Hi friends! I just got back into Charlotte after a fun trip to the annual dietitian conference, FNCE (Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo). It was held in Chicago this year. I felt like my experience at the conference deserved its own post, so I’m sticking to recap of my trip today!
B and I decided to make a trip out of the conference so he traveled with me for a few days before flying on to NYC for his own work obligations. We decided to leave for Chicago a day before the conference started so that we would have some extra time to explore the city. I had never been to Chicago before so I was really looking forward to the trip!
Our flight landed around 4:30ish on Friday afternoon and we ended up taking the train (CTA) from the airport to downtown. We got off at the Grand station and then took an Uber down to our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott (which was one of the conference hotels). For reference, you could probably walk from the station to the area where the is hotel but we each had our luggage and a carry-on, so that’s why we decided to Uber. The hotel was located in an area known as the Magnificent Mile, which is full of shopping and good restaurants.
We checked into our hotel, made a quick clothing change and headed out to have dinner with Susie from SuzLyfe!
Susie and I have “known” each other online for many years but never had the chance to meet up in real life. I appreciate the blog friends I’ve made over the years, especially those who I’ve genuinely connected with before the days when every single person out there had a blog :) So when I knew for sure that I was coming to Chicago for FNCE, I immediately messaged her and we arranged to meet up.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Franklin Room where we snacked on popcorn and cheese curd appetizers. I enjoyed an albacore tuna burger as my entrée and it was delicious! B said his hamburger was he best he’s ever had, everrrrr. The guy loves a burger so that’s really saying something!
Susie was just like she is in her blog! We chatted about the blog world, nutrition and wellness and of course the upcoming addition to her family! I’m so glad we got to catch dinner together. She was also very helpful in helping us navigate our way from the airport to the hotel so I very much appreciated that! The only thing I regretted is that she is a UVA fun Sorry, this Hokie just had to throw that in there…
Exploring the Windy City
We both have felt pretty stressed and busy with work lately, so we decided not to set an alarm Saturday morning and just sleep in and enjoy the morning. I usually wake up between 5:30-6am but I didn’t wake up until 9am that day. It was so nice to feel rested. We also took our time getting ready and got coffees and breakfast at the Starbucks downstairs in our hotel. We spent the rest of Saturday morning doing all of the touristy things in the city. We walked the streets around our hotel, and then we went to Millennium Park and Navy Pier.
Eating deep dish pizza was on our “must do” list for the city, so we stopped by Gino’s East for lunch. Our waitress let us know that it takes 45-60 minutes to cook a deep dish pizza, but we told her that we didn’t mind! We snacked on a Brussels sprout appetizer while we waited.
Are you surprised that I’m a dietitian but would immediately go for the deep dish pizza? I get comments and questions like this all the time from my clients. I really think life and eating involves a healthy balance. Experiencing a city / location / culture involves enjoying the cuisine, even if it’s full of saturated fat I do try to listen to my body regardless, which is why we only ordered a small pizza. The pieces were so thick and filling!
After lunch, we went back to the hotel to change and get ready for the beginning of the conference! That was about all of the sightseeing that we did together before the conference started. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday doing conference stuff, but we always met up together in our hotel’s restaurant for a drink together in the evening <3
B left on Monday morning and then I flew back to Charlotte yesterday. I actually ended up catching an earlier flight home yesterday because I was completely exhausted and was a little worried about Lily (ugh, her vision issues are really sad). It was also freezing and rainy in Chicago which didn’t really help things.
Overall thoughts as a Chicago newbie? I loved it! Sometimes bigger cities overwhelm me (hello New York) but it wasn’t too bad navigating Chicago by myself after B left. I would highly recommend staying in the area where we stayed because it was close to public transportation, it felt fairly safe and there was a lot to do.
I’m off to work at the hospital for the rest of the week! See you on Friday for a FNCE recap!
What’s your favorite US city?
Do you get to travel to conferences for work? I’ve been lucky enough to go to about 1 conference per year for work… this was the first time i have had to foot the bill, though :)