Chicago – Tuesday (our 2 year anniversary)

Tuesday was our 2nd wedding anniversary, and we figured it would be nice to just have a good time doing random things through the city, rather than the museums and other tourist exhibits. Our primary goal for the day was to check out the wonderful shopping available in downtown Chicago, especially on the ‘Magnificent Mile‘.

After being so tired from all the walking and getting around from Monday, we decided to sleep in for a bit, and also miss the morning rush into town. This ended up actually working out a lot better for us, since it cut at least 15 minutes on the commute time. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we headed towards the John Hancock Observatory to get one of the best views of the city. While the John Hancock building is not as large as the Sears Tower, its position in the city actually gives you a better view of downtown. The shot pictured here is looking south from the building, towards the Sears Tower.

A short walk from the JHO is the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free on Tuesdays provided by Target. Debs and I both have interest in art that is sometimes ‘different’, and if you have the same tastes, this is a great place to go. Most of the museum had a display going for Gordon Matta-Clark, a very interesting artist doing a lot of work in the 60’s and 70’s. One of the coolest things he did was cut houses and various other buildings in many different ways, creating ‘portals’ between rooms and the outside world.

After getting a birds eye view of the city and checking out some amazing art, we decided to start shopping. The Magnificent Mile is known as the upscale shopping area in Chicago. I have to say, most shops many Richmonder’s can get in either Short Pump Town Center or Stony Point Fashion Park. Some of these include Crate and Barrel, The Apple Store, Macy’s, etc. Of course these stores are 2-5 TIMES the size of the ones here in Richmond. The Magnificent Mile also has a 5 story Macy’s, a Tiffany’s, a Garmin store, and more. We actually didn’t buy much, but went all around checking out what was there.

There are some great shops a little off the Magnificent Mile. One of these includes the Old Navy flagship store. This Old Navy is 3 stories tall, and takes up more than half a city block. But, of course with the way OId Navy has changed in the last few years, only one half of one floor had mens clothing!

After all this shopping, we decided to go to a nicer dinner at The Webber Grill, which we had seen on TV. This restaurant uses extra-large Webber grills to cook everything on the menu. The atmosphere is amazing! You can have a relaxed and formal meal, but great flame grilled food. Debs had a quarter chicken, and I had a mix plate of meatloaf and beef brisket. The service was awesome, and we were in and out of there in less than an hour.

To feel a little better about splurging on dinner, we decided to do quite a bit of walking around downtown. We walked back up and down the Magnificent Mile as well as down side streets that looked interesting. Since April 22nd is Earth Day, there were a few events going on that we wanted to check out. The largest was outside City Hall, and we saw it when arriving downtown that morning. After our walk we decided to head back there, but it had ended two hours earlier. Instead we sat enjoying the sights and sounds of the city in front of the Picasso statue outside City Hall. We also got in touch with my mom and caught up with everything going on with us and back home.

My phone had died so we decided to stop at an Argo Tea store to charge it up and check some emails. I think Argo is a Chicago tea chain that is known for making their own blends. We went into one almost once a day so I could try a new drink or get a cup of coffee. You can even purchase their teas online. After getting a bit of a charge on the phone, we started walking the 15 block walk to the Sears Tower, since we thought it would be great to see the city from above at night.

On the walk over, I tried multiple times to check my voicemail. While its great to go a day without having the phone ringing is great, I still wanted to make sure something had not gone terrible at home. Every time I tried placing a call, I got a ‘All Circuits Are Busy’ message. There were many other people using Verizon phones around us, but by the time we got to the Sears Tower, neither of our phones would work. We decided to head into the tower and just try again later. (when checking my feeds once the phone did work the next day, I found out that Richmond had a network outage for a few hours that night. While we both have Richmond numbers, I did not know that our numbers still had to route through somewhere in Richmond no matter where we were).

The Sears tower is the largest building in the US, and is a definite stop when in Chicago. Since we were going a bit later, there were no lines, and it was quick getting in. One downside (at least for us, we just wanted to go up!) of the Sears Tower is that you have to sit through a 15-20 minute short feature about Sears, the Tower, and Chicago. Once the film was over, we jumped into an elevator that took us up 110 stories in less than a minute. Immediately after opening the doors, we saw one of the most amazing views yet. I tried to take a few pictures, but since there was still some lights on from the visitors center and other things, I could not get the best shots. One of the coolest parts of the view was to see just how Chicago ramped up near the shore. While I was not able to capture it on the camera, it was very surreal and a sight worth seeing!

While it was not to late, we decided to head back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep and relax for the rest of the night. Most of everything had been marked off our ‘to-do’ list, and we needed to start finding more things to check out!

I still have a few more days to post about, and look for my next post on the final days of our trip soon!

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