instructor (and Eataly bread-making extraordinaire) outline how the healthiest bread is made with, well just flour, water and yeast, I’m kind of nervous to check out the ingredient list on the usual bread Ryan and I get at Jewel-Osco every week. Maybe I’ll try to start baking our own bread? Hm, sounds exhausting. Maybe an adventure for another week.


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