Scratch that. A trip to Chicago is always a good idea.
14 hours on a bus – that stinks of warm piss, with no leg room, no Wi-Fi (advertised), no working plug sockets, and temperamental air conditioning that changes from freezing to boiling – may not be a great idea.
But $100 v $270 is a great idea on a stipend.
That bit aside.
Chicago is a great city.
We booked an Air BnB for the weekend. Nice little place just outside the city. Easy to get in whenever we wanted and really comfortable.
Day One: Bus and Barings
Arrived at the apartment around 1pm.
Hot dogs. Chicago beats New York. Hands down. Stuff the boring sausage with ketchup and mustard.
Clark Street Dog. They do it with pickle and onions and chillis that blow your face off and tomato. So good.
Ice cream. Because, well, its ice cream and it’s hot and do I really need to explain why I wanted ice cream full of fudge and yumminess?
Once we got passed the bus starvation we got round to seeing stuff.
Lincoln Park is a great place to have a stroll, look at the fancy boats, try to avoid getting run down by a cyclist or runner and see the city crawling up in front of you.
It also has a free zoo!!
We were like two little children, running around to look at tigers, lions, monkeys, frogs, flamingos. This was a really good zoo. Made even better by being free!
Only thing we missed was the giraffes, they were sleeping in their house. So we decided we’d go back on Sunday to see them.
We deserved it. It was hot and we had travelled a long way.
Turns out its kind of difficult to find a bar when you haven’t sussed the geography of a city yet. But we found a little bar called Pippins and had a pint.
Home. Change. PIZZA!
The most important meal of the day.
Deep dish, sausage, Chicago pizza. From Lou Malnati’s. Between Lou’s and Giordano’s they both came up with consistently high ratings. One on Friday. One another day if we felt like it.
This pizza was awesome. And so filling with just two slices! It looks like it should be heavy and dense and gross. But it’s so light and yummy and cheeeeesy.
Safe to say after a long day we were pooped and not exploring anywhere else for the day.
Day Two: Tourist Takeover.
We bought one of the Go Chicago unlimited day passes so we could be the best tourists we’d ever seen.
First stop: Willis Tower.
Formerly, Sears Tower. Cool building. Nice views. Freaking horrible glass case out the side of the building. But I stood on it, because I’m really brave…
When you finally get through the queues they send you into a little video about how the tower was built and the history of the Chicago fire and how it led to the development of the city. Which was (surprisingly) interesting.
Then you go up to the 103rd floor to the observation deck. On a clear day you can see pretty far. Unfortunately, Saturday wasn’t the clearest day. But the view was still great!
Final ridiculous queue to get back out. They really need to sort that one out!
Lunch. Corner Bakery.
They do some pretty good mac and cheese! But the food wasn’t really the memorable bit. The homeless man that accosted us with his stench as we started to eat was the memorable bit.
That’s something you don’t get so much in New York. Homeless people coming into a restaurant and approaching tables with food to harass them for their sandwich. Not ideal.
Millennium Park – The Cloud/Bean.
Is it a cloud? Is it a bean? I have no clue but it looks really cool.
So of course, obligatory selfie stick &@^%£# moment. I hate selfie sticks. But it had to be done.
The outside looks pretty amazing. But the shapes and twists and patterns of the reflections underneath are even better.
Architecture Boat Tour
A 75 minute tour of the Chicago River, explaining the architecture of every building along the river.
I enjoyed just chilling on a boat in the sun listening to a little man get excited about buildings and count weddings.
Nice area. If a little over run by tourists. We took a trip up the Ferris Wheel to see the city from another angle.
And then relaxed with a cold drink people watching.
Being a tourist is exhausting
An accidental 3 hour nap slightly ruined the evening’s plans.
But we still saw the Hancock Tower from the lounge with some Champagne.
Crappy service and atmosphere. But a nice view of the city lit up. So it was worth it for that.
Then some amazing Mexican!
Blue Agave know what they’re doing! A tasty strawberry margarita, and a ‘lava pot’ – a lava rock heated to 400⁰ full of shrimp and cheese and peppers and Mexican goodness.
The night ended with a bit of an unexpected bang. But I’ll leave this on a positive and get into that another time!