Saturday, July 28, 2012


I was in Chicago for a few days! Chicago reminded me a lot of Boston, it was not as fast paced as New York and has a rich history. We didn't touch on the night life or jazz scene, or even see the numerous museums that are in the area, but that will be next time!

Here is my review of what we did! :)

Skyline from the Boat Tour

Tourist things:
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.
 Hot Dogs - Chicago hot dogs are "Vienna" hot dogs and served on a poppy seed bun. They have all sorts of toppings such as mustard, diced white onions, tomato slices, pickled peppers, dill pickle spear, celery salt, and relish. I liked the hot dog better and the bun was pretty good too! But I think the toppings were a little overwhelming. PS, don't ask for ketchup!

Italian Beef - Our final meal before we left the beautiful city of Chicago. We went to Johnnies and ordered a "beef hot" and french fries. This was spicy! But very good. Shredded beef with pickled veggies. I recommend searching out a place that serves these and giving it a try!

 Happy Traveling!!

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