My family’s next stop was Illinois! And not surprisingly, Chicago was home to the top attraction in the state!
We had a basically non stop trip of tourist activities and sampling the city’s foods!
Will I ever go back? No.
Why you ask?
Traffic. The traffic was horrendous. I learned very quickly the difference between a city and country mile. My patience wore thin with the traffic by the second day of our trip.
Also, parking downtown is hard to find and when you do find it, it is very expensive!
Luckily, my group is pretty laid back during vacation and we didn’t let the traffic or parking issues put too much of a burden on our trip.
So. What did we do?
1. Cloud gate
Or more popularly known as “The Bean”. The Bean was really interesting to experience in person. The Bean was a lot bigger than what I had expected. It was fun to take pictures of your reflection in its seamless surface. And once you make the walk to The Bean then everything else in downtown is centrally located so this made our last day a little easier.
2. Museum campus
As you drive into downtown you will start to see numerous signs saying “Museum Campus” and this is basically all of Chicago’s museums located on one street. We visited the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Alder Planetarium.
The Shedd Aquarium was a lot more impressive than what I had imagined it would be. After seeing the Georgia Aquarium, I figured all other aquariums would pale in comparison. But, Shedd definitely held its own and was worth the trip.
The Adler Planetarium was a waste of time and money. Nothing positive to report about this museum other than the show they have in their dome. The narrator was energetic and the graphics were great. If you plan to go to Chicago, skip this place.
The Field Museum is humongous!!! Go prepared to stay there for a few hours. My oldest son loved it, especially the dinosaurs! There was a mummy and ancient Egypt exhibit while we were there and it showed real mummies which was fascinating.
3. The dish on the Deep Dish!
There are two rivalry pizza places in Chicago that have many chain restaurants within the city: Giordano’s and Lou Malantis. Therefore, I had to try both. I ordered the dish deep at both places, both veggie style to make the comparison fair. AND! Giordano’s won by a landslide. Lou Malanti’s had a really good salad, but the food was overpriced and just wasn’t as good.
This is the deep dish from Giordano’s and it tastes even better than it looks!
4. Gallagher at heart.
Any Shameless fans out there? Of course there is, it’s only the BEST show on television. Well, if you are a fan then no trip to Chicago is complete without stopping by the real life Gallagher house! The show depicts the family in the south side of Chicago, but the house is truly located in the west side. The area is a little more “rough” than being downtown or in the loop of Chicago, but I still felt safe. Maybe, I was just blinded by the fact that I was sharing some front porch steps with Lip Gallagher, but either way. The family that lives in the home has been living there since the show aired and they are no strangers to fan wanting to come and have their picture taken!
We stopped by Vee and Kevin’s and the Jackson house too, just for good measure.
5. We are going up there?!
Chicago has a large number of extremely tall buildings. Two of those buildings come equipped with its very own tourist trap: 360 Chicago and the Skydeck. Both of these are essentially the same thing. You go to the top floor of both Sky scrapers and have a view of the entire city. I enjoyed 360 Chicago more because it was more spacious and you had more time to take in the view. At the skydeck you are herded into the glass boxes like cattle just long enough to take a photo and then leave. I was not impressed. There is no denying that you can’t beat the views at either place, however. I think it would be fun to go at night also and see the city lit up!
That’s one more state in the books guys!