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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

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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.

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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.

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^^ It got a bit windy at one point, check out the make shift headscarf! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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^^ The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

11377346_10155576954830092_3634763409750520240_nย 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…

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^^ Getting glammed up selfies ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

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

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^^ 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!

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

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^^ 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?

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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!

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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

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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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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) ^^

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And then we settled in for the game, maybe eating a few cheeky buffalo wings and nachos through the night. Me..Buffalo wings? Never! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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

Chicago Part 3! Waffles, Walking and Willis Tower!

Matt and I very rarely do set itineraries for our trips away. Sure we make a list of places we would like to visit or that people have recommended but we never make a set plan or day that we must do things. More often than not we will wake up, see what the weather is like and then wait and see where the day takes us and this is exactly what happened on Tuesday…

Having woken up relatively early for a change, we decided to have breakfast out and headed straight back to Wildberry, we had to see what all the fuss was about!

As you can see the weather was still a bit overcast but it had stopped raining yay!

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I love the photo with the yellow taxi in. Matt took this on his I Phone as we were walking along and I just love how it captures everything American, the theatre, the big Chicago sign, the yellow taxi and of course the American Flags. I can still remember the smell of popcorn in the air when I look at this picture ๐Ÿ™‚ and that makes me happy!

We made it to Wildberry and there wasn’t a queue hooray!

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Then came the hard decision..waffles or pancakes, waffles or pancakes.

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Waffles won and look how delicious they were! Lots of fresh berries and drizzled with maple syrup, this is what dreams are made of. I love having dessert type food for breakfast, it’s my favourite! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Matt went for a Skillet as he wanted to try something different as we don’t really have these in the UK, but I don’t have a picture of this sorry! It was pretty big though and came with a choice of toast or pancakes. Oh and before I forget take a look at the way my English Breakfast tea arrived, I’m loving the hot water filled light bulb!

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After breakfast we decided we would walk to The Arts Institute of Chicago, not realising that we would walk through Millennium Park to get there! It’s so pretty and relaxing and we loved all the sculptures and fountains, so much to take in! Below are some photos of just a few things we passed along the way:

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It was nice just having a leisurely stroll after breakfast and then before we knew it we were at The Arts Institute. We used our City Passes again here, so we got to skip the queues and we got free headset guides included too. Matt and I both enjoy art but we are in no way art buffs so these guides were super helpful.

I really wanted to see American Gothic andย A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. So we headed to those first. I didn’t realise just how big A Sunday Afternoon is and it tookย George Seurat 3 years to complete! (Painting below)

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We didn’t realise either how many famous artists were displayed at The Arts Institute. Below are just a few of our favourites:

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^^ Claude Monet

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^^ American Gothic by Grant Wood

10383096_10155576961385092_7657807459786228528_n^^ The Red Armchair by Pablo Picasso

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^^ Visions of Eternity by Salvador Dali

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^^ Matt liked the black one and I liked the white one, don’t you find it strange that we like the opposite of each other? Unfortunately and very bad of me, I didn’t take down what these we’re called or who they were by, but we really liked them!

After exploring all the different areas of The Arts Institute and discussing which pieces were our favourites and what we would like in our house ๐Ÿ˜‰ we decided to head to The Willis Tower. Breakfast was definitely filling as we didn’t even stop for lunch and for once I wasn’t thinking about food!! ha.

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This was one of the things I had added to the ‘list’. For some reason wherever we go in the World I have to visit Madame Tussauds (if there is one) lol lame for some people I know, and I also have to do a skydeck or viewing tower of some sort. I just like being high up and seeing the overall view of the place we are visiting.

So up we went 103 floors to check out the views:

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I love how Chicago has the mixture of the calmness of the lake with the crazy built up city right next door.

But then I spotted it.. the queue for The Ledge, this is what I had really been wanting to do!

The Ledge is a fully enclosed large glass box that extends 4 feet out of the side of the Willis Tower, 103 floors up. You’re meant to see never before seen views of the city..look down if you dare!

Matt isn’t really a fan of heights and so didn’t want to do this, so he sat and waited for me, while I joined the queue. It took a while as so many groups of people wanted to do group photos, single photos, you get the idea. Personally I feel they could run this a bit better with proper roped off queues and maybe staff manning it but I guess it wasn’t too bad a wait.11152686_10155576949460092_4821356471886446434_n

Then it was my turn, the initial step out is weird you really do feel like your about to step off the side of the building, but once that first rush of adrenaline is over you quickly take it all in, it’s a really cool idea and I even managed to take a photo sat down.

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Excitement over, we headed back down to the ground and slowly walked back to the apartment, stopping to pop in a few shops along the way and picking up some snacks and alcohol for the evening, as we had decided to stay in and watch the basketball.

We got back to the apartment and crashed on the sofa together, not realising just how much walking we had done or how long we had been out for! But it was such a good day sightseeing.

That evening we met up with Jason and Christina in the games room of the building. It was nice to just chill after a busy day and fill them in on our adventures. We played pool, we watched the basketball and we ordered in Ribs from Carson’s which were delicious. Why don’t people offer take away ribs here yet?

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Just check out those bibs!

Love, Chloe xx