Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chicago getaway



 Last weekend my sweetheart & I slipped away for an overnight trip with just the two of us--no kiddos! Such a treat. We are always terrible about remembering to celebrate our anniversary (it's the day after Christmas) and we keep saying we're going to celebrate it in June but we always forget. But this year we remembered. :-)

We left early on Friday morning and went straight to the Chicago temple. We had the opportunity to attend a wonderful endowment session and I was so grateful for the peaceful time to contemplate and pray in a place where I felt so close to the Lord.

After we left the temple, we headed to downtown Chicago. I had booked both our hotel & parking (highly recommend booking your parking online because it can be crazy hard/expensive to park, especially overnight!) in the River North district. We checked in to our lovely hotel and then walked over to Michigan Avenue. Okay, actually we walked way past Michigan Avenue because we were so giddy walking along and talking and laughing together that we went on Lower Michigan and didn't even notice until we were almost at the lake. Boy, time flies when the kids aren't complaining about their feet hurting, right? This is the third time we've done an adults-only trip to Chicago and much as I love our little darlings, I love love love these trips with the two of us! (We did have a houseful of sulky kids who were convinced that we were going museum-hopping without them...they were slightly mollified when we said we were planning to walk a lot and eat spicy food.)

We wandered around Crate & Barrel for awhile...okay, I wandered while Neil intently studied the interior mechanism of the escalators (he was so fascinated!!!). 

 Then we went over to Water Tower Place and hit Wow Bao! so that we had some delicious bao to sustain us for another hour or two (I think my favorite is a toss-up between the Thai curry and the chocolate but the coconut is dang good too).
 John Hancock Tower--we always seem to wind up here no matter what our actual plans are...just staring up at the sky. Didn't go up this time although we thought about eating dinner there, but we decided to go to Grand Lux instead (I had to get my favorite salad!).

































We wandered around the LEGO store for awhile and did some shopping for Isaac's birthday (he was very very very specific about needing  Star Wars LEGOs).

I always love checking out the new LEGO models--Neil is 6'5" for perspective.


































After we ate dinner we went back to Water Tower Place to catch the double-decker bus. Yes, I totally love those things! Normally I try to look as non-touristy as possible but sometimes you just gotta break down and learn about the architecture, you know? Anyway, it was SO cold and foggy and clammy that my teeth were chattering like crazy--I was wearing a skirt and sandals and I was miserable! So we hit Forever 21 to try to find something cheap + warm.

I did eventually find a long-sleeved shirt but I think that hour we spent looking around was one of the golden hours of our marriage. I can't remember the last time when I laughed so much. There is no one on this planet who is as much fun to be snarky with as my dear husband (one of the longest evenings of my life was watching a terrible movie with some lady friends and having to keep my mouth shut rather than mocking it nonstop with Neil). Anyway, this particular Forever 21 provided two giant floors full of amazing-to-snark-about clothes.

Two of our favorites:



































and this:


































Then we went back outside and stared at the Hancock building some more while we waited for the bus. See? Super foggy.


































So apparently there is a battle royale going on right now between Donald Trump and pretty much everyone else in Chicago who feels that the giant letters on Trump Tower (which were just finished a couple of weeks ago) are tasteless.  Like...everyone is talking (complaining) about it and supposedly Trump is scheduled to come to Chicago in another week to deal with the hubbub.



































My favorite part of the hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tours is that they do this City Lights tour late at night. I've been to Chicago a million times but there is just something awesome about being able to fully tilt your head back and stare at all the lights with no car ceiling/windows in your view, or having to worry about not running into other pedestrians/cars/whatnot. Seriously, it's awesome.

So we rode around a bit and then we got off at Millennium Park and wandered around there and then wended our way over to Buckingham Fountain, as per tradition, and then we wended our way back and caught the bus again and then hiked over to our hotel (we walked about five miles that night, which is good because I was thoroughly enjoying delicious Chicago food).

































The next day we ate an awesome breakfast at the hotel and then it was time for our favorite Chicago thing: running along the lakeshore! This time we also ran along the Riverwalk, which was gorgeous and breezy and beautiful. Everything was still really foggy out on the lake and you could only see the first few rows of boats at their moorings. But it was so delightful--seagulls calling and the buoys ringing and bobbing and the water lapping against the breakwater. I love this run more and more every time we do it! We ran for about an hour and then we went back to check out of our hotel.

Lots more walking--we visited another one of our "always" stops, the Chicago Cultural Center and its breathtaking Tiffany ceiling...





 ...and Chinatown...
 ...and Greektown (oh so so so so good!).
 Then more riding around...
 So there's always something interesting to see in Chicago. Usually it's a street festival or parade, but this time the parade happened to have a little twist: zombies! There were a couple of hundred of them and it was um, pretty exciting (one poor little girl near me burst into tears and tried to hide behind a cafe table).

We did see one very interesting thing that I've never seen before--some of the street performers got in this HUGE fight on the steps of the Art Institute and were throwing each other out into the street. We were across the street on the bus, but everyone near them just took out their phones and starting filming it. They were the guys who drum on buckets so they were also whacking each other with drumsticks and buckets. Definitely not something you see every day.
 Later on in the evening we noticed that the sky was getting reaaally dark. Beautiful, but definitely threatening.


And as we went along the heavens opened and the rain poured down!!! Classic crazy Midwestern cloudburst, but it went on and on and on! Fortunately the bus company passed out some free ponchos, so we were able to REALLY look like tourists, but dry tourists! We waded back to our car through ankle-deep water and empty streets and drove back home to our five sleepy little kiddos. A totally perfect weekend (but keep reading--there's more!).


 Last but not least, I will leave you with one of the truly wonderful things I saw in Chicago--monks on a tour bus! (I sat behind them on purpose so I could take this photo slightly less obtrusively.)  Sadly, I did not get a picture of the very best part--their smartphone cases matched their robes PERFECTLY.  

1 comment:

Kayli said...

You guys do cities SOOOOO well. It ALMOST makes me sad that we hated Chicago when we lived in Indiana. Anyway- it looked fun. I'm glad you could have a getaway-they're important. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails