This is a sponsored post by Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park, but all reviews and opinions expressed in this post are my personal view.
Chicago was a place that reminded me a great deal of both my homes. On the one hand—the city was reminiscent of Boston, where I stayed for the past three years as I was studying in university, and on the other hand—Los Angeles, the place where my heart has and will forever reside. The people in Chicago were as relaxed as those in LA, but the tall buildings, somewhat gothic, European, and post-modern architecture, and professionalism in the city resembled that of Boston.
My experience was made even more homely when I first stepped into my hotel—The Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park. I arrived to throwback tunes that reminded me of my late grandfather. They played some of his favorite songs!
For those of you who might not know, my family and I have always loved staying at Fairmont properties. Whenever my family visited Boston, we would all try and stay at The Fairmont Copley Plaza. Often, when we were planning New York, we’d always do a quick check to see if The Plaza had availability—and we actually did get to stay there once! Lastly, several years ago, when we decided we’d tour numerous places in Canada, 90% of the properties we stayed at were indeed in the Fairmont family. My favorites were the ones in Victoria and Vancouver!
Having stayed with Fairmont so many times, and now getting to partner with them for the first time, probably helped Chicago feel like the best of both homes for me.
Wherever I travel, it’s super important that I have something that’s familiar to me—whether that’s the people, the restaurants, or something of the sort. Here, the hotel itself felt just like home; it gave me a great balance of energy and encouragement to explore things unfamiliar (in the city) only to come back to my comfort zone in the evenings.
Unfamiliarity started with food. I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t eat at any chains I usually eat at in California—you know—the California Pizza Kitchen and the like. Instead, I tried a bunch of Chicago chains:
- Naf Naf for Falafel Sandwiches
- Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s for Deep Dish Pizza
- Wow Bao for Hot Asian Buns
- Cantina Laredo for Street Style Corn and Authentic Mexican Food
However, I cannot lie to you–it wasn’t all unfamiliar. I had a solid breakfast routine at The Fairmont Chicago that was graciously accommodated by the staff. Special shout-out to Mandana, Mugli, and Tiphany! My family and I all like to eat the same things for breakfast day after day—whether that means avocado toast, waffle, or greek yogurt and fruit. As vegetarians, we often worry that typical American buffets may not provide us with many options. Here, however, the staff made extra sure the kitchen made us whatever we wanted—day after day.
After breakfast each day, we’d head to the concierge to plan the day and make bookings for upcoming days. They did a great job on this too—we fit in a ton on our trip! Here’s what we did:
- Navy Pier + Viewing of Fireworks
- Shedd Aquarium + A Hindi Movie
- Money Museum + The Rookery Building + A Tour of Northwestern (for my brother)
- Museum of Contemporary Art Special Exhibit (Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech. A special debrief on this in my upcoming vlog) + Art Institute of Chicago Museum + Visiting the Bean and Memorial Fountain
- Spa Treatment + Architectural Boat Tour + Magnificent Mile Shopping (because did I really visit a new city if I didn’t check out the fashion scene?)
All this and a bunch of food adventures in just 5 days! I’d say my trip to Chicago was full of fun, excitement, zest, and family memories. A special thank you to The Fairmont Chicago for this partnership and for treating me—and my family—so well 🙂