Friday, July 30, 2004

Chicago, Il July 29-31

I put in a bunch of links to photos in previous entries today. Go back and follow the links for shots from DC, Disney and other places.

Thanks Mike for the storage space.

We're currently in Chicago and had a great day at Navy Pier today. I'll write more about it later.

(Ed - 8-3-04, Chicago Experience)

This was my first proper visit to Chicago. We really enjoyed the city, There's a lot of fun stuff to do for both kids and adults. Our hotel was downtown, right next to the John Hancock Tower. We were 2 blocks away from the magnificent mile (high end shopping) and about a 15 minute walk from Navy Pier where most of the kid related tourist activities are located. Since the size of our family makes it tough to go anywhere by taxi we stayed within walking distance of the hotel. There was more than enough to keep us busy for the 3 days in walking range.

The first day we spent entirely at Navy Pier. We walked the pier, the older girls and Betsy went into the fun house, we took a 30 minute inner harbor cruise, went on the Ferris wheel, got free packs of disgusting strawberry chocolates gum, ate lunch at the "Cheezeborger, no fries, chips" place made famous on a Saturday night Live skit during the Belushi era and finished off with a few hours in the Children's museum. All in all an exhausting but fun filled day. After a free trolley ride that took us part way home, and a quick walk we ate dinner outside, then took a quick dip in the poll located inside the hotel, 30 floors above the ground.

The second day we cruised the magnificent mile. We made detours into the American Girl place and a Virgin Megestore to pick up some cheap DVD's for the car. We tried to eat at the original Pizzeria Uno's but the wait was over an hour and I was getting cranky for food. After lunch Kelly and I headed back to the hotel to nap while the big kids went with Betsy to an American Girl play. I predict that American Girl place will need to expand very soon. It was cool to see all the girls walking the streets of Chicago with their dolls. It's definitely a big destination event for the 6-13 age bracket.

After a nice nap we headed out, first to the 94 floor of the Hancock building to the observatory and then back to the pier. July 31 was Venetian Night in Chicago. There was a boat parade (which we didn't see) and some extraordinary fireworks that night. The fireworks were some of the best I've ever seen. They lasted at least 20 minutes and were timed to a great sound track that was blasted the length of the pier.

Betsy and I both agree that we could take a 4 day weekend in Chicago and fill it up very nicely with adult activities. Some of the areas we missed were the art museums, restaurants and theater. Frankly I'd rank Chicago higher than New York on my list of tourist cities. We'll definitely be back, even if it is only to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley field.


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