Chicago Vacation on a Budget

Chicago Vacation on a Budget


Hi, this is Amy with GoWithLess. You might notice that Tim isn’t with me on this video. It’s because I’m going on a girls trip to Chicago. Now, I’ve been to Chicago probably 10 times or so, but this is my friends’ first time. They aren’t frugal travelers and so I had to convince them to go frugal and by doing that I had to plan the whole thing. So I planned a ton of a cool stuff to do. I hope that you’ll join on our adventure to Chicago. Okay, so it is our first dinner in Chicago and we are here at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants. If you don’t know Rick Bayless, he is famous for bringing Oaxacan food to Chicago. Really gourmet, Incredible ingredients and he has a real passion for this you could see that in his food. So he has a whole bunch of restaurants in Chicago and I found a place that’s a quick casual concept. So the entrees run like 11 to 13 dollars or so. The food is super super good. So this was a great value and it is right, I think it’s called downtown? It’s the neighborhood, I think it’s called, Streeterville? So it’s very convenient to our hotel and they had this delicious hot churros with warm chocolate. I think they make their chocolate here too. So everything is authentic. This was an A+. It’s called Xoco. I don’t know how to pronounce it but he has a whole bunch of restaurants. Most of them are more expensive. This one’s affordable…Xoco. Hey, it’s Amy. We are at our first full day in Chicago and it is raining. It’s super crazy weather today. Thankfully, it’s warm. But, we’re out exploring food halls. We love food halls whenever we’re traveling. We’re at the Wells Market Street food hall today. And, so we’re here to check that out. Stop number 1. We got stuck in a torrential torrential downpour so we hustled over to the theater district and saw a Wednesday matinee of Tootsie. Tootsie’s getting ready to go to Broadway in New York City in the spring so we dashed in Unfortunately…it’s always…just as a heads up… It’s a good thing to ask theaters if they have like last-minute tickets. This theater didn’t but we ended up getting the lowest price point ticket which was $35. We were toward the back, of course It’s the lowest price point ticket. For me, I kind of saw, had the same experience I think of people in the front. So my friend I was with me? This was where her frugal just draws the line. So, she’s like no way I’m only doing orchestra in the future and in the past so we wrestled her up to the balcony. But it was good and it was only $35 and we got out of the rain so it was a good show and Not a lot of money to get out of the rain and have some fun. Okay, we are in food hall number two it is the Chicago French Market We had no idea what to expect here because what I was reading online seemed that gives a lot of shopping. It really isn’t it’s almost entirely food stalls. So there’s everything from Peruvian to Italian sandwiches and meatballs and pierogi. It’s a lot of different stuff. So this looks awesome. The three of us have ordered some things to share for dinner. So I’m going to show some photos of that. Okay, a little update about what we had for dinner here at the Chicago French Market. We shared (from the French lunch Box) an order of fines herbes gnocchi with roasted chicken. Now the Yelp reviews were off the hook and that’s why we went there because everything here looks so delicious. We had a really hard time narrowing down. But the three of us shared two different entrees and we shared that one because of the reviews and it was not anything more special than I would have had from my grocery store freezer, which is not special in the slightest. So, kind of a fail on that. We did have the big giant lobster roll and that was super yummy. It’s hard to go wrong with the super lobster roll. You’ve got to do it kind of plain so the lobster shines. That was something I really enjoyed. And the hush puppies were also good. Thumbs down on the gnocchi. Everything can’t be delicious, I guess. We are wrapping up a crazy busy day. So we first went to a Broadway show Earlier and then we went to Second City for one of their improv sketch comedy shows. I thought it was going to be improv and it turned out that it was like mostly sketch comedy. Think SNL. And if you haven’t heard of Second City… it is like every comedian that has come out since Saturday Night Live has pretty much come from this place. Key and Peele, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell. You know put in the comments below. Name a comedian since 1970. I bet they went here. I’m gonna go look it up and I’ll tell you, So, that’s the comment this week is name someone who’s a comedian I’m going to see…Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Amy Sedaris. Put it down below. Anyway, we got Like half-price tickets. So I used an app called Today Tix, T I X and it’s an app and it’s in a couple cities, New York Chicago or two of the bigger ones. And so they have a whole bunch of different shows here every day and we did one of them that I think was like $13 plus fees that was, it was 16 bucks and it was a killer deal no drink minimum. We laughed our butts off. This was an A plus. So you’re in Chicago. You’ve gotta go to Second City and see their comedy. Okay, so we are starting another day in Chicago. Yesterday was raining all day and really chilly today. It is a fall day and we decided to take the Chicago architectural boat tour. There are these beautiful river ways throughout the city and there is so much along it of historic and new buildings. I took the tour twenty years ago. It changed enough. It made sense to do it again. Now if you do the tour on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you can go to half…I think it’s called halftix.org I think it’s called half tix dot org. I’ll put a link below. That’s on a Tuesday or Wednesday You can go online and get a $30 ticket with your fees. We’re on a Thursday and we paid forty seven dollars I’m calling that our worth it splurge. This was so educational. It is outdoors So we’re all wintered up because like I said, it’s cold. But it doesn’t go that fast where it’s okay If you’re bundled. The weather wasn’t a big problem, but you definitely don’t wanna do this on a rainy day But definitely make your way down here because it was worth 47 bucks for sure for one person. We just did an incredible walking tour with Free Chicago Walking Tours. We found them online. They offered two a day and we did a tour down Michigan Avenue and did all of Millennium Park and Grant Park. We had a really good tour guide. It was completely free you just tip. So we tipped each person ten bucks, and it was two hours of great information for a really good tour guide. Free walking tours are an excellent way to see a city that you’re in. So check them out on the internet. Just type in the city, free walking tour and hopefully you find some good stuff. We are at our third food hall! Revival Food Hall. This one is the biggie and it is awesome. Can you hear like the good energizing music? It feels like a night club here. But there are tons of different stalls open and it’s pretty hoppin’. Unusually, it closes I think at seven o’clock at night and it’s like it feels like a party’s happening here at 6:30 at night. So I don’t know why they would close, but they close at seven. So make sure you get here early and check out Revival Food Hall. We’re gonna go check it out ourselves. When in Chicago, you’ve gotta get the deep-dish pizza. So we came to a very popular spot with a long wait by the name of Lou Malnati’s. It seems as though there are several locations around the city, but we got one of those like deep crust – butter crust – Chicago-style pizza with sausage. The sauce is so good. It wasn’t expensive in the slightest It was $54 for the three of us to have more than we needed. But in Chicago you’ve gotta get the pizza. So here we are at Lou Malnati’s. Okay, I might have left Tim at home But that doesn’t mean that I left all the travel hacking points and miles behind. We are using a killer redemption for this property in Chicago. Three nights at The Gwen, which is a luxury Property that’s part of the former SPG umbrella. So now the Marriott/SPG umbrella. And this very upscale property was 35,000 Marriott points a night. This is going for $700 when you take into consideration taxes and fees. 700 bucks a night for 35,000 Marriott points is a great redemption. So the Courtyard down the block was 30 thousand points and didn’t have a lot of the swankiness that this does. So we have like the nice Frette linens. We have the marble countertop in the bathroom. If you do like the kind of swanky travel on less of a budget So not spending a ton for swanky travel You might want to check out my friend Debra from Travel Well for Less. She has a great website and this is her jam. But I’m dipping my toe into this pool for this trip and it is pretty sweet. So there’s my Chicago trip. Three nights, great fun. In those three nights We experienced summer, fall, winter, and rain. Lots of rain. And so…but we still had a great time and we didn’t spend a lot of money doing it. Our next trip is going to be Brooklyn/Manhattan so stay tuned for that next month . And we’re coming back with new videos every single Wednesday. If you’d like to see what we’re doing, please hit that little button there in the corner If you liked today’s video, please give it a thumbs up. We’d appreciate it If you have any comments, we’re going to be coming back to Chicago. What did we miss that’s a good affordable thing? We want to do it. We didn’t have time to do everything. Please put it down in the comments. And if you know anyone who’s visiting Chicago, please share this with them Thanks so much for watching. See you next Wednesday!

10 thoughts on “Chicago Vacation on a Budget

  1. Chicago…My Kind of Town! If you know the song, it's been in my head all week. Thanks for watching this Wednesday's video. Please comment with other free/budget stuff to do in Chicago since we'll be heading back again. PS…Name a US/Canandian comedian after 1970!

  2. What an awesome trip! Great tips, super job with doing Chicago on a budget. Thanks for the shout out. I was there in April, haven't written my posts yet. Might try doing a video. 🙂

  3. I love the french market. It has lots of gluten free options. My favorite thing to do in Chicago is to ride the el around the downtown area.

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