Once stepping outside Chicago’s Union Station, I wheeled my luggage into a packed taxi queue full of loud Dutch women. There was a police officer on a segway – that’s right, a segway – monitoring the plethora of taxi drivers shouldering up close to the sidewalk. It can’t be just me who thinks that a police officer riding a segway almost completely diminishes any type of authority they may have bore sans segway, right? He was wheeling back and forth slowly, and eventually poked me (literally poked me) into a cab. The driver was blaring the Coolio classic, Gangsta’s Paradise. Once exclaiming that I was headed to Sax Hotel, the driver sped off and weaved in and out of traffic aggressively, almost colliding with two people at the crosswalk. I soon lost count of the traffic violations committed. Eventually though, I thought how awesome it was to reach my destination in record time via cab, let alone listening to booming Gangsta’s Paradise while I was at it.
Chicago sure is a windy city. Being the forgetful person I am, I conveniently forgot my hairbrush, so you can imagine how my hair turned out by the end of my trip.
I ventured to pretty much all of the sights that you all recommended I check out! My first stop was the Bean of course, and joined the huddles of people taking selfies in the mirror reflection. After that we moved on to Crown Fountain. Once the grey-pixilated fountain formed into a man’s face I was immediately in suspense. Eventually, his deadpan expression turned into a little smile, then back to pokerfaced. I stood there and continued to stare at the fountain, as children in their onesies splashed and played in the water in front of me. Several minutes later the man broke out into a wide grinned smile and winked at me. His lips turned into a spout of which water came shooting out, showering the children who were screaming in delight.
The main reason I was in Chicago was because of the marathon happening there that weekend. My sister had been training for months to run it, and I was there for support. While she was resting and shopping for Chicago running apparel, my boyfriend and I were out sightseeing. We walked everywhere, to the point I could no longer stand because of such backache. Over the duration of our trip, I lost count of how many times we walked up and down Michigan Ave. After meandering down Navy Pier and taking in the amazing skyline from the water, we took a rest on the Ferris wheel. From up there we were granted spectacular aerial views of Navy Pier and the sailboats on the water.
It was deep dish pizza for dinner that night. I put a lot of thought and research into what restaurant I wanted to provide me with my first deep dish pizza experience. The winning restaurant was Lou Malnati’s. The place was rip-roaring packed. Granted, it was 7 pm on a Saturday. After waiting an hour for a table, and an additional 30 minutes inside at our table, we were finally graced with the presence of our glorious Chicago Classic. It seemed the complete norm for people to wait for Lou Malnati’s pizza that long. Now, after I’ve indulged in the pizza myself, I would willingly wait double of what we waited if it meant I got to sink my teeth into that heaven on crust again. It was marvelous.
The next morning we walked to the John Hancock Observatory, and rode the elevator to the 94th floor. Of course the first thing I think of when I’m at the window looking down is the morbid thought of how long it would take to splat on the pavement if I fell out the window. After I shook the thought out of my head, I gazed at the incredible views of the city from that high up in the air.
We then ventured to Soldier Field, as my boyfriend – and subsequently, myself – are huge Chicago Bears fans. We also wanted to go inside the Shedd Aquarium, but there was an enormous line that wasn’t moving and our evening was booked solid.
We were booked for the architectural boat tour that evening, which everyone I had spoken to beforehand absolutely raved about. It did not disappoint. I was continuously wowed at the beautiful architecture of the city. The colours were amazing. The coppers, pinks, purples, and greens of the bridges and buildings were glowing as the sun set. Seeing Chicago from the water was my very favourite part of the trip.
For dinner, I had made reservations at Andy’s Jazz Club. We were given a great table tucked into the corner but still within perfect line of the jazz band in front of us. The food wasn’t astounding, below average, unfortunately. But the wine and entertainment was first class. After we ate we walked back to the conservatory, and went all the way to the top again for some nighttime views.
It was a very early start the next morning as we walked my sister to the start of her marathon. Thousands of people were doing the same thing that morning. The sidewalks were like packed schools of fish. There were 45,000 people from all over the world running this race and the city was absolutely buzzing. The whole day from there was standing in the crowds and watching the runners. I could feel the electricity in the air from all the stirring excitement and nerves.
After my sister finished her race we met up with her for lunch, and soon said goodbye to the Windy City as we boarded the 6 hour train back to London. I can’t wait to visit Chicago again, maybe in the wintertime so we can skate in Millennium Park and see even more beautiful colours.