My husband and I went to Chicago a few weeks ago, and had a marvelous time! I had never been to Chicago before, but he had lived there for seven years before he moved back to San Diego in 2013. I have always wanted to go, and I couldn’t have picked a better way to experience the thriving metropolis than with Brian, who happened to know his way around. Traveling with a husband is just fun. Something I always looked forward to when I was single.
We went so that Brian could go to his good friends bachelor party (since we couldn’t make it out to the wedding in George coming up in a few weeks.) It was a very busy trip – full of friends, fun, good food, and site seeing. The city is fascinating, full of culture and character.
We took a red-eye on Wednesday night, and Brian had to work as his company’s Chicago office on Thursday, which left me the day to explore! His very kind friend, Ryan, offered to drive me around and give me a neighborhood tour. Some of the neighborhoods we visited included Little India along Devon Avenue, Andersonville (Edgewater), Lincoln Square, Albany Park, Mayfair, Pilsen, Little Village, and Chinatown.
The tour included some of the most delicious Mexican food I have ever tasted. It ended at Millenium Park, which reminded me of New York’s Central Park. It was immense, and full of beauty, and tourists. I saw the Bean. One cannot go to Chicago and not see the Bean, random as it may be.
Chicago is a very packed city and is home to 2.7 million people; the metropolitan area is home to a total of 9.9 million. In 2014, Chicago had 50.2 million visitors. There are people everywhere.
Something I do in every city I venture to is go to a unique café, settle in with a delicious drink and pastry, and then people watch. I found an adorable French Café as I observed the happenings around me. It reminded me of Paris. Sigh. I cannot wait to go back someday.
After the café, I met up with Brian at his downtown office and we walked along the river before we met the soon-to-be bride and groom for a dinner delicious dinner of mussels and beer.
Lets talk about food for a second. There are 17,574 in the 6-county metro area, and there are 9,000 restaurants and 4,000 bars/clubs within the city limits. That is a lot of choices.
Friday morning we had breakfast with Brian’s old friend and coworker. That afternoon Brian took me on the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. It was amazing and most definitely a highlight! I have never seen anything like those buildings before. So much thought and creativity went into the way they were constructed – it is truly an art. The boat even went out on Lake Michigan for an incredible view of the Skyline. Chicago is one of “the big three” significant skylines in the world. The other two are NYC and Hong Kong. In terms of sheer numbers, Chicago has 119 buildings above 150 meters (492 ft), ranking it 5th. Coming home, the San Diego skyline looked miniscule.
Friday night we had a bbq in our host’s backyard, which is really a stunning garden. We didn’t eat until 10pm and the festivities went until 2 am. Chicagoans know how to have a good time!
Saturday we had lunch with a sweet couple who have known and mentored Brian for many years. We got real and deep for hours in the middle of Chipotle. I love friendships like that; ones in which you can share the rawness of yourself. That night was the Bachelor/Bachelorette Party. He went out with the boys and I went out with the girls
It was so fun to get all dolled up and go out to a nice Italian dinner in the heart of the city. To top the night off, we had cocktails at the Signature Room, located on the 95th
floor of the John Hancock building. Yes. 95th
floor. It was spectacular.
Sunday morning, Brian took to some of his favorite parts of Chicago, including a lovely park, a long, scenic drive along lake Michigan displaying some of the most gorgeous houses I have ever seen, and a private beach where he often went to meet with the Lord. He ended our trip at his favorite Pizza place. I have never tasted pizza so good, and Pizza is my favorite meal. I have eaten a lot of pizza. Nothing comes close to what I had in Chicago. It was like 2” thick, and the flavor was delectable.
Next up on the blog: our Boston Trip!