Sunday, July 12, 2015

My kind of town, Chicago is

Twinsburg and Stow didn't have the same spring breaks this year so we didn't go on a trip.  And, we didn't plan a big summer vacation, either.  But Kyle and I were determined to squeeze some family time into our busy schedules.  We talked about somewhere we could drive within 6 hours like Nashville, Boston, or Washington, DC.  All of those might be in our near future but for this trip we headed to Chicago.  Grace was just excited about going to ANY hotel with a pool but during the car ride she made this vacation "to do" list, which I think is totally adorable.

Luckily, we were able to check a few things off Grace's list and some things she didn't know she wanted to do like:

  • Sit in a limousine 

The first night when we were heading out to eat some deep dish Chicago-style pizza there was a limousine parked in front of our hotel.  Grace peeked in the window and the driver was so sweet and turned on the interior lights and let Grace take a look inside.  She told him she plays piano and that someday she was going to be famous and drive one of these around.
  • Ride a Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier 

It was a windy morning in the Windy City (which, by the way has nothing to do with the wind and everything to do with boastful politicians!) but we were still able to ride the 150-foot Ferris Wheel. We also learned that there were originally supposed to be 5 piers on the Lake Michigan waterfront but only one was ever built. There were great views from the top. It is amazing that the city planners designated the lakefront to be for everyone and there is only one skyscraper built on the lake side of the road.  Everything else is park and walking trails. 

Grace wanted to visit a museum so we headed to Shedd Aquarium first.  But the long line convinced us to purchase the City Pass that offered access to 3 museums and 2 observation decks for a discounted price - and you could avoid the lines!  So, we ended up exploring 
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • the Adler Planetarium, 
  • and the Field (natural history) Museum in one day!  

These three museums are located on one "campus" within walking distance of each other along the lake.

Grace was so cute with her camera.  She took pictures of everything, saying "I am just like Nana." When we saw the horse-drawn carriages she told us they were the same as outside the hotel where Eloise lives and she took a picture of each one.

After a great dinner at a little Mexican restaurant, we went to the Hancock building for their observation deck on the 94th floor for

  •  a 360 degree views of the city as the sun was setting.

And, although we vowed NOT to stop at the American Girl store, Grace and I couldn't resist.  It is so great that the girl of the year is named Grace.  There was a bakery upstairs just like the one in the movie - Grace's Sweet Shop!  It turns out this is where Grace got her Chicago souvenir, a backpack that she designed herself.

By the time we went to bed that night, our FitBits told us that we had walked over 10 miles - even after we

  • rode a pedi-cab back to Navy Pier! 
This tiring day was followed the next day with more walking and...
  • an architectural boat tour of the Chicago River

The docent leading the 90-minute tour explained a lot about Chicago's history, the fire that wiped out over 18,000 buildings, and pointed out the different styles of architecture in some unique buildings.

Grace took my camera a few times (I was holding my breath that she didn't drop it overboard) and took some good photos.  Now she wants her own "big camera".

I still prefer to be behind the camera so I can take photos of my favorite model!

We followed the Riverwalk, crossed a bridge, and ended up at Millennium Park where we 
  • found an orchestra playing at the pavilion

and took photos like every other tourist at
  • the Cloud Gate aka "The Bean"

Notice what a nice job Grace did with my camera, again!

We also needed to 
  • dip our feet in the freezing cold water a the Crown Fountain.  These 50-foot glass block towers are on opposite ends of a reflecting pool.  These fountains project the faces of 1,000 Chicago residents and spit water into the shallow pool.  

Kyle wanted to see a Cub's game so we
  • took the "L" train the Wrigley Field for a night game.  We bought bleacher tickets from someone outside the stadium and went inside to watch some of the game.  Grace decided she wanted to be on the big screen.  Since it didn't happen this time, it is now on her bucket list for the future!

Chicago has many nicknames.  They say the name "Second City" was meant that is is second to New York.  But when you are walking around you feel like you are in NYC.  Even as a New Yorker, I have to admit, Chicago has a lot going for it.  We'll definitely go back!


cathybcareers said...

Great story telling and I loved all the pictures Mommy, Daddy and Grace took.

Phyllis said...

Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful vacation with all of us. Grace, you take some beautiful pictures! I think you are competing with Mommy, who, by the way, looks wonderful! (So does Daddy!) When you finally get to Florida, I want to hear all about this marvelous vacation.