Don't miss Day 1 in Chicago first.
On Sunday July 21st, we woke up and decided to start off with a little shopping on Michigan Ave. We didn't end up buying anything but it was fun to look and walk around on such a nice morning.
Then we hopped on the L to the Lincoln Park area. I really really liked this area. We walked past parks and shops on the way to lunch at Floriole Bakery where we had some great sandwiches.
After lunch we went to Sweet Mandy B's which was just a few doors down. How convenient! This place was so cute and it was extremely hard to choose what to get. I wish I could have sampled everything. We settled on their staple, cupcakes.
We got a vanilla with vanilla icing and a chocolate chip with chocolate icing and split them. They were both amazing.
The chocolate chip had a chocolate chip cookie baked into the bottom! If I lived in Chicago I would want to live within walking distance of Sweet Mandy B's, although that could be slightly dangerous. Seriously though it was my favorite neighborhood that we saw on our visit.
It also has DePaul University (not to be confused with DePauw) right there. Still in Chicago (short ride away from downtown) but more of a neighborhood and family feel. I'm sure it can't be cheap to live in Lincoln Park either but it sure looked nice.
That afternoon we wanted to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. Yeah were nerds. Eric more so than me though. It was on the opposite side of Chicago so we looked up the best way to get there by public transit. We took the L for a bit and then hopped on a bus. Did I mention our transit pass worked on buses too? Google maps was really accurate with the schedules and stops of the Chicago buses too.
So we spent several hours exploring the museum. We saw the IMAX of The Last Coral Reef, explored the storms/natural disasters exhibit, the entrepreneur exhibit, toy making exhibit, the embryo exhibit and stayed at the baby chick exhibit for awhile. We could see some of them cracking their shells, it was amazing. I would have stayed until another one completely hatched or they closed for the night, whichever happened first so Eric had to drag me away since we still had other things we wanted to do.
|waiting for the IMAX to start|
We caught the bus back towards downtown and hopped on another bus to take us to the Navy Pier stop.
From there we walked to Olive Park and spent some time relaxing in the park and taking pictures.
There were a ton of people in boats and yachts anchored right nearby the shore (and lots of people on the beach area where we were the night before).
At one point we saw a guy on a paddle board pick up a man on one of the boats and they paddled toward where we were where it clearly said no entry and no climbing on the rocks. The man got off the paddle board, climbed up the rocks and jumped on a bike that was at a nearby tree. The police boat immediately approached the paddle boarding guy for doing what it clearly says not to do while the man had taken off on the bike. Well that man that the paddle board guy brought to shore was John Cusack! I would have loved to hear what the paddle board guy's explanation was to the police. Sadly it all happened so fast and by the time we knew who it was on the bike he was long gone so I did not get a picture but made for a entertaining moment in Olive Park.
We stayed as long as we could since I really wanted to capture the skyline at sunset but it was kind of cloudy and we needed to make our dinner reservations.
We boarded the bus again for a little bit and then got off near one of the L lines to take it up to the Lincoln Park area again for dinner at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, a tapas restaurant. Keith has just flown into Chicago that afternoon (he was going to the conference too) so he met us for dinner.
They had bazillion different Sangria choices. Their classic white Sangria was tasty don't mind if I do! and all the food we ordered was fabulous. Another point for Lincoln Park! It was dimly lit in there so the pictures are a bit dark.
After that we hopped on a bus to take us close to the John Hancock building. We went up to the 96th floor to have a drink and take in the views of Chicago at night. I read in many places that it is the same price as buying a ticket to the top viewing deck (tourist attraction and only a few more floors up) as it is to go to the bar and get a pricey drink or dessert (and the ticket doesn't include a drink or dessert so obviously there is a clear winner). Plus the view from the ladies room is amazing as well.
Then we called it a night as the boys had to be up early to start their conference and I had to be up early to work from the room.
On Monday I made a lunch run for Eric and I (he came back to the hotel to practice his speech... he was speaking at this conference) to the Corner Bakery and on the way stopped to grab a few more shots of "the bean" when it wasn't as crowded as it was on Saturday. I was trying to capture some of the buildings reflection in the bean.
After lunch he was off again to the conference. Doesn't he look cute in his monkey space lanyard.
Monday evening I took the L back to the airport and flew home to Charlotte. Eric joined me a few days later. We had such a great quick trip exploring Chicago. I had been several times before for work and Eric came once in high school but we had never been together for fun. There is certainly a lot to do and lots of fantastic restaurants so I can't wait to visit again!