What a fabulous weekend! I was born in Chicago and we lived there until I was 8 and this was my first trip back to my birthplace. This was the reason for the weekend. I wanted to visit my old childhood homes, in the city and in Romeoville. If I weren't so used to FL sunshine, I could easily see myself living here. I loved San Francisco, but not as much as Chicago.
But first, my hats off to Mother Nature for gracing us with the most spectacular weather we could have hoped for our trip. We were there April 26th-29th.
EARLY flight into Midway. Easy peasy and cab ride to Talbott was $33 plus tip.
Talbott Hotel~~I can't say enough about how pleased we were with our stay here. We arrived at the hotel at 9:15am and our room was ready 20 mins later! I had phoned them earlier in the week requesting an early check in if possible. We reserved a deluxe king through Orbitz for a rock bottom price. This place far exceeded what we paid. I felt like the cat that swallowed the canary, it was such a good value for the money. Great location. Can't emphasize that enough. Service top notch from the bellman to front desk to housekeeping. They rank #2 here on TA for a reason.
While we waited for our room, we had breakfast at Little Market Brasserie. Spendy and good, but not blow your mind good. It was convenient. By 11 am we hit the ground running, and I mean running. We hoofed it the entire weekend and didn't use public transport during the day at all. Very walkable city. We used cabs at night for dinner, as I was in heels.
Michigan Ave--we walked, soaking in the beautiful city, weather and great energy. Seems like everyone was out enjoying the day. Before we knew it, we were crossing over Whacker and there was Millenium Park. Tick one box off the list. Spent some time admiring ourselves and the city in "the bean", along with a million other tourists, then discovered a nice garden area next to the Art Insitute and had a bit of a rest, as DH was on a mission to head over to the Willis Tower. We had lunch reservations at Cafe Spiaggia that we ended up cancelling. We just weren't hungry yet after such a big breakfast. I'm still a bit sad about this one. It's the first resie I made :(
Willis/Sears Tower~We had our military ID's, so we got in for free, otherwise it's $18pp. I have to say, even though I was prepared not to, I really enjoyed our visit here. I wanted to skip the video, but after getting the ole stank eye from DH, I acquiesced. Enjoyed this as well. Elevator ride, packed in like sardines, was interesting, especially when it started swaying. With ears popping, and just as my hysteria was starting to bubble up, we arrived. View.was.worth.it. Took a billion pictures and DH managed to coax me out onto the ledge! Never in a million years did I think I could manage that one, but I did. Now we were famished.
The Gage~yum. Great vibe to this place. We wanted outdoor seating, but so did everyone else that day. We took a seat in the bar area and enjoyed a couple of interesting pints, me the house poutine and Dh the burger. I've had the "real" poutine in Montreal, and the Gage's take on it, although far from authentic, didn't disappoint. De-lish! We lingered and this is where I noted an interesting fashion trend among young 20 something males--bright ill fitted clothing--I'm talking from jeans to pants to trendy jackets, sweaters, you name it. I've come to learn this is the hipster set. Quite foppish. I found Chicago to be very fashionable and it was fun dressing up at night.
After hoofing it back to the Talbott, and a bit of a nap, we decided to walk over to Allium at the Four Seasons for drinks and light snacks. No room for a real dinner. Really enjoyed this place. We got a cozy table at the bar area and had some really good coctails and snacks. When we got back to the hotel, Little Market was jamming! Who knew?! They had a DJ and the place was packed with people perfectly dressed and ready for a night out. DH and I grabbed a high top in the corner for a night cap and people watching. Perfect end to a great day.
Gibson's Steakhouse--After a lazy morning (my feet hurt!), we popped into the concierge's office and arranged our CAF River Tour. Good thing we did. First available was at 4. Off to find food. We headed north on Rush and decided on Gibson's, me becasue of outdoor seating, DH because it was a steakhouse, and he saw steak and eggs on the menus. This area was just as bustiling as N Michigan. Got a great table with a weird waiter. Service was very good and so was DH's little breakfast sirloin. I was a bit blown away by the quality. These people don't mess around when it comes to their beef. I got a cup of their Bookbinder's soup, flavor good, but chintzy on the whitefish, and a small cobb salad. Not chinzty. Good glass of wine, although I regretted not getting a Bloody Mary.
Lakeshore~~after lunch, we headed east towards the water. Lovely residential area. We walked all along the shore, around Ohio Beach, zipped by Navy Pier. DH wanted to walk down it, but I put my foot down on this one. Had zero interest in what was going on there. We live in a tourist city and it reminded me of our cheesiest touristy areas that we never visit here, so why would I in Chicago? I guess it was calling out to DH's inner 10 yr old, but I was having none of it. We continued along a path that took us under some over pass, then a marina (lots of very pretty sailboats out on the water) and up towards the east side of Millenium Park. It was around 2:00 so we figured it was time to get off our feet and enjoy a drink or two before our CAF tour.
Smith and Wollensky~~We picked this because we saw tables outside facing the river. When we got there, DH changed his mind and didn't want to sit in full sun, so we spent a pleasant time at the bar.
CAF Architecture River Tour~~really enoyed this tour immensely. Very informative and well done. What's not to like with blue skies and a beautiful city skyline?
Sable Kitchen and Bar~~ easy $7 cab ride from Talbott. Loved! Had some FANTASTIC cocktails and small plates. I had a Marionette and War of the Roses, DH a Kentucky Grazer and The Sovereign. We shared a poutine, beet salad, corn creme brulee (crickey this was good), lamb chops and steak. I was in a food coma
Romeoville~sent DH off to find his own breakfast. I just needed coffee after last night's gluttony. $5 cab ride later to the Avis on North Clark at Whacker (highly recommend. Quick, friendly and efficient) and we were off to Romeoville. This is where I grew up ages 3-8. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. A lot has changed in 37 yrs. :-( It was nice seeing our old house, although current owners do not have, shall we say, the same pride of ownership my parents did. Interesting to see that the front yard that was sprawling as a child, is in fact the size of a postage stamp. Surreptitiously took some photos of it and my old school and back to the city we went.
United Center~~popped in here to get our picture w/ MJ. My vertical rivaled his. I just know it. I have a picture to prove it ;-)
East Humboldt~~lived here birth to age 3. I only have vague memories of our time here. I do remember our old church that was on the corner of California and Evergreen. It's a community center now. Nice to see this area is up and coming. Our apartment was 2 buildings behind this on Evergreen. Our 1st apartment was on the corner of Hirsch and Artesian. It's empty and being remodeled. The house next to it has been completely redone and is gorgeous. It was awesome coming back to where my parents first lived in the early 60's!
I'd hoped to have lunch in either Wicker or Lincoln Park, but we were put off by trying to find parking. It was nice driving through those neighborhoods. We turned the car back in, it was late and we were famished. We headed north on Clark, as we decided to walk back to the hotel a different way. Dh had noticed another place on the water when we were at Smith and Wollensky--Dick's Last resort. I, thankfully, looked it up on Yelp and with a 2 1/2 star rating, I nixed it. We ended up at Siena Tavern on Kinzie St.
Siena Tavern~~Walked by, looked good and in we went. Pleasant surprise. Very trendy, hip vibe. I ordered the burrata from the mozzarella bar and chianti poached pear salad and DH a burger (no surprise there). Instead of the burrata, they mistakenly brought out smoked mozzarella. Waitress was very apologetic and I got the burrata, also, and I was ok with that! LOL They were both delicious. So was my salad. Dh was happy with his burger.
Headed back to the Talbott. Really enjoyed our walk back on N Dearborn. Loved the residential area around Washington Square Park. We had dinner reservations at Bavettes that I had to cancel. Recurring theme this trip, I'm afraid to say lol. No way we could have eaten another big meal in after such a filling lunch. So we decided on the Signature Lounge instead.
Signature Lounge~~for our last evening, we decided to try our luck at the Signature Lounge for the views and a few cocktails. We ended up staying alot longer than planned. The drinks were expensive and the appetizers mediocre, but that's the price of admission, and we gladly paid. The views, sunset and skyline at night was fantastic and well worth it.
Back home. The End.
I did plenty of research and had a plan, but it's alway easier (and more fun!) to go with the flow. We missed out on Cafe Spiaggia and Bavettes and I'd hoped to catch a show at Second City and visit either the Field Museum or the Art Institute, but I couldn't bring myself to go indoors on such a beautiful weekend. Instead, we walked your beautiful city for 3 days and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Plus, I only gained a pound after all the food and drinks we consumed. It doesn't get any better than that ;-)Edited: 05 May 2013, 18:54