Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chicago Part 2

If you missed part one of my Chicago adventure with my besties, you can find it here.

Day two of our trip was a Friday. We had tickets that morning for an architectural boat tour down the Chicago river, but we wanted to be sure to get a good breakfast before heading to our tour. We ended up leaving our hotel at 6:30am in order to have plenty of time for breakfast. 

We had decided to eat at this fun little place called Yolk that we had read/heard really good things about. It was only about 8 blocks from our hotel, but when we started walking there we got turned around and weren't sure which way to go. Kendall and Angie tried to map it on their phones, but weren't having any luck. Finally, Kendall just hailed a taxi and we had the taxi take us there. It was so funny, though, because she just spontaneously hailed this taxi and told us all to jump in. My first thought was that maybe the Zombie was after us again, haha! 


All ready for our yummy breakfast! I was boring and just had oatmeal, but it was SO good. I knew that I needed a non-greasy, good start to my day if I was going to feel good enough to be on the go all day. 

I'm not sure who this breakfast belonged to, but they said it was AMAZING. Both Angie and Kendall were having some stomach problems at this point and were super sad because they weren't able to eat much. We ended up stopping at Walgreens after breakfast to get them some stomach meds in hopes of a little relief. 

After breakfast, we had plenty of time before we had to be at the place from where our boat was leaving. We decided to walk along the river for a bit, and even just sit and soak in the beautiful morning and scenery. It was a bit chilly this day, but so sunny and just perfect weather!

On the boat . . . ready to see some sites!

Soaking up the beautiful Chicago sun!

Our boat tour was 90 minutes long and worth every penny! We learned so many interesting things about the history of Chicago and its interesting architecture. We just cruised along, listening to our tour guide talk about building after building after building.

And like I said, the weather could not have been more perfect!

Incredible sites of the city . . .

We crossed under many bridges, and we were fascinated to see the "L" up on this one. 

Overall, we all really enjoyed this activity, although I will say that all of us love "learning" adventures like this. We were so glad we did it! 

After our boat ride, we decided to head to the Hancock building. This is one of the tallest buildings in Chicago, and Amy had gotten a tip from her friend who lives in the city that we should go to the 96th floor women's bathroom for some great {free} views of the city. As strange as it sounded, we were all interested in seeing what that was about! 

We had to stand in line for a bit to ride the elevator up to the 96th floor. There is a restaurant and a lounge up there. For the restaurant, you have to present your reservation, but the lounge is open to anyone. However, after riding the elevator up to the 96th floor, we didn't even enter the lounge. We just got off the elevator and headed into the women's bathroom!

And . . . Amy's friend was right! One entire side of the bathroom was nothing but windows, and the view was AMAZING. 

So beautiful!

Kendall and Amy enjoying the view.

Angie and me enjoying the view!

Yay Amy for getting an "insider" tip :-).

After leaving the Hancock building, it was pushing 1:00pm, so we decided to pursue finding some lunch. But first, I had to take a photo of this old church. It looked gorgeously out-of-place amid the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets and high-rises.

Our next stop was for lunch, and the classic "Chicago Dog" was on the menu. We had read about a place called Downtown Dogs that was very near where we were, so we headed there. It was the tiniest hole in the wall place, but the food was AMAZING! Unfortunately, Amy and I were the only ones feeling up to eating, but we sure enjoyed it!

Kendall was super sad that her stomach was hating her, and she wasn't able to try a Chicago Dog. She opted for a plain bagel from a bakery down the street, but wasn't happy about it!

Angie decided that she needed salad to try and settle her stomach issues. There was a Trader Joe's just about 6 or 7 blocks away, so that ended up being our next stop. Angie LOVES Trader Joe's (and we don't have them in Oklahoma), so she was a happy camper, ha!

She ended up buying some "souvenir" food to take back home as well as her salad for lunch. 

We knew that we wanted to visit the Sears/Willis Tower that evening just after sunset, so we took opportunity to go back to our hotel room and rest for a bit. I know I was thankful for the rest, but I wasn't the only one! I think everyone ended up sleeping for at least 30 or so minutes. My feet were thankful to be propped up, and we were all ready to go again by about 4:30pm. We headed over to the Sears/Willis Tower to see what we could see!

We were able to buy these tickets at our hotel for a cheaper price as well, but another benefit to that was we didn't have to wait in line near as long since we already had tickets. It was still about a 45 minute wait to ride the elevator to the top, though.

Kendall and Angie, watching the floor numbers climb and climb as we rode to the top!

We rode all the way to the 103rd floor of the tower. On that floor, there are many windows to look out and see the city sites, but there is also an attraction called The Ledge. The Ledge is actually three glass boxes that slide out of the building to fully suspend you over the city streets. The photo below was taken from the box I was standing in, looking to the box next to me.

AMAZING views of the city!

The besties standing on The Ledge:

Another breathtaking view of the city. We loved that we were able to see it during the day (from the Hancock building) and at night.

I was the first one to take the plunge and sit down on The Ledge so Kendall could take my photo. I am extremely scared of heights (always have been), so this was a STRETCH for me! I physically go weak in the knees when I look down from high places. I was TERRIFIED, but I wasn't about to miss out on the experience. Just after I sat down, Kendall said, "Move back into the corner a bit", to which I replied, "Too scared to move! Just take the photo!" I was smiling, but you can totally see that I'm scared to death, ha!

The others were a bit more relaxed that I was :-).




One more shot looking down to the street. You can just barely see my {22 week} baby bump and my shoes.

After experiencing The Ledge, we did go see what the view was like out of the "regular" windows. Thank you to a passerby for snapping our photo!

We were at the top for just under an hour, but that was plenty of time (especially for me!) After coming back down, we had to stop and look up at The Ledge to see where we had been. In this photo, you can barely see a small light toward the top of the building. That is someone's camera flash who was standing on The Ledge waaaaaay up there! 

Yay for the Skydeck (what the 103rd observation floor is called)!!!

We were thrilled with this experience!

Following our Skydeck visit, we decided to try out some nearby Italian cuisine. A Skydeck employee recommended a place called Pazzo's to us. So, after leaving the Sears/Willis Tower, we walked about 4 blocks in the rain and COLD wind to a hotel down the street where Pazzo's is located. Upon arriving at the hotel, the doorman informs us that we will not be allowed inside to visit the restaurant! This was very disappointing as we were tired, hungry, cold, and a bit wet! He said that the Pazzo's inside the hotel is exclusive, but that there is another Pazzo's about 8 to 10 blocks down the street where we would be welcome. 

At this point, no one felt like walking in the cold rain (especially me . . . I was out of energy and hungry), so we hailed a taxi. It was SO worth the $12 is cost to ride to the other Pazzo's!

Kendall and Angie . . . ready to grub!

Amy and me . . . hungry for some FOOD!

The food was quite tasty, but we were not impressed with the service at all! Pretty much when we told our server we wouldn't be ordering alcohol, our service went downhill in a hurry. Booo on that! But, we all felt a ton better after getting some food in us!

We ended up walking from Pazzo's to the L, and in the process we walked by the famous Chicago sign again. Of course, we had to get another photo since it was night this time!
Right before we stopped for this photo, we had a bit of an incident. It was honestly the only time that I personally felt unsafe or threatened while we were in the city. We had each ordered our own entree' at Pazzo's, so we had a TON of food leftover after we were finished eating. We decided to take doggy bags of the food with us (along with plastic wear) and just give it to the first homeless person we came across on the street. Well, it certainly didn't take long for us to pass two men sitting next to one another begging for food/money. We had two sacks of food, and Kendall just quickly handed both sacks to one man, said "enjoy", and we continued walking. The man who she didn't hand the sacks to said, "Do you have anything for me?" to which she replied, "There are two sacks . . . one for each of you." Well, unfortunately, the first man was refusing to share one of the sacks with the second man, and they started to get into a screaming fight that looked like it was about to turn physical fast. We didn't stick around to see if it did or not . . . we just high-tailed it out of there! It was SO sad to us, though. Here we were trying to do a nice thing, and it turned ugly. We should have given each man their own sack (lesson learned), but why couldn't the first man just share like we had done with him? Ugh.

After that incident, we were feeling a little less than secure in the underground subway station at night. Haha!

However, we made it back to our hotel safely. Day two was just as great as day one! We were sure worn out, but we loved all the things we were experiencing and the memories we made! I'll post about our third {and final} day soon!

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

I have really enjoyed reading the Chicago posts! It sounds like an amazing trip and the photos are fantastic! I am planning a trip there soon. I was wondering, would you mind posting something about your budget for the trip, like a breakdown.of total expenses like travel and food, attractions, ect and also how you saved for it/made it work financially? You seem to the same boat as me as a stay at home mom of young kids and I could use your advice.and expertise! I hope this isn't too intrusive of a request! I appreciate you are willing to give!