10 free things to do in Chicago

Hello friends. I will have no money when I get back from Peru so I have decided to make a list of some things I will be able to do in Chicago. So, if you are like me and have no money to your name, you can also do these super duper fun things with me. Also I leave for Peru in 5 days LIKE WHATTTT. Anyways, let’s get started.


  1. Lake Michigan- There are so many different beaches you can go to enjoy Lake Michigan. From North Avenue to Oak Street there is a beach for everyone! No matter the season you can walk, run, or lay out on the beach and have a day full of fun.IMG_4546
  2. Lincoln Park- Situated on Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park is home to numerous statues, an abundance of grass for walking, laying, playing, etc. sanctuaries, a rowing canal, and so many other fun options. You can spend an entire day at Lincoln Park and still be yearning for more time hereIMG_6046
  3. DePaul University Art Museum- What better way to support your own school than by admiring the art of your peers? This museum is open year round (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) and always has new and interesting exhibits for any art taste.
  4. Lincoln Park Zoo- Home to over 1200 animals, the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest and last remaining free zoos in the entire country. Enjoy a day of gazing at flamingos wading in water, to giraffes and zebras munching on some hay.IMG_3580
  5. Millennium Park- Take a picture in front of the infamous ‘Bean,’ take a walk around Maggie Daley Park and in the winter go ice skating. No matter the season or day of the week, Millennium Park is full of fun adventures.IMG_5621.jpg
  6. Lincoln Park Conservatory- While winter in Chicago is a sight to see, sometimes the best thing to do is spend the day indoors. At the Lincoln Park Conservatory (situated amongst Lincoln Park) you can admire greenery, flowers, and trees of all sizes and biomes all in one place.
  7. The ‘Mag’ Mile- Chicago is a hub for upscale retail. And, even if you don’t want (or can’t afford) anything, simply walking the Mag Mile is a trip in itself. From Ulta to Chanel, there is a store (or a few) for any shopper.
  8. Oz Park- Named after the Wizard of Oz, here you will find statues of the Wizard of Oz characters, an abundance of trees, critters, and so many dogs who would love a petting or a game of fetch.
  9. Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool- If you are looking for a calm place to relax in the midst of finals season, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is the place for you. The only sounds you’ll hear here are the quiet chirp of the ample bird species and the ripple of relaxing waterfalls. It’s a refreshing venue filled with wildlife, stones, and trees, and will make any stressed person feel zen (at least for a while)
  10. Museums (free days)- Chicago is a city known for some of the most amazing museums in the country. While these museums can be a bit pricey (students get discounts), most Chicago museums offer free days on multiple occasions throughout the year. Simply look up the museum you want to visit and search ‘free day’ alongside of it and you’ll be ready for a day full of art or science… or both!Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 2.17.26 AM.png

Brand New World

Nov. 4: Which fall shows should totally be canceled already?

Ok, BlogHer, what the hell is this? With Netflix, hulu, on demand, and my DVR, how does anyone know which shows are fall shows anymore? I just record stuff and then watch it months later and go on with my life. So, I have no clue which fall shows there are and which ones should be cancelled. If I don’t like them… I don’t watch them… end of story.

Okay, good talk. Anyway, now I am going to talk about what I actually want to write about.

My dad’s co-worker is from Germany and she immigrated from Germany to the United States 30 ish years ago. Her niece is in town from Germany, and Heike (my dad’s coworker) asked me if I would take Neele, her niece, and show her Chicago and all of its glory. We went yesterday and it was really fun and while I was able to teach Neele about Chicago and American culture, I learned just as much about Germany and its culture. .

I drove with my dad to work (tbt to those working days at the factory) and Neele drove with Heike. We then took the train downtown from the station by their work. Neele was telling me that where she lives in Germany, and most of Europe, the tallest buildings are nowhere near as high as the skyscrapers littering the Chicago lakeshore. In her town, the tallest building is student living at the nearby university and it is only 8 stories tall. The Sears Tower… has 110 stories.

When you are on the train, for the most part you just drive through suburbs and see graffiti marking the path of the metra. However, on the final turn as we approach Union Station, the skyline is in perfect view. Every beautiful building that makes Chicago such a remarkable city is in sight and the Sears Tower sits above all the others, basking in all of its glory. Neele’s jaw drops and the only words she can get past her lips are “Oh my god.” A long list of oh my gods to be specific.

Growing up here, it’s just Chicago. The Sears Tower, the Hancock, the Lake, etc. It’s normal for me to have it at my fingertips. But for Neele to never having seen buildings like this, she was in awe.

Upon dodging commuters and their pre-coffee attitudes, we made our way out onto Wacker drive, the same Wacker Drive that the Sears Tower is placed. As Neele takes in her surroundings, I tell her to look up and once again she is speechless. Yes, the buildings look unimaginably tall when you’re far away but being right next to the tallest building on the Western Hemisphere is surreal.

After admiring all of the buildings I took her to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. They are right next to each other and complete tourist hubs. Unless of course you go on a weekend, then it’s field trip city (yes I know from experience).

The Shedd is very cool in that, the fish, amphibians, reptiles, etc. are sorted by their natural location on the world. As we walked through all of the exhibits to the Great Lakes region (Chicago and the midwest area) she was amazed that these creatures lived in the depths of lakes and so close to where she was staying. Upon seeing the alligator snapping turtle that could easily rip off a person’s hand with its bird of prey like beak, she once again was at a loss for words.

The Field museum was decent, we were pretty tired because she was jet lagged still and I got no sleep after the world Series win last night, so we sort of just glanced around and then visited a really cool exhibit about tattoos which we both enjoyed.

All in all, Neele is super sweet and I think we’ll take another trip downtown, explore a bit more and such. I also learned that people outside of America think that Americans are Trump-loving, Twinkie-eating, rednecks. Seriously. Neele’s friends instructed her that she had to bring twinkies back so everyone could try them. I think I have eaten a single twinkie in my entire life.

Until tomorrow,

Alicia

P.S. Normally I would have taken loads of pictures but we were so captivated by each other and all we had to say the only time I pulled my phone out was to get an uber and to have my dad pick us up from the train station.

 

CUBS ARE THE WORLD SERIES CHAMPS

Hi everyone, it is currently midnight and I am alive and crying and as happy as I have ever been. But THE CUBS JUST WON THE 2016 WORLD SERIES.

I have to be up in less than 6 hours and I’m exhausted, BUT I AM SO HAPPy

The Cubs won and I am crying, my family is crying, the entire team is crying and I am so happy.

It has been 108 years since they won and we are going to party like it’s 1908 baby. Congrats to the Cubbies and to all of the fans. We have waited so long to see this and I am still in hysterics. We danced around the house yelling and crying and being happy. I love life and I love the Cubs

Hey Chicago, whaddya say? THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES TODAY

I love my city and I love my team.

Alicia

CUPCAKES

Alright, friends. Living in California and being vegan is one thing. There are vegan shops, cafes, restaurants, and Whole Foods on every other block. In Chicago, on the other hand, vegan food is a bit more hard to come by. Yes, I can get my fresh fruit, veg, and yes my ever so needed protein at Target, Trader Joe’s, and our sole Whole Foods. However, when it comes to sweets, and meals at restaurants that are vegan that’s another story.

For my birthday, I mentioned I was going to make a vegan cake. Yet, on the day of my birthday our gas went out and I was unable to use my stove. Wanting some sort of cake or cupcake because what kind of birthday is it without cake? My mom and I ventured to Whole Foods to see if we could find some vegan cake. They only had gluten-free cakes 😦 BUT they had vegan cupcakes. Naturally, I bought 3 to have one then and then save some for later. It was not only one of the best vegan desserts I have ever eaten but any dessert I have ever eaten. Also, it turns out that the cupcakes are made right here in Chicago.

This morning, my mom and I made the drive there, got there right as they opened and got 6 cupcakes. 3 vegan and gluten-free and 3 regulars (I’m the only vegan in the house).

 

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The outside of Swirlz. Very quaint but super adorable

 

Swirlz (the name of the cupcake place) has flavors of the day. They mainly are nonvegan and filled with gluten but they also make gluten-free ones, and vegan and gluten-free ones. Today’s selection in the vegan and gluten-free department were cookie dough and vanilla. I’m typically not too keen on cookie dough or vanilla. I’m more of a chocolate kind of gal. However, upon returning home, and opening the super cute box the cupcakes were housed in, I have fallen in love with cookie dough cupcakes and the Swirlz cupcake shop in general. The cupcake was sort of like a chocolate chip cupcake with a dollop of cookie dough in it and then topped with vanilla frosting and a cookie dough piece.

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The box

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The cupcakes: Mine are the bottom 3

The shop was super adorable and I am definitely feeling a second trip on a different day for another cupcake type. 😉

PS, I highly recommend this shop to any of my followers who are ever in my neck of the woods. Vegan or not, their cupcakes are to die for.

They are located at:  705 w. Belden, Chicago, IL 60614

Their website can be found here

If any of you have been there or are planning on making a trip, let me know.

Alicia

 

 

Tourist in my own city

Hi guys,

With just a little over a week left in Chicago before my 2nd semester at San Diego State, I have realized how fortunate I am to live in 2 of the top 10  largest cities in the United States. I have taken so many photos of my time in San Diego and all the explorations I have done there, yet never realized how amazing Chicago is. So, I’m going to make a nice lil compilation post about my explorations of Chicago since I’ve been home.

There you all have it.. me being a tourist everywhere I go

Talk to you all soon

Alicia

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