Best Western Staycation
Featuring: Pizzeria Ora, Scratch Goods, Bella Noir Desserts
Nando’s Peri Peri, Sullivan’s Steak House, Stage 773 Theatre
Brrrrr…..it’s cold outside! I don’t know about you, but when the temps drop I need a vacation even more. With the holidays approaching and so much going on, sometimes you can only afford a day or two to get away. Instead of spending money on flights and wasting your precious time off traveling, I suggest a Chicago Staycation. Hey, Chicago is a huge tourist destination for a reason. From our sexy skyline, mouthwatering restaurants, and shopping galore there will be tons of activities to keep you smiling and entertained. 🙂 Whether you’re a Chicago native or a small town transplant why not take some much needed time to relax and explore the city you LOVE and live in. Grab you’re boo, friends, family, whomever’ s company you enjoy, and plan a couple days of FUN. The time for adventure is NOW!
So now that I’ve convinced you a staycation is calling your name…..Where do you stay?
Take my advice and stay at the Best Western Hotel River North. Chicago has so many hotels to choose from, but I picked the Best Western because it’s affordable, AWESOME/Central location (right in the heart of River North), and ummmm….roof top pool action in the winter?!?! I’ll go for that! For those of you that are doing a Friday/Saturday Staycation like me you may need to check your work email once in a while and Best Western has you covered with their FREE in room WIFI or have a cup of coffee in the WIFI Room. Other than checking your email once or twice, please promise me you’ll put the laptop away and enjoy yourself!
You might make some tweaks planning your own staycation along the way, but I want to show you a Chicago Staycation done right! 🙂 I didn’t do too much planning ahead of time, but I made sure to visit my tried and true favorite establishments (Pizzeria Ora, Scratch Goods, Bella Noir Desserts, Nando’s Peri Peri, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and Stage 773 Theater). Hopefully these will give you some options when planning your own Best Western staycation. I made sure to get a dose of pampering and adventure… and YOU should too! Make sure you check out the end of the article cause I’m giving you some entertainment and seasonal activity suggestions that may interest you. 🙂
If you live in the burbs or on the outskirts of the city and plan to do most of your activities in the down town area you can’t beat staying at the Best Western. Best Western has spacious rooms, friendly customer service, in and out car garage privileges, but what stood out to me the most is the location and affordability. I wanted to stay at a decent hotel, but not break the bank. YOU want to still have money left over to splurge on other things. And splurge I did…..:)
So let’s get started….
I don’t want to make you too jealous, but I started off my day with breakfast in bed. 🙂 Hey, I work a 9 to 5 every day and I wanted to take time to binge watch my favorite shows. Room service was tasty from the restaurant Pizzeria Ora.
Pizzeria Ora is a homemade flavor family style restaurant in the heart of downtown and adjacent to the Best Western. You can head on down to the restaurant or order room service.
There’s also a bar area….. but back to breakfast in bed. 🙂 We went with the 3 egg omelet, egg sandwich with hashbrowns, side of pancakes, and pineapple juice. EVERYTHING was delicious! The hash browns were seasoned perfectly and those pancakes were nice and fluffy. Definitely make sure to check out their Monday through Friday lunch specials as well. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or just in the area Pizzeria Ora has some tasty items and one day I’ll actually try their famous Chicago style pizza. Pizzeria Ora is located at 545 N Lasalle Street, Website pizzeriaora.com
Time to relax even more…..hey it’s a stayCATION!
Afterwards it was time for me to venture out and really get some R&R with my girls. 🙂 We headed over to Scratch Goods in Roscoe Village. I know what you’re thinking. There’s so many spa’s/salon’s in the area so why did I head to Roscoe Village. Four words – Food Grade Skin Care. What does that mean? ALL the products used at scratch goods are safe enough to eat (please don’t, but if you did its safe).
The fragrances come from pure essential oils and they use zero water which eliminates the needs for synthetic preservatives. What’s cool about scratch goods is it’s an interactive mask bar for self service facials with guidance. You literally leave knowing how to replicate the face mask at home and you get 10% off products with the facial service. I had such a fun time with my friends and we ended up getting the works…facial, hand mask, and foot soak. If you head to Scratch Goods on the First Friday of every month they do a FREE foot soak (subject to change). The store is BYOB and you can also bring snacks. If you’re not looking to head to Roscoe Village the services can also come to you! Scratch Goods is located at 3551 N Damen, Chicago, IL 60618. From the hotel about a 20 minute car/taxi ride, 25 minute train ride on the brown or red line. Website: www.scratchgoods.com
Girls Night In – Best Western King Deluxe Suite – Catered by Bella Noir Desserts
Our girls day tuned into a girls night! We decided to have a “Girl’s Night In” Game night. The King Deluxe Suite at the Best Western River North is spacious! There’s a separate bedroom, a refrigerator, and a huge living room area perfect for entertaining. This is the perfect space for bachelorette or bachelor pre parties. I took it to the next level by decorating the space into a Christmas holiday theme and had an assortment of games and magazines to relax the night away. Can you believe I never played Jenga or Cards Against Humanity before…LOL.
Bella Noir Desserts Catering
Our food/dessert spread was catered by Bella Noir Desserts. Bella Noir Desserts is a catering company that specializes in sweet and savory healthier southern/soul food dishes. We had a feast that night and ordered Ginger herb salmon with a hint of honey in a bed of lemon dill rice, bake fried whole wheat encrusted chicken, mac and cheese cupcakes, pudding cups in various flavors (banana, black berry, strawberry, and lemon curd), sweet potato cake pops, and strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and peppermint candy cane. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. 🙂 I use Bella Noir Desserts for all my special occasion catering needs and a rare girls night in was definitely special! Make sure to check out the site for your staycation or food catering needs. Bella Noir Desserts – www.bellanoirdesserts.com, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-681-1168
I was super lazy getting up the next day. Our girls night in….was an ALL nighter. We decided to take a stroll over to Navy Pier and stopped for lunch at Nando’s Peri Peri afterwards.
Nando’s Peri Peri on Ontario Street
Nando’s Peri Peri is one of my favorite lunch spots. It’s a South Portuguese restaurant known for its spicy flamed grilled chicken. The location we went to on Ontario Street opened towards the end of summer 2016. There’s seven other locations throughout the Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs. Nando’s is pretty new to Chicago. The first location opened in 2015. I LOVE the décor that’s super bright, earthy textures, and original works of art just as unique as the restaurant. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation some place warm. Beside the impeccable service the food was fresh and Amazing! We were starving and got a few of our usual’s and tried a few new items as well.
My go to is always the chicken sandwich with fries. The chicken is so flavorful on its own, but dip it in one of the spicy and garlicy sauces and it’s out of this world. Make sure you get the peri peri mayo dipping sauce to go with the deliciously seasoned fries. We also got the hummus platter (fresh veggies), Cucumber and poppy seed salad (OMG FRESH), Flamed grill corn on the cob (delicious!), Brussel sprouts (I’m a fan!), Raspberry cheesecake (drool worthy), and blood orange mango lemonaid (refreshing). Lunch was certainly delicious and the customer service was awesome as usual. Just as a side note Nando’s Peri Peri is hugely involved with non profits. I love a company that gives back! Nando’s Peri Peri – 227 E Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611, www.nandosperiperi.com
It was a snowy day, so we spent most of the afternoon at Best Western River North indoor pool. Like most Chicagoan’s though you can’t let the weather dictate your livelihood. 🙂 After a long nap we ventured out into the cold to one of my favorite restaurants close by the Best Western….Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Soooooo Good!
Sullivan’s Steakhouse is fine dining an a unpretentious atmosphere. Also, it’s one of the BEST Steakhouses in Town. 🙂 If you’re a Chicago Native you know that Sullivan’s has been around FOREVER. With so much competition surrounding the steakhouse it’s clear to see why Sullivan’s remains to stay on top. Literally there are about 7 or 8 other steak house’s within a block radius of Sullivan’s, but let me tell you what sets them apart. Do they have great customer service…YES, Do they have delicious cocktails and specials…YES, Is the atmosphere lively with live Jazz music nightly….YES, but how is their Steak?…AMAZING!!!
Sullivan’s is part of the Del Frisco Restaurant Group. Yes, Del Frisco on Oak Street is their sister restaurant, so they definitely know a thing or two about cooking a steak! That night I had the Filet Duxelle Mushroom Stuffed topped Oscar style with lump crab, asparagus, and béarnaise. YUMMY!!!! Definitely steak done right!
Sullivan’s totally knocks out the competition…..literally. LOL. Sullivan’s Restaurant is named after the late 1800’s to early 1900’s American Heavy Weight Boxer Champion John L. Sullivan. They even have a delicious cocktail named after him call the “Knockout” (Vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian gold pineapples). I might have had one or two that night. 🙂 Make sure to stop by Wednesday – Sunday’s for live jazz that starts around 6:30pm. For those of you wanting to take advantage of the wonderful food on a budget stop by on Thursdays for their “swingin at Sully’s Thursday’s.”. Every Thursday starting at 4:00pm until close they have $7 cocktails, wine, and select items from the bar menu.
With the open kitchen concept you get to see and smell your food being prepared while listening to live jazz music. It’s always a nice vibrant atmosphere and an amazing dining experience. Our Saturday night staycation visit was no different.
We started with some cocktails! As I mention definitely try the “Knockout.” From there we got the cheese steak egg rolls (filet mignon steak), iceberg salad, lobster bisque, lobster mashed potatoes, shaved Brussel sprouts, and steakhouse skillet mushrooms. Dinner was divine and we ended it with a couple of chocolate martini’s, key lime pie, and bread pudding. Awesome fine dining establishment, with reasonable prices, and a relaxed atmosphere. I definitely dine here A LOT! Sullivan’s Steakhouse is located at 415 N Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60654. Website sullivansteakhouse.com
After dinner we were ready to enjoy the last night of our Best Western Staycation and get our laugh on. It was cold and snowy, so we took our car we parked in the Best Western Garage and headed over to Stage 773 for the sketch comedy show “Cupid has a Heart on”
Stage 773 – “Cupid has a Heart on”
“Cupid has a Heart on” is one of Chicago’s longest running sketch comedy’s. It’s been running for 17 years and isn’t for the faint of heart. LOL. It’s a fast paced, off the wall hilarious and sometimes vulgar material. There’s also many other shows featured at Stage 773. Check the site for more details! Stage 773 – 1225 W Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657. stage773.com
Do you have enough ideas now to get you started on YOUR own Best Western vacation???? I think you do, but here’s a few other activities you may want to check out. Thanks for coming along on the journey!
- Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink – 201 E Randolph Street – FREE Admission – Skate Rental $12 (Outdoor Rink)
- Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon – 337 E Randolph Drive – FREE Admission – $12 skate rental Mon – Thurs, $14 skate rental Friday/Saturday (Outdoor Rink)
- Navy Pier Winter Wonder Fest – 600 E Grand Avenue – $10 for general admission and $25 for activity tickets. Attractions include the Blackhawks Ice-skating Rink (Indoor Rink)
- Christkindlmarket – Daley Plaza – 50 W Washington Street – November 18th – December 24th. Chicago’s largest open air Christmas Festival. Lots of unique gifts, food, and snacks. Open daily and admission is FREE. Sun – Thurs. 11am – 8pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 9pm.
- Zoolights – Lincoln Park Zoo – 2001 N. Clark Street – Ends January 1st. Free Admission – spectacular lights festival. 4:30pm to 9:00pm daily
- Block 37 – 108 N State Street – City shop an dine experience, various style and budget options for shopping and dining. Also AMC Dine in theater.
- State Street Shopping – Start off at Macy’s on State between Randolph and Washington. Afterwards go North or South for various shopping up and down State street.
- Water Tower Place – 835 N Michigan Ave – Indulge in brands you love with various shopping and food options.
- Magnificent Mile Shopping – North start at Oak street and work your way South down Michigan Avenue for various shopping options. *tourist central*
- 900 Shops North Michigan – 900 N Michigan – Home of the large Bloomingdales and more designer and high end brands.
- Oak Street Shopping – Between Rush and Michigan Avenue on Oak Street. High end designer shops and restaurants.
- South Port Corridor Shopping – A few blocks west of Wrigley Field – Venture away from the loop with a quick train or uber ride. Check out the unique boutiques of various price ranges.
Night Life minus the Club – Try a Speak Easy!
- The Drifter – 676 N Orleans – World class cocktails and shows run sporadically throughout the evening. www.thedrifterchicago.com
- Untitled – 111 W Kinzie – various events, great cocktails and food, dj, and live entertainment. www.untitledchicago.com
- Bordel – 1721 W Division Street – Cocktails and Cabaret. www.bordelchicago.com
- The Violet Hour – 1520 N Damen Avenue – DELICIOUS craft cocktails in a super sexy environment. http://www.bordelchicago.com