I just got back from an amazing week in Chicago. I ate, drank, walked, and danced my way around the Windy City. I must admit, I haven’t spent much time in Chicago. So, when faced with a chance to go to Chicago for the last three Grateful Dead shows of all time, I knew I wanted to spend some extra time to get to know the city.
Chicago is such a beautiful city in the summer time, especially the week I was there. Partial sun, gentle breeze, riverwalks, lakeshore trails, fireworks, art museums, cocktail lounges… It was no doubt the perfect setting for the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary shows. I was so honored to be able to experience these shows, alongside so many Deadheads who were just so full of excitement and joy to be there too. 70,000 people all in one place to sing, dance and have a great time is quite an amazing experience. The shows will all be released on CD and DVD, so if you weren’t there or are interested in what it was all about, these legendary shows are going to live on forever. I am already looking forward to watching them in our home theater, on the couch, with snacks.
I am sharing a few of my favorite moments, drinks and bites from the city, along with a montage of images from the shows themselves, my intensely amazing nail art for the shows, and the art-covered envelopes that scored me mail order tickets in the first place. Below the pictures are a brief breakdown of all of my Chicago highlights, a tasting of a city guide. I feel like I have so much to yet learn of what Chicago has to offer. And I know it is a love affair that will continue over the years, just like my love for the music.
WHERE TO STAY
- W Lakeshore. We stayed here and it was lovely. Recently remodeled and beautiful lake view rooms. The pictures overlooking the Navy Pier and fireworks are from our room.
- Colorado Athletic Association. I had friends here and it is such a cool place. Right across the street from Millenium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, the location is perfect. The design is wonderful as is the rooftop bar. And they have a Shake Shack, so that is awesome.
- Public Hotel. A beautiful hotel conceived by Ian Schrager, showcasing Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant, Pump Room.
WHAT TO EAT & DRINK
- The Aviary or Next. These two concept restaurants are housed in the same building. It is difficult to get a reservation, so book online in advance. We did a 7 course cocktail and food tasting at Aviary and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
- The Purple Pig. I had the calamari, goat cheese with pistachios, and the blood sausage with poached lobster. And champagne of course.
- Nico Osteria. This place is so wonderful. I had tuna poke, oysters, and some sort of vodka, mint basil sorbet and champagne cocktail. The patio is lovely.
- Three Dots and a Dash. I went right at 5pm when they open and it was already the place to be. Delicious tiki drinks, great ambience, and the flaming shrimp are amazing.
- The Pump Room. Located in the Public hotel. Basically everything Jon Georges does is a hit. I had the poached salmon salad with carrot miso dressing… And now I need to figure out how to make that dressing.
- Bigstar. We went here with friends after the second show, as they are open til 1 with food. I had the most amazing steak taco bowl with taco salad. (and a side of whiskey)
- Sportman‘s Club. A wonderful treat of a bar. It was the Fourth of July and the bartender, Laura, make us American Old Fashion’s with whiskey and apple brandy. Garnished with an american flag. Yes please.
- The Broken Shaker. Such a cool space and cocktail bar. We went with a group before one of the shows. Tiki drinks, homemade punch, mezcal shots, alongside deviled eggs and house made pickles. Pretty much heaven.