My husband and I used to go to Chicago all of the time. We loved going to Cubs games, Six Flags, and shopping downtown. It’s only a six hour drive from our house so it’s kind of crazy that we don’t go more often. Especially with how much we love road trips. That’s why our recent trip was so exciting, even if it was just to spend 36 hours in Chicago.
It has been probably ten years since we’ve gone to Chicago. So our weekend trip to Chicago felt like a much overdo reunion. Our main mission was to see the U2 Joshua Tree show. Beyond that it was just to have fun.
I was super sick on Friday. Felt like death. I got Virtuwell to treat me for a sinus infection. Again. I’m the Queen of Sinus Infections. I was just treated two weeks ago (and it’s been going on since mid April) and as soon as I’d finished with the antibiotics I started having sinus pain again. The day before we left it had gotten so bad. Fortunately, the Virtuwell Nurse Practitioner was able to talk me through the symptoms and get me a prescription before I left town.
We left on Friday morning. First stop, get the dogs dropped off at Wag n Woofs. It’s so nice to have a place close to home where we can take the dogs. The staff is awesome. I love that we can watch a video feed and see how they’re doing.
Next stop, Dorothy Ann Bakery. Friday was National Donut Day so we had to work that into our day. This bakery was right on the way and we’d never been there so it was fun to check out somewhere new.
My husband got a S’mores and a vanilla frosted cake donut. Both were delish. I got chocolate frosted cake donut and a lemon meringue one. The lemon meringue may be my new favorite donut. I love lemon filled donuts but I hate the ones with powdered sugar. And some are open faced (I’m sure that makes no sense) but have too much frosting. This one was just right.
On our road trip we decided to listen to a new podcast that a fellow comedian had started. It’s called Profession Confession and it’s fascinating AF. If you want to learn about some careers your guidance counselor never told you about, give it a listen.
For lunch, we hit up Portillo’s, in Brookfield, not Chicago. It was nice to get out of the car and stretch my legs. It’s amazing how sore my short legs get.
We’d never been to Portillo’s but had heard so many great things about it. I got the hot dog and Carter got the Italian beef sandwich and a vanilla shake. We shared some onions rings. The food was awesome. The only downside was that because I was so sick, I didn’t have much of an appetite otherwise I definitely would have tried more things from the menu. Next time, Portillo’s.
The restaurant reminds me of a Fuddrucker’s in decor and the fact that there are a lot of different ordering and food pick-up stations. It has a very family-friendly. I’m super excited for Portillo’s to open in Woodbury!
I picked the wrong day to start drinking more water. Who ups their water intake when they are going on a road trip?! This girl. I felt like I was making Carter stop for bathroom breaks every hour. After a couple more stops, we finally made it to our hotel.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg because every hotel downtown was booked up for the concert. I honestly think we would have had to book a hotel when the concert was announced to have any chance at getting a hotel downtown.
Staying in the suburbs is nice because there is a lot to do there for people of all ages. We had a slight hiccup at our hotel in that Travelocity didn’t book it for us despite having the confirmation saying saying they did. But the Hyatt staff rocked and got it all taken care of.
The hotel accommodations were very comfortable. They had many outdoor seating options to enjoy. They also had an indoor and outdoor pool, a lounge, coffee bar and a bunch of other stuff we didn’t get around to checking out.
After getting settled in, we tried making a play for the concert. We couldn’t decide if we should take public transportation, Uber, or drive into the city ourselves.
We decided to buy a parking pass at Soldier Field. It was $54 which seems outrageous. You have to get over the price of parking in that town if you’re ever going to enjoy anything. It costs a lot. Suck it up and enjoy the experience.
We had dinner and drinks at Stonewood Ale House. I still wasn’t hungry so I went with the pretzel which were so good. Carter had the chicken ranch wrap, his go to in these situations. The drinks were even better than the food. I wish I could find a menu to tell you what I had because it was so good! It had peach something and moonshine, I guess that’s all you need to know. It rocked!
Saturday we slept in, mainly because I didn’t have to get up for the Price is Right. Also, because with Carter’s work schedule lately he seems to be on the clock even when he’s at home.
We had no real plans so we drove into downtown to get a feel for where we’d be parking for the concert. The ramp didn’t open until four hours before the show, which was good information to know. We decided to check out the town.
We headed to Gino’s East for pizza. Oh man, I miss that place. When I was there, I missed that it had been so long since I’d been there. And now I miss it because it seems so long since I’ve been there. You can buy it in some grocery stores but it’s not as good as actually being at Gino’s. The Cubs game was on which was fun to watch. People in that town go nuts for the Cubs, even more so now that they’re World Series champs.
Since we had already coughed up money to park, we decided to walk around a bit. We ended up stopping at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. We sat outside and had drinks. I’m usually not a big fan of sitting outside because I usually get attacked by birds or something weird like that. I’m happy to say that this time no wild life tried to kill me.
I had the Modest Mule which was their “Moscow Mule” on draft, made with Modest vodka, fresh squeezed lime, topped with Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. I want to say Carter had a barley wine. I’m not much of a drinker so I have no idea what that is but I know that he loved it.
Next we decided to try the Safe House. I’d heard about the Milwaukee location from some tv show years ago. I didn’t realize they had one in Chicago. Since it was just a few blocks away, we headed down there. I watched 46 episodes of The Americans in one week so I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to go to a spy themed bar.
When we got there, we opened the door. There was a man looking like Dave Grohl sitting in what looked like a law library. “Sorry, wrong place” we both yelled as we backed out of there.
After checking the address again, we realized we were in the right place. We went in, performed some simple spy tests, and got clearance to enter the bar. I don’t want to give too much of it away but if you like spy stuff, or you think you’re a spy like I do, check it out. The drinks were unique and awesome. And they give you some spy tasks, if you’re up for the challenge that is.
We made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some tailgating snacks before heading to Soldier Field. I’ll be honest, I thought Carter was crazy for wanting to tailgate before a concert. Who does that? Turns out, most everyone in the parking ramp!
We met this family from Michigan – parents and two college aged sons, with a teen daughter at home. The patients take their kids to tons of concerts. I was amazed at all the shows they had seen. The mom had her original U2 Joshua Tree shirt on which kicks ass.
We talked to them for a long time. They headed into the stadium earlier than us because they had general admission tickets on the floor. Since we had assigned seats we hung out a while longer. I had texted our friends Wendy and Jason on the off chance that they were parking nearby and wanted to hang out before the show.
We had been to Solider Field once before for a Vikings vs Bears game. The stadium is amazing. Since we’ d last been there they added onto it. Even more amazing.
We had seats in 336 which I thought was going to be too high. They ended up being perfect for us. We had a great view of the stage. It was a perfect summer night. Everyone is our section was cool and friendly with one another.
Wendy came to say hi to us before the show started. The seats in front of us were still open. I promised I’d keep her updated on whether anyone claimed them as her seats with in the 400’s. But the women who belonged to those seats finally showed up just before U2 took the stage. Then they spent the whole time editing photos on their phones. Honestly, I don’t think they knew a concert was going on.
The Lumineers were incredible. They put on an amazing show. Shortly after they finished two guys came into our section. They reminded me of what it would be like if Ray Romano and Andy Kindler played the Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd two wild and crazy guys characters.
They kept Facetiming their wives and trying to get everyone to say hello to them. The couple in front of us and next to them kept looking back at us and saying “help” and “OMG”. It was pretty entertaining. For a while it was all I could focus on because they were trying too hard to be the life of the party.
The concert was the best. The venue, the bands, tailgating, the perfect summer night. You really couldn’t ask for anything more. Carter was blown away by it. We just got tickets to see U2 at US Bank Stadium, the home that overcharge fees built. I know it won’t compare to Soldier Field. I’m keeping my expectations super low and just maybe I’ll be surprised.
We gave Chicago a lot of money that weekend. In return they gave us an incredibly fun time. We definitely won’t wait another ten years to go back.
Have you been to Chicago lately? What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?