Chicago is a city I have been to many times. My parents and other family members are from there, so I’ve been going there since I was young. However, this past visit was the first time I’ve ever felt like a “tourist.” I went for a wedding, but stayed downtown by the River North area.
I woke up early the first morning and ready to explore. It was overcast and drizzling, but it made me feel like I was at home in Seattle. I brought my raincoat as a true Seattle-ite does, so I was set. It made me laugh how many people were using umbrellas downtown for what I thought was “a good day” of rain compared to some of the downpours I’m used to. I had a great time walking along the river and seeing the “Chicago Riverwalk.”
There was a constant stream of tourists on tour boats blasting music going up and down the river. Yellow taxi boats also filled the river, which I had never seen before.
Although I didn’t have time to see a show here, it was neat to walk by the historic Chicago Theatre. It’s been open since 1921 and was promoted as the “Wonder Theatre of the World.” It drew many stars and performers for the premieres and live entertainment it hosted.
A delicious macaroon shop I found to keep me from being hungry while exploring the sites!
One of the famous things Chicago is known for is their deep-dish pizza. After getting many recommendations, Lou Malnati’s was the top vote. It has been in business since 1971, so I figured they had to be pretty good.
Ask anyone from Chicago for their recommendation of which pizza you should get (after you finally agree on a place), and they will all be different. I settled on “The Lou,” a mix of spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I was very full after one piece, but satisfied.
After eating pizza and macarons, it was time for some exercise. I headed east to the Magnificent Mile. This upscale area of Michigan Ave has hundreds of shops and restaurants to explore. They are mid-range to high-end, but fun to window shop none the less. For how busy the area was, I thought it was well-maintained with many flower boxes like the one below lining the area.
One place I really wanted to stop by was the Signature Lounge, on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. It’s the 7th tallest building in the United States, and on a clear day it’s said you can see four states. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when I visited, but I was still able to see a good amount of downtown Lake Michigan. I’ve also never been to a bar on the 96th floor of a building before, so that was pretty fun. They say the best view is from the women’s bathroom, which is true as the front walls are all windows and facing Lake Michigan.
The ceremony took place in the north part of the city in a beautiful cathedral called St. Alphonsus. I’ve never been in one so large before. I can imagine Christmas service there would be beautiful.
After the ceremony, we moved back south to the reception at the East Bank Club. This was a gorgeous venue right on the river. It’s a swanky athletic club that Oprah and even Obama have been said to work out at! It was a perfect day with the weather, and we enjoyed cocktails outside before going in for dinner and dancing. Well-wishers shouted congratulations as they passed by in boats down the river.
Although there weren’t any games that weekend, I had to stop by Wrigley Field to see it on my way to the airport. It was built in 1914 for the Chicago Whales, the Chicago Federal League baseball team. That was changed in 1921 after new ownership, and it’s been home to the Chicago Cubs ever since. The area surrounding it is called Wrigleyville and is full of lively bars and restaurants. Next time I go back I hope to see a game!
I had a great weekend seeing new sights as well as family, and can’t wait to go back again!
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