Quebec City, Canada: Photo Diary and Travel Guide

Quebec City, Canada Travel Guide, What to Do on a Day Trip to Quebec City - Pearl Girl

With my latest trip coming to a close — I just returned from 11 days in London, Belgium, Paris and Lyon on Tuesday! — it seems fitting to wrap up the posts on my vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. (If you missed my recap of our time in Montreal, you can find it here.)

Immediately after we booked our flights to Montreal, I looked to see if it would be feasible to do a day trip to Quebec City. I knew I wanted to visit both cities, and I figured while I was in (the province of) Quebec, I might as well try. Turns out, it’s a three-hour trip each way, which is just about my threshold for a day trip. I know, my threshold is high — so if you want to spend the night in Quebec City, I don’t blame you.

That said, it’s a gorgeous (but small) city. It feels very European, even more so than Montreal. We arrived at the bus station around 11 in the morning and were able to walk straight to the center of the city, passing plenty of adorable storefronts and colorful architecture along the way.

At the heart of it all is the Chateau Frontenac, a massive luxury hotel that sits at the center of the city. It is seriously so, so big, and if I had the cash and the time, I would have loved to spend the night there. (Note: I just Googled the hotel, and it’s much more affordable than I originally thought — around $200 a night! Now I’m kind of wishing we had booked a night there!) It looks out on the St. Lawrence River, and the view is so pretty. Even if you can’t spend the night, it’s worth a walk through the lobby.

You also can walk around the hotel, on the “boardwalk” — I don’t think that’s the official name, but that’s what it looks like — where you get a great view of the river and the rest of the hotel. The path goes pretty far, and eventually, you can work your way up to the top where there’s some sort of museum on the history of Quebec. It looked like it was mostly military history, and due to our limited time frame, we skipped it and headed back down.

You can also take a funicular up to the “boardwalk” surrounding the Chateau Frontenac from the Petit Champlain area, which sits just beneath this area, but it’s really a pretty easy walk to do on your own. (We didn’t take the funicular ourselves.)

We got lunch at Le Petit Chateau, a casual spot near the Chateau Frontenac that served cheese fondue — my ultimate weakness, and one I was especially craving in this very French city. If you’re not one for massive amounts of melted cheese (though who isn’t?), they also serve crepes.

Later on, we headed down to explore the Petit Champlain area. It is so adorable and really makes you feel like you’re in Europe. (It felt a little similar to the adorable Annecy, France, which was in this past weekend!) There are lots of shops and restaurants, but honestly, it was so, so crowded on the day we were there that we made our way through the main drag of the neighborhood pretty quickly. (You can get an idea of what I mean in the photos below!) Afterward, we went to walk around some of the other streets nearby, which were also adorable, but a bit less crowded.

We were there in August on a Sunday, so I have to imagine if you’re there on a weekday, on less of a “peak” month, it would be a bit less packed and even more lovely.

Needing a break from being on our feet, we stopped by Cochon Dingue for rosé, fries and caesar salads. They had very cute branding, which is always a plus. And we sat outside, it was a nice way to take in the view and rest for a minute.

At that point, we had to head back to the train station to catch our bus back to Montreal. It was a quick day in Quebec, but a really beautiful one (look at that weather!) Now, I’m wanting to plan a trip back to this charming little city for a full weekend (and a few nights at the Chateau Frontenac!)

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Photo Diary and Guide: Montreal, Canada

What to Do in Montreal Canada, Montreal Photo Diary // Pearl Girl

Montreal has been on my to-visit list for longer than I can remember. I took French from ages 11 to 18, so it’s always a place that I studied in school. And when I was at Syracuse, I meant to plan a weekend trip up there (it’s a fairly short drive!) but things were constantly going on on campus and I never made it up. And in my first three years in the city, I always thought ‘Hey, Montreal would be a quick weekend trip,’ but up until now, never got my butt in gear when it came to planning.

I got the kick in the pants I needed when I was given an Air Canada gift card that would cover the bulk of a flight to Montreal. I was easily able to talk my roommate Taylor into coming with me, we booked our flights and an AirBnB and we were off! We visited for four days, Friday to Monday, with a day trip to Quebec City on Sunday. It was the perfect amount of time to explore the city without overdoing it. I’ll cover Quebec City later, but here I’ll take you through our Montreal itinerary.

We took an early morning fight out to Montreal (all the while thinking WHY WHY did we do this?!) on Friday, and unfortunately, couldn’t check into our AirBnB until that afternoon. We were able to drop our stuff off in a storage space, and then headed to a restaurant called Cafe Imagination for breakfast. It wasn’t anything special, but it was in nearby and we were starved.

We then headed down to the Old Port neighborhood, which is super cute and looks very European. There are walkable streets lined with restaurants and gorgeous architecture. You can also head down to the waterfront, where there’s ziplining, outdoor shops and food stands. We rented a paddle boat and rode around for a bit. It was a fun way to spend an hour for the afternoon!

After a much-needed nap back at our AirBnB, that night we went to dinner at Robin Square, and it was excellent. We split the burrata pizza, pork belly and mac and cheese, all of which were so, so good. This spot is near the Old Port area, but not quite in the thick of it. Highly recommend. The best meal we had the whole weekend!

Another note: We took a few Ubers in Montreal, but for the most part found the subway to be extremely reliable and affordable. There were a few neighborhoods we couldn’t reach, but for the most part, it was very easy to get everywhere by subway.

We walked around the Mont Royal park and the surrounding neighborhood (which is gorgeous and filled with pretty houses, like the one above) on Saturday morning. We were hoping to find the Chalet Mont Royal for a view of the city, but that proved a bit difficult. Instead, we got out of an Uber at a lookout point. Though we would have started trekking on more to try and find the Chalet, which is one of the most famous views in Montreal.  But it started pouring and I leaned against a maple tree and accidentally got syrup in my hair. (#Canada) So we decided to head back to our AirBnB so I could wash my hair, haha.

We spent the afternoon walking around St. Catherine Street, which is the major shopping drag in Montreal. Along it are the entrances to the famed underground shopping malls, which we walked through though didn’t buy anything. They feel sort of like a non-luxury American mall, nothing special, but they sure are expansive!

Honestly, the real highlight of our second day was the FOOD. We started the day with bagels from St. Viateur, which makes authentic Montreal bagels. They were so, so good. They’re a little small, but very doughy and chewy, which sounds like a contradiction, but if you’ll try them, it makes sense. Sort of like Black Seed in NYC, if you’ve ever been there!

For lunch we stopped at a place near our AirBnB called MooseBawr where we got a pitcher of sangria (DELICIOUS!) and poutine, a must-have if you’re ever in Canada. If you don’t know, it’s french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Not healthy, but definitely tasty.

And then for dinner, we went to Schwartz’s, a Montreal staple deli. There’s almost always a line outside, but it goes pretty quickly. And oh, the food is so worth it. You don’t have a ton of options on the menu, so we ordered smoked meat sandwiches, fries, and coleslaw. I normally don’t eat coleslaw, but this one is amazing. So tasty and refreshing to eat alongside the heavier sandwich and fries. And the sandwich was so good. Just thinking about it has me wanting to plan a trip to Second Ave Deli in NYC.

Our last day we got breakfast at Tim Horton’s — I ate so many TimBits, their version of donut holes, that weekend, I thought I was going to turn into one. The birthday cake ones are my favorite. SO. YUMMY. We then made our way up to Chalet Mont Royal. It took a bit of a walk through what seemed to be the woods, but we finally reached a park and then found the crowds heading up towards the spot. It was definitely crowded, but worth it for the view. I always love to get to a good viewpoint in whatever city I’m visiting, and this one didn’t disappoint.

We headed back down to the Old Port area for lunch, where we ate poutine topped with smoked meat. Again, so tasty. I need to find a place in NYC that can do the dish justice. We also popped into the Notre Dame Basilica, which is enormous and stunning.

After seeing the ziplining on Friday, we both knew we wanted to try it on Monday. It wasn’t very expensive and there wasn’t a long line, so we thought why not? Both of us had done it before and if you haven’t, seriously, try it! It’s so fun and such an adrenaline rush. We got churros from one of the food trucks around the area afterward.

One thing I will note is that we tried to take the bus back to the airport and it ended being an epic fail. The wait for the bus was crazy long (with a ton of people) and when a bus finally arrived, we didn’t have enough money to cover the trip — even though we specifically added enough money to our cards to make it work. In the end, we got an Uber and got there on time, so all was well, though we were definitely annoyed

If you’re interested in our AirBnB, email me and I’m happy to send you the link. However, I wouldn’t hugely recommend it. Though it had a good location and they helped us with storage, the WIFI DIDN’T WORK. Not trying to be an internet addict, but it was essential for looking up locations and directions. Thankfully, we both had working data on our phone or we would have been lost. (Literally.) We honestly wouldn’t have booked the place had we known this, so I don’t want to give it a full endorsement when I don’t mean it.

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How I Travel Often Without Spending an Absurd Amount of Money

How to Save Money While Traveling, Travel Money Saving Tips // Pearl Girl

London, October 2015

I truly believe that travel is one of life’s greatest joys (and privileges.) I’m lucky enough that I was raised in a family that valued travel, so I’ve been going on trips and vacations (I wholeheartedly believe they’re different) since before I can remember. As I’ve grown up and become a “real adult” with a real income, I’ve prioritized traveling on my own — and on my own dime. And along the way, I’ve been able to pick up a few tips and tactics on how to travel as much as you can on a budget.

I think a lot of people shut down the idea of traveling in your early 20s because they believe it’s too expensive and unobtainable. Though it is definitely an investment and something you need to plan and save for, it can be done — on the cheap, too! In fact, I think your 20s are one of the best times to travel. Most likely, you don’t have kids keeping you home, and you’ve got the stamina and (lack of) standards to rough it a bit. You just need to be a little creative. Here are a few ways how.

New Orleans Louisiana travel guide from fashion blogger Diana Pearl of Pearl Girl

New Orleans, September 2016

 

Go where your friends are.

This is my biggest tip, for obvious reasons. When you visit a friend, you’ll most often be able to stay with said friend for free. Removing the cost of a hotel or AirBnB is HUGE for savings, and sometimes, you can remove transportation fees, too, if the person you’re staying with has a car. And of course, the bonus of this method is that you get to spend time with a friend you don’t see quite as often, and you get to have a local as a tour guide!

Though most of my friends from college live in NYC, which doesn’t lend itself to visits, I’ve tried to take advantage of visiting people where I can. Last fall, I went to Arizona, where my aunt and uncle live, for Thanksgiving. And two of my best friends from high school live in Boston, so I’ve been there three times in the past two years, too.

Sometimes, it’s worth waiting to visit a destination, too. People move around and you never know when one of your good friends will arrive in a place you’ve been wanting to visit. For example, I’ve wanted to visit Los Angeles for the past few years. But it just seemed so pricey: Hotel, renting a car, etc. But when my step-sister moved out there last fall, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally get out to LA and get to spend time with her, which only made the trip more fun.

Charleston, South Carolina Travel Guide, What to Do in Charleston South Carolina // Pearl Girl

Charleston, May 2017

Take opportunities when they arise.

Similar to the above point, I think it’s important to sort of let your destinations be dictated by circumstance. An example: Last fall, Barcelona wasn’t super high up on my list of places to visit. I had already been, but just for two days when I was in high school, so while I knew I wanted to go back one day, it wasn’t my number one destination. But when my friends invited me to join them on a trip, I didn’t hesitate. We ended up having an amazing time, and I truly felt like I experienced Barcelona.

One thing to note is I am single, and while I have a ton of great friends, I don’t have that go-to travel partner in the way something in a relationship does. (Of course, there are friends — like my roommate and Natalie — who I travel with more often, but you know what I mean) So when a friend says “Hey, want to go to X?” I’m likely to say yes. It’s a great way to spend time with people and sometimes, be introduced to new destinations. Like when my roommate and friend Katie invited me to go to Iceland with them, I said yes because I wanted to go on another big trip that year and had no plans to do so. I had never really considered Iceland as a destination. I ended up absolutely loving it, and now am dying to go back and see more of the country.

It’s also worth mentioning that family vacations are a great way to go on subsidized trips. Nowadays I just go on a few, usually one big one every other year. Of course, this totally depends on your family situation and I recognize that I’m very lucky to still get invitations from my mom and step-dad to join them on some of their adventures!

Paris, April 2016

Stay in an AirBnB.

Y’all, I cannot express how much I love hotels. I love them. The beds, the lobbies, the plush robes and fluffy towels. But nine times out of ten, AirBnB is the more affordable option, so that’s what I go with. It also gives you more options when it comes to staying with a larger group, or if there are couples in the mix, etc. You also usually have a kitchen, so you can elect to cook some meals at home rather than constantly paying restaurant prices.

Hostels are also an inexpensive option, and one I did take full advantage of during my study abroad days. I honestly am at the point in life now where, most often, I will splurge for the AirBnB or cheap hotel room. However, if you’re traveling alone and looking to make friends, I’d recommend staying in a hostel because it’s a great way to meet fellow young travelers.

Points and miles.

I’m just starting to get into the points game, but I have to say, I love it! Since I grew up in Chicago — a United hub — I’ve been accumulating United miles for years. I try to fly United when I can so I can stock up on the miles. It can take some time to really build these up on your respective airline, but when you can it’s a great way to save on flights.

I also recently got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which I highly recommend. I’m planning a more in-depth post about my credit cards later, but this one has incredible travel perks and allowed me to book a free trip to Europe this fall — with lots of leftover points to spare! It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is a HUGE plus when you’re abroad.

If you want to travel regularly, you need a credit card with travel points. It’s such an easy to way to slash your travel costs, just by going about your normal life and spending as you usually would.

Iceland, June 2016

Timing.

You likely already know this, but if you’re going on a weekend trip and you want to leave on Friday and come back on Sunday, you’ll pay a premium for those flights. If you’re able to take a daytime Friday flight, or Thursday evening, or come back on Monday, you can save a lot of cash. Hotels are often cheaper on weeknights, too.

Don’t be a snob.

One day, I truly hope that I’ll be able to occasionally splurge on a truly gorgeous hotel room, or business class on a flight to Europe or Asia. But that is just not the place I’m at in life, and that’s fine! I’m 25. I always say you can go up, but it’s tough to go back down. So this is the time in life to stay in the teeny AirBnb, fly the budget airline, and sit in the last row of coach. In the end, you can handle any situation that’s mildly uncomfortable — like a long layover in Lisbon, as I did on my way to Barcelona — as long as you’re safe, healthy and have the end in sight. I always tell myself that a long flight only lasts so long. It’ll be over eventually, and then you’ll be at your amazing new destination.

In order to give a more tangible portrait of how I’ve been able to travel as I often as I do, I’m including a list of how I’ve paid for a few of my most recent trips.

How to Save Money While Traveling, Cheap Travel Tips // Pearl Girl

Quebec City, August 2017

Montreal and Quebec City

I received a gift card to Air Canada as a gift, and convinced my roommate to come with me. We’d both been wanting to visit Montreal for a while. We stayed at an AirBnB that cost $75 a night, so divided between the two of us, it was very affordable.

New Orleans

I booked my flight 100% with miles, so it cost me about $13 in fees. My friends and I — a group of five of us — stayed in an AirBnB, an economical option for the long weekend when divided by five!

Nantucket, June 2017

Nantucket

We booked our flights and AirBnB in February, four months before the June weekend we were going to be visiting. As such, we were able to get flights for less than $200 to a notoriously pricey destination.

Boston

I take the MegaBus and sleep on my friend’s couch. $60 total, without the costs of food and such.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles, March 2017

Los Angeles

I used United miles to book my outgoing flight and paid for the other. By flying out on a Wednesday and returning on a Tuesday, the prices were cheaper. The one-way I paid for was a little more than $100. I stayed with my step-sister while I was out there, so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel, either. Adding even more to the savings, she let me borrow her car while she was at work, so I didn’t have to rent a car to get around L.A. (which is essential!)

Paris

We stayed at a wallet-friendly AirBnB and we flew the budget XL Airways France to get a good deal. ($700 round trip, compared to $1500 on other airlines.)

Barcelona Spain Antoni Gaudí Architecture Guide

Barcelona, December 2016

Barcelona

Again, we stayed at an AirBnB, and managed to nab some seriously cheap flights — about $460. This did involve some less-than-optimal flights: A three hour layover in Portugal on the way there, and a seven hour layover in London (during which we ventured into the city, because I couldn’t be in London that long and not!) Both travel days were exhausting, but well worth it for that price tag.

London/France/Belgium

This trip has yet to occur, but it’s set to be a very affordable one! I booked my flight with credit card points, so it was 100% free. In two of the locations I’m going — Paris and London — I have friends living there, so I’ll be staying with them. I planned my trip so I’ll be spending the most nights possible in the free locations. And when I’m not, I’ll be staying at a cheap hotel or an AirBnB. To get around, I’m taking trains, and they aren’t very pricey!

Do you have any tips on how to travel on a budget? Share in the comments! And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Paris Photo Diary + Travel Tips

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

One of the reasons I decided to start blogging again last fall was to have a place to share my travel photos. I got my SLR camera for high school graduation, and have taken it with me on every major trip I’ve taken since. It’s been seven years since then, so I have thousands of photos sitting on my hard drive. And while I’ve shared a fair amount on Facebook, I wanted to have a place to put them + with more detailed descriptions of where I’ve been and what I’ve loved in these places.

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris is one of my absolute favorite cities. I’ve been four times — when I was eight, when I was a sophomore in high school, while I was studying abroad, and then last year, with my friends Natalie and Alex. Though I’ve been a fair amount of times for someone my age, up until last year, each of my visits had been only three days long. If you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ll know that three months isn’t long enough to completely conquer this city. There are so many incredible museums, gorgeous streets, world-famous sights, and obviously, amazing food, it’s impossible to do it all.

But when you’re only there for three days, it’s even harder. And each time I was traveling with someone new, so I ended up hitting a lot of the same spots. So when the opportunity to visit Paris for a full week arose last year, I hopped on it. And if you can, I highly recommend spending a full week in Paris, so you can check far more boxes than you would in three days.

Museums

The Louvre // Of course, any first timer to Paris must visit the Louvre. It’s one of the best-known museums in the world for a reason, and though

Musée d’Orsay // Great for lovers of impressionism, and worth checking out for the impressive collection + cool space (it’s housed in an old train station!)

The Catacombs // This is a mass grave underneath the city, filled with bones and skulls of more than six million people. You make your way through, and it honestly is freaky, but cool to say you’ve done. Warning: They’ll only let a certain amount of people in at a time, and the line can get bad. We waited at least two hours, maybe more. I say do this once, and then you never have to do it again.

Musée Picasso // One of the most impressive collections of Picasso’s works, and an easy way to spend a morning.

Musée Rodin // Rodin’s sculptures are displayed in a bright and airy home.

The Pantheon // Originally a church, famous figures like Victor Hugo and Volitaire are buried here. The space is huge and gorgeous.

Pompidou // A modern art space, and one that I’ve never been to! Hoping to check this off on my trip this fall.

Musée de l’Orangerie // Monet’s water lilies are the highlight here, but there’s an additional collection downstairs that’s worth seeing.

Maison de Victor Hugo // Victor Hugo’s former home, turned into a museum. A quick stop, and worth a visit if you’re a fan of Les Miserables.

We purchased a four-day museum pass last time we were there, and it was completely worth it if you’re planning on seeing a lot of museums. If you’re there for longer, I’d just pack your museum visits into those days, and then spread out your other activities on the other days you have. You can’t get in everywhere with it, but you can get in most places.

Also to note: If you’re a European student, you can get into most of these museums for free. That includes people who are studying abroad. Bring your student visa (passport) or student ID and you should be able to get a discounted (or free) rate.

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Places

Eiffel Tower // Obviously. I haven’t been to the top since I was nine, but walking around outside is just as lovely.

Champs-Élysées // You’ve obviously heard of this famous street. It’s worth a walk down, but honestly, the shopping is meh.

Rue Saint Honoré // This is the best shopping street in Paris. It’s home to tons of designers, like Goyard, and cool shops like Colette.

Arc de Triomphe // Climb to the top for one of the best views of Paris! It’s at the end of the Champs-Élysées, so you can walk down there after.

Notre Dame // There’s free guided tours inside, or you can just walk around at your own pace.

Sacre Coeur // A gorgeous cathedral on a hill in the beautiful neighborhood of Monmartre. Walking up the steps to the top is worth it for the view alone.

Père Lachaise Cemetery // A ton of famous people are buried here, and it’s worth it to walk around and

Palais Royal // That very Instagram-able spot near the Louvre. It’s perhaps most famous for the black and white cylinders

Place des Vosges // A beautiful public square and park. There’s lots of shopping near there, and it’s a great place to sit down and take in the view.

Sainte Chapelle // Stunning stained glass as far as the eye can see in what used to be the private chapel of the Kings of France.

Palais Garnier // The famed Paris opera house. I’d love to see a performance here one day, but if you can, definitely do the inside tour. I’m a huge Phantom of the Opera fan so it was such a highlight for me.

Galeries Lafayette // An epic department store near the opera house. Lots of designer items, but some more affordable pieces, too!

Shakespeare & Company // The bookstore featured in Midnight in Paris. It’s super cute and right by Notre Dame.

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Eats

To be honest, usually when I’m in Paris, I have no cell service and no idea where I’ll end up by the end of the day, so we just head somewhere that looks appetizing. When I’m there for a day this fall, I want to do a little more research. Off the top of my head, these are a few spots that I’ve liked. To me, it’s more about the food you’re eating than where you eat it (of course, there are lame spots, but a lot of Parisian food is delicious!) Croissants, baguettes, pastries, steak frites, fondue, crepes, mussels — I could go on. So, so good.

Laudree // We have it stateside now, but it’s still worth a trip to try their macarons in their home city.

Angelina // I’ve never been, but they’re known for their hot chocolate. (I don’t like chocolate, so that’s why!)

Les Deux Magots // An elegant café in St. Germain des Pres. Go for brunch — and order a cocktail!

Le Refuge des Fondus // Right near Sacre Coeur, you can get wine in baby bottles and cheese fondue at this is a hole in the wall spot.

Berthillon // The best ice cream on the Île Saint-Louis. Lots of spots around there sell it that aren’t the actual Berthillon storefront.

L’Elephant Du Nil // I love this little spot, and had an amazing meal there when I studed

Of course, there’s so much more to do in Paris, but I like to think of these points as the highlights. I’ll be back this fall for just a day, and I can’t wait. It’s truly a city like no other. And while there are things that the pictures don’t show — hoards of tourists and pickpockets, to name a few — it’s beautiful and is a really special place. If you have any questions about Paris, leave a comment below! Or share your own Paris tips with me, as I’m heading back with a day to kill this fall!

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

Paris Travel Guide for 20 Something Women

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Snapshots from My Trip Home to Chicago

Chicago Illinois Trip Recap - Pearl Girl

I always say that if I’m going to live a flight away from my family and childhood friends, I’m glad said flight is NYC to Chicago. It’s fast, it’s frequent, and most important of all, it’s inexpensive (most of the time.) I try to get back a few times a year, but usually, it’s for a long weekend — like four or five days. But over the Fourth of July, I was able to go back for eight days.

This post isn’t a guide, just a recap of what I did during my trip home. (Though there are a couple ideas if you’re visiting Chicago anytime soon!)

Chicago Illinois Trip Recap - Pearl Girl

I landed on Sunday morning and after a nap and a trip to Costco (to stock up on makeup wipes, duh) I met up with a few friends to drive up to Milwaukee for Summerfest. My parents live just north of Chicago, so the Wisconsin border is less than an hour away, and Milwaukee is just a little further than that. I’d only been to Summerfest once before, but if you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. It’s billed as the world’s largest music festival, but it’s more relaxed than something like Lollapalooza or Coachella. There’s a headliner every night, which you have to pay extra to get into, but otherwise there’s lots of artists that you can see perform for just the price of admission. We saw Andy Grammer for $20 and he was great! We were there all afternoon, and had a ton of snacks: Cheese curds, corn, a rib sandwich. When in Wisconsin, y’all.

Chicago Illinois Trip Recap - Pearl Girl

I did pretty much nothing on Monday — we got back home from Milwaukee after 1 a.m., and after an early flight wakeup call, I just wanted to sleep and relax for a bit. I did head downtown for a late drink on my friend’s rooftop — how incredible is her view?!

Chicago Illinois Trip Recap - Pearl Girl

I was all over the place on the Fourth. A barbecue at my friend’s place in the city, a barbecue at my mom’s house in the suburbs, and then meeting friends for fireworks in Evanston, which is a city just north of Chicago. The fireworks were right on the lake, which was so nice!

I didn’t take a ton of photos over the next few days, which involved a trip to the Taste of Chicago, drinks on the Chicago Riverwalk, a day on at work + dinner in the suburbs.

On Friday I met my mom and cousin for lunch at the Hampton Social, which I’ve been dying to try forever. Y’all, worth the hype. We had frosé and I had a lobster roll. I didn’t think Chicago could serve up a good lobster roll — I was wrong. And I finally got to see the Rosé All Day sign in the flesh. They’re opening up another Chicago location soon, too!

I then went to meet up with my friend Emily at her parents’s new place. They recently left the suburbs, but now they have a pool! So needed on a hot day. We got tacos with a few more of our friends after, and then walked around Millennium Park before I caught the train back home.

Saturday was a highlight — a Cubs game with my family! We got lunch in Wrigleyville beforehand and then watched them take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost, which sucked, but I had a Mai Tai and there was a set of back-to-back home runs, so that was something. My grandma is a huge Cubs fan so it was especially great to go to the game with her.

My grandma loves Kris Bryant, who plays third base for the Cubs. So when we saw this mural Call her, KB! She’s your number one fan.

It was such a great trip. And it was long enough that at the end, I was really ready to head back to the city. I’m so happy that it lasted a little longer than usual, because I’m not planning on going home again until Christmas. (I am excited to experience Thanksgiving in NYC, though!) It’ll be the longest I’ve ever been away from “home” (in quotes as New York really is my home now.) But that just means I’ll be super excited to go back when I do fly home again!

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