Here is my review of what we did! :)
|Skyline from the Boat Tour|
Wendella Sight Seeing Boat Tour - a 90 minute architecture tour and points out many of the famous buildings (Trump Tower, Wrigley Tower, Residential buildings, Theater Buildings, etc) and some of their history (river reversal, fire, history of the buildings too). This was a great way to kick off the trip and start to get the lay of the land. A lot of the technical terms were over my head but you go from the river into Lake Michigan and get the skyline view.
Willis Tower & Sky Deck (aka Sears Tower) - Heart stopping! Huge waits, if you are considering going to any of the other places listed on the GoChicago pass, I'd invest in one. We were in line for a little over 2 hours. You are brought from room to room to see different history of the building of the tower and fun facts. However if you can bypass the line, you may as well.
Shedd Aquarium - Way bigger than the New England Aquarium! There are 4D shows, penguins, an Amazon exhibit, a water show... Lots to see and do! Easy spend 3-5 hours here. It was a little pricey, but worth it if you can spend the time and see all the fish! It was very interesting how many of the exhibits were tailored to the Great Lakes especially since I know next to nothing about them. If you invest in the GoChicago pass you can bypass the lines here too. It was an hour and a half to two hour wait otherwise.
Buckingham Fountain is right next to Millennium Park.
Millennium Park - Home to "The Bean," gardens, bridges, and live music. Nice to walk around and people watch, this is a place you can take as long or as short of a visit to see.
Navy Pier - Not really sure what the hype was about here... We went, we looked. There were restaurants, boat cruises leaving from here, a few shows (Cirque du Solei, Chicago Shakespeare Theater), and fireworks at night. If you are looking for a nice skyline view or want to see a show, this seems like a good place. But if you aren't going to a show and you have to triage your list of sites, feel free to skip this one.
Starved Rock National Park - This was great! It was nice to get out of the city and see what else was going on in Illinois. Nothing compared to NH mountain hiking, but it was a short -ish easy route along wooden walkways. Interesting historical points and information about the legends, people who used to live there, and the dam that is currently there. We had a picnic lunch there, if you have time to check it out and have access to a car, take the trip!
This is the important part of the trip of course. We had to try the local cuisine!
Deep Dish Pizza - We were recommended to Gino's. There is quite a wait here (are we surprised?) but it was worth it! This pizza is dense buttery crust (not flake-y like from Unos the chain restaurant), chunky tomato sauce, and about a pound of cheese.