On Sunday the Gentleman and I returned from a lovely 3 night trip to Chicago to see one of my friends from college get married and also see some sites since my employer’s use it or lose it vacation policy means I need to burn through some time off. This was the Gentleman’s first time in Chicago and my third time (not including layovers at O’Hare), though my previous trips were a 1 night work conference at an airport hotel and 3 nights in January 2008 that were spent primarily indoors at a friend’s apartment in Evanston. So this was my first time really seeing the city and man, it was AWESOME. The hotels for the wedding were right near everything we wanted to see and the temperatures were primarily in the 70s. We were close to several L stations but mostly walked everywhere just because we could. I’d been meaning to read The Devil in the White City for quite awhile, and this trip seemed like the perfect time to finally crack it open. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes history or true crime. Chicago has a lot of really interesting and varied architecture, and I think the book helped me appreciate it more. I also got a little more out of the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit at the Field Museum we saw on Sunday. But first– Thursday! We arrived in the mid-afternoon and were greeted with a beautiful day. After checking into our hotel we headed out to find some nearby lunch ASAP since it was almost 4 PM and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We ended up at Local 22 (very similar to Philadelphia’s Local 44— coincidence? OR NOT?!) where we enjoyed some delicious sandwiches and local beers. I highly recommend the Rosa Hibiscus Ale pictured on the right: As we were eating one of my college friends texted me to let me know he’d just gotten in from NYC. He met up with us as we were finishing lunch and then the 3 of us set out to explore the area a little.
After wandering the Gentleman and I headed back to our hotel just in time for the complimentary cocktails on the top floor. This was a nice hotel and I was a little concerned that everyone at the complimentary cocktails would be very snooty and well-dressed but it was very relaxed. There were plenty of people in shorts and t-shirts and there were also a few kids around because there were hors d’oeuvres and COOKIES in addition to the cocktails.
While I didn’t want to center our whole trip around the hotel bar, we did manage to work it into our schedule on each of our 3 nights, which made me happy because I would have hated to miss out on some good drinks and cookies and cheese skewers (OH THE CHEESE SKEWERS!). On Friday morning we did some more exploring on foot before we had to get ready for the wedding ceremony.
I don’t have many photos from the ceremony and reception because I was too busy catching up with friends I hadn’t seen since I moved to Texas four years ago. I also spent an unfortunate amount of time on the phone dealing with a problem in our apartment which really merits its own post. HOW SUSPENSEFUL. (The Feline is fine). Other than that, everything was lovely and great fun and the Indian food at the reception was amazing. On Saturday morning the Gentleman and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Magritte exhibit that was advertised on almost every smooth surface we walked by in the city. It was a really cool exhibit. I just wish the Gentleman had heeded my demand to try on one of the bowler hats in the adjacent gift shop.
After the art museum we found some requisite Chicago deep dish pizza, which was delicious but soooooo much food.
We ended up having the leftovers for dinner that night in our hotel room while watching Rocky IV on Turner Classic Movies, which made me very curious about what criteria they use to define a “classic movie”. But back to Saturday afternoon…one of my friends had some time to kill before his train out of Chicago, so after lunch we met him and headed over to the John Hancock Center. I think it cost $18 each to go to the Observatory at the very top which….no. Instead, we went to the bar on the 96th floor where you can at least get some overpriced drinks with your overlook of the city. My $12 glass of wine paired quite nicely with the stunning views:
I’d originally planned to run the Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday morning but I had to DNS that since it doesn’t fit into my patented No Running Training Plan™. It was a little frustrating to see a lot of runners hanging out after the race near Millennium Park and Lake Shore Drive but honestly, I was pretty okay with it. Sunday was the one day during our time in Chicago when the weather felt hot and humid and kind of gross, so I can’t say I’m too upset about not running in those conditions. Also, not running a half marathon gave us time to go to the Field Museum before we had to head to O’Hare. The World’s Fair exhibit was pretty neat, though I was mildly disappointed that there was no mention of H.H. Holmes. I guess they wanted to keep everything family friendly, which is fair.
We had a great time on this trip and I really hope we can visit Chicago again sometime in the not-so-distant future. While we were there I said to the Gentleman that I could see us living here and he suggested that I visit again in the winter, which is fair given that I spent a substantial portion of my visit in 2008 dealing with sub-zero temperatures and burst pipes in my friend’s apartment.