We arrived Saturday afternoon and were picked up by a personal driver. Swanky! After checking in, we walked around downtown Chicago looking for a quaint eatery. Like any big city, there's a plethora of ethnic restaurants. We settled on Sayat Nova, an Armenian restaurant and enjoyed savory lamb and chicken.
Later, we walked the Magnificent Mile, known for shopping. It was truly magnificent! I hit the shoe lottery at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and couldn't be happier. And to top it off I didn't even have to carry my bags since they shipped home for free!
Our riverboat architecture and fireworks cruise was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, we did get to walk the river walk, taking in the sights and sounds before ending the night with dinner at our hotel. Surprisingly, the city went ahead with the fireworks, which we were able to see from our room.
On Sunday morning, we hit the Maxwell Street Market. It's an eclectic market that's more of a flea market for long-forgotten items and Mexican eats, but fun visiting nonetheless. I found quenepas and tamarinds which I haven't eaten in years!!!
We met up with one of the DH's colleagues at Chicago's original hot dog stand Jim's Original. The food was delish and it was super crowded. There's no seating available, but there is shelf where we propped against to eat and talk.
Later, said colleague took us to his apartment to check out the view of Downtown Chicago from the 25th floor. Incredible! I loved the bird's eye view and seeing how creative Chicago businesses get with their rooftops. We saw everything from rooftop pools to blankets of moss.
We then headed back downtown where we walked through Grant Park to see the Buckingham Fountain (aka the fountain from Married with Children), and was just in time to catch the 3pm riverboat architecture tour. We got to see the major skyscrapers up close and personal and saw Navy Pier from the distance, which was as close as we got this trip.
We headed back to Magnificent Mile that evening in search of a Pandora store to add a Chicago charm to my travel bracelet. We found one at Water Tower Place. There was a glass bead (those are not my favorites) and a dangle one with the Chicago skyline which I ended up choosing.
Afternoon thunderstorms caused us to settle into a nearby American eatery for dinner. We got to watch it rain over the Chicago river which was a pleasant way to end the evening.
Monday morning, we headed to Millennium Park to snap photos in front of the Cloud Gate, the super cool kidney bean mirrored sculpture. Cool beans! No pun intended.
Then we visited the Art Institute of Chicago. We had a little over two hours and soaked up impressionist paintings by the masters, paper weight art, Asian religious artifacts and a very weird modern installation. I've always had a love affair with Van Gogh and got up close and personal with his self-portrait:
Our last Chicago meal was at Naf Naf which is a must if you've never been. It's North African cuisine and is absolutely delish!
Finally, on the very tail end of our trip, we literally turned a corner into a scene filming for Chicago Fire. I got a picture with one of the actors, but as I'm not a fan of the show, I have no idea who he is.
Sadly it was early afternoon and time to head to the airport. But what a magical weekend with the DH sans kids! He planned every single detail and was uber romantic the entire time. I love you darling! A surprise he didn't plan was us hitting over 17,000 on my step counter. Woo-hoo!!
Finally I have to thank my Mom, who is visiting from The Bahamas. Without her staying with the kids, this trip would not have been possible. Believe me. I had serious doubts about leaving Stinky and Blinky but Grammy had their own fun weekend planned and I didn't get a single phone call from a crying baby. Thanks Mom!