Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There's No Place Like Home: Chicago and Saratoga Springs

Travel is a huge part of who we are as a family and I love getting to know people with similar experiences so I'm thrilled to collaborate on a little 'tale of our two cities' with travel expert Kendra Thornton. Read on and we'll each tell you why our hometowns are not to be missed!

There's No Place Like Chicago - by Kendra Thornton

I consider myself to be a travel enthusiast. I have been all around the world and I travel quite often. However, when it comes to great places to see, nothing beats my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is not only one of the most exciting cities in the United States, it is a vacation destination for people all over the world. No matter what you like to do, no matter what your interests are, there is a good chance that you will find numerous ways to entertain yourself while visiting Chicago. Since it is the third largest city in the country, the number of places to visit is enormous. 

Enjoying the Chicago Skyline
You will never run out of things to do, regardless of how long your trip is. They are so many places to enjoy entertainment and so many amazing restaurants in Chicago, I could never list them all. However, here are 4 of my Chicago favorites:

1. Shopping

If you love to shop or you are traveling with someone who has been bitten by the shopping bug, I know a place that you must visit while you are in Chicago. It is Southport Avenue, located in Lakeview. If you are looking for a place that is not extremely trendy and mainstream, Southport Avenue is a place that you must visit while you are here. The legendary Wrigley Field is just a few blocks away. Since the Chicago Cubs usually play in the afternoon, you can take in game and do some shopping afterwards. If you enjoy fashion, you will be able to find all of the most chic trends on Southport Avenue. Local Chicago designers sell their products at the Cerato Boutique, and many others. There are also a wide variety of other stores and boutiques to choose from, such as Tula and Krista K. Have fun, and shop until you drop!

2. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is considered by many to be one of the top attractions in the Windy City, and with good reason. It is interesting to note that Millennium Park used to be apiece of wasteland that was nothing more than an eyesore, but all of that changed in 1997. The Mayor of Chicago at that time, Richard Daley, originally came up with the idea to turn the land into a beautiful public park near the heart of the city. It took a few years for the idea to get off the ground, but by the early 2000s, Daley's dream had become a reality. The park offers activities for families, including tours and exhibitions. The architecture and artwork are sure to impress you enough to pull out your camera and take pictures (something that hasn’t always been as easy in the past!)

Source: bestourism.com

3. The City
The Chicago skyline ranks right up there with New York and Hong Kong as being one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. It is truly a magical sight, and an image that you will surely remember long after your trip to Chicago. The downtown area also has some of the best dining you will find anywhere. If you are planning a trip to Chicago, you should take advantage of the beauty of the skyline and the activities offered in the downtown area. You can find a wonderful hotel in the city by using Gogobot. This is a site that allows you to  search for hotels that have the best prices in downtown Chicago. Gogobot allows you to search by average price per night, hotel class, hotel type and average user rating. 

4. Food
Most people are familiar with Ralph Lauren's fashions, such as his world famous Polo line of clothes. However, many visitors to the Chicago area are surprised to find out that Ralph Lauren is also in the restaurant business. Simply called RL, Ralph Lauren's restaurant is located close to the flagship Polo store on North Michigan Avenue, which is also the largest Polo store in the world. It is in the heart of downtown, so after you grab a bite to eat, you can explore all the other things that downtown Chicago has to offer.

Enjoying a Cubs game!

Chicago might be called the Second City, but it will always be number one in my heart. I am certain that after you visit this Midwest metropolis, you will see why I am so enthusiastic about the city on the shores of Lake Michigan. Whether you have a taste for food, fashion, sports, shopping, art, music or theater, Chicago has all of these things in abundance, and so much more. 


Thanks for sharing some of your favorite things about Chicago, Kendra! Now I'll tell you why-

There's no place like Saratoga Springs:

Although we're currently getting settled in our seventh temporary 'new' home in Georgia, my hometown and favorite place to live is Saratoga Springs, NY. I was born and raised there and was lucky enough to spend the last few years living there for my husband's military assignment.

A Beautiful Congress Park afternoon

Saratoga Springs may be most well known for its summer horse racing but there is so much more to the city:

Downtown Saratoga Springs- Traveling along downtown Saratoga's main street, Broadway, you can enjoy shopping, dining, and people watching on par with more metropolitan areas, without the traffic and with twice the charm.
Downtown Saratoga is home to the beautiful Congress Park, where little ones can ride the historic carousel, families can picnic and watch the ducks, and visitors can stroll or just take a breather from shopping on Broadway.

Historic Congress Park Carousel

Each December, Broadway is closed to traffic for a night and transformed for the Victorian Streetwalk, complete with carolers in period costumes, Santa and Mrs. Claus, ballerinas performing the Nutcracker in store windows, reindeer and so much more. It's an event not to be missed that really shows the character of our wonderful city.

For Children- The Children's Museum at Saratoga at 69 Caroline St. is a fantastic way to spend the day with your little ones and has so much to offer not only with clever hands on exhibits but also with the weekly programs hosted there including Silly Science, Wiggle and Giggle, Tuesdays for Tots, and the new Busy Bees baby and toddler program. 

Playing at the Children's Museum

Food- Downtown Saratoga is just packed with options for dining with everything from brew pubs to fine dining. My favorite place to send visitors is Hattie's at 45 Phila St. for their always delicious southern food. Hattie's has been open since 1938 and Chef Jasper Alexander's fried chicken, mac and cheese, and hushpuppies are worth our drive home from Georgia for.

The most exciting thing on the horizon for the Saratoga fine dining scene, 15 Church, is set to open in December 2013. The modern, French/American concept coupled with the amazing style and creativity of Chef Jason Baker, 15 Church is sure to be the Saratoga Springs dinner reservation worth fighting over.

Saratoga Springs is a city with a genuine small town feel to it. There is no shortage of activities, shopping, food, and family friendly fun. The natural beauty and charm, history, sense of community, and energy of the city make it a great place to visit and a wonderful place to call home.

Thanks for taking this little tour of our two cities. Be sure to follow @KendraThornton to get her latest and greatest tips for travel!

2 comments:

  1. Love, love, love Chicago...I live here! When I worked downtown I walked past Millennium park everyday as they were finalizing the landscaping. It was incredible. And it really is a beautiful landmark that everyone should visit!

    Xo,
    Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like it, Jane! As many places as I've been, we've never visited.

      Delete

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