How to spend the ultimate spring day in Chicago

Okay, so one day it was a balmy seventy in the middle of winter and the next we are welcoming the typically warmer months with a snowstorm. What gives, Chicago? While Chicago can be a fickle mistress, we certainly love her when the snow melts away and we are graced with the first few bouts of spring.

We forget about the mornings spent scaling snow mounds to get on a sloshy bus. We forget that we fought with our neighbor for putting a plastic chair where a car should go. It's time to brush off the winter angst, apologize for all the bad things we said about Chicago and get back together with her this spring. And we have just the perfect date planned to rekindle things with the city you know and love.

Photo by Anne Petersen. http://flickr.com/photos/opacity
Flickr/Anne Petersen

Brunch at Zed451
Get up, lazy bones. It's the first warm Chicago day so no lollygagging. Luckily, the Second City always comes alive—and so will you—for brunch. You can almost smell the bacon now, can't you? If you want to enjoy the breathtaking views of downtown Chicago (and maybe even get a little tan while you're at it) then head to the rooftop of Zed451. Your breakfast just got a fancy makeover. Enjoy duck confit hash browns with your Panettone French toast (it's okay; go ahead and indulge) and wash it all down with a refreshing Peach Bellini that's sure to shake off those sleepy cobwebs and breathe you back to life.

Catch a Game at Wrigley Field
Did you hear? The Chicago Cubs don't suck anymore. Regardless of what baseball team you root for, you have to admit that Wrigley Field is a not-to-be-missed staple (perhaps just hide your opposing-team paraphernalia under an infamous "Try Not to Suck" tee to hide your loyalties). Snag some tickets at the box office (if you're lucky), grab some peanuts and cracker jacks, and watch the 2016 World Series Champions in action. Just remember to fly the "W" if they win!


Flickr/Sean Benham

Brats and a Beer at Gene's Sausage Shop
The celebration doesn't have to end after the game. Just head up to Gene's Sausage Shop rooftop beer and wine garden (the cow statue hanging precariously from the building is a beacon calling you to a world of deliciousness) to soak up some warm Chicago rays. Enjoy a refreshing pint and some of the juiciest Polish kielbasa around while sitting community table-style. Knock a few back and get to chatting with the locals (with beers and brats in plentiful abundance you're sure to make fast friends with...well, everyone!). Any afternoon spent being caressed by the tantalizing smells of smoked sausage is always a successful one.


Bike the Bloomingdale Trail (the 606)
Once you've come out of that meat coma it's time to conquer the rest of the day. With the warm weather and the birds chirping it's the perfect time to take a leisurely bike ride (you can rent a Divvy in a pinch) through the Bloomingdale Trail. This paved 2.7-mile trail weaves through four of our city's neighborhoods—Bucktown, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park and Logan Square—with easy street access to such awesome locales as Myopic Books, the largest used bookstore in the city. If perhaps you knocked just a few too many back at the Gene's sausage smorgasbord, then maybe walking through the park will be more your style. You'll be surrounded by nature. You'll have the warm, invigorating wind in your face. What could be better?

Flickr/Whitney

Fancy-Shmancy Dinner at North Pond
If you are looking to snazz it up a bit for a night on the town, then sweeping views of the skyline while nestled near a serene pond within Lincoln Park should do just the trick. Enjoy a cozy, intimate evening of gastronomic proportions at North Pond. Start with the carrot bisque kissed with shrimp and Earl Grey espuma before moving on to the olive-marinated monkfish with hazelnuts and cauliflower. Each plate is a carefully crafted work of edible art. Just make sure to save room for dessert—always.


Skylight Swim at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
While we certainly don't endorse swimming right after a meal (safety third, right?), once you've walked around Lincoln Park and digested a bit it's a perfect time to soak up one more ounce of Chicago's glorious spring weather. If you're staying at the Four Seasons, you can impress your better half with a beautiful skylight swim. While the pool is indoors, the skylight above allows you to be illuminated by the beautiful night sky without fighting the nighttime nip in the air. Partake in some delicious canapés (if you aren't still stuffed from dinner), a late-night swim and a lovely bottle of bubbly. Toast to surviving yet another winter. Toast to a beautiful spring day, and toast to many more to come.

Stephanie Andrews has called Chicago home for 10 years. When she's not eating...err, writing...you can find her stunt doubling for film/TV or making her own cocktail bitters.