Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to Know

Warrior Man proposed a year ago yesterday. He had secretly procured a sparkly diamond ring, and he took me up a mountain trail, and popped the question.

Mere minutes after becoming a fiancée I informed him he would have to take me to Italy for our honeymoon. Why? Because, first of all, I had never been to Europe, and secondly because Sandra Bullock’s character, Lucy, does in While You Were Sleeping. This logically means I should go to Italy on my honeymoon too. Romantic comedies are full of wisdom. Natch.

Doesn't she look like someone who made the right choice in regarding where she spent her honeymoon? I think yes. Picture from Wikepedia.
Doesn’t she look like someone who made the right choice in regarding where she spent her honeymoon? I think yes. Picture from Hollywood Pictures.

Fast forward to the summer before our wedding–I was working a new job, dreadfully missing Warrior Man (who spent the summer working in Maui, and returned four days before the wedding, I will write a post about that one of these days), serving as Assistant Director for a children’s theatre production (fifty-seven kids in the cast!), looking for an apartment, and planning a wedding.

We were trying to rush Warrior Man’s passport, because he couldn’t apply for it until he got back to Maui (and got all his important papers). In addition, flights in July are just about the most expensive all year. Being in the middle of tourist season and all.

After I did tons of research, and crunched all the numbers I realized our week long Italy trip would cost a good $4,000. I also found out if we went in the off-season when tickets were $800 rather than $1,300 our cost for the trip would be closer to $2,000.

Saving $2,000 is a big deal when it comes to two college kids with tarnished pennies in their pockets.

I was stressed, busy, and tired. Warrior Man just wanted me to be happy. So when I suggested we put off our Europe trip, and instead go somewhere within driving distance (because why spend a lot of money when we were saving up for Italy anyway) we were both relieved.

That said, even though we didn’t make it to Europe this time around we ended up having a wonderful time in the Windy City.

To be honest, I think we had a better time on our low-key honeymoon than we would have had on our big, fancy honeymoon. Why? Because we were exhausted. If we flew to Italy for a week we would filled every day to the brim. We would have had to figure out the whole international travel thing, and we would have come back pretty broke. None of those things would have been particularly helpful in starting out a marriage.

We also can look forward to our European trip after we have saved up for it, have been married a little while, and are well rested.

Once I set my mind on being content in honeymooning in Chicago everything fell into place. Here is a brief recap of where we stayed, what we did, and why Chicago is the perfect honeymooner’s destination. At least, it was for us.

Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWe stayed at a fancy boutique hotel in Willowbrook, Illinois. The room was perfect, and the neighborhood was quiet and sweet. Our room had a jacuzzi and a steam shower in the room which was wonderful. Now that I know what a luxury hotel feels like I am ruined for cheaper alternatives. Sigh. Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowThis picture was taken the first morning of our honeymoon. Saia drove the car around to pick me up. Do you notice anything out of the ordinary? Like a mustached cup of coffee hanging loose on the top of the car? This just cracked me up.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowThe first day in Chicago we went downtown, and rented a tandem bike. I think this is a must for any newlywed couple. We biked for hours along the waterfront and through many parks.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowOn our bike ride we found the Bean (can you find us in the reflection?)…Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to Know…and Buckingham fountain…Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWe ate one night at the Lucky Monk restaurant where the atmosphere was fabulous. Eating outside, as the sun goes down, in front of a fire is just perfection. The truffle fries didn’t hurt either.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowOne of our favorite days was when we visited Chinatown. We loved it so much we went back twice. The food there was absolutely incredible, and very inexpensive. This pho was to die for.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWe went to Little Italy another day, and found this awesome statue of Christopher Columbus in Arrigo Park. This statue was actually sculpted by Moses Ezekiel in Rome, Italy. He made it for the opening of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It eventually found its way to Chicago. So we did get to see a piece of Italy in our travels. God is good. Even to a foolish romantic-comedy-watching girl like me.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWarrior Man really wanted to see some music while we were in town so we did some research and found the Ravinia Festival. An open air venue where they do classical music almost every night! Student tickets were only $10 each. This was the night we saw the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. One word: Incredible.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowI have always wanted to go to a drive in movie, and we found the Cascade Drive In very close to our hotel. We bought tickets on Groupon, and went to watch Inside Out. It was a really fun experience. My favorite part was the Swing Music that played through all the old speakers before the show started. So classy.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWhen we were driving back from the grocery store one day Warrior Man spotted this incredible temple. We performed a quick U-turn and spent some time touring this place. It turned out to be Swaminarayan temple built with Italian marble and Turkish limestone (see? Italy again!). Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowThat’s little old me in the middle. Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowOur very last night we went to see Thomas Hampson who is one of Warrior Man’s all time favorite classical singers. He was performing at the Ravinia Festival, but this time we were in the Martin Theater. Which made this Theatre Major drool. Hampson said it was by far one of the best Musical Recital Halls in Northern America. Well then. I guess he would know.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowSeriously, just gorgeous. That’s a Steinway piano by the way.Honeymoon in Chicago: What You Need to KnowWe hung around afterwards to meet Mr. Hampson, and he turned out not only ridiculously skilled and an excellent performer, but also just a downright nice guy. As soon as Saia said hello, he pegged him as a singer and was just so interested in our story and lives. A great guy.

That just about wraps up our honeymoon.

Where did you go on your honeymoon? Or where is your dream trip? I would love to hear about it!

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Comments

  1. Hi! Just stopping by your blog for the first time today.. I know this is an old post but just had to comment! I totally get where you guys were at planning your honeymoon.. we ended up having to make the same decision for a low-cost, low-key affair in order to save for a future trip-of-a-lifetime. We ended up taking a road trip from Indiana (near Chicago actually.. love that city!!) to Miami back in 2013. And since then, we’ve used our savings to move to Alaska and then head to Europe for a year-long trip. You may never choose to use your savings for that much travel, but just want to encourage you that giving up a little dream in the moment really can lead to unbelievable opportunities later 🙂 And congrats on your marriage too!!
    Linda recently posted…How We Packed for a Year in Europe: Part 2My Profile

    • Aw, thanks for the sweet encouragement Linda! I am still dreaming and scrimping for that European trip in the future. Wow, you guys are certainly adventurers! A year long trip in Europe–my heart just skipped a beat! Thanks so much for the sweet words, I really appreciate them!
      Bethany Miller recently posted…My Week in Pictures: Week 11My Profile

  2. Our weekend at the Peninsula Hotel was arguably the best we have ever had, aside from our honeymoon. This is a can’t miss hotel if you are looking for something romantic and intimate.

  3. Sounds like you guys made the right decision and had a great time. My hubby and I didn’t have money at the time (2006) to have a honeymoon and also did some in-state “day trips” like going to the ocean here in Maine. Then, in 2013, my middle daughter (from previous marriage) had a destination wedding in Punta Cana. So we turned that into a mini-honeymoon and had a wonderful time and want to go back on our own some time.
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…Past Lessons, Future Blessings, and Doing Things One at a Time – August 11 DevotionsMy Profile

  4. What a beautiful post, Bethany. You two made a wise decision in keeping your honeymoon close and relaxing. From our experience, saving for the more exotic locations is a fun and rewarding thing to do as a couple. We think we appreciate the vacations more when we save for them.

    We went to World’s of Fun, Royals baseball game, and the Blackhills. This was just right for us. Fun & inexpensive!

  5. Congratulations! Looks like it was a winning choice! We married in Cairo and honeymooned in Alexandria, Egypt. Lovely for us too. So happy to catch up on what’s going on with you! It’s been a few months. Again, congratulations! You look so happy! 🙂
    Amy Bovaird recently posted…Blind Surfer InspiresMy Profile

  6. OKAY. Are we the same person here!?

    Christopher and I had been dreaming/vaguely discussing but not actually taking any action/etc. a trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon. Right? Like, months of vague discussions about this trip. THEN, I finally look into it and it’s thousands and thousands of dollars just for us to get there and have some place to stay – nevermind eating and all of that jazz!!! So after I had a bit of a heartbreak breakdown about it, C suggested a road trip! And I FELL IN LOVE!!! I can’t wait to make this trip with my guy and I know we’ll have a blast (and NOT spend $3000 on travel and hotels alone).

    Your post made me even more stoked for our adventure! <3
    Grady recently posted…Engagement Photos: Yes? No? Maybe? (Alternative Title: Holy Goodness Gracious How Are These Photos Even REAL?!)My Profile

    • Grady, it is a little crazy how many things we have in common. 🙂 I am so glad to have found a new friend! Did you know my husband is from Maui? If we ever move back there you can totally come visit! Tickets are crazy expensive this summer. Sigh. The truth is, you could go anywhere on your honeymoon and have an incredible time just because you are together as a married couple for the first time. Everything is exciting. Wahoo! Married life is awesome. Get excited. 🙂 Just think, pretty soon you will be the one writing the post about your awesome honeymoon!
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Honeymooning in Chicago: What You Need to KnowMy Profile

    • Susannah, you are my new kindrid spirit. I didn’t even think about While You Were Sleeping taking place in Chicago! This makes our honeymoon even better. 😉 My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Sleepless in Seattle had scenes in Chicago as well! I read your honeymoon post, and it sounds like we have a lot in common in regards to how we approached our low-key honeymoons. 🙂 I love the picture of you guys kissing under the fir tree, so adorable!
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Honeymooning in Chicago: What You Need to KnowMy Profile

  7. I enjoyed reading about your Chicago honeymoon. I’ve never been to Chicago, but it is one place my husband and I would like to visit someday. We went to Colorado for our honeymoon. On our last day in Colorado, we went to Estes Park and fell in love with that area. We have been back to Estes Park almost every year since (and we’ll be married 19 years this month.)

Trackbacks

  1. […] As I drove away to pick up my fiancé, I felt a tad guilty leaving everyone sweating away preparing for my wedding, as I absconded to the big city for an evening of fun. However, those few hours with my soon-to-be husband were essential in grounding both of us. Once we got back to the wedding preparations neither of us had time to catch up until after we were married and went on our honeymoon. […]

  2. […] a drive in movie, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra–so many reasons why I loved our honeymoon! I wrote extensively about our recommendations in this post about our honeymoon. We spent a week and a half in the windy city, and enjoyed our time there immensely! Neither of us […]

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