Happy Friday! Now that the 4th celebrations have ended it’s time to finish recapping our wonderful weekend in Chicago. I’ll get right to it!
After breakfast on Saturday we headed to the Field Museum. Nerd Alert: I love museums of all sorts, but I figured even the boys would be in to a natural history museum, especially one across from the Bears Stadium this good. Luckily I was right! Admission was reasonable, around $12 a person and the exhibits were great!
Sue, the famous T-Rex was our favorite, but all of the animal exhibits were impressive. The hall of birds was especially amazing, literally thousands of birds. Who knew there were enough different species of ducks to fill an entire room? Not I. I could have spent days there (yes dayS) but we still had a lot of the city to see so after a few hours it was on the road again!
We planned to have lunch at The Bongo Room, but realized half way there that they didn’t serve their lunch menu on Saturdays and no one was really in the mood for a second breakfast. Bummer. We wandered the streets in search of a backup plan and the boys growling tummies and cries for “real food” finally landed us at Al’s Italian Beef.
While this certainly wouldn’t have been my restaurant of choice, Italian beef’s are a Chicago staple (or so I hear) so I was in. An Italian Beef is basically a sub sandwich piled with shaved beef and your choice of hot or sweet peppers. From there you can decide whether you want your beef dry (no gravy), wet (some gravy) or dipped (entire sandwich dunked into a vat of gravy). Delicious? Weird? I’m still not sure.
Although not pretty to photograph, it did taste pretty good. Kind of like a French dip…only soggier. The loaded fries were also tasty. They give you squeeze packets of sour cream which makes them taste like a baked potato which almost makes them healthy? No? Ok, yeah definitely not.
After lunch we made our way to Navy Pier via Divvy bikes.
I’ve seen Divvy Bikes in larger cities before but had never used one until this trip. The bike sharing concept is that you rent the bikes for a small fee (I think it was $7 for 24 hours). You pay at a touch screen kiosk, take the bike from the docking station and can ride it for 30 minutes before you must check it back in to any docking station (and check it out again if you wish). There are hundreds of stations all over the city so you shouldn’t ever be more than a few minutes ride from one. I think the concept is great, especially in a city with so many spread out sights to see, but checking the bikes in and out every 30 minutes does get a little tedious.
It was nice to ride through the city and allowed us to see several parks and residential areas that we may otherwise have missed. We checked our bikes back in at the large station by the pier and joined the crowd along the boardwalk.
The lines for the rides were WAY too long and we collectively decided to skip them and instead grab a drink and people watch.
If we ever go back with a family, Navy Pier will be a must do since it seemed like such a fun place for kiddos. After Navy Pier we caught an Uber (our first…love it) to Wrigley Field.
The Cubs were away but it was neat to see the stadium and have a beer at The Cubby Bear bar across the street.
I neglected to take any pictures inside since they were decorating for a private Zombie party taking place later that evening…in the middle of June? Who knows. Once it was party time they kindly kicked us out and the bartender directed us to shops and restaurants in Lakeview, a few blocks away . We walked through the most charming little neighborhoods on our way but sadly I took no pictures as it was starting to drizzle. Haley and I did a little shopping while the boys barhopped.
We decided it was time for a light dinner just as the rain started coming down hard and caught another Uber back towards our hotel. A friend had suggested Ramen-San and a hot bowl of noodles to combat the pouring rain sounded fantastic.
The restaurant was small but we were seated right away. We started with pork buns (amazing) and each ordered a bowl of ramen, all of which were huge. Robert went with the Kimchi Fried Chicken which was good but spicy and I tried the Smoked Brisket.
We met one of my high school friends who is now an anesthesiologist in Chicago for a post dinner drink and catch up before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night. I would have loved to have had a few more days in Chicago to really experience the city, but it was great to hit all the highlights during our first visit. Robert and I both agreed we’d come back someday, hopefully soon!