Well I am all about road trips both short and long distance. My nephew (Justin) and his girlfriend (Jill) just graduated so I figured that I would take them out of St. Louis for a day or so..and why not go to my nephew's favorite place..Chicago. Initially, we wanted to go for a longer time but ya know people work and have a difficult time getting days off so we figured that we would make the best of the like 40 hours that we had available. We hit the road about 6am on Thursday morning..they slept for about the first 2 -3 hours which gave me time to enjoy the drive and my music. Of course they woke up hungry so we stopped at a McDonald's and got some food and also got gas at a nearby station..so off we are again. We hit traffic about 20 minutes from the downtown area..what should have only taken 20 minutes took close to an hour...damn construction! But as we got closer we had a better view of the Chicago skyline which my nephew and I have saw numerous times but his girlfriend had never..the weather was beautiful not a cloud in the sky! So it was too early to check in at the hotel, so we decided that we would just drive around the city and let Jill just take it all in and then we would go to Shedd aquarium since it was a discounted day..woo hoo we could get in for free (well you would have to pay like $17.00 if you wanted to see some other things). So we parked at Soldier Field parking garage and walked over to the aquarium..we were able to see the stadium and also to see the monument thing in front of it..very nice. So as we approached the aquarium we saw a line that went on for days! It looped around so many times..we knew that this just was not a good idea. So we walked around the little trail thing and saw all the globes that were out (it was a wonderful art exhibit) and we walked around the side of the aquarium almost to Adler...we took many pictures along the way...the view was beautiful! So change of plans..rather than going to the aquarium we decided to hop on a water taxi (what a great way to get around..my first time ever being on one) and went to the Navy Pier. My nephew hates the Pier..but he tolerated it for us..so we walked around and looked at all the little shops and then decided to eat at Bubba Gumps. I am not a big shrimp eater but I figured if you are at a place that is specializes in shrimp then that is probably what you should eat...so I did. I got cajuan shrimp, Justin got a hamburger, and Jill got stuffed shrimp...the best part about it was the drink I got...I got a brand new glass to keep (woo hoo). The people in there were cool but I guess of you do not really like shrimp then you should just get drinks and maybe an appetizer. So off we went...
This trip was about walking and seeing things so we planned on leaving the car in the lot by the hotel and utilizing the the CTA (mainly the El), the trolley, and our feet. I had bought 2 day visitor passes a month before the trip (this is the best way to get around the city) and I am familiar with the bus/el system since everytime I go there I use them. So we left the Navy Pier..the car was parked by the aquarium (which is a good little distance) it was now like 4pm so we walked for quite a while and then decided to hop on a bus that would take us to the red line and we would ride that down to Harrison. We checked into the hotel and then decided to walk and go get the car...then came back to the hotel..showered and off we went to dinner at the ESPN Zone. We took the red line up and then just walked a few blocks to the restaurant. There was some type of private party there so we were not able to go upstairs and play games and stuff but the meal was good and of course there are tvs everywhere. We walked the Magnificient Mile after dinner and Jill had to run into Gap because she was chilly and wanted a little jacket. We decided that since the hotel was like 2 blocks off Michigan Ave and Harrison(which was many, many blocks from where we were)...but there was alot to see as we came down Michigan Ave so it was a great walk. It was about 915 when we started our adventure..the first thing we hit was The Michigan Ave Bridge. This is one of my favorite places in Chicago. I love to walk down the steps and actually go down to the walkway..we took many pictures of everything in this area. The next stop was Millinuem Park...we of course had to see "the bean". It was beautiful...the night time Chicago skyline reflecting off of this great piece or art. We continued to walk through the park until we got to fountains...this was absolutely amazing. We sat there and watched the faces for about 20-25 minutes...that was pretty cool. The sky looked kinda stormy and a far off lightening was lighting up the sky..it was a very beautiful thing.We continued our journey until we got to Grant Park..we walked through there and went to see Buckingham Fountain..in the process we ran into a very talkative guy that we asked directions and instead of just telling us where the Fountain was he actually walked us over there. He and his dog were very friendly...kinda creepy but none the less very friendly..lol. SO we saw the fountain but did not get to see it shoot the water up real high...all in all it was still beautiful. It was about 11pm now so we decided to walk our tired butts to the hotel (which was only a few blocks from here). We got to the hotel around 1115..went up to the room and I think we all fell asleep immediately.
The Next morning I woke up at like 630am...it was a beautiful day again..it was a bit cloudy which I thought would be lovely since I got sooooo sunburned the previous day (I kind of looked like Elmo) We wnt across the street to the Dunmin donuts/baskin robbins for breakfast and then checked out of the hotel around 9 and we drove to the aquarium and parked at soldier field AGAIN...this was a great place for me to park and leave the car since the hotel wanted to charge more for me to leave it there. So we didnt even have to wait in line to get into the aquarium..I have been in there like 4-5 times so the only new thing to me was the komondo dragon (aawww he was huge). Jill enoyed the entire place. We left there and hopped on the El so that we could go to the Sear's Tower..we went up to the skydeck...this was an amazing view! We were there for about 45 minutes taking lots of pictures and just looking out over the city..once again the sky was clear so we could see everything. We left from there and by this time they were extremely grumpy because they were starving so we stopped at the first place we saw Giordano's..they are famous for their stuffed pizza. Well I was not impressed by their stuffed pizza but man oh man there regular pizza was AMAZING!!! The amount of cheese was out of control...I would defintely go back! So it was about 330pm and we knew that it would take about 4 1/2 hours or so to get back to St. Louis..maybe more depending on traffic. So we hopped on a bus and got off on Michigan Ave and waited for the free trolley thing to take us around to the aquarium (so we could get the car). The trolley driver was hilliarous..this was a great ride to the car..not to mention we ran into several folks from st. louis on the trolley. So we got to the car and headed towards Chinatown. We figured we would hit Chinatown right before we jumped on the highway headed home. Chinatown was cool..the food smelled amazing but neither one of them wanted chinese. It was about 530 pm now and my mom called giving me a weather update..they were calling for bad storms in st. louis and it would be moving right on up to Chicago..great I hate storms so now I was not happy about having to drive back in bad weather. SO we were down with Chinatown and off we went headed back to St. Louis...of course we got stuck in traffic..it took as an hour and half to get to Brookfield. Justin and Jill slept almost the entire way home...I only hit rain for like 30 minutes...the sky was full of lightening but it was at a distance...it lite up the very dark sky. The drive back was very peaceful..I was extremely tired since we jam packed so much into such a short time! I walked through the door around midnight after we dropped Jill off at home..well all went to bed since we had to work the next morning at 9am.
Like I had said in the beginning..I have been to Chicago numerous times but I have never been in the summer (usually I come for basketball games in March). The trolley is a wondeful way to get around to the tourist type places..but the wait from certain places is quite a while. I think that the public transportation system in Chicago is wonderful..I would recommend that to anyone because parking is sooo expensive. The time we went was beautiful but I did not realize how much was going on on those days...there was some type of 5k run on Thursday, some big soccer thing was happening on Thursday, taste of chicago was setting up, cubs vs the white sox (that was why we were stuck in traffic on the way out of the city..the game got over right as we got on the highway)..it was crazy how much stuff was going on. I love this city and can't wait to come back!