Chicago: Turning a work conference into an impromptu vacation!

postcard from Chicago Illinois

I was invited to Chicago for a conference for my library work, so Chris and I decided to head up a couple of days early and sightsee the Windy City.  We arrived on Saturday around noon, and after checking into our super-awesome hotel (upgraded to a suite, thank you!), we dropped our bags and went out for a tour of the town.  We headed for the river, where we bought tickets for a river architecture cruise.  For 90 minutes, we cruised up and down the north and south branches of the Chicago River, and were treated to a fabulous lecture about the architectural styles and price tags of the buildings.  We were also treated to some toasty hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps.  The weather was cool but not too cold, but the hot chocolate was still delicious.

20151115 Chicago - 2
Deah in the Windy City
20151115 Chicago - 83

After the cruise, we walked around Chicago, sighting such sights as the Millennium Park, the Bean, Grant Park, and the Navy Pier.  We had dinner on the Pier (Chicago hot dogs) and after returning to our hotel, went up to their 29th floor rooftop bar for some drinks and a wonderful night view of the skyline.

On Sunday we walked over to Al’s Beef, enjoyed their lunchtime offerings, and headed up town to the Chicago History Museum, at the edge of Lincoln Park.  The Chicago History Museum is a nicely done museum detailing the history of the city, and we bought groupon tickets for half price, so bonus!  An afternoon’s entertainment for $7.  I enjoyed learning about how the river’s course was reversed; the historic fire; segregation and integration; Capone, and other bits of Chicago’s history.  They have a nice lounge there called “Chicago Authored” which profiled some of Chicago’s prolific authors, including Hemingway, Sandra Cisneros, Veronica Roth, Michael Crichton, and Carl Sandburg. Before we knew it, it was time to leave the museum and meet up with my conference group for a dinner at Original Gino’s, where I had the Best.Deep.Dish.Pizza.Ever.  I wanted to eat more but I had to stop at two pieces, because there was no more room in my stomach for more pizza.

On Monday I had to go to my conference, and Chris continued exploring the city.  He visited the Adler Planetarium and the Art Institute of Chicago, and then together we visited the Willis (Sears) Tower, and looked out over four states from the tallest building in the western hemisphere.  104 stories! Wow!  Glad we got to see that one.

After a quick Mexican dinner (surprisingly good, and with excellent margaritas), it was time to pack up, head to bed, and watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A Chicago classic.

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