We had about two days to explore Chicago to the fullest. I had done quite a bit of research and we had talked about the places that we absolutely wanted to visit. So as soon as we got there we hit the ground running. Well kind of.
We took the metra from Naperville, where Sean’s friend lives and then had to take a cab to our hotel because we had so much baggage to haul around. Once we got to the hotel we actually crashed.We were exhausted still from the night before and the traveling.
Monday morning was a much different story. Our hotel had breakfast so we had breakfast before the marathon of running the city. We started off the day by heading over to the Science and Industry Museum. We spent about four hours in the museum. This was my first visit but Sean had been there before so he knew a few of the exhibits that we absolutely had to visit. It was a great time and I really enjoyed the whole museum.
I quickly found out why Sean enjoys this museum so much. They have a gigantic railroad layout. This layout on one side is Chicago and on the other side is Seattle. Very cool detail throughout the whole thing. The last time he was there was a complete different layout with larger trains so he really enjoyed seeing this. We also found out that it took 40 guys 2.5 years to build this layout. CRAZY!
After getting back from the museum, we walked to Gino’s East and had deep dish pizza and craft beer for lunch. It was really really good! I didn’t take any pictures unfortunately. Once we were done there we decided it was time to walk off all of that pizza! We walked over to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Beautiful fountain.
Next up which wasn’t too far away was the bean. I have always seen friends take pictures of this when visiting Chicago but I had never been so it was neat to see for ourselves. So cool to see the reflection. After that we walked part of Michigan Avenue, where I got to see the Disney Store, the American Girl Place, and we even stopped in the Lego Store. So much fun!
We went back to the hotel for a bit and tried to find a restaurant where we could get some dinner. Unfortunately we had a really hard time since it was Labor Day and there were a lot of places closed for the Holiday. We ended up at a little place on the corner for pasta and salad. It was good but nothing to write home about.
Tuesday was another early morning. We got up and had to take our luggage to the train station before we could really do anything else for the day. Once we had that taken care of we walked to the Willis Tower and went up to the 103rd floor. Very cool view of the city! It was incredibly clear the day we were up there as well which was awesome.
Next up was a walk to Navy Pier. We didn’t quite realize the distance there but it was ok. We finally made it there and we rode the Ferris Wheel. Another very cool view of the city. I don’t know if I have ever been in a ferris wheel that big either so it was a lot of fun. Navy Pier also has a free museum in one of the buildings that has Stained Glass Windows. Huge collection of stained glass. It was very impressive.
Sean really wanted to try Bubba Gump’s for lunch (even though he is allergic to Shrimp). We had a great lunch and decided to get a couple of drinks. Once we finished lunch we made our way over to Margaritaville for a couple more drinks and then it was off to the train station.
Once we got to Chicago’s Union Station we went to the Metropolitan Lounge which is available to Amtrak passengers that have sleeping arrangements as well as those that are traveling with private cars. Since Pullman Rail Journeys is considered a private car so we were able to take advantage of the lounge. We walked around and explored the architecture of the building. One of the things that we noticed about this old building was the stairs. The stairs are curved from all of the people walking up and down the stairs over the years. Very cool and I can only imagine how much history those stairs have seen.
Next up, our train ride from Chicago to New Orleans.