Elisa formerly served as the Chicago editor for Where and has a passion for travel. Follow her on Twitter as @ElisaDrake.

Elisa’s Take on Chicago: It’s the people who make Chicago such an amazing city. We can all get a bit testy when the winter lasts too long, but there aren’t too many other places where tourists who ask for directions attract multiple locals to their aid. Lake Michigan is one of Chicago’s undeniably best features. Indoors, it’s the museums that rank highest, from the Shedd Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry, to the smaller, National Museum of Mexican Art, an out-of-the-fray gem. The dining is out of this world, and some of my favorites include Tanta, whose Peruvian cuisine blends the country’s melting pot of international influences; and Acanto, impeccable, but accessible Italian, with a comfortable, welcoming feel.

Most memorable travel experience: A month-long trip around Europe I took after high school with my best friend. We went with a tour group and had the time of our lives, hopping from Munich one day, Geneva another, Rome, Paris, London, we hit most of the major spots. The only downside: we sat on the bus for hours on end, and at the rest stops—they don’t have burgers and fries, they have croissants and cookies. I gained nearly 10 pounds that month.

Last notable trip: My kids make traveling challenging sometimes, but so much richer. A quick staycation to Indianapolis was so much fun, swimming in the indoor pool, getting room service, visiting new places with old friends.

The place you always return to visit: My parents rent a house in South Haven, Michigan, where my family all squeeze in and enjoy a leisurely week together. The house is part of a gated resort community of sorts that has its own private beach, pool, tennis courts, playground and kids activities. It’s almost like sleepaway camp, but we cook our own food. 

Articles by Elisa Drake