Chicago: Tourist Adventures for One Weekend
Chicago…the windy city.
Trust me when I say it truly makes honor to that name, Jezz!!
Even though we were ready for a cold weather, the wind took us by surprise. We ended up running around to the nearest shops for a hats and mittens. Just a few small accessories to keep help the adventure enjoyable and keep it going.
Parking and the “L” train:
Keep that in mind parking is limited and expensive if you’re driving to or around Chicago. Fortunately we found a prime and safe spot to leave the car over the weekend. We used the famous “L” train to get around. This was VERY easy. Google maps has a train option, it will tell you every detail you need to know. For ease, we got a card that we could load money onto. Full priced rides were 2.50 a ride (Up to two additional rides within two hours). Interaction with the locals and other travelers added a fun dynamic to navigating the city.
We choose to just ride the train downtown, no schedule, no destination, just one mission, find a good place to eat. We just let ourselves enjoy a walk around the city from Union Station to Grand Park, and then along the lake just admiring the skyline and whatever was going on on the streets.
Willis Tower was one place we both wanted to visit. It is iconic, mainstream, touristy and busy! However, there are not many places like it, and definitely was a fun experience. Be aware that this is a very very busy and popular activity, so expect to wait in line for about an hour and a half (regular time).
The Skydeck: 103 floor, 1,353 feet in the air, 4.3 feet glass box extended from the building. You can’t beat this view of the city, it it without a doubt a must do stop if you’re in chicago. #BasicChicagoPost. Wait times were between 1-2 hours, but once you were at the top there was no rush to come down. Once at the 103 floor you will have to wait again to get into the Skybox. We were allowed to take our own pictures and were allowed a few minutes to do so. They also took an incredible photo with a mounted camera.
Millennium Park: Most people recognize the iconic “bean” from the windy city. The Cloud Gate (official name) sculpture immediately became a iconic landmark of this city, and literally thousands of people gather here every day to take pictures and basically goof around the park. While you are here don’t forget to enjoy a coffee by the fountain, take some pictures of the skyline, the lake, and the Art Institute. Once we reached the part of the park where the bean is, and with a “alright, we’re already here” attitude we decided to walk towards the sculpture which had hundreds of swarming people around it. We took a few pictures from the distance, we took a couple of picture of us with the thing as a background, and then the bean magic happened.
We went up close to see what it was about, see or reflections on it, and then we started having ideas of silly posses with it, cool pictures of interesting angles, and what was supposed to be a 5 min walk by, became a fun, playful photo session with this iconic landmark.
360 Chicago: formerly John Hancock Observatory, this attraction gives you the opportunity to enjoy a 360 degrees view of the city, the entire floor have glass walls, so with an unobstructed view is a pretty awesome place to hangout and have a drink (there’s a bar).
The Tilt: Ok, so, this is a fairly new attraction, in the same John Hancock Observatory, they added a mechanic system to the window in the observatory, making the wall tilt away from the building, giving you a thrilling experience and a unique view of the city. We choose to do this at night since we visited the Skydeck during the day. Again, this is a very popular activity so, expect the same waiting time than the Skydeck, about an hour and a half.
The Navy Pier: A nice place for a walk, interesting architecture, and a great place to enjoy the view of the lake with the city skyline. We walked here from Millennium Park, and kept walking along the lake, following the river into the city again. This was a great walk with tons of great healthy food options around. It was a good way to enjoy a less busy side of the city by foot.
Tip: you can buy alcohol at virtually any time.