Cheap Chicago Weekend Getaways
Sara's cheap travel tips: food and lodging
Grab a deal: Sites such as Hotwire.com and Priceline.com offer 30 - 60 percent hotel discounts. The catch: You find out which hotel after you pay. Be flexible with dates for the best deals. The week we left, I nabbed a room at River North's stylish Hotel Sax.
Buy cheap eats at a farmers market or festival. In the warm months, most neighborhoods host events with food vendors. Find one as you explore or check with your hotel. We loved the Green City Market (left) on the south edge of Lincoln Park for its sustainably grown, fresh foods. Quick bites, such as bacon-cheddar quiche, buckwheat crepes and burgers ($3 - $10), make a bargain lunch.
Hit a BYOB eatery to lower your bar tab. (Just make sure there's no corkage fee.) We picked up a $10 bottle of wine on our way to Lakeview's Tango Sur restaurant for giant slabs of juicy Argentine beef and crispy chicken-stuffed empanadas. Only drawback: The place was packed; we waited 45 minutes for a table.