Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmastime in Chicago

Last Christmas was our first year in Chicago, and since we thought we'd only be in the Windy City for a year, we soaked up all the Chicago Christmas goodness and even hosted my family for the holidays.  (See their visit here.)  This year, we're heading to Texas for the holidays, and between my crazy weekly commute and trying to use weekends to rest, we haven't done a whole lot of Christmas stuff.  So this past weekend, we grabbed two of our good friends and headed to enjoy a few of our favorite Chicago Christmas spots!

C180509We love the Christkindlmarket, and since Norma and Jerry hadn't been, we were thrilled to take them.  We also took it upon ourselves to introduce them to all our favorite market yummies, including Gluhwein, latkes, and roasted nuts.

C180512Thankfully this year's visit was much warmer than our two visits last year.  We spent much of Sunday giving thanks for the 40 degree weather and laughing thinking back to the previous year and how cold we were.

C180515We never get tired of The Bean.  Can you spot us?  (Hint: we're almost smack dab in the middle, just above and to the left of the girl with the Santa hat.)

C180517Have I mentioned how happy I am that we live here?  God is so good.

C180519We stopped to take in one of my favorite views of the city and watch the ice skaters in Millennium Park.

PC180522After taking an "extended tour" of the city (we frequently get lost when Matt plays tour guide), we stopped for dinner at Barrio.  I found out about Barrio through Gilt City last week, and since we've been in search of a good Mexican restaurant, we thought we'd give it a try.  And oh my goodness, I'm so glad we did because it was fabulous!  The food, the service, the die for!

PC180523Norma and I's first round of drinks: the Rehab Margarita and the house sangria.

C180524So happy she's in Chicago this year :)

PC180529We did a combination of appetizers and tacos, and there wasn't one thing that disappointed.  (Though Frontera still wins out for the best ceviche in the city.)  We will definitely be back!

PC180533After dinner, we bundled up and headed to Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  It's no secret, Matt and I love this zoo (see here and here), but we hadn't yet been to see it decked out for the holidays.

PC180535It was really beautiful to see the zoo so spruced for the holidays.  And though most of the animals were already asleep for the evening, we had fun just wandering around.

PC180536I'm so grateful that we made a point to get out and experience a few of our favorite Chicago Christmas spots (and that we found a new favorite restaurant in the process!)  And of course, sharing the adventure with our friends who are new to Chicago made it even more fun.  The Christmas season can be busy and hectic, but it's the small things that make the difference!

Tomorrow Matt and I are heading to Texas to spend Christmas with my family.  I am SO excited to spend the break curled up in snuggly pajamas, lounging around my parents Christmas tree, laughing with the people I love.  Now, if we could just get there without having to make the drive.  Oh yes, you read that right...we are driving the 18 hours to Houston.  My spending freeze had lessons that extended well beyond shopping.  We just couldn't justify the $1,000 travel cost, and since Matt has a hybrid, we'll spend just a tiny fraction of that.  So we're armed with lots of snacks, caffenated beverages, and books on CD.  Let's hope we survive :)

PS: I'm guest posting over at Lindsay's blog today, sharing my Christmas Happy Lately List.  Pop over and come say hi!


Dave and Jenny McIntosh said...

You are DRIVING! Ugh! But hopefully you have a safe trip and sometimes a road trip can be fun! Enjoy and have a great vacation!

Brittany said...

That blue jacket is ADORABLE.

Norma said...

We had such a great time! Can't wait to have a double date again! :)


Shane Prather said...

Found you from your guest post on Lindsay's. Love your blog, look forward to keeping up with it :)

xo Shane

Nicole Marie said...

i loved chicago so much when i visited last year. and the bean! literally spent hours there!

Anonymous said...

I ♥ road trips. Safe travels!

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love the holidays in a big city?! Have fun on your trip...