A few months ago, my dad offered me my mother’s plane ticket back to Iowa to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. Reason for me vs. my mother was because my sister’s due date was around the same time, so instead of my mother flying back to Iowa, I got to go (since she’d be in Dallas for the new baby and I wasn’t able to go to Iowa for my mom’s family reunion)! As my dad was booking our ticket, he realized that since I’m in Washington and he’s in Arizona that it was actually easier/cheaper for us to meet in Chicago. Now, I’ve never been to Chicago before and my dad hasn’t been in probably 40 years and I love going to new places and exploring, so I was over-the-moon happy when my dad told me we’d be spending a day/night in Chi-town.
I’m the type of person that when an opportunity like this arrives, you don’t say “NO”. It was quite the whirlwind experience. My dad did some research prior to our departure so when we landed we knew how to get from the airport to downtown via train. Exiting the train, I got my first blast of breezy air off Lake Michigan and was immediately smiling. We made it to our hotel and within 10 minutes were out the door.
We started our sightseeing at the Buckingham Fountain (which we knew really nothing about) and the overlooking of the skyscrapers. Off next to Millennium park- location of “the Bean”, which my dad had NO IDEA what I was talking about, but I think he was blown away. We laughed as we were standing next to it because we both realized that it’s practically impossible to take a picture without getting your own reflection (unless standing from afar). We continued by foot towards Navy Pier, where we had a preset date with a good family friend, Mike. Mike is one of our neighbors at my grandparent’s cabin in Iowa and who practically broke my neck one tubing trip. We met him at Bubba Gump for a pre-dinner drink before heading to Harry Carey’s Tavern.
After dinner and wonderful company, we headed off to a night-time bike riding adventure with Bobby’s Bike Hike. We weren’t sure if we were going to do this when we arrived, but after talking with Mike, we decided what better way to no just see this lovely city, but to learn a little bit more. This ride took us north of Navy Pier to North Adventure Beach, through downtown near the Trump Tower, over to Millennium Park, down to Buckingham Fountain, over to Museum Campus and ending our night at the Chicago Broadway Theater. If you are every lost for something to do in Chicago, I HIGHLY recommend participating in a bike ride tour.
The next day may have been short and sweet but still nothing shy of amazing. We started our morning at Dunkin’ Donuts before heading north on the train to…WRIGLEY FIELD home of the Chicago Cubs. I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge baseball fan, but exiting the train and seeing the field for the first time felt like I was stepping back into the 1940s. There is really something special about these original baseball stadiums. It’s literally in the middle of a neighborhood. We spent a good couple hours wandering around the stadium, laughing at the seating on top of the surrounding building.
After the stadium, we headed back into the city towards Hancock Building to meet up with Mike, in hopes we’d be able to head towards the top for a overhead view of the city. Unfortunately, due to extreme fog, there was a 0% visibility. It wasn’t a complete loss however. Mike gave us an off-the-beaten-track tourist spot called “Billy Goat Tavern” home of the Cheezboger, cheezborger, cheezborger. If you are a fan of SNL, you might recognize the name and we didn’t leave without trying one for ourselves. From there, we headed back to our hotel, packed up our things, headed back to the airport and picked up our rental car. However, we made one last stop before heading off to Iowa. We enjoyed a nice delicious lunch at Portillo’s Hot Dog for a true Chicago Dog! I would say that this Daddy/Daughter Chicago Adventure was a complete success! I guess it goes to say that you really can explore a city in a day!!