Giordano's in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

My City Adventures Guide to a Chicago Vacation – Chicago Eats & Drinks

This post was made possible through collaborations with Choose Chicago and Smart Destinations. I also included sponsored links to delicious Chicago eats you don’t want to miss. Your belly will thank me!

This post on my summer vacation in Chicago is all about the food. And with the city being named Bon Appetit’s Restaurant City of 2017, you know it will be good! I divided the entire trip into three sections, which you can find links to below. “When I Say First Things First, I Mean Food” is the section you’re reading now. You can also click to sections on navigating Chicago streets or the upcoming Chicago sights below.

Getting To and Around Town

More Fun than We Could Handle in Just Five Days

After I had some idea of how to get around Chicago I focused on more important things. First and foremost being Chicago’s eateries*. I must admit my daughter Lily and I eat on the go a lot. A few of our meals consisted of quick bites at local cafes and food trucks. However, it was also a birthday trip so I made sure to add in some fine dining and Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. *Disclosure: we all know there are hundreds of amazing restaurants in Chicago but, unfortunately, I couldn’t eat at all of them. If you have any can’t miss Chicago eats tell me about them in the comment section. I’ll save them for my next trip!

Chicago Riverwalk Winery. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

The Birthday Gift that Keeps on Giving

I love a good deal and eating out is no exception. Most restaurants have loyalty programs or special offers for newsletter subscribers. (Like free birthday dinners!) Over the years I have signed up at dozens of my favorite places to eat. Come August of every year, I watch the deals roll in. Restaurants can offer birthday rewards ranging from a percentage off your meal or a complimentary appetizer to an all out free entrée! I browsed through my birthday emails to make a list of restaurants to try. Here’s a list of over 110 restaurants that offer birthday meals.

Diving in the Deep End

The Best Tomato Bruschetta at Giordano's in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

When I asked those in the know (aka Chicago locals) where I should eat, Giordano’s was the resounding answer. This joint has a famously long-lived reputation as the king of Chicago eats with its signature deep dish pizza. We ordered the small Chicken Sausage Deluxe which was easily enough for three people. The pizza pie came loaded with an earthy tomato sauce and ooey gooey mozzarella cheese. Mama Giordano created the recipe in a small northern town near Turin, Italy. First made as a specialty for holidays, the pizza became one of the town’s most beloved dishes. In 1974, brothers Joseph and Efren Boglio brought the recipe to Chicago, IL.

Luckily, if by some unearthly stretch of the imagination you don’t like pizza, Giordano’s has plenty of other fare worthy of the same spotlight. The restaurant claims to have “The Best Tomato Bruschetta”. Well I had to find out for myself. Our appetizer came as a complimentary birthday reward. (Sign up for those emails!) Crisp slices of Italian bread topped with thick slabs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sweet diced tomatoes, a drizzling of tart balsamic glaze, and ribbons of basil. Although the pizza was delicious, this was my favorite part of the meal. The naturally bold flavors of each ingredient complemented each other beautifully. Some could argue whether it’s the best, but it comes close.

If you don’t make it to Giordano’s, here’s a deal for up to 38% off a two topping deep dish pizza and wine or beer at Pizzeria Due in downtown Chicago. For a more hands on dining experience, Pizzeria Uno, is also now offering a pizza cooking class.

You Got Me Fiending

Hot Dog Fiend food truck in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

When it comes to famous Chicago eats, this city is also known for over the top hot dog toppings. Even “classic” Chicago hot dogs come loaded with peppers, pickles, onion, relish, tomato, and mustard. How often do I eat hot dogs in normal life? Never. Horror stories about nitrates and fillers usually have me scared to touch them. Not to mention if hot dogs were the only food left on Earth, Lily would let herself starve. (She doesn’t care too much for them.) But for this I cast all fear aside. Chicago hot dog are famous! I was going to pig out on at least one. I found a couple for places to add to my list. Hot G Dog and Chicago’s Dog House. Unfortunately with all I had planned neither one ending up fitting into our schedule. (It’s hard to keep a real schedule when your GPS is a fail.)

During one afternoon of sightseeing we walked by the Hot Dog Fiend food truck. On South Columbus Drive, between Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, five food trucks lined the street for hungry tourists. The Hot Dog Fiend had a fair amount of people waiting in line. I usually take this as a sign the food will be good. And I was right. Lily and I perched on the ledge of the west side of Maggie Daley Park after a little less than 10 minutes with a bacon bleu dog and a basket of “dirty” fries. I drizzled both with spicy brown mustard which took the flavors up several notches.

The sunlit garden filled with trees, flowers, and sculptures made for the loveliest scenic views as I took my first bite. Best Hot Dog I’ve Ever Tasted! It could be because it was lunchtime or my affinity for food trucks. Either way my taste buds were singing a happy tune. The Hot Dog Fiend’s bacon bleu is a jumbo 100% beef hot dog on a grilled bun topped with crisp bacon, mixed green, tomatoes, onion strings, and the chef’s special bleu cheese aioli sauce. I washed it down with a thick pineapple milkshake from Abigail’s Ice Cream food truck. I use the term milkshake loosely as it was closer to drinking ice cream with a straw. If thick shakes aren’t your thing you might want to pass. But I like thick, brain-freeze inducing shakes! The sweet creamy milkshake paired deliciously well with the spicy hot dog and fries.

Speaking of famous eats, you should also check out Big & Little’s while you’re in Chi-town. This new American eatery serves tons of flavor. It’s also been featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and Check Please! Use the link above to get a $20 restaurant certificate for $12. (I hear the soft shell crab sandwich is a must!)

Afternoon Seafood Delight

Devon Seafood Grill in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

A birthday dinner at Devon Seafood Grill continued our journey into the bold side of Flavor Town. I selected the pretzel crusted trout with brown sugar and a mustard vinaigrette. You might think, “She eats a lot of mustard”. Well, I’m thinking the same thing considering I used to hate the stuff. The regionally sourced trout came with Parmesan and herb roasted potatoes, garlic butter haricots vert, and a frisée salad. Elements of the dish were reminiscent of traditionally German ingredients. However the pretzel crust made it a stand out meal. The crunch from each bite of sourdough pretzels pulled all five senses in for this dinner.

I’m on a crusade to get Lily to branch out as far as trying new flavors. She is normally a plain vanilla kind of girl. UGH! My attempt at Devon proved unsuccessful also. She ordered fried buttermilk shrimp and sautéed asparagus. Clearly, she prefers simpler flavors as opposed to the bold tastes I usually for go for. Maybe someday, I’ll win that battle.

The Walking Diners

While out and about we stopped at a couple of noteworthy cafes for some quick bites.

Poppin’ Bubbles

Vivi's Bubble Tea in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

I may or may not have a slight addiction to bubble tea. The jury’s still out on that one. Meanwhile, when we walked by Vivi’s Bubble Tea I needed a fix. We were headed to Northerly Park, so this place was a convenient pit stop. It’s in the South Loop across from Pritzker Park. The inside looks like the sugar-licious cotton candy pink colored stuff my five-year old daughter dreams about. Yet, as cutesy as the shop was, my tea time at Vivi’s didn’t matcha up. (Get it, matcha up!?)

After looking through the sea of menu choices I picked a blended matcha green tea with boba. The girl handed me a cup and I took a sip. A strong taste of bitter jasmine filled my mouth. I’m not a tea expert so I couldn’t imagine why matcha tea would taste like jasmine. Well, the girl behind the counter told me that their green tea is made with a jasmine base. “Why”, I thought. I replied by reminding her that I originally asked for matcha tea. She made me a new cup with matcha. I took a sip and still tasted bitter jasmine. Rather than go through trial #3 for a bubble tea I added chocolate syrup which made it drinkable. On the flip side, Lily ordered a strawberry bubble tea. It was refreshingly sweet and delicious. I guess sometimes it pays to stick to simple flavors.

If boba isn’t your particular cup of tea, then you might like TeaGschwender. Do not ask me how it’s pronounced! The company brings the finest loose leaf teas from around the world to its tea room in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Named one of Chicago’s Best Tea Shops by Chicago Magazine and CBS Chicago, you’ll find over 300 varieties here plus an expert staff eager to help you select a tea you’ll love. Or how about three of them? TeaGschwender is offering a deal of $32 for three teas valued at $15 each.

Tic, Tac, Tiny Tapp, Toe

Tiny Tapp in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

Where Vivi’s is cute, Tiny Tapp is just too beautiful for words. This small café is on the Chicago Riverwalk. The picturesque views you’ll see here are a delightful addition to any breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Tiny Tapp also had a few adorable pieces of decor which made for my favorite photo of the entire vacation. Unfortunately, our time at the café had to be cut short. We were on a walking tour of downtown Chicago and could only stop for a moment. We grabbed a couple of scones and cookies and were on our way again. However, I would recommend giving yourself at least an hour or two for taking in a meal.

Shake, Rattle, and Sushi Rolls

Rock, Wrap, and Roll in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

Another way I saved on Chicago eats for this trip was with LivingSocial deals. $10 for $20 worth of Rock, Wrap, and Roll? Yes, please! Rock, Wrap, and Roll is a Thai sushi restaurant on the westside of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. From its name I expected a 50’s style themed eatery complete with a jukebox full of Elvis Presley hits. Instead I found a tiny hole in the wall spot that happens to have a fairly decent menu of sushi, maki, and sashimi. Half the menu options were pretty much standard when it comes to sushi. The rest was fantastic exceptions to traditional rolls. Rock, Wrap, and Roll has specialty rolls that are the whimsical creations of Chefs Itti and Kit. Their strawberry maki roll combines unagi, fresh salmon, avocado, cucumber, spicy tuna, and sliced strawberries. We ordered the futo veggie maki, sweet potato maki, and unakyu maki rolls.

What struck me as most peculiar was that we were the only diners in the restaurant for most of our meal. Normally this is a giant red flag. I somewhat gauge a restaurant’s quality by the size of the crowd already eating there. Yet, I gave it a chance and got a good meal. Plus with prices of about $5 or $6 per roll we ordered, that $10 for $20 Living Social deal went a long way. This is also the first restaurant where I experienced the concept of BYOB as the norm. But you don’t have to simply take my word for it! Rock, Wrap, and Roll is currently offering a deal of $12.50 for $20 worth of sushi.

Lost in Translation

I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

Alas we arrived at the last day of our Chicago vacation. Sigh! Parting is such sweet sorrow. Our last day also just happened to a Tuesday. You foodies know what that means. Tacos! During our explorations, we ventured past a place called Latinicity a few times. A quick Google search told me it’s a modern-day Latin food court featuring several eateries and a market. (Similar to Eataly, another food court in Chicago with Italian cuisine.) Bonus: the website boasted of a taco Tuesday happy hour. Perfect! Or so I thought.

A hostess at the main entrance gave us the rundown of how Latinicity works. You get a temporary card to use at the restaurants in the food hall. The card is for keeping track of your dining tab. When you’re done you return the card and pay your bill. But that’s not what happened.

We started at the first restaurant and asked if they had any happy hour deals for taco Tuesday. A man slicing a large hunk of meat directed us to another dining front about 20 steps away. We walked to this counter and again asked what their specials were for taco Tuesday. We were told to go to the first restaurant. The one we had just come from. Um… Okay… Have you ever gotten a funny feeling about a place? Well, Latinicity had me feeling all sorts of weird vibes at this point! Out of curiosity we checked out the bar at the back of the hall. Then left. Without any tacos.

My perception of Latinicity is that it’s an awesome concept which is gaining popularity in the Midwest. Check out the Lenexa Public Market in Lenexa, Kansas. However, in this case it was poorly executed. It seemed as though nobody knew what I meant when I said “happy”, “hour”, “taco” or “Tuesday”. The operation was highly disorganized.

Now You’re Speaking My Language!

 

Taco Tuesday at Broken English in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

We passed by Nutella Cafe on the way to Latinicity. A quick glance inside showed a promising display of sweet breakfast and brunch dishes before we continued on. Since it seemed tacos were out we decided to walk back to the café. I just wish my phone had received that message because I couldn’t get a GPS signal to save my life. I tried to recall the steps we took with no luck. Apparently I’m directionally challenged with and without Google maps. We still had a few hours to spare so I figured a bit of wandering might find us a decent place to eat. Hopefully somewhere with WiFi.

We only walked a few blocks when I saw the sign. “$2 Taco Tuesday” As we got closer I could see a graffiti mural with the words “Broken English” painted in vividly bright colors. Yes! Taco Tuesday was going to happen!

About those tacos! Broken English features several variations. At $2 each we ordered one of the al pastor de pollo, pork belly al pastor, carne asada, tinga de pollo, and parrillada de verduras tacos. Lily ate two tacos then promptly fell asleep. (By the way, at what age should you stop falling asleep in public? She’s five… I’m curious. Please leave your answer in the comments below.) That left three for me. Each one tasted better than the last. But I must say my favorite was the tinga de pollo. The meat was tinder and spicy but not overloaded with heat. Of all our Chicago eats, Broken English is definitely one I will have to come back to next time!

For the person who, like me, was eating at (Broken English) for the first time I would describe it this way. Broken English is a hip urban eatery with an unpretentious menu of Mexican cuisine. What you see is what you get. And what you get is honestly good and flavorful food. No fuss. No muss. Bonus: it does have WiFi! The bold, loud atmosphere gives off vibes of a place where young rock star wannabes get their first taste of playing somewhere other than a garage. Yet it isn’t just for the cool kids. We sat next to a couple of women meeting for drinks after work. A grandpa and his grand kids sat at the table in front of us.

Broken English mural in Chicago, IL. I expected nothing short of pure deliciousness from the Restaurant City of 2017. From seafood to deep dish pizza our Chicago eats lived up to the title!

Speaking of the cool kids, if you’ve made it this far, you’re definitely one of them! Thank you so much for reading! You can also check out my post on “How to Get Around Chicago“. Subscribe to My City Adventures now so you’ll be the first to read about our adventures including the upcoming “Chicago Sights”. You’ll also be eligible for special giveaways featuring amazing local businesses.

Marquee lights of the historic Chicago Theater. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

My City Adventures Guide to a Chicago Vacation – Getting Around Town

This post is brought to you through collaborations with ChooseChicago and Smart Destinations. I also included sponsored links which I believe will help you get the most out of your Chicago adventures.

Before I dive into our summer vacation I think I should begin by sharing why I chose Chicago, IL. With 20,000 cities in the United States, the options were almost endless. Yet Chicago has a diverse tapestry of architecture and is boldly pushing the boundaries of culinary art. Not to mention its greatest comeback story. All that made to a top choice. But what really sealed the deal was a quick google of what to do in Chicago during the last week of July. The Roots were playing at Northerly Island Park for the annual Tour de Fat. Whaaat!? I love The Roots! Sold!

Chicago's Riverwalk. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

Of course, my daughter Lily and I did more than go to a concert and look at buildings. Much more. For your benefit, I divided the post into three sections: transportation, food, and sightseeing. You can start here with “Getting To and Around Town“. Coming soon are sections on food and sightseeing.

When I Say First Things First I Mean Food!

More Fun than We Could Handle in Just Five Days!

Also here’s my first fun fact about Chicago. The city got its name from “Checagou”, the Potawatomi word for wild onions. This tribe of Native Americans were the first inhabitants of Chicago’s terrain.

Riding in a Most Peculiar Style

Some say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well, not this time! My goal was to have a fantastic summer vacation so I wanted the journey to be as cheap as possible. Even though I don’t own a vehicle I had plenty of options. Plane, train, automobile, or bus.

Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

Honestly though, I didn’t even bother looking into airline tickets or renting a car. I assumed either would be too much for my budget. Amtrak has free and half price days for children’s train rides. Plus a four-hour layover in St. Louis would have given us some time to explore the Gateway City. However, after calculating the cost of departure to Chicago and arrival back in Kansas City, Greyhound’s bus transit was the least expensive at $153 round trip for both of us. With our tickets booked we were off. And so were the other people who traveled on the bus with us.

I don’t know the Greyhound slogan but “Don’t start none, won’t be none” would be most accurate. This was the primary spiel I heard throughout our bus ride. Actually, the quote from the Greyhound drivers was “If a passenger becomes a problem, Greyhound does not transport them past the point that they become a problem.” Meaning if you act a fool on the bus, you will get left on the side of the road with the police. It could have been because our bus was scheduled to leave at 11 pm. You know who they say comes out at night. Clearly we were in for a colorful journey.

Public transit bus in Chicago. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

From the moment the bus pulled out of the station, the characters on-board gave me a surreal look into sides of humanity fit for a bizarre reality TV show. There was the woman meeting her boyfriend in St. Louis who spent over two hours in a phone conversation that would make a late night call girl blush. And it wasn’t with her boyfriend. A group of men sitting behind us were heading to a boys weekend and had started the party a little too soon. While traveling back home we met a woman in a nasty custody dispute with her children’s father. She spent most of her time sitting in her girlfriend’s lap sobbing loudly. I’d made the mistake of figuring that if we got a later bus we could simply sleep through the ride and wake up at our destination. I was wrong! But we made it. Safe, sound, and only mildly sleep deprived.

We Hit the Ground Running and Immediately Got Lost

My goal of keeping transportation expenses to a minimum meant using Uber was out of the question. I purchased a Ventra card, accepted on Chicago’s buses and trains. Ventra cards can be loaded with funds for 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, and 30 days. My seven-day pass cost $28. However since our trip was only five days it would have been nice to have a five-day option. No cabs or Uber also meant a lot of walking and quickly gaining some navigational sense of the local transit system. It just wasn’t quick enough. My GPS app was virtually worthless for most of our vacation. To get around we relied heavily on the kindness of local bus drivers and city maps posted throughout the downtown area.

State Street bridge in Chicago. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

Our hungry bellies dictated the first thing on the travel itinerary was to explore a nearby restaurant. I managed finding the way to Devon Seafood Grill on the Magnificent Mile with ease. After dinner was a different story. God must have decided I was better off lost because my GPS would not work and then my phone died. No big deal. Surely I can reverse my steps back to the train station where we got off. Wrong! The distance from the restaurant to the blue line train was only 10 minutes on foot. After 15 minutes of hopelessly walking up and down unfamiliar streets, I had a slightly panic inducing realization. I didn’t have a clue how to get to where I needed to be.

“Relax, Mama! We’re on Vacation!”

The first and only other time I’ve been to Chicago is with my mother when I was 10 years old. I’m 32 now. Luckily the small amount of research I did in anticipation of our trip began to serve me well. I recognized a few surrounding landmarks from travel guides. Wandering up one street, we came across a finely dressed couple looking in the window of a Maserati dealership. Aahhh! This is the Gold Coast neighborhood. Lily and I continued up that street then turned left. At the corner of somewhere and someplace we noticed a woman steering a horse-drawn carriage past the exquisite Sofitel Hotel. (I later learned it was the corner of Wabash Ave. and Chestnut St.) The stunning sight of the Sofitel’s half crescent-shaped glass first floor exterior left me awestruck.

Horse drawn carriage in front of Sofitel Hotel Chicago. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

Feelings of panic washed away. I told myself to temporarily abandon any sense of urgency to be at the next place. Switching gears to a more relaxed state and now primed for adventure mode, Lily and I started a game I call Which Way. The rules are simple. We start on a street corner and pick a direction to walk. Left, right, or straight. The way to win is by finding some new place or thing you haven’t seen before. It could be a new mural or a statue or anything. It’s the best way I know to explore sights I would otherwise miss if I stuck to the beaten path.

Feeling the Chicago Blues

Once night fell we got back on schedule. Thank God for those city maps and wi-fi hot spots! We finally found our way back to the “L” station we needed and hopped on the Blue Line. Can I just take a moment to talk about the amazingly wonderful Blue Line!? This train runs 24 hours a day from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, through downtown, to Forest Park. Luckily, the AirBNB apartment we stayed in was only a five-minute walk from the South Halsted station. Eventually we rode on seven of the eight “L” routes and several bus routes with all we planned during the trip. Yet it didn’t take long to learn that the quickest way for us to get back and forth was on the Blue Line. Take my advice if you’re traveling to Chicago. Remember the Blue Line. It will be your best friend. Side note: The Red Line also operates on a 24 hour schedule.

Kayakers on Chicago's Riverwalk. Some say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, our Chicago journey was full of getting lost. Hopefully, this will help you find your way around.

I hope this helps you navigate getting to and around Chicago streets a bit easier than I did. Subscribe now so you won’t miss my upcoming posts on Chicago eats and Chicago sights. You’ll also be the first to hear about our latest adventures and amazing local giveaways. Thank you for reading!

Kaw Point Riverfront Park. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

Ten Reasons Why There is No Place Like Kansas City, Kansas

This post is sponsored by Kansas City, Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau and Kansas Tourism.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson asked Congress for funds to send an expedition from the Missouri River to the Pacific Northwest. This was in anticipation of the acquisition of Louisiana Territory. France sold the 828,000 square miles in this territory to the United States for 60 million francs ($15 million). This purchase doubled the size of the United States. On June 26, 1804, the expedition reached Kansas. For three days, they camped at Kaw Point, where the Missouri and Kansas Rivers meet. Today this is Kansas City, Kansas. Kaw Point also marked the first stop on my day long tour of Kansas City, Kansas.

On that expedition, over 200 years ago Lewis and Clark observed how beautiful the prairie land was and the rich diversity of its wildlife. While Kansas City, Kansas is still as beautiful, it has grown into much more than a grassland. During our day trip, Lily and I explored everything from historical landmarks and sports life to public art and local spots for shopping. Not to mention the delicious restaurants! Follow along as I share the rich, beautiful past and present of Kansas City, Kansas.

1. Breakfast – Bonito Michoacan Bakery

Bonito Michaocan Bakery. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

I have a major sweet tooth so Bonito hit the sugar spot. This Mexican bakery offers the freshest and most delicious pastries you can find in the city.

2. Winkler Clock Tower

Winkler Clock Tower. Kansas City, Kansas is as as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. On a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hotspots.

On our way to the meeting place for the day tour we passed the elegant Winkler Clock Tower. Commissioned by Frank Winkler a German immigrant and jewelry shop owner, this landmark has been a symbol of prosperity in downtown Kansas City, Kansas for over 100 years. The clock was constructed in the Neo-Classical style which grew out of the Chicago’s World Fair. This style gained popularity in Kansas City as evidenced by area street lights and fixtures. The Winkler Clock was originally installed in front of the Winkler Jewelry and Watch Repair Store on Minnesota Avenue in 1915. The clock is now located at the Metro Center Transit Plaza on the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Minnesota Avenue.

3. Kaw Point Riverfront Park

Kaw Point Riverfront Park. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

Kaw Point was part of the land first claimed by Spain, then France, and ultimately bought by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The area served as the basis for the state of Missouri’s western border from Iowa to Arkansas when it became a state in 1821. Kansas officially joined the Union in 1861. Kaw Point features 10 acres of beautiful trails, and outdoor amphitheater, and wildlife. Many special events are hosted here, including an annual paddle boat race.

4. Avenue of Murals

Wyandot Echoes at Avenue of Murals. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

We headed back to Minnesota Avenue in downtown Kansas City, Kansas for an Instagram lovers dream. Here you’ll a four block display of murals from 6th Street to 9th Street. Local high school students partnered with professional artists Joe Faus, Alisha Gambino, and Duane Dudley to create these works of art. Each of the eight murals represents the history and culture of the city. The “Wyandot Echoes” mural represents the migration of the Wyandots’ from Ontario to Kansas and a spiritual journey back to the past.

5. Lunch – Slap’s BBQ

Slap's BBQ. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

You have to know I wouldn’t leave Kansas City, Kansas without some barbecue! More specifically, Slap’s BBQ. This treasure can be found in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood. Slap’s serves up mouth-watering barbecue sandwiches, burnt ends, and ribs.

6. Rosedale Memorial Arch

Rosedale Memorial Arch. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

The Rosedale Memorial Arch is dedicated to the men of the Rosedale neighborhood who served in the 42nd Rainbow Division for World War I. Nearby Rainbow Boulevard is also named for these men. Drawing inspiration from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, local architect John Leroy Marshall designed the memorial. In 1993 a small marker was placed under the arch honoring Rosedale residents who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

7. Sporting Kansas City/Children’s Mercy Park

Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

Sporting Kansas City was  as the Kansas City Wizards by Lamar Hunt in 1995. When the team moved to their home at Children’s Mercy Park it re-branded. Sporting Kansas City has won many titles making it one of the leading soccer teams in America. (MLS Cup in 2000 and 2013, the Supporters’ Shield in 2000, and the U.S. Open in 2004, 2012, and 2015) World renowned architectural firm Populous completed the $200 million Children’s Mercy Park in 2011. The unique design is meant to give the impression of movement with an undertone of urban modernism. Our tour took us through the stadium, media areas, and locker rooms.

8. Legends Outlets Kansas City

Legends Outlets. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

For some shop til we drop action we had to travel no further than the Village West District. This shopping and dining epicenter is home to Legends Outlets, Cabela’s, and Nebraska Furniture Mart. With over 75 name brand stores and over 30 restaurants, the Legends has something for everyone. The outdoor shopping center opened in 2006 and quickly became the premier shopping and entertainment area in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s also the only designer outlet in the region.

9. Dinner – Dave & Buster’s

Dave and Buster's at Legends Outlets.

Parents say not to play with your food. But at Dave & Buster’s it’s required. This arcade and restaurant boasts over 200 of the best and newest games. Plus sharable appetizers and entrees make it a win-win for everyone.

10. T-Bones/Community America Ballpark

T Bones Baseball. Kansas City, Kansas is as beautiful as it was when Lewis & Clark trekked its terrain. For a day trip, I explored landmarks, art, food, and local hot spots.

We topped off the day with a T-Bones game. This minor league baseball team offers up a fun night of America’s pastime the whole family will love. The park features a children’s play area and half time activities that shouldn’t be missed. It’s also budget friendly with most tickets in the $6.50 to $16 range. On Saturdays, Community America Ballpark ends T-Bones games with a fireworks show.

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An Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City for National Ice Cream Day and Month

I could practically hear ice cream lovers scream for joy across the country. July is National Ice Cream Month and July 16th marked National Ice Cream Day. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. In his proclamation, he recognized ice cream as “a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by over 90 percent of the nation’s population”. President Reagan called upon the people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Fulfilling my civic duty, I followed the President’s orders.

However, it didn’t seem enough to merely partake of just one ice cream shop in Kansas City. Instead, I decided to GO BIG and went on a self guided ice cream tour around the city. Yes, indeed! Lily and I ate ice cream ALL DAY! How’s that for celebrating National Ice Cream Day? Bring your taste buds along as I share the deliciousness from each tour stop.

Westport Ice Cream Bakery

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our first stop was Westport Ice Cream Bakery.

What we ate: Ghost Pepper Hot Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake

Westport Ice Cream Bakery is a family-owned and operated ice cream shop. The shop features “Vito’s Famous Shalolly & Sorbetto” crafted with a recipe handed down from the owner’s grandparents. They also serve up locally sourced ice creams, fresh baked cookies and brownies, decadent sundaes, and delicious shakes.

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our second stop was Spin Neapolitan Pizza.

What we ate: Tahitian Vanilla and Blueberry Butter Cookie

Founded in Overland Park, KS, SPIN! was one of the nation’s first Neapolitan-style pizza restaurants. SPIN! serves hand-spun, stone-fired pizzas, fresh salads with house made dressings, soups, Italian deli sandwiches, appetizers, seasonally themed cocktails, and all-natural gelato ice creams. Of course we’re here to talk about the gelato. One taste of Spin’s gelato and you’ll know why we frequently go to a pizza joint for ice cream. The flavors are rich and creamy with fresh ingredients.

Paleteria Tropicana

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our third stop was Paleteria Tropicana.

What we ate: Mango-Pineapple with Chili and Piña Colada.

Paleteria Tropicana opened with a single concept. To serve authentic Mexican ice cream to a growing Hispanic market. In addition to ice cream and paletas made on site, Paleteria Tropicana offers an extensive menu of fruit cocktails, smoothies, and traditional Mexican lunch and dinner.

Betty Rae’s

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City! Our fourth stop was Betty Rae's in the historic Waldo neighborhood.

What we ate: Joe’s Burnt End BBQ, Goat Cheese with Walnuts & Apricots and Root Beer

Owners, David and Mary are college sweethearts who got their ice cream beginning at  Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Colombia, MO. Betty Rae was David’s grandmother. Her sense of culinary creativity has been passed down to the shop’s ever-changing menu of unique ice cream flavors.

Miami Ice

July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated with a delicious Ice Cream Tour of Kansas City!

What we ate: Custard ice with Tiger’s Blood, Lime, & Passionfruit and Pineapple & Cotton Candy.

Miami Ice has been family owned and locally operated in the eclectic West 39th Street district for over 40 years. This shop carries Lawrence based Sylas and Maddy’s ice cream, so you can expect rich and creamy scoops.  The shop features a range of flavorful syrups. Get creative with the ability to mix up to four different flavors!

Now before you sound the alarm, yes I KNOW there are several classic Kansas City ice cream shops not on my list. For the very simple reason that I didn’t happen to visit them on National Ice Cream Day. But they certainly deserve to be mentioned. Maybe you’ll add one or all of them to your itinerary for a Kansas City Ice Cream Tour.

  • Andy’s Frozen Custard
  • Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard
  • Glace
  • Snow and Company

I hope you enjoyed our Ice Cream Tour. Share how you celebrated National Ice Cream Day in the comment section below. You can also stay connected to My City Adventures by subscribing. Thank you for reading!

This is what $20 worth of food from the City Market in Kansas City looks like.

This is What $20 of Groceries from the City Market in Kansas City Looks Like

The City Market is and always will be the heart of Kansas City, MO. At least in my eyes. If you want to get a good idea of the city is like, go to the City Market. Tip: The local vibes are strongest on Saturdays! More than just a hot spot for tourists, it’s also the location of Kansas City’s largest farmers market. Every week, seven days a week, thousands shop for the freshest local produce.

As you can gauge from the title of this post, it’s about eating affordably in Kansas City. My weekly food budget is $50. For just me and a five-year old, that is plenty. Sometimes it is too much. Staying within that budget is easy mainly because of the myriad of options for thrifty yet healthy food in Kansas City. Months ago, my original idea was to post what $50 worth of groceries would be, but I quickly changed my mind. There’s just no way Lily and I could eat $50 of City Market produce in one week.

Without further ado, here is our real City Market haul from last weekend.

Bread – $4
A staple in pretty much every household anywhere. But I wouldn’t label what Bristle Ridge Farms creates as mere bread. A more accurate description would be manna from heaven. They have several varieties. Our favorites are the rosemary Italian loaf and cake like pineapple coconut.

Eggs – $3.50
I don’t know what it is about eggs straight from a farm but they are the creamy dreamiest. A few farmers sell eggs. We normally buy them from DanJo Farm but on this day chose to go with Abe Yoder Farm.

Corn on the Cob – $3
I have a big thing for street food. When I saw delicious corn my mouth starting watering. I happily went home with 9 ears of corn which were prepared elote style. The farmer from Flores Farm sold 6 for $3 and threw in a few extra.

Kale – $2
Kale is an acquired taste. Lily has acquired it while I have not. But since she loves it I got some. The farmer who sold it to me recommended I bake them into kale chips. He was even kind enough to share his recipe with me. If I do make some I’ll be sure to post it.

Tomatoes – $3
Sweet, juicy, earthy tomatoes! In our household we eat them like apples. We got a sweet deal too! Two cartons for the price of one.

Baby Eggplants – $3
The little purple beauties from Lee Family Farm were too good to pass up. I plan on turning them into eggplant parmesan and vegetable kabobs.

Herbs and Spices – $2 per scoop
Last but certainly not least, we made sure to spice it up. Tikka House herbs and spices are another stable in our house.

Grand total: $20.50. I can’t say it enough. Eating healthy foods does not have to be expensive. What tips do you have for food on a budget? Leave a comment below. Thanks so much for reading!