USA Road Trip – Day 12 – Alcatraz, Seafood & Basketball

We had to get up super early for our first full day in San Fran, as we had booked tickets for the first boat over to Alcatraz Island, so we needed to be at the marina for 8.30am! Thank goodness for cold pizza haha, but we also managed to grab a couple of hot drinks & muffins for the 12 mins boat trip over as it was pretty chilly at that time of the morning!

We were the first group of the day on Alcatraz Island and it was so nice to experience it all when it was relatively empty and quiet. As the longer we stayed, the more people that joined (as I think the boats bought people over roughly every half an hour) so I would definitely recommend visiting early in the morning as the island and prison are pretty small so it starts to feel quite cramped by lunchtime. Also book your tickets way in advance as they do sell out!


We did an audio tour of the prison and it was so interesting but a bit creepy! We also met a former Alcatraz prisoner, William Baker which was really exciting as there are only 2 Alcatraz Prisoners left as the prison closed in the 1960’s. So he had lots of stories to tell!


We got the boat back to San Fran around 12.45pm and then walked to Pier 39 which is quite famous as it has lots of shops and restaurants and also seals lay on the deck there so everyone goes to see them, they were pretty cute!


We had lunch reservations at Fog Harbour Fish House and the food was absolutely amazing, I think we tried most things on the menu and the chowder was so delicious! We also had a great view of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.


After lunch we mooched around the local shops and enjoyed the weather as it was really sunny but not as hot as the previous places we had visited. We then went back to our hotel and chilled for a bit, well Matt and I had a nap haha.

That evening we got a taxi to a place called Oakland which is over the bridge from San Fran as we had tickets to a Golden State Warriors basketball match. This was such a fun evening as its quite a fast game and there is always something going on like music and cheerleaders etc, so we all had a really good time, watching the game, drinking and dancing.


We finally got back to the hotel about midnight! A long but amazing full day in San Francisco.

Love Chloe xxx

Chicago Part 4 – Boats, Bubbles and Basketball!

We ended up having a bit of a lie in on Wednesday morning, I guess it was all that walking we had done the day before! However when I opened the curtains and saw that it was sunny, we quickly had some breakfast and got ready so we could head out and make the most of it!

It may have been sunny but it was not warm! We now understand why Chicago is called the Windy City. That wind is full on!! I actually thought one day I was going to fly away ha. But we were not complaining as the sunshine was well and truly out.

We decided that we would go on a boat trip and see the city from the lake, so we took a leisurely walk along the river down to where all the tours took place.

It was pretty busy and we hadn’t pre booked tickets so we brought the next available seats they had (which was roughly an hour’s wait so not bad at all) and then took a stroll along Michigan Avenue. We people watched and pretended we were millionaires, window shopping at all the designers stores…OK so maybe that was just me πŸ˜‰ It was so good to feel the sun on our skin though. We then stopped off at a corner bakery grabbed a cookie and smoothie each and had a little rest before heading back to the boat.


We booked with Wendella Boats and went for the 90 minutes Signature Lake and River Tour.

The tour started from Trump tower and we made our way along the river towards The Willis Tower.


We had a really friendly tour guide who knew so much about all the architecture and history of Chicago, it was so interesting to find out all the facts while sitting back, relaxing and taking in all the views. The boat even had a fully stocked bar downstairs should you require drinks or snacks.

We travelled all the way down to Willis Tower before turning around and making our way back along the river to get to Lake Michigan.



^^ It got a bit windy at one point, check out the make shift headscarf! πŸ˜‰


^^ The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

11377346_10155576954830092_3634763409750520240_nΒ The Views were pretty amazing, made even better by the weather!

The tour went really quickly and afterwards we decided to head back to the apartment for a quick lunch and a swim before getting ready for dinner at The Signature Room…


^^ Getting glammed up selfies πŸ˜‰ with a little burnt nose from the day on the boat!! oops.

We met Jason and Christina in the lounge area of the building for a glass of wine before heading to dinner. Christina had booked a table for us all at The Signature Room which is on the 95th Floor of the John Hancock Centre, a couple of weeks beforehand as she said it’s super popular so get’s booked up and I was very much looking forward to some good food!

We arrived a bit earlier than our reservation and also requested a window seat for dinner which meant waiting a little bit longer, but we were told it would be worth the wait! So we headed to the lounge bar and lucked out with a window seat overlooking Chicago.


^^ As you can see we opted for a bottle of bubbles and we watched as the city changed from day to night. Magical!


^^ check out that view!

We were told our table was ready, so we headed back down to the restaurant area and our table had an amazing view of the lit up city just like above. Now what to have for dinner…

The menu had a lot of choice, however I was instantly drawn to all the seafood they had to offer. To start we shared the Oysters. Then for mains Christina went for the Scallops, I had the halibut, Matt went for Surf & Turf (steak and lobster tail) and Jason went for the New York Strip steak. I’m really sorry I didn’t take any photos though!! I was too busy talking and taking in the view!

A couple of things I noticed though, the waiter wasn’t the friendliest and he looked like he didn’t really want to be there. This was a shock as the waitress we had in the lounge bar area was the total opposite. Also the food was quite over priced for what it was/what you got but I guess they have you because of the view.

Having said that the food was pretty delicious and presented beautifully. I do have one photo of the food…dessert!


^^ This was the raspberry sponge cake and it was yummy!


^^ Final photos of the night, feeling very full and slightly tipsy after bubbles AND wine, but such a lovely night!

Thursday was our last proper day in Chicago and we didn’t really know what to do for the day. We had tickets for the Bulls game that evening so we didn’t want to do anything too crazy and we had to pack at some point too. yawn!

So we finally decided to head to Navy Pier, for what we thought would be a fun morning of old school fair type games, fairground type rides, good outdoor food/drink areas and a busy/fun atmosphere. But in all honesty we couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. We did notice that building works were going on so maybe that is why it lacked any atmosphere and hopefully they are revamping the place! But it just felt dreary, run down and dead. Hardly anyone was there. Had we even come to the right place?


view from the Ferris Wheel – looks a bit unloved don’t you think?

We headed straight to the Ferris Wheel as we had been told this was the thing to do here. It was cheap, fun and you got a good view of the city and Lake, but I guess after seeing the view so many times this week, we had sort of done it. Sorry Chicago!


After the ride we had a walk along the promenade but nothing seemed to be open, so we then walked through the gardens and into the indoor shopping area, where everyone seemed to be! The shops were mainly touristy and not what we were looking for though so we decided to head back into the city.

I feel bad writing this as we loved Chicago but we wouldn’t go back to Navy Pier. On a positive I guess it’s a good place if you have kids, as it has a huge build a bear workshop, a Children’s museum and IMAX Cinema so I guess they would be entertained for a good few hours. I just don’t think it was what we thought it was going to be.

We did some last minute shopping, brought a couple of basketball jerseys for the game that night and had a bite to eat at a local bar. Before heading back to the apartment, packing (my least favourite thing of all time) and then headed to The United Centre for the game


I’m not really into any sports, but I was so excited to be going to my first ever basketball game. There is something about American sports, yes they go on forever and you have time outs alll the time which is so annoying. BUT you put on the BEST entertainment, half time shows, cheerleaders..the list goes on and secretly that’s what I was looking forward to most! πŸ˜‰


We had pretty amazing seats, front row of the upper tier and I was so happy that they sold other alcoholic drinks rather than just beers, plus look at the cute cup my drink came in! (Vodka and lemonade, yummy) ^^


And then we settled in for the game, maybe eating a few cheeky buffalo wings and nachos through the night. Me..Buffalo wings? Never! πŸ˜‰ and these ones were gooodd but pretty hot!!

The entertainment was everything I had hoped for, cheerleaders, break dancers, the funny mascot plus Broadway stars performing at half time. I was never bored. Basketball is fast paced and exciting, I like that.

It was just a shame that The Bulls lost so meant they were out of the play-offs. Matt was pretty disappointed about this too. (He loves and follows all sports!)

But it was still an amazing way to enjoy our last night in Chicago!

Love, Chloe xx