Last week, I traveled with my family and my sister to the great city of Chicago. Our home for the week was in a little apartment directly on Lake Michigan.
The view was stunning. The morning sun had me up before my alarm would usually go off for work each morning. My sister and I ran in the mornings and managed not to get lost, which is a terrific feat for us.
We spent the week visiting tourist attractions, including Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park (Cloud Gate or “The Bean”), the Chicago Institute of Art, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Buckingham Fountain.
We stood in a glass room 1,353 feet above the city in Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) that took just 60 seconds to ascend to.
We had the chance to visit the Michael Jordan statue in the United Center and visit the 385-acre Chicago Botanic Garden, both free attractions.
At the Field Museum, we saw Sue, the world’s largest T. Rex. Her fossilized skeleton is the most complete ever found.
I loved the dolphin show at the aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry is a must if you have children (or are a child in a grown-up body). We spent hours there and could have spent another full day, at least.
The museum inspires and celebrates curiosity, which I absolutely love in a world that sometimes can feel void of imagination and creativity.
That museum had a giant banner talking about how the worldwide levels of curiosity are at an all-time low and encouraging people to ask questions rather than accept things at face value. “Long Live YTISOIRUC,” the banner read.
Another highlight, and probably my favorite activity, was a Chicago River architecture tour. Two nights during the week, guests took an evening tour that ended with a spectacular fireworks display.
Our docent was so knowledgeable and made the tour interesting and fun. I love architecture and history, so the combination the tour brought was incredible.
He talked about the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, legends as to how it started and how the city rebuilt.
He talked about the architects of the skyscrapers, their inspirations and how the city is the birthplace of the skyscraper.
I got to experience why Chicago is called “The Windy City.” We had great weather, with the warmest day in the mid-80s. I was even chilly when the wind was blowing (so, a lot).
We walked on the river walk, window shopped a little downtown and ate my weight in delicious food. I got Chicago pizza, a Chicago-style hot dog and Chicago shaved snow that just melts in your mouth.
I also loved the cultural diversity the city offers.
The only major drawback for those of us who live in a rural area was parking.
If you can’t parallel park in a space approximately 3 inches larger than your vehicle, well, you can’t park. Luckily my husband can.
Even then, though, parking is limited and you’re forced to either commute via the L or a bus, Lyft, Uber or a taxi, or just suck it up and pay for parking, which we did. We also walked a lot.
Overall, it was an amazing, whirlwind week.
Thanks to my sister (and brother-in-law) for her part in the week and for traveling with my brood.
I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to experience the city and what it has to offer.