Chicago Recap!

Before I begin, I hope you get out there and make an educated vote today!

I’ve been pretty lazy with blogging lately but it was exactly the break I needed. Fortunately, I kept myself pretty busy living so I have plenty to share over the next few posts!

To start, I’ll recap an incredible trip I took to Chicago with one of my best friends, Jessie a few weeks ago. We hadn’t seen each other in 4.5 years since she lives in Utah and I’ve lived in 7 places the past 3 years so it’s been a little difficult for her to plan a visit. Finally, she agree to meet me in Chicago since small town Wisconsin didn’t sound too appealing to her. I was happy to make the trip since I hadn’t explored Chicago much and there would be way more to do than in the little town we’re in now.

I made the 4 hour drive on a Thursday morning and arrived in Chicago just in time to pick Jessie up from the airport. Our first stop was Harpo Studios!

Sadly, the show is no longer on the air and there was nothing inside for us to see. I’ve always been in awe of Oprah so it was cool to see where the magic happened for all those years.

Then we made our way downtown to our hotel. If you’re looking for a hotel that is safe, has great service, a perfect location on Michigan Ave and even has a kitchenette, consider the Travelodge. It’s certainly not fancy but it was perfect for us to crash after a fun day and night exploring the city. And it was by far the cheapest hotel we found downtown.

We had an early dinner at Gino’s, where many people recommended we go for traditional Chicago deep-dish pizza. The atmosphere was fun and the food was good!

Although it was still early, we hit the bars. During our cab ride to Rush & Division, I made the driver stop the car because I saw Gibsons! Jessie probably thought I was a little crazy but it’s “the bar they hang out at in The League!” Quotations are used because this “bar” is actually a steak house and there’s no way it’s a regular hang out spot for a group of Fantasy Football loving, middle-aged men.

We went around the corner to Mothers and apparently we were the first to arrive! Whoops. As we started to walk out we noticed a life-sized game of Jenga and we had to play!

Damn strait I pulled a tile from the BOTTOM and it still didn’t tip over! We got it up to our chins before it finally took a spill. At that point plenty of people had crowded into the bar and were watching us play and we quickly made friends with our onlookers! After a while we left to meet up with Matt’s best friend, Phil, who goes to law school in Chicago. We danced the night away until stopping at McDonald’s where the guy behind us bought our food in exchange for the Monopoly pieces! He didn’t win anything but the free food was awesome for us!

Friday morning started late with brunch at Yolk. We never intended to eat here since it’s pretty popular but it happened to be near our hotel and the hotel front desk recommended it to us.

We were both hungover hungry so we had a pretty basic meal of eggs, pancakes and bacon but it was just what we needed for a busy day around the city!

Before our trip we bought tour bus passes from Coach USA. We could hop on and off at significant sites all around the city for 3 days. It saved us money on taxis and gave us some pretty interesting information about the city while we rode.

Our first stop was the Shedd Aquarium. Despite the rain and the hour-long wait, we loved seeing all the sea life!

We opted for the $8 general admission tickets that only let us see the main floor but we still spent at least 1.5 hours looking around at tons of different species. Otherwise tickets are $30 for additional exhibits but we preferred to spend that money on dinner 🙂

Afterward we got back on the bus to visit the shops on Michigan Ave. It was pretty rainy so we didn’t do too much retail damage but we both walked away with a few new cute things! Then we hit up Hot Woks Cool Sushi for dinner near our hotel. We don’t have any pictures but it was delicious! We split edemame, chicken pad Thai and two sushi rolls. Since we were in the area, we also visited The Bean to get some night pictures.

Eventually we made our way to meet up with Phil who planned to show us the bar scene. We ended up at the Hangee Uppe, which was perfect for lots of good music. Downstairs was old school and up stairs was hip hop. We had a good mix of both and ended up staying out until 4am!

By some crazy miracle, I woke up bright-eyed at 9am sans hangover and ready for another day in an awesome city! Understandably, Jessie slept in like a normal person so I tried to rest. We eventually hit the road to pick up our race packets for the Monster Dash 5K, which went as smoothly as possible. Since this post is/will be so long already I’ll save a race recap for another post.

We visited the Art Institute of Chicago and saw some of my favorite paintings!

And we saw the Bean in the daylight.

After a filling Italian lunch, we hit the Navy Pier just in time for the sun to set.

Phil had some friends in town from college so we all went out again and we danced the night away.

We think Phil and the boys had fun though – he’s the one waving his hand.

I stuck to water and we kept it earlier that night since we had to get up bright and early for the Monster Dash 5K! It was a perfect sunny morning for a race and it was a blast to see all the costumes! Here’s a sneak peek 🙂

We caught the first half of the Vikings game over lunch before it was time for me to head back home.

Jessie stayed one extra night to make the most of her trip and I was sad to leave her! Thankfully she’s in my wedding and she’ll be seeing me soon! (more on that tomorrow!)

Chicago is an amazing city. It’s a step down from New York in the crazy, crowded and expensive departments but there’s still a cultured city vibe with plenty to do no matter what your interests! Thanks again, Chicago! I’ll be back!

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One Response to Chicago Recap!

  1. Kelly says:

    Soooooo fun!! Every time I see someone travel to Chicago, I get super sad because this past summer we had plans to fly there for the day but weather got in the way 😦 I was SOOOOOO excited to visit there and we have yet to reschedule.

    Looks like you all had a BLAST though!! LOVE the tortoise and the hare costumes 😉

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