Monday, May 7, 2018

Three Days in Chicago


Last month, we took a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to celebrate our nephew's first birthday.  We decided to extend our trip and stop in Chicago for a couple days on the way back.  I'd never been there before, and Tom wanted to see his sister and niece, who live just outside the city.  One of my brothers and his wife also lived there for a couple years, so we got some great suggestions from them.

Day 1: We arrived on a rainy Sunday morning and Tom's sister and niece picked us up at the airport.  We drove out to Shedd Aquarium first.  I had looked into getting the City Pass before we left, but didn't buy it because I wasn't sure we'd have enough time to really get our money's worth out of it (the $106.00 pass gives you fast pass/express entry for 5 attractions from a choice of 7).  When we saw that entry into the aquarium was $40.00 by itself, we decided to get the City Pass (and we ended up using every ticket in it, so we saved a TON of money).  Shedd Aquarium was fun, and they even have a dolphin show right inside the building.

After that, we walked across the Museum Campus to the Field Museum.  This enormous museum boasts a ton of science and history exhibits, from Egyptian mummies to animals to gemstones.  They also have the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton, but unfortunately SUE is not currently on display. 


After spending a couple hours at the Field Museum, we checked into our hotel in the theater district and then went out to dinner with Tom's family.  We went to Portillo's and tried some Chicago-style hot dogs.

Day 2: Even though it was mid-April, it snowed all day.  We walked to Cloud Gate ("the bean") early before the crowds got there and got some fun pictures with the iconic sculpture.  Since the Art Institute of Chicago didn't open until 10:30am, we walked around a bit more in the chilly weather, through Millennium Park and down to Buckingham Fountain (which wasn't turned on yet for the season).  Then we spent a couple hours at the Art Institute, which had a fabulous collection; some fun, recognizable pieces with a lot of other things we hadn't seen before.



We had lunch at the Italian Village, Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant, which is actually three separate spaces, each with a different feel.  We ate upstairs, and it was really good!

After lunch, we walked down to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) and went up to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.  From here, you can see views of 4 states and also try out the Ledge, which are a series of 4 glass boxes extending out from the Skydeck.


For dinner, we had to try some deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's - so yummy!!

Day 3: On Tuesday, the sun finally came out, although it was still pretty cold.  We started our morning with a lake and river architectural tour with Wendella's.  They also have an architectural tour that just focuses on the river, but my brother and SIL suggested we go out on Lake Michigan if we could because we would get great views of the city skyline, and they were totally right!


We then walked up the Magnificent Mile, which is a stretch of North Michigan Avenue that has tons of high-end stores and restaurants, to the John Hancock Observatory.  We went up to the 93rd floor and saw some amazing views.  Yes, we did both the Hancock and Willis Towers, but the views were actually pretty different, so I'm glad we did both.

View looking southwest towards the Willis Tower

View looking north towards the Lincoln Park Zoo

After that, we walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is open every day and it's FREE!  I think because of the weather, lots of the animals were hiding and staying warm, but it was still a beautiful place.  We also visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory, where it finally felt like spring and smelled so lovely.  For our last night, we had dinner at the Berghoff, a Chicago institution where we had some delicious German food.  We got one last treat at Garrett Popcorn, known for its mix of caramel and cheddar popcorn (will definitely be ordering more of that soon!).

 

We packed a lot into three days, but we had a blast in Chicago and I could definitely see us going back someday!

Have you ever been to Chicago?  What was your favorite attraction or thing to eat?


26 comments:

  1. Definitely saving this post! I cannot wait to plan a trip to Chicago!

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  2. What a great trip! Yes, I've been to Chicago, but it's been many years ago. And that glass ledge...may I just say that for me - no, no, NO!!! LOL

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    1. LOL, everyone says that when they see that photo!

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  3. Chicago is one of those cities on my bucket list for sure, so I really enjoyed this post! I want to go even more now and see all these things myself (not so sure about the Ledge though...) Thanks for sharing your trip!

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  4. I’ve never been to Chicago either. I enjoyed your little tour. The garden photos and the glass elevator photos were my favorite.

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  5. have not been to Chicago but wow what sights! It looks like you had a really great time. The glass elevator would give me anxiety

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    1. We had such an awesome time! I thought I wouldn't like the Ledge, but it actually wasn't too bad!

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  6. Egyptian mummies!!! I'll definitely have to go to that museum if I ever have the chance of going to Chicago. I'd love to travel there someday. Amazing!

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  7. That skydeck looks scary. I’d totally stand in it, but I’d probably freak out the whole time. I love your photos. It sounds like a fun trip.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. We've been talking about planning a trip to Chicago! My husband has always wanted to go, and I have a few book blogger friends in the area. I think he's more interested in the vegan food they have available. There's something specific he's mentioned, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment. It looks like you had a blast! <3

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  9. That glass ledge is terrifying but everything else looks fantastic and the food sounds amazing. Chicago is one of those cities that I always say I want to visit but haven't quite made it there yet. Hopefully some day soon now that my son is old enough to travel pretty well. I'm glad you had such a great time :)

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne! I definitely enjoyed all the food!

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  10. I went to Chicago for Lollapalooza in 2013 and again in 2016 for BEA, but I saw very little of the city (did see the Bean and the art museum). My daughter is moving there next month, so I will have to check out some of those other places. Glad you had a nice trip!

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    1. You'll be an expert soon! One of my brothers lived there for a couple years, and he loved it. He and his wife are glad to be back in NJ, but they really miss Chicago.

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  11. This is my city! :) You got some great shots and it looks like you did almost everything! I refuse to do the Sears Tour ledge.

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    1. Yay! We really packed a lot in. The Ledge actually wasn't too bad!

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  12. I'm glad you had such a good trip! :)
    I've always wanted to visit America in general, so Chicago is now going on my list of places I want to go someday! It looks amazing (I'm not sure I'd stand on that glass ledge though - I'm not generally scared of heights, but that looks really, really, high!) :)

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    1. Thanks, Laura! Yeah, the Ledge is on the 103rd floor, so yeah, really high! There were people up there who refused to go in it!

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  13. I haven't been to Chicago, but it's definitely somewhere I would love to go. There's so much to do there. As always, your pictures are gorgeous! I love seeing people's photos of the Skydeck in general, but I don't think I could ever do it. I'm terrified of heights, and the thought of being that high up (and with just glass below) completely freaks me out. Great post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! There really was a lot to do, and I wish we had time for more. The Skydeck was fun, there were other people up there who did not go in it, even though their friends did!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!