Weekend Recap: A Weekend of Mini Adventures

Chicago experienced unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend and I took full advantage of that by exploring a new neighborhood, visiting the Chicago Botanical Gardens, and more.  I'm not typically one to share a lot of detail on my day-to-day life, but this morning I felt inspired to do a little "Weekend Recap" post.  So, here you have it...

Friday - Dinner at Briciola

This little restaurant is a bit off the beaten path but I've been looking forward to trying it for a while.  It has an authentic Italian vibe and the pasta is top notch.  Chef Mario Maggi has traveled and lived all around the world, but ultimately found a home in Chicago where he started Briciola and makes some of the best homemade pasta I've ever had.  This little BYOB is located on Damen Ave. near Augusta.

Saturday - Brunch at Birchwood Kitchen, A stroll through Graceland Cemetery, and Exploring Andersonville

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago.  Photo by Jake Bartlett

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago.  Photo by Jake Bartlett

Wicker Park's Birchwood Kitchen closed it's doors yesterday.  A new team will take over the establishment, but I'll certainly miss what I've had there.  Keep a look out for the re-opening as this building provides a cozy dining experience and has a great patio.  Hopefully the new operation lives up to the past!

On the way to Andersonville, I stopped by Graceland Cemetery, one of Chicago's greatest hidden gems.  The Victorian-era cemetery is home to many of Chicago's great architectures, who's tombs are a work of art in themselves.  Graceland Cemetery is an excellent way to spend a couple hours learning about the city's architectural history and paying respect to some of the biggest names in the game, plus it's a great way to get a little exercise!

I've lived here for four years and finally visited Andersonville for the first time this weekend.  This neighborhood was a pleasant surprise.  The main strip is situated on Clark St. and offers a wide range of restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars.  It happened to be Andersonville Arts Weekend; pairing that with the nice weather made for a popular place to be.  Make it a goal to check out this eclectic little strip at some point!

Sunday - Driving along the lakeshore & visiting the Botanical Gardens.

Chicago Botanical Gardens.  Photo by Jake Bartlett

Chicago Botanical Gardens.  Photo by Jake Bartlett

I've been wanting to visit the botanical gardens for quite some time.  With Winter around the corner, this weekend seemed like the perfect time to do it.  The drive north along the lakeshore and through Evanston made for a nice experience with awesome views of the lake and mansions of the north side.

Check out instagram.com/backpackchicago for more pictures from the weekend!