Monday, April 27, 2015

A Weekend In The Windy City

Brenda shocked and Andrew trying to pose at Chicago's Willis Tower Skydeck
     Chicago is the third most populous city in America and is a premier tourist destination for US and International visitors. During our first road trip across America this was one of our favorite stops for a weekend getaway. We tried to keep this trip as budget friendly as possible because it was going to be one of our most expensive stops but little did we know how much. Our beautiful Liberty Bell (98 Corolla) broke down - get this- directly in front of our stop for the night. We counted our blessings and went inside to call a mechanic.
Brenda and Andrew shot number two of Malort
     What we ended up wasting on car repairs ($500- as the mechanic says, "You are gonna wish you didn't break down in Chicago") we made up for in a cheap, comfortable bed while using one of our favorite sites AirBnb. For a mere 60 bucks a night. This artsy and colorful 1 bedroom was in the Bucktown district of Chicago, a fun hip place to visit with coffee shops, lots of food options and bars in walking distance plus a quick cab ride to downtown.  With free internet access, Netflix and a dvd player you really can have it all with the comforts of home and a stove to cook on and utensils unlike any pricey hotel stay! We didn't watch any movies but we did find it convenient to upload pictures and surf the internet! Street parking was a plus in a city with sky rocketed parking costs and walking around we found tons of shops to peak our interests and a lot of very fashionable residents! We were unaware of how fashion forward Chicago was but of all the cities I have visited they were the best dressed!

     Our first night we walked to a local bar in Bucktown called The Corner Bar. This local dive wasn't too crowded when we entered but the action got moving as the night went on. The bartender was very interested in our journey and had some awesome advice for places to go and eat. When he heard it was our first trip to Chicago he said we must have a shot of Malort, on him. The Label made a bold statement:
Most first-time drinkers of Jeppson Malort reject our liquor. Its strong, sharp taste is not for everyone. Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate. During almost 60 years of American distribution, we found only 1 out of 49 men will drink Jeppson Malort after the first "shock-glass." During the lifetime of our founder, Carl Jeppson was apt to say, 'My Malort is produced for that unique group of drinkers who disdain light flavor or neutral spirits.'
It is not possible to forget our two-fisted liquor. The taste just lingers and lasts - seemingly forever. The first shot is hard to swallow! PERSERVERE [sic]. Make it past two 'shock-glasses' and with the third you could be ours...forever."- Carl Jeppson
The morning called for a good breakfast. We found a place  called The Map Room that doubles as a bar by night and a breakfast joint by day right down the street. The food was good,  there were a variety of cappacinos, coffees and hot chocolates and free wifi.  The sausage and cheese bagel hit the spot.  The eccentric design with maps along the walls and the ceiling adorned in flags made us tourists feel welcome and so did the bartender. There's tons of space in here and most people were quietly typing away on their computers while we enjoyed the quiet morning before the nightly bustle. My favorite thing about this place was the morning rush of the workforce walked  right past the Starbucks next door and headed on over  each with a friendly greeting for the bartender.
Andrew over the city at night
Standing in the Skydeck
Next it was time for the big show, the Willis Tower, formally Sears Tower. Yes, there's a wait. My recommendation? We got there at the perfect time. What you want to do is give yourself an hour and a half for the line and movie and check the time the sunsets that day and make sure you are up there! We were lucky enough to catch well lit pictures, sunset pictures and night pictures all within two hours upstairs. It was magical. First you begin with a movie of the history and then you are brought up by elevator and you can stand in line for the actual Skydeck- a glass box you stand in off the side of the building that shows the whole city below you like you are floating above it. This thing freaked me out. The butterflies when I stepped on it wouldn't stop! It was so strange how I knew I was in a secure place that I could probably jump up and down but I had trouble placing that first foot on it! And watching all the people before and after you is quite a show too! Be prepared in line for what kind of photos you want to do because the line is long and you don't get a ton of time! But some people lay down, or put their kids in the corner to take interesting pics. We opted for our feet!

Food! We know why you are here! It's the good eats! We went to two very highly recommended tourist destinations and so we are going to play a game of- Which is better?! The excitement behind getting an authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza was pouring out of us. It was definitely BIG! But when given the choice....

 A Chicago favorite, Portillio's slid ahead for the win! A must see experience right from the entrance you are taken into the uplifting feelings of  carnival fun! The excitement of the number callers on microphones make the short wait for a long, quick moving line way worth it!  It's truly phenomenal seeing the sandwich makers crank them out so fast! Listen for your ticket number and be pleasantly surprised by a fun rhyme over a loud speaker "number 9, your orders fine" "Number ten please come again" it's fun for all! Don't let me tell you just look at these happy faces to know the food was good- so good we couldn't get a picture before they were gone but here's the smiling faces! Get a milkshake too! 

Art was everywhere we turned in Chicago, a beautiful city with tons to see just walking around. Here's a few of our favorite things we checked out. 
Cloud Gate Bean

The many ways to take a picture of the bean! 

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Photo from the street of an art piece inside of a building lobby in Chicago.

 We had a fabulous time in your city! Thanks for having us Chicago! 

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