Last week our family loaded up our luggage into a compact rental car and drove six hours west to the beautiful city of Chicago. Even though we only spent two and a half days in the city we were able to visit so many sites. We chose to travel to Chicago for a couple of reasons. First of all, we were in need of a direct flight to London for our annual trip to stay with my in-laws. Secondly, when looking at the list of direct flights we chose Chicago because it is the location where the novel I’m working on takes place. During our stay we ventured to many places mentioned and important to my book. I’m really excited about being able to weave authentic, intricate observations and research into my writing.
I’ve been to New York City a couple of times, but I must say that Chicago was by far a cleaner and more beautiful city in my opinion. I’ve been to Chicago a few times in the past, but it’s probably been fifteen years since I last visited. It was fantastic for my book to look at the city through a more fresh lens.
Here is a look at some highlights to our trip:
Lincoln Park Zoo And Nature Boardwalk
It was so cool to visit another zoo besides the Columbus Zoo. A major difference between the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Columbus Zoo (besides the fact that it is free) was that the animals were in smaller, more open habitats. Although, it may not suit the animal rights activists it was great as a spectator to be so close to the tiger and hear him roar as he dropped his bowling ball off a cliff. We really enjoyed this zoo. Arianna was taken aback by the slimy Hippopotamus.
We wrapped up our rainy trip to the zoo with a walk along the nature boardwalk. This was a scenic route around an pond in the center of the park. The walk culminated with a photo session from a pivotal location for my book. I may have gotten my cover shot here! (Obviously it will need a bit of doctoring)
Chicago Children’s Museum (at Navy Pier)
The first day we explored the city it was cold and by mid day we experienced a downpour. Looking for indoor activities we made our way toward the famous Navy Pier and spent the afternoon at the Children’s Museum. It was made up of three floors of rooms aimed at providing educational opportunities. We all had a blast!
Michigan Avenue Shopping (The Magnificient Mile)
The following morning we woke up early and explored the shops on Michigan Avenue. Apart from the $39.00 parking we had a great day. Unbeknownst to us at 10am every morning when the Disney store opens they select a child (or two) to turn on the lights with a little chant and role play. We happened to be walking by just as this was happening and Arianna was chosen to open the store along with a little boy. They waved their hands and chanted famous Disney spells like, “Abracadabra” and “Bippity Boppity Boo.” And when they called, “Let the magic begin” the lights and music came on in the store. Before we went into the shop Arianna was given a medal to commemorate the event and the workers called her Princess Arianna until we left. It was a completely unplanned part of our trip, but it was one of Arianna’s favorite memories.
Unlike the day before, it was ninety-five degrees in the Windy City that day. So as we walked along the Magnificent Mile the biggest challenge was keeping ourselves hydrated.
Lunch at the American Girl Cafe
A few weeks ago we made a reservation at the American Girl Cafe in Chicago. Although it was a bit steep in price ($22 per person) it was a great time. The food was fantastic and Arianna truly was treated like a princess by the staff during our meal. Her smile really shows how much she enjoyed the experience of dining with her dolly.
The United Center
This pit stop was a pick of my husband’s. We drove a little west of the city to The United Center where Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls. Check out his basketball trick video in front of the Jordan statue basketball trick video in front of the Jordan statue. In case you didn’t know my husband is a professional free-style basketball trickster and travels around doing shows and provides clinics and private training as well. He grew up idolizing Michael Jordan so this was a monumental moment for him.
Overall it was a great trip.
We were able to accomplish so much in a short amount of time. Now life is slowing down and we are staying the rest of the month with my in laws in England. I’m looking forward to sharing memories from this trip with you as well.
The Ameri Brit Mom