Jeffrey Vallis is a freelance writer and communications specialist living in Toronto.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

Chicago in a day!


Chicago is the kind of city you could spend weeks in, relishing in the stunning architecture and eclectic culinary scene. There’s no limit to what you can do, only to how much time you have. For Chris and me, it was exactly 12 hours.

In total, we spent six nights and five days in the U.S. for American Thanksgiving. But, as one does when celebrating a holiday or visiting out of town relatives, we spent the majority of our time relaxing with family in Naperville (about 30 miles or 45 minutes outside of the city of Chicago).

So on our last day there, we woke up bright and early and took the 8:40 a.m. train into Chicago Union Station with enough time to squeeze in three meals throughout the day and check out a couple of the tourist highlights.


First stop: Brunch! That was the actual name of the restaurant, Brunch. And it was delicious! The food was excellent, the mimosas were the size of our heads, and the decor featured sassy sayings like “Brunch without booze is just a sad, late breakfast.” (Duh!)

Next, we checked out Saturday Night Live: The Experience at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. It's a self-guided tour that takes you day by day through the process of making the show and featured a ton of original sets, props, and costumes. I highly recommend this if you're an SNL fan, or if you just want a selfie with a life-sized image of Stefon. (See below!)


After our museum tour, we took a stroll through Millennium Park to see The Bean. (Because did you actually go to Chicago if you don’t have a selfie with The Bean?)

Then, we tried and failed to buy tickets to see Hamilton, got lost trying to find Navy Pier, and hobbled down the Magnificent Mile on blistered feet, ending up at Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen to rest our feet and enjoy some local beers.

Refreshed, we headed to 360 Chicago Observation Deck for beautiful views of the city. Pro: there’s a bar, and you can walk around with your drink while you enjoy the views. Con: TILT, an enclosed moving platform that tilts you out over Michigan Avenue from the 94th Floor, billed as “Chicago’s highest thrill ride,” is not worth the time or money (IMHO).

We finished the day off at Bavette’s Steak House (with a quick round of bowling at 10pin Bowling Lounge to kill time until our reservation). Bavette’s is the cutest spot. We sat in the candlelit basement in one of the round, vintage booths. It was so dreamy and romantic. They even accommodated me being vegan! While Chris devoured his steak (which apparently tasted like the kitchen fried it in butter, for those wondering), I noshed on a side of charred broccoli, side of Brussels sprouts and a side salad with avocado (all veganized).

It was a fun, whirlwind day, but I need to go back to get the full Chicago experience. On the to-do list for next time: vegan deep dish pizza, a baseball game at Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, and an architectural boat tour.

Have you been to Chicago? Do you have any suggestions for our next visit?