May 20th - May 26, 2014

On top of the Willis (Sears) Tower (click to enlarge, and click again to return)

Upon arriving to the Windy City on a potty stop Shelly discovered something new in the rest room - an automatic toilet - seat cover changer.

After a 1 hour train ride into the city we (tried to) use the iPhone to direct us to the hotel which was supposed to be a few blocks away. The map program had us going in circles. About the time we realized that, a nice woman pointed us in the right direction. It seems like the skyscrapers interfered with the iPhone's ability to know where you are. It was about 3 blocks off.

atop the penthouse

Executive Chef Aaron Munson,
a chocolate martini and us

just good food
We arrived at our place which was centrally located right on the Chicago river. There was a nice welcome package and an invitation to a party for the newly re-opened Wyndham (where we were). Up to the penthouse we were treated to nice views and great food and drink.

On our first full day we started by taking a little walk to Millennium Park, first saw their outdoor concert hall, then came across the "bean", a highly reflective sculpture that made for interesting reflections. We then went on an architectural boat trip on the river (our hotel was on the river across from where the boat started). That trip gave us a vague idea of were things were in Chicago but later we were to see much, much more. Click here to see some of the beautiful Chicago architecture

Later that day we also went to the Art Institue, At the Institute were so exited about the Expressionists and American paintings and the Chagall stained glass windows.

That evening, to make things very Chicago we had deep dish pizza for dinner.

The next day we met Lynne's college friend Lyn's daughter, who works for Motorola, at their headquarters in the Merchandise Mart on the river. We were able to tour the building as well as go to the not for public floors where Motorola is located. The building has been redone and is all in an art deco style.

That evening we went to a taping of one of Lynne's favorite radio programs, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It is a satirical look at that week's news. We had seen it once before in San Francisco but they did it in the Opera House and from where we sat it looked like they were little ants on the stage. This theater was very small and we were in the middle of the 5th row and the seats were PERFECT. We were allowed to smooze with the cast afterwards.

In the morning we went to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum. The evolution of the river was explained and we got to see the gear house for the drawbridge. Off to the Navy Pier, where we did the obligatory ferris wheel ride with its views. It is much like Pier 39 in San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf put together, it was actually a big nothing except for a beautiful stained glass window exhibit including Tiffany.

Our next day we went to the top of the Sear's (now Willis) Tower and had beautiful views of the city. We then took a taxi to the Shedd Aquarium and spent a good deal of time there. The smaller fish/jelly tanks were amazing. Our next stop was a walking and riding tour of Chicago. We took trains on both the Loop (above) and the underground (under) the city and ended up at the Water Tower where water was pumped out to put out the great Chicago Fire. At the end of that day we heard about a house/museum called the Driehaus that sounded interesting. We also found out that if you go to the bar at the Hancock Building it was a free ride up (views included). Best view was from the woman's loo. Next was a visit (3 total) to the Eataly, which is on two floors of a very large building and has all kinds of things Italian. The food was good, the crowds huge and the experience wonderful. That evening we went to see a Broadway play that was in Chicago, Motown. It is about the making of Motown records and all the stars who worked there. The music was fun and we both had a good time.

Saturday morning we caught the staging of the Memorial Day Parade, then we went through the Driehaus Museum where we saw some incredible Tiffany stained glass as well as a beautifully preserved mansion. We than walked along Michigan Avenue and saw all the fancy shops on either side of the street going toward the lake. That evening we had dinner at Eataly again. After dinner we noticed a very long line, we found out they were getting POPCORN. Then we went to the John Hancock building again, this time to watch the sunset over the city. We were very lucky and got to be there at just the right time.

Sunday was spent walking through Millennium Park and the Field Museum. In Millennium Park we asked some statues for permission to pose with them, they consented.
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