Touring Chicago

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday, July 17th

Jared called and purchased tickets this morning for the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise that would be leaving at noon. So after the tickets were purchased we hoped in the stang and headed in to downtown Chicago. 

The river cruise tour is an hour and a half boat tour that is lead by volunteer tour guides that are certified by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  The tour interprets more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River.  The tour provides an overview of historic and modern architectural styles and really allowed us to see most of the interesting buildings in Chicago. It was extremely hot and we thought that our tour guide might pass out by the end, but she was a trooper. She talked for the entire 90 minutes about practically every building we passed. She knew the architect of every building and talked about key facts of each building. I really can't remember everything but even for a non-architect like myself it was a very enjoyable and interesting tour. It was really nice to travel up and down the river and getting a feel for Chicago. I took tons of pictures of buildings. Some of the types of buildings we saw were the modern/international style by Meis van der Rohe and his croonies/students he taught, post modernism in the 80s, art deco buildings, and renovated warehouses now mostly used as residential spaces. It was surprising to see how much residential space there is so close to the center of Chicago. It wasn't all just condos and apartments either, there were a good number of town homes built right along the river. New building laws also require that all buildings built along the river have a public walking path built in to the plans. This allows for the public to really enjoy the river. The river is also highly used recreationally.  There were tons of boats going up and down the river and people in kayaks. It was pretty cool to see that most of the buildings have places to tie up your boat and climb up a river to the walk way or restaurant above. Also our tour guide informed us that many small parks have been put in along the river so that people can fully enjoy the river.

Our cruise also took us to where the river meets the lake. From here we were able to get a good look at Navy Pier and a nice view of the skyline when we turned around.  Our tour guide informed us that there is also a huge lake walkway that can take you all the way from the northern end of Chicago to southern end of Chicago.
We were really hot when we finished up the river cruise so we decided to head in to Houlihan's where we had parked the car for a drink. We weren’t sure if we were going to move the car or leave it there for the day. We figured we could cool off and have a beer and then decide what else we wanted to do. When we sat down for a drink at the bar we realized that the final game of the Women’s World Cup was on so we ended up staying for the first half of the game. While watching the game we also came up with a game plan.

We decided to walk up to the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears’ building) to check out the Skydeck.  It was a really cool view from up there and we both really liked the glass boxes that suspend you 103 feet up in the air. We got some good pictures even though it was pretty hazy out so we couldn’t see that far. After finishing up at the Skydeck we headed down for some deep dish Chicago pizza. We headed to Giordano’s for some fantastic pizza. We got one stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. It took about 40 minutes for it to cook, but it was well worth the wait. We got a small pizza and that was more than enough for the two of us. We took two slices home for leftovers. It was delicious and definitely a great lunch.

When we finished up with lunch we walked over to Millennium Park.  On our way we happened to walk by a sign for the End of Historic Route 66.  It was pretty cool to see it since we spent so much time on it when my parents and Shannon came out to visit. Millennium Park was pretty cool too. We passed an area that was full of kids and adults playing in the water. There were huge structures that had water pouring out of them. It seemed like a great place to spend a hot day. After passing the water area we headed over to the huge shiny bean. We took some cool pictures, sat in the park for a little bit and then headed back to the car to drive home.

On our way home we decided to stop at the movies to see the final Harry Potter movie. We were so excited to see it, but it does stink that all the movies are done now. It kind of felt like when the last book came out. We were so excited to read it, but once we finished the book it was depressing.

Monday, July 18th

Since we were going to the Phillies game tonight we decided to wait and head in to the city a little later today.   We wanted to head to the Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright in Hyde Park Chicago. We didn’t get there in time for the last guided tour due to all the traffic, but we were able to get there in time for an audio tour of the house. It was cool to be able to go inside and check it out instead of just seeing the outside. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but Jared was able to get some shots through the windows. The guided tour took about an hour so by the time we were done that we were able to head to one of the parking lots for the game. 

The lot opened up 2.5 hours before the game and included a shuttle ride to the stadium. There isn’t really much parking around Wrigley Field besides in fast food parking lots.  They charge about $25 to $30 for them though and we were able to pay $6 in a lot about 2 miles from the stadium.  When we got to the stadium we took some pictures, picked up our tickets and then headed to a bar nearby. The streets around the stadium are full of bars to hang out in before and after the games.   My friend Maria who lives in Chicago forwarded me an email to let me know about a bar Irish Oak that would be having specials for Phillies fans. So we decided to head there for some beers and food before the game.

We headed in for the start of the game and decided to meet up with my friend Maria and her husband Anthony right before the game started. They weren’t able to make it until the start of the game since they were coming straight from work. We were able to chat for a little bit and then headed to our seats. Of course as everyone is aware the Phillies lost and Roy had to come out of the game because of heat exhaustion. It was ridiculously hot out and the stadium is super hot. It was cool to be in Wrigley Field, but we were definitely depressed that the Phillies lost. We decided to just head on home after the game.

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Dad B on

I really enjoyed the blogs and pics from the Chicago area.

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