Saturday, November 1, 2014

44/52: Girl's Trip to Chicago, Part I

Chicago River

This time, it was Chick's turn to take a train trip with me.

Last week was my fall meeting in Chicago and it gave us the opportunity to spend one afternoon in the city (I had two and a half days of meetings) then it was all aboard westbound on the Empire Builder for Portland.

Friday we flew into Chicago to begin our our weather could not have been better (upper 60's and sunny). We packed at least two days worth of eating, drinking and sightseeing into 6 or 7 hours!

Cloud Gate

First stop, Millennium Park. 

We walked past Cloud Gate, a sculpture by Indian-born British artist, Anish Kapoor.  It's actually nicknamed the bean because of it's legume-like shape.  It's made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, it's highly polished exterior has no visible seems.

I would have loved to explore the entire park, but we had 3:30 reservations for a river cruise so we snapped as many pictures as we could and kept walking!

We then continued to walk down Michigan Avenue and found the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour aboard Chicago's First Lady.

The boat accommodates up to 250 people and they run tours daily that last about 90 minutes. The First Lady is the official cruise line of the Chicago Architectural Foundation.  

The river cruise highlights more than 50 architecturally significant buildings and is led by passionate volunteer docents from the foundation.

 Wrigley Building

The tour was awesome and I would highly recommend it for any visitor to the city.  I had no idea of the architectural significance of some of Chicago's buildings including the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune and the NBC Tower.

The Bridge House Tavern with outdoor bar right on the Chicago River

As we cruised along the Chicago River, I spotted the Bridge House Tavern, which I had researched as a spot for us to grab Happy Hour on Friday.

After the tour, we walked across the river and had an amazing dinner and shared a bottle of wine.  It was just the most perfect spot along the river (and an amazing 67 degree day in Chicago).

For dinner we enjoyed.....

 Charcuterie - cured meats, house pickles, stone ground mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet peppers and toasted ciabatta ($18)

Tavern  Oysters Rockefeller - 5 Blue Point Oysters, spinach de-glazed in tequila, apricot fennel breadcrumbs, melted brie, bacon and Bearnaise sauce ($17)
A full Friday in Chicago, but well worth it!  

The rest of the weekend was spent working, but we both still managed to have fun.

On Saturday morning, Sandra toured the Willis Tower. 

On Saturday, I had a hard hat tour on the Amtrak train yards.

We met up for dinner on Saturday night and found the most perfect place to watch the World Series Game at American Junkie.  

Great food and a wonderful atmosphere.

Sunday was a 13+ hour day of work for me and shopping and lunching along the Magnificient Mile for Chick!

Monday began our train adventure home!  More to follow......