…to the Windy City!
Chicago, Illinois!
Day 1

This is going to be a picture heavy post and it’s only the first day!  We arrived at Chicago’s Midway International Airport Saturday morning, hopped on the Orange Line of the “L” train and headed downtown to drop our luggage off at our beautiful hotel that I booked about a month and a half in advance through Hotwire.com
Yes, I admit it… I booked a $300 a night room at the Fairmont Chicago for just $122 a night through Hotwire!  I highly, highly recommend this route when booking a room.  I will tell you this… I was a nervous wreck doing it that way, but I was extremely pleased with the hotel that was reserved.  Our room was on the 34th floor with beautiful views of the city (picture coming up).

I also purchased in advance 3-Day passes for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Ventra system to ride the buses and trains and had the cards mailed to us so we’d have them once we arrived.  However, the cards didn’t activate when I called and we ended having to purchase another set.  So we paid double, plus activation fees…which stinks especially since (after a lengthy conversation with a Ventra Customer Service Rep) they don’t offer refunds. Boo!  If you go to Chicago, get the 3-Day pass.  It’s the easiest way to get around and we got our moneys worth.

After we dropped off our luggage, we headed across the street to Millennium Park and this…Cloud Gate
Affectionately known as “The Bean”, Cloud Gate is a super cool piece of art that I couldn’t stop taking pictures of… here’s the evidence…Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate
Can you see us??
Cloud Gate
And that’s only a few of the pictures I took of this sculpture.  It was so cool!

Just a few steps away from The Bean and we ran into this…
Crown Fountain
It’s called “Crown Fountain”.  There were about a hundred kids playing around these.  I’ll have more pictures of these crazy fountains (yes, there are two) tomorrow.

We walked a little further and wound up here…
We ate lunch near here at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta.  We had wonderful pasta dishes, but wish we had tried their pizza.  While we were eating, there were two groups that were on a Pizza Tasting Tour!  I wish we had done one of those. The groups visited 4 different pizza restaurants during the tour sampling all different kinds of pizza, from thin crust to the Chicago Style Deep Dish.  Do that if you go there!

After lunch, we went here…
Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain… it was so beautiful!  This picture doesn’t do it justice!

Up next, we went the Shedd Aquarium.  Here’s another tip for you… invest in a City Pass!  We stood in line, in the blaring hot sun for about 30 minutes before we decided to shell out the $94 a piece to get the City Pass.  I purchased it on my phone, we went past the entire line, through a separate entrance and were inside the aquarium in record time.  Plus, with the City Pass, we got to pet sting rays!!  That was amazing! The Hubs describes sting rays as having velvety slimy texture!  They were like dogs craving attention.  Unfortunately, all my pictures from the aquarium were crap… here’s the only decent one I took…
Leafy Sea Dragon
That’s a Leafy Sea Dragon.  They were mesmerizing!  I have never seen anything like them!

After we had our fill of the fascinating aquarium, we heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.  Here’s the view from our room on the 34th floor…Chicago
For dinner, we decided to go to the Navy Pier.  Another tip for you… if your hotel offers concierge services… TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!  We did not this particular night and we regretted it!  After what seemed like forever, we finally found the bus stop for the route to the Navy Pier…Navy Pier
We ate at Harrey Caray’s… I wasn’t impressed.
We were so tired after dinner.  Instead of exploring the Pier, we hopped on the bus and heading back to our hotel.  The Pier looks gorgeous at night!
Navy Pier
I wear a Fit Bit device and at the end of Saturday, we had walked over 11.5 miles!  We were exhausted!

Tomorrow… Day 2 of our vacation!

Until next time…
Happy Blogging!