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A Quick Weekend In Chicago

By Gia Pham

Spring break or spring broke? I actually didn’t do much for my spring break, so my friends and I spontaneously decided book a flight to Chicago week 2 of school (our Spring Quarter). We definitely searched far and long on where the cheapest flights were and saw a flight to Chicago (Thursday night - Sunday evening) for $192 RT. It was super cheap, because we flew with Spirits airline..

Airline Info

  • Spirits only allow a personal backpack on-board. If you wanted a carry-on, you would have to purchase one for about $30/way when you check out online. My friends and I shared one carry-on so each of us paid $20 for both ways.

  • There are no refreshments on-board. The seats do not recline.

  • My flight there was pleasant, because I was able to move to a row with no one once the plane was fully up in the air. However, on the way back, the plane was delayed for 3 hours.. there are no laws on the United States that requires the airline to refund you in anyway. I know in Europe, there is a law that requires you to refund the customer if your airline is delayed for 3 hours.

We had also booked a super cheap Airbnb in Chicago. I traveled with two other friends, so it wasn’t much of a hassle. We booked a book in this cute apartment for about $110 for three days. I would link the website, but unfortunately the owner took the listing down.

Anyway, because of the time difference and how late we booked the flight. We didn’t get to the Airbnb until 1:00 AM. Chicago’s public transportation stops working around 11:30 PM-ish, I believe? We ended up taking a lyft to our Airbnb. ALWAYS check with uber and lyft to see which has better pricing!

And before I start writing recommendations about Chicago, I definitely want to shout out to everyone who recommended food places/sight-seeing things/bars/etc. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without their bomb recommendations!!


We woke up pretty early to eat breakfast, because we knew we wanted pancakes from Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. I’d say we were there at 9:00 AM, which was a good time because they said the wait would be 20 minutes, but we were able to get a table within 10 minutes. This is unusual, because the wait is usually longer than 30 minutes! ALSO, download the Nowait app to see how long the wait would be.

The cafe is next to the Millennium Park, so we decided to take pictures by the infamous bean. The bean-like sculpture reflects Chicago’s iconic skyline and the clouds above.

The week before we headed to Chicago, we decided to purchase the city pass. It’s $107 for 5 different attractions. Our first destination was Adler Planetarium. it is known for its unique shows. The museum also offers Chicago’s skyline

After seeing one or two shows, we headed out to lunch. We went to a recommended restaurant called Oyster Bah. We made it on time for their happy hour which is 3:00 - 6:00 PM from Friday to Sunday. I definitely recommend going here because the food was really, really good!!

We decided we wanted desserts from Doughnut Vault.. but didn’t realize how popular it was. By the time we had gotten there, it was sold out so we didn’t get any desserts ):

We took our sad souls to the Skydeck (one of the attractions with fast pass). When we headed there, it started raining kind of hard, so the person warned us that visibility was low, and we wouldn’t get a refund if we do decide to go. But we checked the weather for the next two days and the visibility was worse, so we headed on up. It was a lie! The visibility was great until maybe sunset (6-7 PM).

We left when the clouds had taken over. Of course, we had to have deep dish pizza for dinner. We headed to Giordano’s. The regular sized pizza that fed 1-2 people was big enough to feed the three of us. We did it for the culture, but in all honesty I don’t like pizza..

Again, we were craving for some desserts. We yelped everything and saw there was Chinatown! We didn’t know.. but definitely headed there for some boba (aka bubble milk tea)! And that was how we ended the day.

I forgot to mention that the bus rate is $2.50 a ride and $3.00 for the subway. It’s better if you purchase a 24-hour pass for $10 at a subway station. My friends and I did that, but once the 24 hours was up, we did uber/lyft a lot.. It’s up to your preference and how much of your time/money you would like to spend.


In the morning, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry (one of the attractions). 10/10 recommend this place if you’re a science nerd!! It’s super informative with fun interactions.

We went to the Shedd Aquarium in the evening. It wasn’t as great as the other attractions, but worth it if you already have the city pass.

AND FOR THE CULTURE, we had to get Portillo’s!! It actually started as a stand in Wisconsin in 1963 but opened in Chicago in 1994. It’s a must to get their chocolate cake shake!

Because we were near Magnificent Mile, we decided to explore the vibrant area of luxurious and upscale shops. Another thing I forgot to mention is to always carry an umbrella. An uber driver told me that Chicago’s weather is unpredictable, and it was. It started raining really hard and so we didn’t get far with our shopping.

For dinner, we went back to Chinatown. I can’t remember what the place was called but we went to an ‘All you can eat Hot Pot’ place for $20! It was super filling and perfect for the rainy weather.


It was our last morning in Chicago and I really wanted to go to Nando’s. It was more of a reminisce moment because I ate at Nando’s often when I was in London. And that was how we ended our weekend trip!

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