As we entered Chicago, we decided to drive along Lakeshore Drive, and immediately got caught in that infamous Chicago traffic.
Thank goodness there were pretty views of Lake Michigan!
There were lots of people out walking and biking along the beach. Heck, if I lived here and the weather was this nice (in the low 70s!), I'd want to be outside too!
Once we finally got off the main drag, we worked our way into Lincoln Park to get a real deep-dish pizza experience. We chose Pequod's, on Molly's recommendation.
And can I just say HOLY SHIT Chicago, your pizza is MASSIVE. When we were deciding which size pizza to get, I said I can usually eat two slices of pizza. That is, two Texas slices. I couldn't even get through ONE whole Chicago slice! This thing was like, more than an inch thick, and just melting with cheese and pepperoni and huge hunks of sausage. It was fantastic though, and I way overstuffed because I couldn't get enough of the crust.
We had planned to stay with a family friend that evening, so we hauled our stuffed tummies back into the car, made it to their house, and then passed out.
The next morning, we woke up ready to do ALL THE TOURISTY THINGS! First things first: we bought a one-day pass for $10 for the train and the CTA buses, and it was one of the best decisions we made. We rode that thing all over the place! (Luckily Matt's dad is a Chicago native, and despite being displaced in Texas for the last 25+ years, he still remembered how to get around!)
We planned to make the museum district our first stop, and so after riding the train into the city, we got off and walked to catch the bus to the Science and Industry Museum, the one place Matt really, really wanted to go. On the way to the bus, we stopped by the Buckingham Fountain.
It's HUGE! I'm starting to believe that we are wrong when we say "Everything's bigger in Texas."
Therefore, we spent the next five or six hours at the science museum, and it was like a playground for Matt. :)
But I had fun too! There were several cool exhibits, my favorites being the train room and this one about innovation where they showcased these regular people that had brilliant ideas that are changing the way the world works. (I think the exhibit was called Idea Factory, if you're there.)
Wall quotes are my faves.
Once Matt had gotten his fill of science, it was my turn to pick.
The Art Institute of Chicago! I mainly wanted to see some Degas and Monet, so we stuck to the impressionists wing. (I also hauled my husband and father-in-law through an exhibit on Fashion and Impressionism, which I thought was super cool, but I don't know how much they enjoyed it. I think my sister would have loved it though.)
Bronzes by Degas. I didn't know he sculpted! But I love how his work is mainly dancers.
One of the Monet paintings that was not of haystacks. Did you know he painted a lot of haystacks? At all different times of year and times of day. There was basically a whole room devoted to haystacks.
We came, we saw, my feet and back were hurting a lot. My only pair of tennis shoes hurts my feet, so I only brought flats on this trip, but they were not good enough. By the time we came back for leg two of Chicago, I had to stop and buy some cushier shoes. (These, and they are INCREDIBLE. No need to break them in, no need for socks, and they felt like walking on clouds. I've pretty much worn them every day since.)
After an hour or so in the art museum, we walked over to Millenium Park to sit down for a little while and enjoy the weather. (And some gummi bears, if we're being honest.)
When my feet didn't feel like they were being stabbed in the arches anymore, we headed over to the bean.
Does anyone know how this thing was made? We looked, but you can't see any seams!
I did cheesy touristy things.
Then we headed out of the park and toward the train for our next stop — the Willis Tower, aka The Artist Formerly Known As The Sears Tower! (YEAH, all this was in a single day. Going big.)
Saw this sign at a hot dog stand on the way out of the park, and it made me laugh. We did eventually wind up getting hot dogs, at Portillo's (thanks again, Molly!), and I was surprised that I really liked Chicago-style dogs! You wouldn't think that a pickle would be good on a hot dog, but it WORKS! I didn't get a picture though, that's why you're reading about it now.
Thankfully, because of the City Pass we got to bypass the insanely long line at the Willis Tower and head straight up to the 101st floor!
Chicago is really beautiful.
And we all stepped out onto the ledge! Which is kind of thrilling, even though it's pretty thick and looks really stable.
By the time we headed to dinner, my lower back was MURDERING ME. I had made an observation earlier in the day that you never see Chicago women running around in heels. In fact, I was keeping a tally in my head of how many women weren't wearing flats. (Spoiler: in three days, I only saw 10 women wearing heels. And I can totally see why they don't.)
That evening, we picked Matt's mom up from the airport, got a good night's sleep and prepared for the next leg of the trip — Wisconsin!
Spend time in Chicago — crossed off my Life List!
Do you like doing touristy things, or do you prefer to get off the beaten path? Which do you prefer on your hot dogs — pickles or ketchup? :)