Tuesday was another long and eventful day. When we travel, we try to jam pack as many activities as possible. We started the day by going up to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), which has for years struggled to be the tallest building in the world. You can read about the struggle on Wiki. The observatory, Skydeck, is on the 103rd floor and provides awesome views of Chicago and the Michigan Lake. The view is no Central Park, but is still amazingly gorgeous!
Dmitry got to humor everyone by doing a headstand. A random dude jumped in on the action.
We then took a bus to the Ukrainian Village, famous among the Russian-speaking community from a Russian movie that was filmed in Chicago. It was cool to see everything in Ukrainian language and even people speaking Ukrainian. It’s like China town, but Ukraine town. 🙂 We spent a few hours in the area, had dinner at Lviv restaurant (to be honest, I expected a lot more from a Ukrainian restaurant in terms of food flavor), and stocked up on some Russian cosmetics from a local store.
That night we had a show to catch. We went to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Chicago Theater. The show was good, I just have never been a huge fan of Dr. Seuss (I know, I know, that’s weird), but the theater itself is gorgeous!
After the show we wandered into a nearby Walgreens (btw, Walgreens stores in Chicago are huge and amazing!) and found this interesting gem.
Wednesday was our exploratory day and our last full day in Chicago. It was also the coldest day of our trip. My phone kept dyeing because it could not handle the cold even though it was in my pocket most of the time. We started out at the Millennium Park again and this time walked to the right instead of left leading us to the museum district. First, we passed by the Buckingham Fountain, which opened to the public in 1927. The spot is really cool and gives you a nice overview of the city.
Then we got to the museum district itself. We peeked into the Field Museum of Natural History, which houses Sue “the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found” We couldn’t really go inside without buying admission (which was a bit pricy at $30+ pp), there was still a lot we had to see, so we skipped the admission and went over to the Shedd Aquarium. At this time we were so cold that we wanted to stay inside a little longer and bought a regular admission for $8 (much more affordable), which did not include special exhibits, but was worth the price to start feeling our toes and fingers again. My phone was happy too, it came back to life. 🙂 By the way, I was taking all my photos with my phone since I did not want to haul the big camera around.
You actually get to see a lot for $8. Totally worth it. Great aquarium, which is also historic and opened to the public in 1930.
After the aquarium it was time for dinner. We were yet to try Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza so we headed to the Giordano’s, which claims to have the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. They warned us that is will take 45 minutes to cook the pizza. That’s a long time to wait for pizza. It was beautiful when it arrived on our table and tasted delicious, but I have to say that for me personally it did not stand up to the buzz and expectations. A hand tossed pizza wins this one. Sorry, Chi Town! I’ll take your hot dog over any other hot dog any day though!
We each were able to conquer only about a slice and half. To walk off the dinner, we took a stroll down the Magnificent Mile, which was all decorated for the holidays and lit up in pretty lights. There are lots of stores to roam from H&M to Burberry and Chanel.
By this time it was starting to get late. On the way back to the hotel we discovered this amazing Macy’s! The biggest Macy’s I’ve ever been too. It is actually recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I mean look at the escalator maze!
That was our last night in Chicago.
Thursday morning we woke up early to catch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was 2 blocks from our hotel, before heading back to the airport. We waited for about an hour in a very cold weather. The parade was a bit slow to start and although performers tried their best to keep a smile on their faces, it was obvious they were freezing in their costumes. After an hour we gave up. Went back to the hotel, packed, and jumped on the train to take us back to the airport. This was our last stop at the Chicago O’Hare airport.
We didn’t know what to expect traveling for the first time on Thanksgiving Day and to our surprise the airport was not crowded and everything went smoothly. We finished our stay with our last (for now) Chicago hot dog and were on our way back South.