Saturday, August 8, 2009

Road Trip Recap: Chicago, Day 1

After months of planning, the road trip went off without a hitch.... and now that it's over, I'm going to do what any self-respecting blogger would do: RECAP! I'm going to break it up over a few parts, cause I have TONS of pictures and they're all pretty fun - so we'll do a post per city plus one for the extras (tips, tricks, and things we learned). First up is Chicago (which, for sanity sake, is split into 2 posts - one per day)!

I guess the best way to start a recap is at the begining, but the 11 hour drive from Maryland to Merrillville, Indiana was pretty uneventful. We got in our car, we drove (and drove, and drove) through a ton of corn fields, and ended up at a pretty sweet Radisson for the night. Even though we totally still had enough time/daylight to make it to Chicago, we planned on staying in Merrillville for 2 reasons:

  1. Chicago is expensive. Instead of paying for dinner & a hotel (plus $48/night for parking) in Chicago on the first night, we payed $50 (thank you, Priceline) for a kick ass hotel and $40 for dinner and drinks at the hotel restaurant.

  2. We wanted to relax. Seeing as Chicago is my favorite city ever, I wouldn't have been able to sit in the hotel and relax, knowing the city was just outside my room door. So we decided to stay about an hour outside of Chicago (Merrillville) to really get into vacation mode. And relax we did: we arrived, sat outside at a Irish pub for dinner, hit up the hot tub, and spent the rest of the evening at the hotel bar watching the Yankees game and drinking beers (the beer will become a repeat occurance).

So on Thursday morning we woke up bright and early to hit the road.... and about an hour later, we saw this:The beautiful Chicago skyline from the Dan Ryan Expressway! And more skyline as we inched closer:
After getting settled into the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Pricelined for $82, including tax. Normal price is $149 plus 15.4% tax.), the first order of business was finding lunch. We walked around for a few minutes and spotted the South Water Kitchen, which had an aborable outdoor bistro seating area. We took advantage of the gorgeous weather, snagged a table outside, and ordered the "Picnic Lunch". Our lunch came out with a red and white checked table cloth, with the food neatly packed into Chinese food boxes and stacked inside a picnic basket. It was fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that I ordered a glass of Champagne and completely didn't think to have the server take our picture.

Then we took a walk over to the Sears Tower, enjoying the scenery along the way:

And finally we were outside the Sears Tower. I looked at Ryan and I asked him if he was nervous about the Skywalk. He shook his head, looked at me weirdly, and said, "No, why would I be?"

Um, because in 45 minutes (the line was soooooooo long) you'll be standing 103 stories over the Chicago sidewalk in one of these:

Sure enough, we got to the top, looked out over Chicago, and he says "Wow, that's freaky". I, on the other hand, loved it. After some coaxing (from me) and a not so gentle push (from an older guy standing near the ledge), Ryan joined me for a photo:

And here's what is right below our feet:

The view from the Sears Tower is amazing:

After the Sears Tower, we took a quick ride in the subway up to U.S. Cellular Field for a Yankees game (White Sox, for the home fans). The main attraction? Chicago style hot dogs. If you've never had one, you have no idea what you're missing. If you have, you know it's like Heaven on a poppy seed bun.

OK, so back to the game.... The stadium is really nice - super clean, very open, tons of great hot dogs, and a great view of the skyline:

Here's the view from our original seats, during batting practice:

About 30 minutes after this picture was taken, the huge tarp got rolled out over the field in anticipation of a rain delay. Sure enough, it started to pour, so we moved over to the third base side, under the over hang. I can't even tell you the number of hot dogs and beers consumed during the rain delay... there really is nothing like a (bunch of) $7 Bud Light at the ball park (well, there is something better, but I'll save that for the St. Louis post). I'm not sure what the final score was; I just know that the Yankees lost, which means fire works for the White Sox:

OK, that's probably enough for now... tomorrow I'll catch you up on the hotel bar, Millenium Park, our super fancy John Hancock lunch, and maybe even the American Girl store, if you're lucky!


Housewife Savant said...

What a great post. You've got terrific pix except for the glass elevator and crazy shot through the floor. (I couldn't look.)
I love the city and tell myself I look savvy walking around with my camera and my mouth hanging open in awe.
St Louis happens to be my favorite place, so hurry and post the next segment.

Maggie Whitley said...

looks like a blast of fun! :) and i saw your GUSSY clutch ;) cute!

Molly said...

I love Chicago, too! We were there for my birthday a couple years ago. How did I miss that Skywalk?? Looks fun and scary!