First stop? Quartino for some seriously authentic Italian fare. I felt like we were actually in Italy (down to the slight European disregard for timeliness - we weren't quite used to eating dinner at 9:30 p.m.) We missed our reservation at the Signature Room by a nanosecond so this was a recommendation from friends AND a favorite of our slightly snobby concierge.
This lovely little piano bar happened to be next door to the restaurant, so naturally we stopped in for an after-dinner drink when we heard the alluring sounds of a piano coming from within. It had a slight speakeasy style and a fantastic entertainer that had the entire crowd singing "Piano Man" in unison at the top of their lungs. Myself included, natch.
After our impromptu singalong, we had one cocktail and then headed back to the hotel. Does that make us old and grand-tastic? Don't answer that. Hey, we had a big day ahead people!
Saturday! So here we are in Wrigleyville at the infamous Rockit Bar and Grill. You MUST put this on your list as a great place to pit stop before the Cubs game. Trust me.
Because they have this delightfully refreshing drink called the Chicago Sting, and yes, we got an entire pitcher of it. For all of you fellow Firefly lovers out there, meet your match.
Annnnnnnd we polished off one of these unbelievable burgers, along with two kinds of fries. And for the record, sweet potato fries KILL the truffle fries. They have brown sugar and cinnamon on top and are to DIE for. Worth every stinkin' calorie, in my opinion.
And the best part? This was our view! Hello Wrigley Field, nice to finally meet you.
Appropriately attired for our first Cubs game!
And having a little fun in the biggest merchandise gift store you've ever seen. I was so close to buying this glove - it came with a cup holder for your drink. Ingenious!
Why yes, Mr. Cubby Bear, I would love to take my picture with you. And bless your heart, you have got to be burning up in that thing!
A fun little find outside the stadium - a great place to people watch!
And we HAD to have another photo op!
Cubs Spirit is everywhere - I love it. Luckys - made legendary on one of our favorite shows, Man vs. Food!
(Travel Channel, check your local listings).
Before you hiss at me like my husband did for taking a picture of our men in uniform, let me just say that this was after the National Anthem, not during, and as you can see by the hands on the left, people were already beginning to clap and holler, so no disrespect was made. I just loved seeing them stand at attention, and thought it was appropriate for Memorial Day Weekend, and to remember what it was really about. Now boo and hiss if you must.
This is the rooftop seating above the restaurants across the street, which is actually brilliant on their part. A great example of "why didn't I think of that?"
Photo Op #2 - now in our seats inside the stadium. Where we stayed for about three innings. Don't judge - our view was obstructed by this gigantic concrete pole in our way and, well, it was really pretty outside and we're both not the biggest baseball fans so we went to one of the aforementioned rooftop bars and made the most of it. It counts because we could still hear the crowd, right?
I'd say that's a beautiful day for a baseball game if ever there was one.
Back on Michigan Avenue, I fell in love with this old church and then what to my wondering eyes should appear? A perfect little bride and groom stepping outside just as the bells started to ring!
We are smiling but do not be deceived - our stomachs are VERY mad at us.
The absolute best location for a hotel - shout out to the Westin on Michigan. when I say I was ONE BLOCK from the Magnificent Mile and shops galore, I'm not kidding. I literally gasped when the cabbie pulled up in front and proceeded to squeal with delight like I was on My Super Sweet Sixteen or something. We seriously couldn't have had it better.
We went through Shoreline and docked right by Navy Pier. It was a packed 60-minute tour, and we had not a moment to spare before we had to catch a cab to the airport from our flight home, but I'm glad we went. It gave a great history of the Chicago fire (which was actually caused by the fireman on duty working a double shift and mistaking the smoke in the distance as leftover from a fire the day before - by the time he caught it, the fire had leapt the Illinois River and was burning buildings to the ground). And that is your history lesson for the day.
Lovely shot of the Sears Tower
Can't get any closer to the skyline than that!
Final Photo Op of the Trip - and looking like I need to work on my posture, I might add.
So there you have it - Chicago in all it's photographic glory! I was telling Mr. T on one of our strolls after dinner that if I had to do it all over again, I could definitely see myself living there. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out had I ventured out further than Birmingham for college, and really culture shocked myself by moving north and seeing what I was made of. I doubt I'll ever live in a city that big now - I'm rather comfortable where I am - but a part of me wonders what it would have been like to have that kind of experience in my 20's. One thing I do know - the entire city comes to life once the weather warms up and universally celebrates the warmer temps (I was there in February for work and it couldn't have been more different - people look so much more miserable when they're cold). Or maybe it was because I had my favorite traveling companion with me this time. Who knows - but one thing I know for certain - we will DEFINITEY be back! Love ya, Chicago!