America for the Holidays: Chicago

Every Christmas means the same thing for me: heading to St. Louis to go home. This year it was different, because I asked Colin if he wanted to come with me. Since he had never actually been to the States, well ever, I thought it was right for us to make this trip a bigger one then just a quick trip to St. Louis. That meant first stop was Chicago.

After a ridiculous day of traveling which consisted of 3 flights, 2 buses and a taxi (all of which were delayed), we made it. We got to the hotel really late or is it early if it’s 2 am. Either way we were exhausted and hopped right into bed. The hotel was called Freehand and it was half hostel half private room hotel. It has a cute little bar downstairs and everything fits in an eclectic style with an almost native American feel. But really it was a hipster hotel located in a great part of town and I would definitely recommend it!

The weather in Chicago this time of year is always cold, but this trip it was something different. The second day we were in Chicago the weather report said the HIGH was -18C (-0.4F) and the low was -26C (-14.8F). That meant that we planned our trip around the cold.

Our first day was meant to be the warmest day so that was the day of walking outside. Being that we were in Chicago, we ran to the Bean first thing. The Bean is one of those tourist attractions that doesn’t really get old. The high shine reflects the skyline and the people and it just photographs amazingly. Right next to the Bean is the Art Institute of Chicago and that was our first stop from the city pass that we bought. 5 tourist destinations for $98. I love the Art Institute and I haven’t really been since the modern wing was complete. I realise that was ages ago, but I don’t go to Chicago that often.  Next we went up to the Skydeck which is located in the Willis Tower (former Sears Tower). This is the view deck with the little glass boxes that hang off the side of the building. We were determined to get a photo from inside the box. The professional photo ended up being so cute that we paid $30 for those crazy 3 photo packages. But oh well it was cute.

Did I mention it was cold? Yeah it was freezing or below freezing actually, like way below. But that wasn’t going to stop us. We decided that the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum was the best place to stay warm. I’ve loved the Shedd since I was little, mostly because I have a love for Beluga Whales. The two are so close to each other that the little time we spend outside didn’t seem all that cold, which is great because Chicago is beautiful in the snow.

The last stop on our tourist tours was 360 Chicago. It’s the 94th floor of the John Hancock building. The views from here were spectacular. The views may be better because from here you can see the Willis tower.

In between the times of tourist attractions were some shopping (of course) and meeting with some friends. I love Chicago and I tried to convince Colin that it’s an amazing city as well. The time there was great and I’m glad I got to experience it with him.

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