Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Chicago Trip Recap

Okay, settle in, here is my recap of my trip to Chicago.  I travelled with my friend Cindy, we also went to New York in September.  We flew into O'Hare Airport on Thursday around noon.  When we went to NY, we tried doing public transit to get into the city, and it took forever, so this time we just opted for a cab.  It was the right choice.  We got to our hotel (more photos of that further down), The Ivy, dropped off our bags, and then went exploring.  We were only a couple of blocks from Michigan Ave. (or the Magnificent Mile, as it is known).

We decided to grab some lunch and to try out the deep dish pizza.  We went to Lou Malnati's on North Wells Street.  There are a few chain restaurants that do traditional pizza, but since we heard Steve Carrell is  Lou Malnati's guy (Tiny Fey said so), we tried this one.  We decided on a small deep dish and then a medium thin crust.  Both pizzas were very good, but we really enjoyed the deep dish (surprisingly).  It has cheese on the bottom, a layer of thin sausage, and then the sauce, which is really just liked canned tomatoes, and not a lot of it.

We walked around to a few shops, got a few things at Sephora, and stopped to get some popcorn at Garrett Popcorn Shop.  I knew I wanted to get some real Chicago Mix anyway, but the smell wafting out of the store would have brought us in anyway.  

This is our hotel room.  It was a suite with two queen beds.

Our view onto East Ontario Street.  It was very quiet.

Time to go out for a walk and then out for dinner.

We walked up the Magnificent Mile and bought a few things.  I thought this churchyard was very pretty so I snapped photo.

Westworld display at the ATT store.

We ate dinner at Lawry's Prime Rib.  This was a recommendation from a client and we loved it.  It is an old school steak place, and located in an old home. 

They wheel this big silver cart over to your table to serve your prime rib and mashed potatoes.  Also served with a salad, yorkshire pudding, and horseradish.  It was so tasty and exactly what we wanted. 

The next morning I got up and went for a run along the Lakefront Trail from the Ohio Street Beach to the North Avenue Beach.  It was windy and the water was coming up onto the trail (so I ran up on some steps).

I picked up a couple of coffees to take back with me to our room.  We had picked up some yoghurt and fruit at Trader Joe's so we ate that before heading out.  It was overcast and started raining later in the morning.  We had breakfast at West Egg, just around the corner from our hotel. It was full of locals and tourists, service was quick, and the food was good.  

Then we walked down to Target and then around Navy Pier.  Because of the rain, the Centennial Wheel (Chicago's version of the London Eye) was closed.  We would have gone on it if it was open.  There were a lot of touristy things at Navy Pier but it wasn't very crowded because of the weather.

After that we took an Uber to our boat tour.  There are a few different options for architectural boat tours, but you want to do this one because it is put on by the Architectural Society and the tour guides (or docents) are volunteer members of the Society.  We sat up top, even with the intermittent rain because we could hear everything.  There was a bar on board so we enjoyed some craft beer (me) and ciders (Cindy), and snacks.  

This is the Wrigley Building (like the gum), from shore before we boarded the boat.

The Apple store.  The roof is supposed to look like a laptop lid.

Just a little damp, but really not too bad. It never poured.

Now for a bunch of photos of buildings, most of which I can't remember the names of, but they were all so interesting.  

All of the many bridges lift up, and so each side of the bridge has a little house, like the one below, where the bridge operator sits.

Sears Tower on the left (now called the Willis Tower)

The side of this building has a map of the river on it, with a red dot where the building is located along the river.

After the boat tour, it was still raining so we decided to go to the movies.  We saw Ocean's 8 and ate a lot of popcorn too!

We had dinner at Cochon Volant.  I had googled best restaurants in the theatre district and this was on the list.  It was alright, but nothing too special.  I had the cheeseburger but it was just too big and fatty for me to eat the whole thing.

Then we walked over to see Hamilton.  It is obviously a very good musical - the singing and dancing is very well done, but I did not like it as much as Come From Away.  

The next day, Saturday, was my birthday.  I tried to attend a Pure Barre class at a studio down the street from our hotel, but when I got there it was closed.  I had misread the schedule and booked a class for the next Friday, not Saturday morning. Oops.  So I got some Starbucks and went back to our hotel.  The E network was playing a marathon of Sex and the City so we watched a few episodes before heading out for brunch. 

We stopped in a Millennium Park to see the Bean.

Children of the '80s will recognize the building with the diamond shaped roof from the movie Adventures in Babysitting. 

I love the line up of buildings that border the park.

We at brunch at Cindy's atop the Chicago Athletic Association.  It was so lovely.  Great atmosphere and tasty food and drinks.  It would have been even better if the sun was out, but still some nice views.

View from Cindy's

This is the bottom of the old pool when the hotel was a sports club. 

The rain had let up so we walked through the park to Buckingham Fountain.

And then we got on the subway to head to Wrigley Field for the Cubs game.

Wrigley Field is pretty cool.  It is so different from the Skydome, which is the only place I have attended a baseball game.  You get off the subway, and the stadium is right there, smack-dab in the middle of a neighbourhood.  

One of Cindy's favourite chefs from Top Chef, Stephanie Izard, was the featured chef at the concession stand.  Cindy got some tacos to sample.

I went for the more traditional hot dog - with tomatoes and pickles instead of ketchup and relish.

And then the sun came out and it was a lovely afternoon.

We took the subway back to our hotel and got showered and changed before going out shopping again.  
We went to Quartino's for supper.  I had read it was a hip Italian place, but we were a little skeptical when we showed up and saw the neon sign.  However it seemed super busy so we took that as a good sign.  It was a long wait for a table but the bar was first come first serve and we managed to get seats at the bar right away.

We enjoyed our pasta and sorbet, and I liked my $20 half litre of red wine. 

On Sunday morning we slept in for a little bit and watched some more Sex and the City.  It was raining so we weren't sure what to do.  We packed up our bags and then ate at West Egg again for breakfast before deciding to try a bus tour.   The tour was fine, a good way to kill some time, but we didn't feel like we learned too much.  Not like tours we have done in Spain or England. 

This is the NBC building, it looks just like 30 Rock in New York.

These buildings are pretty cool.  They look like corn cobs, the bottom third are parking garages. And they were designed as affordable housing in the downtown core. 

Lots of Pride flags around the city. 

After the bus tour we walked over to Lou Malnati's again for pizza and then headed to the airport.   Cindy got an earlier flight through Montreal, but I was there for a long time.  I walked around for a bit, watched some Netflix, ate McDonalds, and also saw Stedman (Mr. Oprah Winfrey)!! He was walking through the airport, pushing his cart.  He had a bag of Garrett popcorn with him, just like every other tourist.  I wonder if he was taking it to Oprah?!

Thanks for sticking with me through this monster post.  I would definitely visit Chicago again and bring the kids, there are lots of museums and more places to eat!


  1. What a fun girls’ trip! Love all the sightseeing, shows and food! And garrett popcorn! Yummmm

  2. Great photos! Thanks for showing me Chicago! I like that Cubs shirt!