Tweetin’ up in the Windy City

ChicagoIt’s been some time since I got to enjoy a little of what I call “hometown travel”, but some fun and like-minded travel bloggers helped me to be a tourist in my own city this past weekend. We had ourselves a good, old fashioned “tweetup”: seven of us all “met” on Twitter and got to know one another through various travel chats. I’m not entirely sure how the idea came about, but before I knew it, folks were buying plane tickets to Chicago and booking hotel rooms. Our group had three locals – Pola of Jetting Around, Ted of Traveling Ted TV, and myself; and our out-of-town guests – Leah of Leah Travels; Lauren of Where in the World is Lola?; Raul of I Live To Travel; and Aaron of The Adventures of the elatlboy.

Most everyone arrived on Friday evening and did their own thing in the city, but I didn’t meet up with the group until Saturday morning. I met Lauren, Raul, and Leah at Hotel Sofitel (where they were staying in lovely suites), and Aaron who had just driven in from near Detroit that morning. Leah and Aaron spent their morning in line, in the cold rain, at The Doughnut Vault, to bring these famous, raved-about doughnuts to the rest of the group. Was it worth spending more than an hour in line, in the rain (emphasis on “in the rain”)? Let’s just say that if I had been the one waiting in line, in the rain, I’d have been pissed. The doughnuts were good – and HUGE – but did not live up to the hype. I am grateful to my visitors for the experience, though, because getting treats from The Doughnut Vault is not something I’d have done on my own.

After hanging out a bit at Sofitel, we all trekked down Michigan Avenue to the Wrigley Building where we boarded a Wendella boat for an architecture river cruise. It’s one activity I always recommend to visitors so when I spotted a Groupon for the cruise, I jumped on it and urged everyone else in the group to do the same. Mother Nature was not exactly cooperating; it was still rainy and a bit chilly, but we managed to have a great time (I’m sure the free drink included in our Groupon helped). After the cruise, we walked further down Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park, where we locals proudly showed off Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) and Pritzker Pavilion. I imagine we’d have hung out there longer if the weather hadn’t been so miserable; instead, we made our way over to the beautiful, historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel where we enjoyed delicious cocktails in the opulent lobby. Maybe it was because we were feeling so fancy, or maybe the alcohol was just setting in, but we ladies pulled out our boas and posed for a number of photos for the photographers guys. What’s the deal with the boas, you wonder? Well, you see, we ladies had been LOLAFIED.

We've been LOLAFIED

We’ve been LOLAFIED

No visit to Chicago, especially for first-timers, is complete without a taste of our famous deep-dish pizza. I do have a favorite spot in town but when plans to take our guests there went down the drain (more on that later), we decided on Exchequer Restaurant & Pub. We enjoyed several pitchers of beer and a couple of gooey, deep-dish pies. We left full and happy – and in a food coma. We made it back to Sofitel with thoughts of possibly hitting up some of the nightlife venues, but we never made it past Le Bar at the hotel. I was more than okay with that, as the crappy weather, the walking, and the pizza wore me out.


Some members of our group got together on Sunday but, since it was Mother’s Day, I had other obligations. What a great time I had on Saturday, though! It was quite the successful tweetup. Thanks to all of you for taking me places I might not see otherwise, and for making me even prouder of my city.

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0 Responses to Tweetin’ up in the Windy City

  1. Dominique May 16, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Looks like y’all had a great time! I told Aaron that the Chicago Cultural Center should be one of his next stops when he visits Chicago. Can’t wait for the opportunity to get back there myself 🙂

    • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      We did have a great time, Dominique! The Chicago Cultural Center is fabulous; I would have suggested it if our guests had more time here. If/when you do make it back to Chicago, definitely let me know!

  2. elatlboy May 16, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Great summary of the fun. It was great getting you know you and everyone else better. You live in a great city! Can’t get there enough. The Doughnut Vault was good to experience, glad we could bring donuts to all you guys. The deep-dish pizza definitely puts you in a food coma, in a good way!

    • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks, Aaron! I am very lucky to have been born and raised, and to still live, in such an amazing city. Great hanging out with you, too!

  3. Raul May 16, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Nice! Yes, I could have stayed at the Bean for hours watching people do funny stuff, like the bachelorette party group we saw… I am glad you got to see your city through our non-Chicago eyes – it is a great city indeed!

    • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Thank you, Raul! I did not even realize those crazy girls at The Bean were part of a bachelorette party… Leave it to you guys to pick up on that 😉

  4. Pola May 16, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Great write-up, Francesca! I’ll have to try those donuts one of these days, just to see for myself..

    It’s so nice to relieve the weekend through everyone’s posts. Such fun times!! Glad you got to use my photos. 🙂

    • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks, Pola! Your pictures are great. I’m still kicking myself for not bringing my own camera….

      • Pola May 16, 2012 at 9:09 am #

        Maybe we need to do a photo outing one of these days. 🙂

        • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am #

          Ok! Let’s do it!

  5. Leah Travels (@L_e_a_h) May 16, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    You were such a great hostess, and are a wonderful ambassador to Chicago. Loved meeting you and can’t wait to see you again in Colorado.

    • Francesca May 16, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Thank you for such kind words, Leah. That really means a lot to me. I loved meeting you, too, and am SO looking forward to seeing you again next month!

  6. lola May 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    love this post, francesca! really, really loved meeting you and can’t wait to see you in a months time!!! 🙂
    xo – lola

    • Francesca May 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Thank you, Lola! Loved meeting you, too, and as I said to Leah, I am so looking forward to seeing you again in Colorado!

  7. Traveling Ted May 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Great to finally meet you in person Francesca, and I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

    • Francesca May 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks, Ted! I had a lovely Mother’s Day, and it was great to meet you, too!


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