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  • BEST HOTELS
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  • THINGS TO DO
  • RUNNING STORES
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Author: Angi W

Angi W

Joined In Oct 2018

About Me

Racertrips Co-Founder

Angi is a co-founder of Racertrips.com and has completed more than a dozen half marathons and 6 marathons, including the Chicago Marathon (3 times), the Paris Marathon,  and the Rock N Roll Marathon in D.C. She's now training for the 2019 Chicago Marathon and 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. Although Angi technically ran track in high school, she didn't become a serious runner until she was in her 30s, when she began traveling with friends to run half marathons. It was those travel experiences that helped to inspire the idea for Racertrips!
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Activities

Angi W 18 Reviews
One-of-A-Kind Location with Beautiful Views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline
4.0

One of the things you must do while you're in Chicago for the marathon is spend some time by Lake Michigan, and here's one way you can enjoy the view and fill up on some tasty food. This restaurant is just north of downtown, and it is the only nicer restaurant I can think of that overlooks the lake AND the skyline. We were there in the dead of winter, and even then, the views were beautiful. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows, so it's easy to take it all in. Although the place is slightly upscale, don't feel like you have to wear your best duds here. It's still fairly casual and relaxed. Even though the menu doesn't seem extensive, the food we had was quite good. There are also a few legitimate vegetarian dishes on the menu, too. We had 4 adults and 1 child in our group, and we were all pleased with what we ordered. (I wish I could remember what it was.) The only thing that 2 members of our group didn't care too much for was the ceviche. Two last tips: ** Don't drive here. The valet parking is $$$$. If you're staying downtown, look for a bus option or hop in a Lyft/cab/Uber. ** If you come during the day and have little ones with you, you're within walking distance of the Lincoln Park Zoo, which has free admission.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Reasonably Priced, Great Location & More Like a Condo than A Hotel
5.0

If you want lodging that is reasonably priced and feels more like a condo than a hotel, we highly recommend Dewitt Hotel and Suites. All of their accommodations are studios or one-bedroom apartments complete with full kitchens, and there's an indoor pool and fitness center. This is ideal for families or friends who want to save time and money by "dining in" on occasion. On top of that, Dewitt is located on a quiet street in the Gold Coast neighborhood, just two blocks from Michigan Avenue, Water Tower Place, the lake front and much more. The starting line is a straight shot down Michigan Avenue. Rates at Dewitt tend to be comparable to or lower than other nearby hotels, and you get more space. We think it's a win-win-win for value, space and location.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Great place for a quick meal or casual bite
4.0

We found our way here randomly after the 2019 marathon expo. It's in a busy neighborhood, but the restaurant itself was not overly crowded or noisy. It was the ideal spot for a post-expo refueling. There are some bistro tables outside on the sidewalk but a nice-sized, covered beer garden out back. Highly recommend checking that out. The menu had a variety of dishes to choose from - sweet and savory crepes, sandwiches, salads, Asian-inspired fare, burgers, breakfast choices, pasta and more. As with most California restaurants, there are also several vegetarian options. I had the Veggie Fajita Crepe, which was quite tasty! We would definitely go back here.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Safe bet for seafood without a wait
4.0

While this seems to be a West Coast chain, we checked it out because our Airbnb host recommended it. The place is spacious, so you shouldn't have too wait too long for a table (if at all). There's a ton to choose from on the menu, including sushi, ceviche, a fish bar and seafood entrees, salads, sandwiches. We chose the "Fresh Catch Entrees," where you choose from a selection of fish, choose how it's prepared (and with what type of sauce), and choose a side or two. I liked mine (don't remember now what it was), but if you don't eat a lot of fish, you may want to ask your server for some recommendations. We also tried the crabcake appetizer. While the crabcake itself was as close as you could get to being "too bready" without crossing that threshold, the dish was delicious. All of the toppings and dressings that came with it made the dish. For kids, the restaurant had more than your typical selections, which we appreciated. They also offer portable chalkboards and chalk as a more sustainable alternative to crayons and disposable menus. I thought that was a fun idea - until I realized how MESSY the chalk was (see photo in the gallery). The wine and beer list were also extensive, as you come to expect when dining in CA. The prices seemed a little high, but that may be my perception. I find most everything in San Francisco is $$$.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Delicious Italian Options | Great Service | Big Portions
4.0

This restaurant is in the bustling area near Rush & Division, which is popular among tourists and people who live in the neighborhood. On a Friday or Saturday night, this is sure to be a happening spot. Be sure to make reservations! Although anything in this neighborhood is going to be a little pricier than other spots in the city, the food is delicious, the portions are big and the service is excellent. I had a daily special pasta dish with shrimp scampi in a light white sauce with some lemon flavoring. I rarely do non-red sauces, and I almost always pile on the Parmesan. The sauce was fresh and delicious, and adding Parmesan actually took away from the flavor. I added a tiny bit and no more. We ordered 2 meatballs for my picky 4-year-old. The waiter warned us that they "are pretty big," but we reasoned that we could take any leftovers home. Well, the waiter wasn't kidding. The meatball was the size of a baseball, and it was dense. Our little one made the first one disappear quickly, and we brought the second one home with us. Great place to try during your weekend visit to Chicago! You could also consider it for carbo loading the night before the marathon.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
I Never Get Tired of Taking Photos of the Golden Gate
5.0

A trip to San Francisco isn't complete without finding a time and place to catch spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I've seen the Golden Gate by car, by bike, from the always-crazy-busy tourist viewing points on the non-SF side of the bridge, and from the hiking trails at Land's End near the Sutro Baths. My FAVORITE way to see the bridge is by bike. Check out the Racertrips blog for all the details.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Ideal Location Along the Marathon Course Near the Finish Line
5.0

This bar and grill is located about 1/2 mile before the marathon and half marathon finish line. The location makes it a perfect spot to cheer on a runner or for a casual place to celebrate right after the race.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Family Friendly Jazz Club
5.0

If you’re traveling with your family and want to hear Chicago blues or jazz, it can be tricky because of the age restrictions. However, Andy’s welcomes under-21 guests at their 5 pm and 7 pm shows, provided you make dinner reservations and arrive by 6:45 pm. Their downtown location (near Michigan Avenue and the river) may be convenient to your marathon hotel, and a 5 pm showtime may be easier to fit into your schedule.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Favorite Way to see the Magnificent City
5.0

One of my favorite ways to see this magnificent city is by kayak. There’s something amazing about being in a kayak on the Chicago River—many feet below street level—and looking up at all of the buildings, bridges and people.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Best Free Experiences on Foot
5.0

Even if you’re not a shopper, I promise that there is a lot to see along the way, such as the Water Tower that survived the Chicago Fire of 1871, the historic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. And yes, this is a “touristy” thing to do, but it’s worth check out at least once.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Extensive Menu Paired With Tasty Margaritas
5.0

This is my favorite Mexican restaurant in the city. They have an extensive menu, including several vegetarian dishes that go far beyond throwing beans and rice in a burrito shell and calling it ‘veggie.’ They have tasty margaritas that are strong and smooth (aka not overpowered by the sour mix). We’ve taken family and friends there many times, and they’ve always liked it. We love to sit outside on the patio in nice weather.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Loads of Gooey Cheese
5.0

Although not as well known as some of the other pizza places in Chicago, Art of Pizza’s deep dish is hands-down my favorite. (It also made Thrillist.com’s list of top Chicago pizza places.) If you’re looking for loads of gooey cheese, look no more. Their deep dish pizza tastes like you ordered extra cheese—but without the added cost.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
The Place to go for Chicago-style Fast Food
5.0

I don’t eat a lot of meat, but Portillo’s cheeseburger served with an order of cheese fries is a long-time favorite. You may also want to pair your meal with a delicious shake or go overboard with a slice of multi-layered chocolate cake.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Experience Chicago Outside of the Loop
5.0

It is ideal for travelers who want to experience Chicago outside of the Loop. It’s situated on a quiet, one-way street just half a block from Lake Shore Drive. It’s also a gem for those traveling with a fan base.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Reasonably Priced and Feels like a Condo
5.0

All of their accommodations are studios or one-bedroom apartments complete with full kitchens, and there’s an indoor pool and fitness center. This is ideal for families or friends who want to save time and money by “dining in” on occasion.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Excellent Service, Nice Atmosphere, Good for Carbo Loading or Having a Quiet Dinner
5.0

This came recommended by a Racertrips Ambassador, and it lived up to everything he said about it. First, it's close to downtown, so convenient to many hotels. Second but more importantly, the food and service were excellent. When you sit down, they give you free, homemade garlic bread that is the best I've ever had. It's hard not to fill up on that alone. For my entree, they were happy to accommodate my request for a meat-free version of their gnocchi romano. My friend received the largest serving of lasagna I think I've ever seen. And somehow, we still managed to have room at the end for chocolate cake. Delicious!

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Angi W 18 Reviews
A Must Try While in Chicago – Awesome Veggie and Vegan
5.0

This restaurant is a must-try when you’re in Chicago, whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or carnivore. Although the diverse menu is filled with all kinds of yummy options, I highly, highly recommend the Poutine appetizer, the mashed potatoes and gravy (yes, meat free), and the vegan shakes. Chicago Diner also has a decent selection of vegan beers and wines. It gets busy in the evenings, so I recommend allowing extra time to wait for seating. Unfortunately, they don’t accept reservations. Like the food? They even have a cookbook for sale so you can recreate your favorite recipes at home all year long.

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Angi W 18 Reviews
Awesome Backpack for Travel or Daily Commuting
5.0

I found this amazing product at the SF Marathon expo, and I am thrilled that I did. What makes this backpack special? It solved a problem I'd been wrestling with for years: How to travel with running shoes without taking up all that room in my suitcase and how to protect my laptop while traveling. With the Mudroom backpack, I can safely transport my laptop and carry my running shoes IN A SEPARATE COMPARTMENT that keeps mud and dirt from getting on all my things. I still have enough room leftover to carry more stuff: books, a small purse, a jacket. a ton of room, and yet it doesn't take up that much more space than a regular backpack. This is also ideal for commuters who need to carry their laptops back and forth and who want to work out before/after work or change shoes after their trek to the office. It also comes with a waterproof cover tucked into the handle. I haven't had a chance to test that out yet, but I have peace of mind knowing it's there.

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