On the second half of my work/vacation week, I flew from Vancouver to Chicago. I arrived on 4th of July and it was the heat wave of all heat waves! And I say that as a Texan...who is used to the heat! I arrived at the airport, took a shuttle into town and checked into the Westin on Michigan Avenue. That afternoon I walked down Michigan Ave to the Cloud Gate (The Bean) and other sites around that area, then walked along the Lakefront trail back to my hotel. For dinner I decided to jump right into the Chicago experience and grab a deep-dish pizza from Gino's East. The line was crazy long, like an hour plus wait. But thankfully I stood there for a bit and then they called out they had a single spot at the bar. Bingo! Pays to be by yourself sometime. I sat at the bar, next to another girl who was traveling on her own - and we both enjoyed our pizza. After dinner, with half my pizza in a to-go box, I walked down to the Lake with minutes to spare before the 4th of July fireworks started.
The next day since it was a workday, I worked from the hotel during the day, but was lucky enough to find a nighttime bike tour with Bobby's Bike Hike. It was raining some before the ride, so of course with the heat that just made it "extra-steamy" for our ride! The ride started at 7pm and lasted about 2.5 hours and we rode just over 9 miles around town. We rode along the lakefront trail from Navy Pier up a few miles, then made our way back down through some of the neighborhoods - over the Chicago River Bridge on Wabash Ave. We then cut over to Millennium Park, saw Cloud Gate and the Buckingham Fountain, and then rode by Soldier Field and went out to the Aquarium for a great view of the skyline at night before ending our tour back at the bike shop.
On Friday I also had to work some from the hotel. At lunch I went across the street to the Hancock Building's 96th floor to enjoy the amazing view. That afternoon I took a train out to Wrigley Field and joined a tour that was just starting of the stadium. The tour was actually pretty good - going around the stadium, up into the press box, in the locker room, dugout, etc. After the tour I took the train back to downtown and that night I went to an amazing restaurant my brother had recommended - The Purple Pig. The wait was really long, but I was finally able to snag a spot at the bar. It was all very unique tapas, and the food was great! Favorite meal in Chicago. After dinner, I walked back to my hotel and called it a night.
Saturday I joined up with another bike tour through Bobby's Bike Hike at 9am. This one was the Lakefront Neighborhoods tour. We rode along the lakefront trail again, and then went through some of the quiet neighborhoods around town. We saw Oprah's building, the gold coast mansions, the old playboy mansion, Lincoln Park Zoo, old town historic district and Lake Michigan beach. Overall we rode about 7.5 miles in 2 hours. After the ride I went to the Art Institute of Chicago. Loved the entire room of Monet paintings they had. After grabbing some lunch I signed up for an Architecture Boat Tour. I had heard great things about the tour and it definitely lived up to expectations. After the boat tour I walked back to my hotel via the Million Dollar Mile, doing a little window-shopping along the way. That night I went to Carmine's for dinner.
On Sunday I was flying out in the afternoon, but before then I took a bus to Sears Tower because I just had to check out the glass floor. I knew it would make a great feet picture! After that I was able to meet up with an old coworker that I hadn't seen in a few years. Him and his girlfriend picked me up and we went to grab lunch at Ed Debevics. They dropped me off at the hotel and I did a little last minute shopping (I found the Patagonia store!) before heading back to the airport.
It was a great trip - but someday I will definitely have to go back when the temperature is a little cooler!
Check out some more photos from this trip here - Chicago Photos