Squirrely Summertime Chicago Bucket List Adventures

In this post: Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier, 90 Miles in Logan Square, Katherine Anne Confections, Dance Academy of Salsa, Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Whenever I get a call or a text from a friend that says something along the lines of “hey, I’m free this Friday, want to go on an adventure?” and I happen to be free at the same time, the answer is always a resounding HELL YES! When do we go?!

This just so happened to be how one of my Fridays ended up, and getting ourselves into some amazing adventures is just what we did! By now it’s no surprise that I crafted myself a summertime-Chi bucket list. I realized that I had so much access to such amazingness that I wasn’t taking advantage of like I should, duh! Chicago is literally like 45 minutes from me, why I wasn’t taking advantage of it for so long is beyond me – but I’m for sure making up for that now!

Humboldt Park – Logan Square – Dance Academy of Salsa – Katherine Anne Confections – 90 Miles Cuban Restaurant 

Tonya and I decided that we were going to go wandering in Humboldt Park and Logan Square – two places that were on my bucket list because of the ethnic food available there! I had read that Humboldt Park had a thriving Puerto Rican community and I totally wanted to try some Puerto Rican food, so without too many plans too far in advance we decided we were going to head that way.

As the days clicked by we made minimal plans based on some Google searches of things to do and see in the area. Since neither of us had ever taken a salsa dancing class, and it just so happened that the Dance Academy of Salsa offered drop-in classes on Friday evenings, it was the perfect thing to experience! I mean really, if you’re going to take a salsa dancing class, what better place to take it? Tonya also found a cute little chocolatier in the area, and clearly with the looks of the truffles and other yummies we had to make a stop there. We figured that we would figure the rest of the day out, knowing that our final destination was going to be the ferris wheel at Navy Pier to see the city lights and maybe even catch the sunset!

Our very first stop was Katherine Anne’s Confections, and bless the guy working behind the counter that he was so great at fielding questions from a very curious squirrel and indecisiveness from two women in a chocolate shop trying to decide what to order. I mean, really – is “one of everything” not an appropriate order?! We finally decided to both order a truffle flight consisting of 3 truffles, I ordered a homemade smore and Tonya ordered the Mexican drinking chocolate and we split everything – because that’s the best way to experience a little of this and a little of that without having to be too committing to any one thing. Soooo good, I have to be partial though and say that as great as the truffles were, the smore had my heart – definitely get that if you go! They had a really amazing selection of homemade marshmallows, homemade caramels and truffles galore with interesting flavors like goat cheese and walnut. We did get that one, but we also opted for some other fun ones like margarita, Elvis (this one had bacon in it!) and PB coconut curry!

Dessert first in our books! Our next stop was to grab some food before we worked up an appetite at the salsa class, so we asked the guy behind the counter for some good selections. 90 Miles Cuban Restaurant was the winner, so off we scooted in search of some delicious Cuban appetizers! The plan was to get appetizers at 90 Miles and then try a different place for dinner, because when in Rome you have to cram as much amazingness into the time you have as possible! We got to 90 Miles, which is this super cute little place in the Logan Square neighborhood and decided to order the tostones rellenos to share – basically little plantain cups filled with shrimp and creole sauce. Granted we were hungry, but they were SO good!

By the time we were done chowing on our tostones we realized that we weren’t going to have enough time to hit another spot for dinner and get to the salsa class on time. I’m not one to choose a dance class over food, but in this situation we needed to get there on time. Sometimes you forget that in the city you have to account for driving, traffic, parking and walking – things us suburban folk don’t often need to worry about. I’m learning this the hard way!

At the Dance Academy of Salsa they offer a 2 hour class on Friday evenings for $15 for 4 mini classes – 30min each of Bachata, Cha Cha, Salsa and Merengue! All these classes were taught at the basic level, so no previous dance experience is required. Fair warning, these dances you learn both on your own and with a partner, so if you don’t come with a “date” you’ll get paired with a random stranger – and you won’t be strangers after these moves! Another fair warning, this is a class you’ll stay the whole 2 hours for. Tonya and I thought we’d stay for an hour and then scoot out to go catch the sunset at the ferris wheel, but once you’re in the class it’s kind of hard to sneak out and leave the group oddly numbered, so be prepared for that!

After we salsa’ed and cha cha-ed our little booties off we were pretty hungry and it was dark at that point, so instead of wandering around Humboldt Park we chose to head off towards Navy Pier and grab some food somewhere over there. During the ride, Tonya informed me that she had never been to the Sprinkles cupcake ATM – say what?!?! That’s just not acceptable. Now I’ll be honest, the ATM cupcakes aren’t quite the same as going into the store and getting to pick out the ones you actually want, but I mean come on – it’s an ATM that dispenses cupcakes at all hours of the night for God’s sake! It’s a must-see!! So that we did. We came, we saw, we ate cupcakes and we headed off to the ferris wheel.

Our final destination for the evening was Navy Pier to ride the Centennial Wheel at night. While I’ve lived in Illinois most of my life, I had never ever ridden the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. I rode the Orlando Eye in Florida, I rode the one in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but I never rode the one in my home state. The shame! Checking that baby off the bucket list! For a $19 ride, it wasn’t a bad deal – but the bad deal is with parking. We were there for less than 2 hours and the parking total was $30, so just keep that in mind – when driving in Chicago you’ll pay out your booty for parking, so take that into consideration! More than actually “riding” the ferris wheel I actually really wanted to see the city lights from the top, and that didn’t really disappoint! I did think it was going to be a little more colorful up there, but no complaints here – I checked it off my bucket list!

All in all, we came, we saw, we checked things off the bucket list and we had a damn good time doing it!

Until the next adventure!


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