Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Do: Chicago Bucket List

When we moved away from Illinois, it seemed like everyone asked us about Chicago.  

Sadly, I started to realize that there really was a lot in Chicago that this Illinoisan had never seen.  

Quite honestly, I didn't even know that the Trump Tower had been built.  I guess I heard about it on The Apprentice, but never thought much more about it.

So in order to cross some things off our bucket list, Matt and I took the Amtrak train from Bloomington to downtown Chicago bright and early on Friday morning.  Note: No Parker.  Our first big weekend away from him :(  

The original plan was to have one of Matt's former co-workers, "Murph" and his wife, Pam, join us on our Chicago adventure.  When you live nearly half way between St. Louis and Chicago, you are either a Cub fan or a Cardinal fan.  Yes, you must choose.  Murph likes the Cubs for some reason.  And his love of the Cubs has meant he has paid Matt quite a bit in bets over the years.  Unfortunately, Murph had a family emergency and wasn't able to go. 

Neither Matt nor I had been to the historic Wrigley Field.  We totally lucked out and got a nice non-100 degree day. (Well, nice, except for the 10 min downpour after the game that was enough to soak our clothes and ruin our hair!).  And before most Illinoisans freak out...I'm not complaining about the rain :)

My brother, Richard, and his "girlfriend" (I have no idea what her title is???), Jacqueline were able to join us in place of Murph and Pam.

Richard told Jacqueline she was only allowed to wear her Cubs shirt if the Cubs were ahead.  While it was an exciting game with lots of runs, Jacqueline showed him who was boss and got by with wearing her jersey the whole game.  

And it was no surprise that the Cardinals WON!

After the game, we hung out at the Vines restaurant.  My brother-in-law, J.R., had also gone to the game for a guys weekend so him and his crew met us there.  

Matt had reserved a room at the Hilton Palmer House.  Really, the price wasn't too bad.  You know, for a hotel in downtown Chicago.  We really had no idea it was such a historic, gorgeous hotel.  Imagine our shock when we walked into the lobby to see this:

But then, really imagine our faces when we opened the door to our room to see this:

The room was so big I couldn't even capture it in a photo!  That's Matt sitting at the conference table for 8, with a full bar behind it.  We had a dining room, half bath, then formal sitting room, as well as a master bedroom with another bathroom...and 3 tvs!  I seriously think this room was as big as the first floor in our house!!  Richard said that the VP was staying at this hotel the next night.  I'm pretty sure he led a meeting in that chair Matt is sitting in.

We felt so high and mighty (oh, and we were tired) we decided to cross something else off our bucket list...order room service.  Yeah, it's over-rated.  But it was nice to eat dinner while watching the Olympic opening ceremony in our pjs.

Saturday we walked a few blocks down to Millennium Park.  Somewhere neither of us had been to.

It's hard to tell from this photo, but all those specks are hundreds of people doing yoga.  Right there in the park.

While we didn't get to see the fountain (you know, the fountain in Friends and Married With Children), we did get to see the bean.

And of course, had to take our self-portrait.

Later that morning, we again met up with Richard and Jacqueline.  Prior to knowing he was going to the game with us, Richard had agreed to bring his boat down and give us his Chicago tour.  It was awesome!!!  We rode by the beaches and to Navy Pier.

Then we went through the lock and traveled up and down the canals that go through downtown.

It was fascinating to see the buildings from this perspective.  Truly a beautiful sight!

As for the rest of the boat ride, let's just say that pictures were limited.  It's hard to hold a camera when your butt is airborne as Richard made sure that we got the best of the rough seas!  I nearly broke off the handle at first, but it was pretty fun.

So now I can cross of 3 things on my bucket list:
1. Game at Wrigley Field
2. Room Service
3. Canal tour on Chicago River

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