Chicago

All good things must come to an end.

We had a blast visiting with my family in our Chicago adventure, celebrating my brother’s 40th birthday, and catching up with friends. Getting my whole family in one destination for an event requires an act of God, so when it does happen, we relish in it (and to be fair, we were missing 4 key folks who got snowed out of town, but they were there in spirit).

There were a few late nights and a few groggy mornings, but they were totally worth it to have 4 wonderful days together.

Chicago adventure

Chicago adventure

The weekend got off to an auspicious start with the first snowfall of the year in Chicago. The snowflakes were thick and heavy, and, most shockingly, the “Windy City” failed to produce any wind, creating an almost idyllic scene. The snow fell slow and melodically, like it was engineered on a movie set. There was a subtle coating on cars, roads and trees, but not enough to slow us down or deter us from a stellar lunch at Owen and Engine.

Nothing comes between my family and a good meal.

Chicago adventure

While we spent most of the weekend in North Chicago, our last full day was savored in the heart of downtown Chicago, one of the prettiest urban centers in the US. The city has so many iconic and eye-catching structures, and though a few modern buildings have become landmarks, the classic ones always catch my eye, harkening back to a golden era of architecture.

As we sauntered down Michigan Avenue, recovering after gorging ourselves on Italian food and wine at Eataly, my brother suggested we do a walk-through of the Chicago Cultural Center, right across from Millennium Park. It celebrates the arts, containing a wide array of offices, galleries and artist studios, as well as hosting theatre and dance performances. A gem in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Colorful and dynamic, the building is a shrine of stained glass and intricate tile work.

Chicago adventure

Chicago adventure

Our final stop of the day was the Chicago Athletic Association, a former private club converted into a high-end hotel. The game room was a perfect mid-day retreat, full of billiards tables and a full size, indoor bocce ball court. My brother and I battled on the court, letting the game determine who would pick up the drink tab for the family. I reluctantly took out my credit card at the end, graceful in my swift bocce defeat.

There is always next time, brother.

The rooftop bar at the hotel, Cindy’s, afforded us the most perfect views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. The entire bar area is encased in glass, so the space was bright and sunny, allowing us to look up at the towering buildings above the hotel and across the city. Given the steep price of the cocktails, the view wasn’t quite free, but we would take pricy cocktails paired with this setting any day.

Chicago adventure

Chicago adventure

We picked our final meal in Chicago carefully, settling on Longman & Eagle, one of my brother’s favorite restaurants in the city. Luckily for us, they open for breakfast, so we had a chance to sample duck eggs with duck confit hash and a black truffle vinaigrette before leaving for Indiana to see Julie’s family. We ended on a high note because the food is outrageous and worth the hype.

The most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen.

Chicago adventure

As I said, all good things must come to an end, so as we began our drive to Indiana, the Chicago adventure came to a close. It was a whirlwind 4 days, packed with family and friends, lots of restaurants and late nights reminiscing. It was emotional too, as it began with the passing of our beagle Basil, but ended on a high note with a fabulous day exploring one of the country’s great cities.

Stressful, fun, frustrating, exhausting. All the emotions of a successful family trip!

Chicago, in a Day

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  • December 7, 2015

    Wow! Stunning photos ♥

    summerdaisy.net
    Summer recently posted…A Holiday In BooksMy Profile

    • December 8, 2015

      Thanks! The views from the Cindy’s, the rooftop bar, were the best in the city. With no buildings in front, you can capture the skyline as while as the park and lake.

  • December 8, 2015

    I haven’t been to Chicago in a loooong time, but I’d love to revisit, as I do have fond memories of stuffing ourselves silly the last time we were there. We also took a really fun architectural boat tour, and now that I’m more into photography, I think I’d have an even better time wandering around enjoying the beautiful art deco buildings.

    Also, those eggs are pretty magnificent, though you really should see the beauties we get here in Mexico: the yolks are always a rich, sunny orange… a far cry from the insipid watery yellow you find in most places in the U.S. and Canada!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…A New Look and More ContentMy Profile

    • December 8, 2015

      Chicago is definitely one of the top cities to eat in the US. Great, inexpensive Mexican, hot dogs, sausages, and some of the best fine dining too. Plus, it is quite pretty. We were going to do the boat tour too, but couldn’t make it happen. Will have to try that next time.

  • January 6, 2016

    Chicago is awesome and always a must visit place for me anytime of the year. Great stunning photos you have here.
    Ron@MichiganHomes recently posted…5 Cheap and Easy To Follow Tips To Make Your House Smell GreatMy Profile

    • January 6, 2016
      Julie

      Thanks Ron – we are big fans of Chicago and it’s also convenient for both of our widespread families. (and maybe a place we’d even live when we find our way back to the States!)

  • March 19, 2016

    It looks like you did Chicago just right! I ended my five-year stint there just last year and I’ve been having such mixed feelings about it lately (so pretty! too cold! so diverse! too spread out!) This post is rekindling so many lovey-dovey feelings I have for that city– you hit some of my favorite spots! And major kudos for (almost) making me miss those snowy grey Chicago days 😉
    Dylan recently posted…Why I’m Uprooting My Life for TravelMy Profile

    • March 20, 2016
      Julie

      Thanks Dylan! I definitely haven’t spent enough time in Chicago – but when I move back to the States it’s on the short list of places I’d be willing to live (if only I can get over the winters…I haven’t had one of those winters for years…). I have a high school friend who had many of the mixed feelings as you did and headed to Boston for a change of scenery!