Chicago is always a good idea runs an old saying and I second that wholeheartedly 🙂
Chicago travel happened in the month of April 2016 when Boston was still cold and half of the tourist places were recovering and not yet contemplating to open their doors. Having seen the east coast just 5 months back , Chicago seemed a good choice and flights were booked from Boston.
The Chicago O’hare airport is well connected with trains that take travelers to different parts of the city and the city itself has an extensive travel network .Soon after landing my eyes started scanning each place I crossed for familiarity ,having seen nooks and corners of this city several times in various Hollywood films.
When we collected tickets from the automatic machine , we were instructed to change trains in between at some station .When we reached that station it was a little confusing and we boarded a wrong train and went somewhat opposite but realized soon and came back and got into the right one getting down at the nearest station to our hotel. However we boarded a bus which dropped us somewhere opposite to where our hotel was and we had to again walk all the way back but the best part about U.S cities are that no place is too far and the locals will always motivate you saying ” 4 blocks down and then 2 blocks right” and you will realize the exact distance only once you have walked the entire distance 🙂
So we reached Mariott downtown which I must say is a great location for any tourist who would need to use public transport or simply walk around.All the places , be it the harbor side , or the big brand showrooms, or the tallest buildings or several eat outs and restaurants …all like I said earlier is just a few blocks up or down right or left 🙂
Since we reached around noon , we freshened up and instead of resting we ventured out to have a feel of the city and hunt a good place for dinner . A Hard rock Cafe at the corner of the road seemed to be the perfect place to spend the evening .Very soon a chicken platter arrived and we had a sumptuous dinner accompanied with good music.
The next day we had a HOHO ( hop on hop off bus) trip booked to see various places and the instructions said that the bus stop was about 10 mins walk from the hotel .We went to a dunkin donuts nearby for breakfast and soon headed for the bus.At that hour it was freezing cold and I was disappointed that none of my short dresses carried with such excitement all the way from India was of any use even in this city , Boston having disappointed me the previous weeks already.So after clicking a selfie with a new top on , I quickly wrapped myself in my jacket and grabbed a cup of hot chocolate while walking towards the bus stop.
The HOHO buses have the best views if you sit at the top deck and tourists like me will do it however cold it is as it also gives me oppurtunity to click good pictures.The bus went around several places and stopped near coffee joints . The city is so full of life and full of good looking people , especially women with stylish dresses and coats and equally stylish puppies accompanying them 😀
The HOHO downtown tour runs all year round daily and covers the below spots :
Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower
Michigan Avenue Bridge
Art Institute / Millennium Park
Hilton Chicago / Grant Park
Field Museum / Shedd Aquarium
Maggie Daley Park / Millennium Park
The Magnificent Mile
The Water Tower
360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory)
Hard Rock / River North
We took the tour and alighted the bus to see the Shedd aquarium and Adler Planetarium.The windy city lived up to its name and we seemed to fly .The place is extremely beautiful and we could not resist clicking some pictures though it was extremely difficult to hold on to the camera or the hat and hair was all haywire.At this place one can see the city as the shoreline and a most common capture .
The Adler Planetorium is the first American Planetorium and has many space lessons and fun activities including a show on the earth and the solar system . It has one of the worlds most technologically advanced dome theatres. The cafeteria at one end is one of its kind and has beautiful open views of the sea which can be enjoyed for hours on any given day without letting the chilling wind bite into one.
Later in the day we returned to the downtown area and shopped at some of the stores and had hot chocolate whenever we were cold.
That evening my cousin brother and his wife came from the suburbs to meet us and treated us to a sumptuous indian dinner at Gaylord and this place is highly recommended for the food , ambience and the servers who have interesting stories to tell about the city.
The Day 3 highlight was chicago architecture river cruise
The Windy city is neither as big or glamorous as New York and it doesn’t have the Hollywood appeal of Los Angeles, yet millions flock to Chicago every year where you have 26 miles of lakefront complete with bike paths and beaches and huge robust architecture. The boat ride is a testimony to that and the architecture of each building is surely a sight to behold.The tallest tower in Chicago, the John Hancock which was also the tallest in the world before the same architect decided to build the Burj Khalifa in Dubai much taller than the former.
The 75 minute guided tour gives an insight into how from a small settlement the city grew into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years with its buildings and engineering giving birth to the skyscrapers. .As the boat goes down the Chicago river one would uncover the hidden gems and renowned landmarks among 40 notable buildings like the Trump tower , John Hancock building ,Wrigly building and more.The Skyline looks spectacular and the events like the Chicago fire and others while going past all three branches of the Michigan river is a must do.
- Dress warm
- Arrive 30 mins before
- A full snack bar is available on board
- Do not forget your Camera.
Day 3 second half Field Museum of natural history.
After the Cruise at Navy Pier we took a bus to the Field Museum which is one of the largest museums in the world and will usually take a whole day to explore and about 4.5 billion year of history under one roof. My 5 year old was most excited to see the huge dinosaur fossil Sue the T Rex which is 67 million years old .
The other attractions were the Fossil prep Lab and the DNA discovery centre where visitors can watch as conservators work to preserve anthropological specimens across the world or scientists extract DNA from a variety of organisms.
The animal and birds exhibits are also interesting as is the gems and other dinosaur fossils and there are also some interesting shows with insights on extinct tribes and lessons from history.
When we came out of the Museum it was closing time and it started raining very heavily and as we tried to get into a bus, I looked at the harbour side one last time which looked hazy with an overcast sky.We got down at the place what is known as the Magnificent mile which is a said to be the mecca for shoppers and there is a store for everything .
We walked around quaint shops selling antique items where we shopped a little for some souvenirs .Then we headed to chilly’s for some spicy dinner and chilled beer lazily soaking in the days activities.Since it was our last night in chicago , we walked around till the shops closed and took pictures of the city amidst the lights before calling it a night.
Day 4 started on a bright note with a very preety breakfast at eggsperience .
The staff are very friendly and the food is tasty and served in a very pleasant manner
Experience Eggsperience egg lovers or not 🙂
Flight was at noon , so we lazed around the morning soaking up some sun and clicking some last shots of our memorable trip . As the taxi sped towards the airport , I looked back to see the city of Skyscrapers and the entire city looked exactly like I had seen in the movies and with a smile on my lips and a warm little hand in my hands who too savored in the sights like me , we left with a heart full of lovely memories.