I recently took a weekend trip with my 26 year old daughter. Before we left, we made sure we had a hotel room close to the center of the action. The Tremont was a great choice. It is only a block off of Michigan Avenue and near the John Hancock Tower. We had been to Chicago before, so we didn’t plan on seeing Millennium Park or the museums on the South side of the city.
We really had to make the most of our time because the airline changed our flight from 8:00 AM to 4:20 PM on Friday. When we got off the plane, we hustled to the train area and had a sunset ride into the city. We got off on Grand and were right next to a large shopping mall. It was a good thing we didn’t have a lot of luggage. We toted our suitcases through the stores and made a few purchases before the stores closed. We stopped near the river and took the best pictures ever. The lights made the best back drop.
We finally got to our hotel around 9:30 and made a quick change and were off to the Dana Hotel for happy hour. They have a fabulous open sky deck with fireplaces. Everyone was fairly dressed up and ready to party. We passed The Sofitel on the way to The Dana. I loved the front area lounge with fireplaces, but no one was outside. There were several bars and restaurants in The Dana area. We also stopped at Pops Champagne Bar, but it was way too packed to stay. We decided it was time for dinner.
We saw an interesting pizza restaurant on the way to The Dana called Pizanos. We decided to try their deep dish pizza and soup. The soup was fabulous and the pizza out of this world. The pizza crust was tender and flavorful and was topped with a mild sauce and large chunks of tasty sausage. It was a perfect way to end the evening.
Saturday morning we got up and had a quick bite at Argo Tea Shop close to the Tremont. Then it was off to Lincoln Park. The park opens at 9:00 am and is free. We had a great time watching the red panda, lions, tigers, gorillas, giraffes, and monkeys. The colored leaves and the city scape in the background were perfect for pictures.
Our next stop was DePaul University. We missed the soccer tournament, but caught a quick glimpse of a bride and groom getting married. One of my favorite spots was the library. After our tour, we went back downtown to Eataly (large warehouse with many eating venues).
When we got there, we couldn’t believe how crowded it was. Since it was the weekend of the Chicago Marathon, I’m sure people were carb loading. We weren’t exactly sure what we wanted, so we took a tour of our options: pasta, focaccia, pizza, crepes, sandwiches, and many others. We were going to order pizza, but the wait was about 45 minutes. Our second choice, focaccia, was a good decision. We topped it off with a Nutella Crepe.
After lunch, we had an appointment with a dress designer, Laruen Lein. We met at her studio near the Merchandise Mart. It was so much fun learning how she got into the business and how she creates her designs. She is a fabulous designer and creates many suits and dresses. We’ll never forget the time we spent with her.
After our visit, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We met friends at the Marriott on Michigan Avenue. It was a great place to meet, because there are four great restaurants near there. First we went to Joes, which had a 90 minute wait. Then off to The Seasons Fresh Grill. There was no wait-Yeah!!!!!!!!. The food was delicious, but there specialty is serving dishes that are 450 calories or less. They had small, very tasty desserts that hit the spot.
The next day we went to breakfast at a 24 hour café near our hotel, Tempo Café. We split a huge omelet. Then back to our hotel to check out. We took a walk down Michigan Ave and shopped at the Magnificent Mile shops. However, there is a lot of great shopping in other parts of Chicago. Wicker Park and Bucktown have great independent clothing and jewelry boutiques, antique furniture shops and specialty thrift stores. Roscoe Village is known for children’s boutiques, women’s apparel, and home décor shops.
We were going to stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but we ran out of time. There is a David Bowie exhibition running through January 4, 2015. On my next trip I plan to see the Art Institute of Chicago and go to the John Hancock Observation Center. It has a stunning view of the city and lake. I’d also like to see a performance at Second City. The last time I was in Chicago I saw the Blue Man Group.
If you visit with baseball fans, make sure you go to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs. The ballpark rarely sells out, so there’s no need to buy tickets in advance. Enjoy the retro charm of the iconic ballpark.
On Sunday afternoon, we took a Great Food Tour. We visited 6 eating establishments in about a 3 block radius. It was a fun way to see more of the city and try a few treats. My favorite was Sprinkles. We hit the usual hotdog, pizza, taco, pretzel, and Italian places, but it tasted like fast food. They have a Chocolate Chicago Tour that I would recommend instead.
Our fun filled weekend came to a close, and we had to catch the train back to the airport. I’m glad we purchased the inexpensive airline tickets and created memories to last a life time.
If you need any suggestions for your stay in Chicago, call Peterson Travel Pros, 612-559-6545.