17 April 2014

Chicago Adventure

I'd been craving a just Angel-and-me getaway for some time now. We decided it would be a better idea to plan travel after the icy roads were done for the season, so we used Airbnb (2nd successful Airbnb booking!) to reserve an apartment in downtown Chicago for two nights.

During our 48 hour getaway, we were able to accomplish a variety of adventures, including but not limited to:

-Visiting friends
-Taking the subway/train/whatever they call it
-Visiting Chinatown, where Angel found a new favorite snack: dried fish.
-Learning to play Settlers of Catan
-Eating appetizers at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine (sweet potato fries were amazing!)
-Eating chocolate cake at The Cheesecake Factory (because Angel detests cheesecake)
-Walking lots and lots of miles.
-Wandering around the mall at the Watertower
-Eating lunch at Frontera Fresco, purely because we'd been to the Frontera Fresco in the international terminal at the Chicago Airport before when we were in transit, and Angel loved it.
-Exploring the Field Museum
-Exploring Navy Pier, including the (free!) Smith Museum of Stained Glass and Crystal Garden and drinking a (not free) smoothie from Jamba Juice.
-Watching the latest Once Upon a Time episode on ABC.
-Working out in the gym at the apartment building.
-Eating dinner at Chipotle.
-Watching 5 episodes of Psych on Netflix.

I wanted to hit up the Lincoln Park Zoo, too, but Angel wasn't up for another several mile walk in 37 degree weather with no earmuffs, so we decided to relax more than we would have had the weather been nicer!

 Our view of a snowy and rainy mix from the 37th floor apartment.

 Mandatory River Photo

 Interesting advertisement battle.

 The actual skulls from the very scary lions from the true story of man-eating lions which inspired the movie The Ghost and The Darkness. (In a strange turn of events, once upon a time someone gave us a DVD player which had The Ghost and the Darkness DVD inside we watched it. Otherwise, I probably never would have heard of this terrifying tale)

 This mineral was exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair and they let us touch it! (The sign said we could)

 My favorite stained glass picture from the museum.

 I was quite enamored with this fountain in the Crystal Garden.

This was Angel's favorite museum exhibit, of course.

We also learned a few lessons about city life, and its differences from small-town life in West Michigan:

-You ride elevators a lot more. And I don't particularly enjoy having to rely and wait for an elevator to get in and out of my own home, but when you're staying on the 37th floor, you don't have much of a choice because the stairs don't sound fun either.

-Angel learned first-hand that people in the city are much less trusting, probably with good reason. A bunch of people were getting on an elevator, and the lady in front of us was having a hard time pulling her rolling suitcase onto the elevator because of the little ledge, so Angel bent down and put his hands on her suitcase to help her lift it over the edge and she immediately started shouting at him to get away and get his hands off of her stuff. I'm guessing she felt very threatened and scared because of what he'd done--though I do think she overreacted, of course that's because I know and trust Angel. He apologized to her when we all got into the elevator but she continued to yell directly at Angel and all the other people in the elevator who were not affiliated with the incident--I felt so bad for the other people in the elevator, including our friends' baby who started crying because she was scared of the yelling. Angel probably should have known better than to do that in the city. Where we live, it's normal to do stuff like pick up something someone dropped and hand it to them or catch a blown-away grocery cart for them or, say, help someone pull their suitcase over a ledge, but it doesn't seem  appropriate in a large city. Next time we'll wait until someone asks for help to assist. Or maybe Angel won't. I can't quite always predict what he'll do. He says he doesn't mind getting yelled at, he's used to it because of his job. But I can relate to the crying baby because I was quite nervous, myself!

-There is construction everywhere. I don't know if this is normal for Chicago or if it's construction season, but there was construction in the building we stayed in, the street we were staying on, the Field Museum, AND Navy Pier. Construction everywhere!

-The city is so much more fun to cheapskate-me when we don't have to pay to park everywhere we go. Our apartment included a parking pass, and after we arrived, we walked almost everywhere we went (we took the train to Chinatown). The museum and Navy Pier and other adventurous places start to sound so much more appealing when you don't have to pay $20 for parking everywhere you go. The weather wasn't ideal, but we still conquered!

We returned home on Tuesday with sore legs and interesting memories.


  1. love the last sentence! Wow, that lady in the elevator sounds crazy. But I also live in a small town and stuff like that does not happen here. But one time I went to new york and had a similar experience.

    Sounds like you had fun and learned a lot. Hugs!

  2. Glad you two had a mini getaway! Those are so much fun :) We live in the suburbs but we get away to the country or the inner city when we just want a change of scenery. It's nice we have several options in this area. Jeez Chicago does NOT seem like a jolly place lol He was just trying to be nice! Yeah I'm not trying to hear that man-lion story - maybe some other time. :D Have a great one Rachel! -Iva

  3. Settlers of Catan is so much fun :) Sounds like a fun time, touching rocks and all that, despite the weather and the scary lady. I can understand why she'd react like that, but really, so much shouting seems unnecessary... surely one sentence is enough. And it made me so sad that Angel is used to being yelled at, he must have some thick skin!

  4. I am SO jealous, I love Chicago but haven't been there in a LONG time. Iz and I are trying to plan a little mini getaway there this summer. Hopefully it pans out!

  5. Yay! We've been having similar cravings - we're going to Lancaster PA this weekend :) bummer about the temps but glad you had an awesome time! Also glad to hear about a good airbnb experience - i've been curious.

  6. Sounds like a fun trip! I always love exploring! You are right--people in big cities are soo different from small town and country folks; I guess we're just used to people being decent while they have a sadly different experience.

  7. Looks like fun. I don't think my hubby and I have gone out of town for us time (except honeymoon). Angels big smile cracks me up.

  8. Glad you have fun! Nick and I went to Chicago a couple years ago for a concert and we loved it there. I can't wait to go back and explore more non-touristy things. And I need to try Airbnb!


  9. I've always had really good luck with Air BnB- glad you had an awesome time in Chi-town!!

  10. That sounds like an amazing trip! I've always wanted to visit Chicago and plan on in the bear future. It sounds like there's so much to do and see. So exciting! Glad to hear you had a great time. :)

  11. That McDonalds advert cracks me up, it's a clever bench and I can't believe they did it to block the subway sign lol Glad you guys had a fun adventure, people watching and observing is the best is big cities! I miss being able to just drive on over to Chicago for a quick getaway!

  12. I love day trips to Chicago! I also loved that you braved the Airbnb booking again. It sounds like it really worked out for you. My husband and I always end up walking a TON when we're down there. Like 20 miles kind of a ton. Navy Pier is a fun place, especially the stained glass museum.

    I'm sorry that woman yelled at Angel. That sounds like a huge overreaction, especially when she saw he was just trying to help. I don't think it's indicative of lots of people in a large city.

  13. What a great getaway! Sounds like you guys had a blast and it was the perfect little escape:)

  14. Well that is weird about that lady. I don't think that is normal at all. I've lived in Toronto in the downtown and no one was ever that rude. I think she overreacted.

    Great Air BnB location!

    Chicago is a city where you walk A LOT. I like it though. Seems like you guys had a pretty good time. Sorry the weather was crap. It often is.

    I love the photo of the MD's and Subway.


  15. This looks like so much fun! I've actually never been to Chicago, but, I'm hoping to get a chance to soon!

  16. Looks and sounds like a lot of fun! I love the Crystal Gardens, it looks beautiful! And the marketing competition? Too funny.

  17. AHHH I can't believe that woman kept yelling at Angel even after he got in the elevator and CLEARLY wasn't trying to steal anything! I'm using airbnb for the first time this summer- glad to see when it works for people!

  18. Mmmmm I love Chicago the best !!! Construction is pretty standard everywhere it seems but normally they aren't doing all that much all the time. They might be trying to get stuff done before summer tourist stuff starts. Also, I'm sorry that lady yelled at you. People are less trusting probably, but I think she was a rare exception of crazy. People in Chicago are nice I promise!

  19. aww so glad you got to get away. Looks like it was so fun!

    and people are so weird in the big cities like that...

  20. Wow, I've never taken a subway, well they don't have any in utah LOL. That's so cool that you got to do tons of things in Chicago. Jamba Juice is amazing, I love it! Hmmm, was dried fish great or to Angel anyways? LOL I love sushi, but never had dry fish before. Looks like a fun adventure anyway's! I've heard tons of great things about Chicago! Glad you had so much fun! :)

  21. Oooh, reading this entry was fun and filled with a lot of things that I found interesting -- especially having just been to Chicago recently. You guys definitely packed a lot into your two days; I can be kind of a lazy chica so I tend to do like one major thing a day when traveling, congratulate myself, and then chill out forever. Hahaha. Oh, it's my style. BUT it sounds like such a great trip.

    I've never done AirBNB but I really want to give it a try! That's cool that you got a place so close to the lake AND with a parking pass!

    I like your observations about the city. I had a similar experience being there recently. I had my "suburbs" cap on and had to quickly switch. You don't realize it, but it's just a more open, friendly, and trusting way to live. It's little differences like that that you can't see straight off, but people definitely live more heightened in the city -- and sometimes the "heightened" feeling is excitement, but other times it's constantly being on-guard. Crazy!

    -- Erika from America

  22. My favorite city!

    I can't believe that lady yelled at Angel- common courtesy should be accepted anywhere you travel. Rude!

  23. I love Chicago! I have always wanted to try Airbnb but my husband is afraid the homeowner is going to hide in the shower and kill us or something crazy! It sounds like you guys did a lot in 48 hours. I wish I had known about the free stained glass museum. I have to check that out next time!

  24. Sounds like a great trip! And actually, the chocolate cake at The Cheesecake Factory is super delicious. That's what I get if I'm there, though I rarely am as I'm allergic to cream cheese haha.

  25. I LOVE AirBnB, we spent our entire honeymoon staying in their places!!! Your trip sounds great but how horrid about the lift lady!! That stained glassss is amazubg!!!!

  26. sounds fun!! I've always wanted to visit Chicago!!

  27. It sounds like a fun visit. We toy with AirBnB. We haven't used it yet, but we're getting close...any tips for 1st timers? Chicago is on my short list. My husband has been, but I have not. Maybe this summer for a long weekend. :-)


  28. Oh man! Poor Angel... just trying to be a gentleman. I guess maybe in the NW people are more friendly than other places so I just can't imagine that!

  29. Such a fun trip! I love getaways with Jared too. What did you think of Settlers of Catan? Personally, I HATE that game haha

  30. Aww it sounds like such a fun trip! (Except for the lady yelling at Angel) I love going on short trips with just my hubby. We really need to try AirBNB sometime. We've looked at the website quite a bit but never actually used it. Also, I love Once Upon a Time! We should discuss it over google hangouts or something sometime!

  31. I love your mandatory river photo! And it's surprising how that lady in the elevator overreacted, I would have been super thankful.. considering the fact that it didn't happen in the streets or any dark area or something to that effect..

  32. Fun! I really wanted to make it to Chicago while we're in Missouri, but I don't think it'll happen. Life interferes, you know?
    I can't believe that lady with suitcase made such a scene. This is why we'll never be big city-dwellers.
    Also, every time I ever go to NYC there's construction everywhere. I think that's just the way it works.

  33. i'm going to guess the lady was just crazy paranoid... cray. looks like you guys still had fun! i love chicago!

  34. Dang! Y'all did a lot in 48 hours. Sounds like an awesome little getaway!

  35. Now that is what I call an action packed travel itinerary!!! I'm thrilled that you guys were able to see and do so much in such a short time frame. I may be accompanying Tony on a business trip to Vancouver in a few weeks and when he's not working, I hope we can follow your lead and fill each day there to the fullest, too (especially since I haven't been to Van in over seven years now!).

    ♥ Jessica

  36. The elevator would totally be worth it to live on the 37th floor with a view...except for the crazy lady. How frightening! Glad you had a great trip and didn't have to pay for parking! Chris and I are hoping to take a mini trip to Chicago this summer.

  37. Glad you had fun in the greatest city ever:) I am a bit biased. I am looking forward to exploring airbnb. You are the second person who has recommended it on a blog!

  38. Psych!!! What do you think so far?

    I love Chicago. James and I keep talking about going back since it's only about a 6 hour drive away, but it still hasn't happened yet. I'm super intrigued about the exhibits from the 1893 World's Fair. I just read a book on it, and it was so fascinating.

  39. She totally overreacted. It's people like her that make nice people stop and a think before offering to help and I think that's sad. Although, perhaps she's been robbed one time too many too. Even so- she should have apologized to Angel once you were all inside of the elevator for verbally attacking him like that.
    I bet he'll continue to offer to help someone again because he sounds like a good person. After all he is a doctor and what do doctors do? They help of course!
    Despite the weather, it looks like you guys had a nice little get away!

  40. Sounds like an amazing trip! Roys & Cheesecake Factory? Score! I can't believe that lady yelled so much. It's amazing how many people won't accept good clean help. My husband and I often offer our help to people at the laundromat and almost everyone says no. It's not just any laundromat either, it's on base so it's not a sketchy. Weird.

  41. i only had one night in chicago when i was there earlier this year, i would love to have more time to wander around the city!

  42. I'd never heard of airbnb before --- just checked it out and found some awesome little houses in Ann Arbor, Michigan that we can rent when we travel for football games this fall!

  43. so great looking at all your pictures. love chicago, lived there for 2 years. i can't believe that woman who yelled at angel. i've never witnessed that in the time that i lived there. people were always so nice. i figured it was a midwestern thing.