Chicago – Arrival and Day 1

We just returned from four (and a bit) days in Chicago and while the weather was miserable, we loved the city. I’m exhausted from all the stuff we fit in (and all the walking) but I think we spent the perfect amount of time and taking time away together was exactly what we needed.

Sunday
We flew directly to Chicago from Calgary on Sunday afternoon (the flight times were part of the city’s appeal) and landed around 5:30 pm. It seems to take forever to actually get to your gate at O’Hare but since we had travelled with only carry-on (something I’ve never successfully done before) it was quick once we got off the plane. We took the L train into city – it was pretty easy (and cheap at $5 each) and our hotel was only a few minutes walk from the Red Line.

We stayed at the Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago, which is just at the north end of Michigan Street (in the downtown). It was in a great location and even though the rooms are tiny, the historic appeal more than makes up for it. After we checked in we went out to grab some quick dinner and a few groceries (for some at home drinks and snacks) then headed back to just relax.

Monday
On Monday we grabbed a coffee and headed the one block from our hotel to the lakeshore. It was beautiful and we walked north along the lake to Lincoln Park where we started with a visit to the Chicago History Museum to brush up on local knowledge. The museum isn’t huge but has some great exhibits and I learned a lot I didn’t know before.

Lake Michigan (and our only sunny weather)
Lake Michigan (and our only sunny weather)
The skyline disappearing into the clouds
The skyline disappearing into the clouds
Jon taking in the train exhibit the Chicago History Museum
Jon taking in the train exhibit the Chicago History Museum

It was pouring rain when we exited so we went to the nearest restaurant (a 24 hour pancake place) for lunch. It was still raining when we were done but we decided to try going to Jackson Park and the Museum of Science and Industry. I had mapped out a route before we left the hotel but when we got off the train to catch the bus we found ourselves in the middle of a Columbus Day parade. We walked for a bit to see if we could catch the bus further down but eventually gave up and instead walked to Grant Park.

Sculptures in the park
Sculptures in the park
Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain
Crossing the tracks
Crossing the tracks
So many beautiful areas in the park
So many beautiful areas in the park

From Grant Park we went to Millennium Park to see “The Bean” and take the required tourist photos.

The very busy Bean
The very busy Bean
At the Bean
At the Bean
Other sites in Millennium Park
Other sights in Millennium Park

Then we walked to see some of the more interesting buildings and finally home along Michigan Avenue to check out the Magnificent Mile.

Along the train line
Along the train line
Walking the Magnificent Mile
Walking the Magnificent Mile

Back at the hotel we had a quick break and then went down to the hotel bar for a drink. Jon’s Dad had flown in to meet us so we chatted over drinks before heading to Lou Malnati’s for deep dish pizza. We had the classic (cheese, tomatoes and sausage in a butter crust) and it was way more delicious than I had been expecting.

So much food
So much food

Feeling very full, Jon and I went for a walk afterwards to see the Water Tower at night and buy a cupcake (which was disappointingly dry) before heading back to the hotel. I took advantage of the 24 hour gym to do a quick run and some weights before falling exhausted into bed.

All lit up
All lit up

Up next – a very busy Tuesday in Chicago!

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