Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Long Weekend in Chicago

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday, we had a long weekend and since I am never one to pass up on a chance to visit somewhere without using my PTO (Paid Time Off) from work, I figured we might as well take advantage of the holiday and take a mini vacation. I have been to Chicago before but this was years ago so I was looking forward to re-visiting the city plus my husband had also wanted to check it out so it was a win-win situation for both of us.

Where We Stayed:

We based our stay in downtown which is where the city's main attractions are located and this time we decided to stay at a hotel instead of an airbnb. We stayed at this hip hotel called Acme which had a cool vibe and interesting style that I liked, definitely not your typical stuffy downtown hotel.

What We Did:

Michigan Avenue (Magnificent Mile) - If you love shopping this is the street for you as it is lined with various shops to suit every taste. Shopping wasn't on our to do list even though the temptation was there but it was nice walking along the lively street checking out different stores and fashion.

Lakefront Trail - This is a trail that runs along the beautiful Lake Michigan where you can walk, bike, rollerblade, jog or just sit on the side enjoying good weather and people watching. I looked up online and the trail is about 18 miles long, we didn't walk the whole 18 miles along it but we covered a decent chunk. Is a mile considered decent?

Navy Pier - Have you really visited Chicago if you haven't been to the Navy Pier? it's an iconic Chicago landmark located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Here, you can catch a live show, go on a boat cruise or tour, eat, drink & be merry and top it all off by riding the Centennial Wheel. Honestly speaking I think it's a tourist trap but hey! it's still worth checking out.

This is what you get when you combine good weather and a ride in the Centennial wheel, beautiful aerial view of the city.

Boat Tour - Speaking of Navy Pier, while you are in the area why not take a boat cruise or tour? I had wanted us to do the famous Chicago Architect Tour that lasts 75 minutes, but the weather on the day that we went back to the pier was really cloudy and looked like it might rain so we settled for the shorter Classic Lake Tour. Included in the tour was narration about the history of Chicago and some of the city's famous landmarks. I'm I the only one who never remembers what the narrator said, afterwards? 

Millenium Park - Described as the heart of Chicago in some articles I had come across, it's definitely worth checking out. This park is a nice place to chill and have a picnic, admire some interesting architectural structures, take in a live show (there was a jazz festival taking place when we were there) and last but not least, check out the famous Cloud Gate sculpture famously known as "The Bean."

Hubbard Street - If you like nightlife then this is the place for you in downtown, at least that's what we were told. This street is lined with bars, restaurants, lounges and nightclubs. We went out for drinks on a Saturday night and it was very lively, we didn't stay out too late though.

Helicopter Tour: This was totally unplanned, we came across reasonably priced helicopter tours being advertised at the Navy Pier so we decided to check it out, neither of us had been in a helicopter before and we figured it would be one of those unforgettable "got to try it" kind of experiences, so we went for it.  The ride itself was very short, I am talking maybe 10 minutes if not less but the tour was pretty cool as we got good aerial views of the city and the pilot was very interactive and made sure to point out different landmarks and tell us about them.

PS: We took the tour with Chicago Helicopter Experience

Where We Ate:

Sunny Side Up - We were spoiled for choice but I have to give a shout out to this brunch and coffee shoppe. The food was good and the service even better, the hotel we stayed at recommended them and we found ourselves heading there for brunch everyday during our short stay. 

That's it folks! we enjoyed our short stay in Chicago downtown area. There was so much to do but so little time which was a bummer but all in all, it was a good mini vacation. I have an exciting solo trip coming up in November so watch out for a fun update on that.