A Girl’s Weekend in Chicago

sister's surprise party

Recently, I planned a surprise birthday party in Chicago for my sister’s birthday with a group of girls! Surprises are so much fun! (Ok, only when it turns out and when it’s not for you!) Her surprise turned out awesome. She was totally shocked to see her girlfriend’s screaming “surprise”! in the lobby of the hotel. YAY!

birthday party chicago
The birthday party ladies!

Here is the coolest thing we did on our girl’s weekend:

We chartered a boat for the afternoon out on Lake Michigan. This is such an amazing thing to do on any beautiful summer day, but this day was not only beautiful, it was also the Chicago Air & Water Show!

I cannot recommend doing this enough, especially for the show. There are no obstructions, the lake air cooled us a bit and the airplanes are so close we felt like we had to duck when they flew past. It was loud and our heads were swiveling trying to find the planes, which were always long gone by the time we heard them! It was so cool. 

Chartering a boat is very easy. I had no idea that this was even a thing. The deal is that the owner of the boat rents you his boat and then he takes you out boating, on his boat. Simple as that. We met right at his dock, boarded up and headed out for 3 hours. DO THIS sometime in Chicago!~ It is a blast. There are all different types and sizes of boats available depending on the size of your group.

Here is one of the websites where you can charter a boat: www.GetMyBoat.com 

surprise party

What we drank:

For the boat ride, I brought along lunch and drinks.  Since it was a hot summer day, I made lemonade mimosas, which were a hit! Here is the recipe:

Lemonade  Mimosas

Plastic champagne glasses, we used these

Pink lemonade (I used Oberweiss)

Lemon wheels

Fill glass half full of champagne, add a lemon wheel and top with lemonade. 

(If you aren’t on a moving boat you can sugar the rims of the glasses too!)

air & water show

Where we stayed:

Next, after the boat ride, we headed back to the Ace Hotel. Since the boat ride was a bit rockin and rollin, we didn’t get around to dessert. We decided to do dessert, more drinks and  presents back at the hotel. 

We stayed at the Ace Hotel which just opened in Chicago. It’s in the perfect location, the west loop, which is one of the hottest areas around. There are happening restaurants and bars on every corner. We also could walk to dinner and brunch. 

girls weekend chicago

 Since everyone has different cake preferences, I got a dozen assorted cupcake flavors from SmallCakes Cupcakery. I totally recommend them because they are delicious, have a ton of flavors and made fresh everyday. Look at all those flavors! We still ended up cutting the cupcakes into quarters to taste them all (or to trick ourselves into thinking we didn’t eat that much….)

cupcakery cupcakes

overnight girls party
The birthday girl with cake and presents!

Here is where we had dinner:

Dinner was at swanky Nellcôte right on Randolph. A perfect place for bread, pasta and pizza, because it was a group of girls. No, haha, because interestingly, they grind their own flour. I mean this is my kinda place! Birthdays are the best, am I right? I made sure to eat enough carbs for a week. 

dinner at nellcote

After dinner we walked back to the Ace to go to the recently opened bar called Waydown. When we walked up to the outside entrance we saw a line of people waiting and were immediately thinking, no way Josè, we don’t wait.  But since we were staying at the hotel, we took our room keys and headed inside to the elevator and  voilà, walked straight into the bar. This is a great place to grab a drink anytime because the view of the Chicago skyline is superb!

This is where we had brunch:

Sunday morning we walked over to Little Goat for brunch. The weather was just beautiful, so we sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. Here’s a little tip, if you want to get into brunch here, you need to book it well in advance because it is always packed. The menu is served all day, so you can get a potpie for breakfast and french toast for dinner! We started with a cinnamon roll to share, yum!

brunch at little goat

After that it was back to reality! We all packed up and headed home. One to Cincinnati, one to the burbs and the rest to Indiana. A successful surprise in the books. XO

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