Friday, February 26, 2010


Chris had a work conference in Chicago back in October and since neither of us had been there before, we left Will here with my parents and I got to go with him. Unfortunately, it was during the peak of my morning sickness so I wasn't feeling great most of the trip...but we did have a fun time anyway.

We got there on a Saturday afternoon and the conference didn't start until Monday, so we had some time to do a little sightseeing. The first thing we did was check into our hotel that we only stayed at for the first night. There was another big conference there that weekend which meant we couldn't find a hotel to stay at in the downtown area for that first we stayed at a hotel close to the airport.

We dropped our bags off in our hotel room as quickly as we could and then hopped on a train to go downtown and see the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). We had read that the line to get up to the top of the tower was really long, especially on the weekends, so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to see it that night. Chris bought our tickets online which ended up saving us from waiting in a big portion of the line, so that was nice. It does seem like the line is never ending because you just have to go through room after room standing in line...but we actually felt like it moved pretty fast. I think it ended up only taking us about an hour to go through the line and look around once we got to the top of the tower.

The view from the 103rd floor of the tower:

They recently built what they call The Ledge which is basically all glass boxes built off the side of the building on the 103rd floor! Chris said there was no way he would stand in it, but I wanted to and he ended up doing it with me.

This is the picture I took while standing in the glass box looking straight down to the street:

And another view:

I took these next two pictures from their website so you could get a better idea of what I'm talking about:


After we left the Willis Tower, we were starving and thought we would find something close by to eat. So we started walking around and quickly discovered that everything was closed! It was around 7pm on a Saturday night and everything in downtown Chicago was closed. Chris and I thought that was really strange but we just kept thinking that if we kept walking, we would find something that was open. Well we ended up walking a lot longer than we expected, but we did finally find the area of downtown that was still wasn't very busy for a Saturday night though. I have heard Chicago compared to New York...and although it's been over a decade since I've been to New York, I remember it being a lot more happening than Chicago was. We ended up eating in a pub and it was good, but I think we were hoping to find something a little better in downtown Chicago. After we ate, we were worn out so we caught a train and headed back to our hotel.

On Sunday, we slept in a little and then got a cab to take us downtown to the hotel we were staying at for the rest of the trip. Our cab driver told us about a hot dog place that wasn't too far from our hotel called Portillo's. Getting a Chicago hot dog was definitely on our list of things to do, so we headed there right after we checked into the hotel. I have to say that it was delicious, but not what I was expecting at all! I was thinking it would be some kind of hot dog stand that we would just walk up to a window and order, but this was more like a casual dining restaurant. It was very good though and I would recommend it!

After the hot dogs, we walked to Michigan Avenue to do a little shopping and then we walked down to the Navy Pier and got on a boat for a tour on the river that goes through downtown Chicago. All I remember about that is there are a lot buildings in downtown Chicago that have a lot of history! It was mostly interesting, but I have to admit that I fell asleep for a good ten minutes or so. The guy sitting on the other side of Chris slept the entire boat ride, so I didn't feel too bad. :)

View from the boat:

The tour guide told us to get the picture below. I never really figured out why...I think it had something to do with the old and the new (old bridge, new Willis Tower maybe?). I figured it must be important though, so it had to go on the blog:

After the boat ride, we walked around the Navy Pier for awhile and then rode a bus back to our hotel. I was exhausted at this point and not feeling well at all. Chris has always wanted to go see the Blue Man Group, so he had gotten us tickets to go see them that night. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it if I didn't get some rest, so Chris let me lay down for a little bit even though it was throwing us off schedule. After about 30 minutes or so, I felt a lot better so we went to a nice place called Petterinos to eat dinner, but we were going to have to eat fast.

Thankfully there was not a wait, but when we were seated, our waiter asked if we were going to see a show (there were several theatres close by) and we told him that we were going to see the Blue Man Group. He freaked out a little because we were going to have to ride a train to get to the theatre where Blue Man Group was showing. So he kicked it into high gear and we had plenty of time to get to the show. We thought it was pretty funny that our waiter was so concerned with us making it though.

Once we arrived at Blue Man Group, a man that worked with the show came over and asked Chris if he would be willing to participate in the show and Chris agreed. I have to admit that I was surprised because it is so not the type of thing that Chris would typically do. He really didn't end up having to do much, but it was probably good for him to do something out of the ordinary anyway. :) We were really disappointed with the show itself. I honestly had no idea what to expect because I haven't ever heard much about the Blue Man Group, but Chris was expecting something a lot different than what it was. It was basically a theatre performance with a little music, but no was supposed to be funny, but it just wasn't our type of humor I guess. Chris was expecting something more like a concert. Neither of us were impressed.

On Monday, Chris got up early to go to his conference and I think I stayed in the hotel and rested the entire day. Chris did have a lunch break, so we walked to a nearby Chipotle and then I went back to the hotel and rested some more. It was nice since I hadn't been feeling so great. That night we went to eat at Pizzeria Uno. Or was it Pizzeria Due? I can't remember. They were right across the street from each other and the waitress told us they were owned by the same people and were basically the same restaurant. It was deep dish pizza that was pretty good, but it took a really long time for them to bring it out. We weren't sure if it was worth the wait when all was said and done. After the pizza, we walked around Michigan Avenue and went in a few stores. I think this was the night that we went to a Ghiradelli ice cream shop and Chris claimed that it was his favorite part of the trip. In fact, Chris asked the employee that took our order if it was the most awesome job ever to work there, to which she replied, "No." haha.

The next day, Chris had his conference again and I did get out of the hotel to do some shopping...but I got a lot of rest that day as well. That night, we had delicious steaks at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I think we walked around some and then headed back to the hotel.

This a picture of the river at night:

We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, which I think is the shorter building near the center of the picture with a row of white lights at the top. I think our hotel was 23 stories...which is taller than any building in Lubbock and it looks so small next to all the other giant buildings in Chicago!

On Wednesday, Chris got out of his conference around noon and it was time for us to take a cab back to the airport to come home. Overall, it was a good trip and I think we spent the perfect amount of time in Chicago. It is not a place that I will be dying to go back to...but definitely a good place to say we have been.

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