Wednesday, July 11

30 hours to see Chicago

Sunday morning we sat on the train from Indiana to Chicago, completely exhausted from not only the wedding the night before, but from our ridiculous airport adventure out here. I  have never been to Chicago before so I had no idea what to expect - I was excited and nervous all in one. The train took us only a couple blocks away from our hotel, so a little early we headed there anyway hoping to just drop our luggage off at least. We picked this hotel because it was won the 2012 Trip-Advisor award for "Trendiest hotel in Chicago" and let me tell you, it lived up to it's name.
When you walked in, you were greeted with friendly staff, a beautiful scent of what one can only image 'tahitan vanilla' and quiet but still there trendy house music. Our room was ready for us, so we went up to the 11th floor and heard the slight sound of birds chirping in the hallway. Our room was fantastic, we had a pretty great view of the city and could even see out to the river to the right. The room was absolutely stunning  and beautiful! We quickly took in the room and then were hit with such excitement we immediately set out to see the sights.
Our first stop was Millennium Park - to see the bean! With temperatures high and little cloud in the sky we were optimistic for a great day. We had fun walking around the bean to see all the angles of the city and take as many silly pictures as we could. It was actually really crowded as well, there were lots of people who had the same idea we did.

Then, before you knew it... Those huge black clouds ▲▲ turned into big rain drops & gusty winds ▼▼ complete with a soaked Brett & Susie making haste back to our hotel to wait out the "storm." {aka about an hour}
After we dried off, changed and watched the rain, we saw some clouds break and some blue skies appear and decided to it would be a good time to check out the sky deck/top of Willis {formerly Sears, in case you didn't know, because I didn't} tower.
 We had some amazing views all the way around the tower as you can see. Unfortunately it was a little hazy and the windows were a bit dirty after the rain but it is pretty hard to believe just how high you are. They say on a clear day you can see 4 states; Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and of course Illinois.  Standing out on "the ledge" was pretty scary too, the glass just does not look thick enough to support everyone. They had an entire wall removed and replaced with 4 of these ledges where everyone was taking turns walking on and looking out.
After we got down from the tower it was late afternoon so we went over to Navy Pier to check that out. It kind of reminded me of a combination of Pier 39 in SF and the Santa Cruz boardwalk. With a beer garden in the middle. Of course by now you can see the clouds have fully disappeared and we had a really nice view looking back at the city with the afternoon sun. {it was still a million degrees though} Then we went back to our hotel and got ready for some evening festivities. We met up with one of Brett's friends from school who is conveniently working in Chicago in the summer while he is in grad school at Irvine. We experienced as much night life as we could that night, but we were A. pretty tired and B. it was a Sunday so places were closing down early.

And of course you didn't think I forgot to mention some "authentic" Chicago food. I use authentic lightly here, so don't get all offended but you know everyone talks about Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and their Chicago style dogs. We shared a SMALL deep dish stuffed pizza from Giordano's. After we ate the pizza we pretty much couldn't move or needed anymore food for the rest of the day. It's hard to even look at that pizza right now. Later, Brett had his vienna beef street cart hot dog with all the fixings.

My overall feelings for Chicago were that I loved it! I have never been to New York/Manhattan but I feel like I can say Chicago is a bit San Francisco meets New York meets London. It was an absolutely fabulous city and I am already dying to go back and explore more! I couldn't get enough, I loved every minute, every corner, every feeling I had while I was there.

Chicago, I think you & I are going to become great friends someday.

X x