A Weekend in the Windy City

Fun fact: Chicago is not known as the “Windy City” because of weather conditions. The nickname refers to the hot air generated by politicians, specifically during the competition to host the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

I spent a weekend there in September with the boyfriend to celebrate our anniversary. I had been for work before but neither of us had much of a chance to play tourist. The trip was fantastic despite some bad weather.

View from our hotel room

anniversaryWe stayed at the Burnham Hotel. It’s named after Daniel Burnham (architect for the World’s Columbian Exposition) and located in his Reliance Building). The hotel is part of the Kimpton chain, which I already loved before this trip. The Burnham staff went above and beyond to make us happy as possible. I had noted in the reservation that we were celebrating an anniversary. We received an upgrade to an awesome suite where champagne and cupcakes waited for us in the living room and our bed was decked out with rose petals and towel swans.

The next night brought more champagne and chocolates. Aside from the anniversay gifts, the staff was fantastic. Everyone from housekeeping to the bellhop to the front desk and restaurant staff was friendly and helpful. We had great conversations with everyone. I highly recommend the Burnham.

rainOur first Chicago adventure was a river cruise with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It started great. We had awesome seats on the upper desk. Then the rain started – not gently, but with big, hard drops. We fled to the lower deck to buy ponchos and decided to tough it out up top. That lasted 2 minutes. Anything not covered by a poncho was soaked and our shoes were in an inch or so of water on the deck.

Back downstairs in the steamy crowd, we could hear the docent talk about the modern architecture and kind of see what she was talking about out the rain-spattered windows.

Eventually the rain stopped but seats on the upper deck were full so we enjoyed the rest of the boat ride from the doors on the lower deck.

beanThat afternoon we headed to the Art Institute of Chicago by way of Millennium Park and “the Bean.” We were still a little damp but didn’t squelch too much at the museum.

Dinner that night was at Lawry’s The Prime Rib. When I come back to Chicago, I’m eating here again. Old-school atmosphere with table-side spinning salad and carved prime rib. Plus we discovered Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper, like their seasoned salt but better. I promptly ordered some when I got home and now put it on everything.

terracotta-1Day 2 saw us at The Field Museum, home of the most complete T. Rex skeleton “Sue.” The 3D movie about finding Sue is worth checking out.

We were lucky to catch the Terracotta Warrior exhibit at the museum. About 7 actual statues from China were on display along with additional artifacts and recreations. It wasn’t crowded and we were able to take our time with the exhibit.

From the Field we walked to Navy Pier. Not the best idea since my sandals were still damp from the previous day’s deluge. But we got our exercise in for the day and ended up seeing some of the fighter jets taking part in the day’s air show. Apparently, the Pier was between where the jets took off and where they did the showy stuff.

All in all, it was a fun, yet quick, trip. There’s so much we didn’t do and places to see again that I’m putting Chicago on the list of places to re-visit.







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