As someone who loves to travel, it was hard to sit still all four weeks of my winter break. While I enjoyed all the free time, I would have loved to visit to a new city during that time. Thankfully I got lucky that a friend had to pick their friend up from Chicago O'Hare International airport and drive him back to our University a week after school had started. Although break had just ended, I couldn't say no to this weekend getaway, even if it meant getting out of the school mindset I had just started to settle into. I was also invited with another friend to join for the weekend. We stayed at a small hotel right in downtown just a street over from Michigan avenue, and between the four of us, it was pretty inexpensive for a weekend in Chicago.
Since we knew we had a limited time to spend here, we made a list and packed everything that we wanted to do in that time. Friday we arrived at about 3:30 after our 7 hour drive from Missouri. After checking into our hotel, the first thing we did was walk over to see the Cloud Gate, or the bean, in Millennium Park. We then explored the park some more, looking at the outdoor sculptures and hanging out on the large playgrounds. For dinner, of course, we had deep dish pizza at a place recommended to us by a friend who had just moved there that we met up with. It's always great catching up with friends from college even just for a quick dinner visit. We spent the rest of the night just walking around the city some more before passing out from being so tired from our long day.
Saturday consisted of all we could possibly fit in for one day. We first decided to walk towards Navy Pier, taking in the city as we walked by and stopping for pictures along the way. For part of the way we also took the metro for a change of pace. At Navy Pier we decided to go up in the Ferris Wheel and see the view from the top. This was cheaper than doing something like the sky deck although not nearly as high up. We then walked towards Michigan Avenue to try out the Nutella Cafe which definitely exceeded my expectations, despite the crowded restaurant. On our way back to our hotel we stopped to watch the Women's March that was going on downtown. To see this in person in such a big city was an amazing and powerful experience. I was so glad we got to witness it even just for a bit and see all the different types of people coming together for this worthy movement. It was something I will never forget and hope to be apart of next year.
The next couple hours of our Saturday consisted of getting to the airport and back, which took longer than we thought because of the Chicago traffic. However, we made it back with our friend and headed to do the Skydeck at the top of the Willis Tower. When we got there we were told there was a two hour wait and we didn't have time to wait it out before dinner. To beat the lines we were told to get there right when it opens in the morning since it's crowded all day. Although we were sad to miss out on this we learned what to do for another visit there. We went to dinner that night at an Italian restaurant called Vapiano on the Loop. It was definitely my favorite meal of the weekend and a place I would come back to again. For our last night there we headed to the ice skating ribbon in downtown which was so beautiful with the skyline as a backdrop. Being tired from walking all day, half of us hung out there and watched while the others skated around.
For our final day in Chicago, we couldn't see much of the city due to the intense fog that was covering just about everything. It was too foggy to try the Skydeck again, so we decided to do some shopping on the Magnificent Mile for the day and go see the Bean for one last time. Some of my favorite shops that I wanted to see were Dylan's Candy Bar and Garrett Popcorn Shop which is a staple there. For one last stop we had Shake Shack for lunch then went back to the hotel to pack up and head back to reality since we had classes the following day.
Although this was a short trip, I would do it again and hardly change anything about it. Even in just about two days time, we managed to do almost everything we wanted. I always choose to travel whenever I get the chance, and exploring other parts of the Midwest is a great way to travel closer to home. Chicago is only a train ride away, and I plan to go back as soon as I can. Maybe next time I'll have even more than 48 hours to spend there.
Also, check out my Chicago vlog to see what we experienced and the craziness that ensued.