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Chicago

Travel

Birthday, Beaches, and Baseball in Chicago

October 25, 2017

Wow, we have been MIA for a while now, but I promise it’s for a good reason…or rather, reasons. August and September were the busiest-read expensive-months of our lives. For real. In August we bought a house (eek!), Mat turned a year older and I got a tattoo. September we had Mat’s birthday trip, Mat’s new tattoo and then my birthday trip. Phew. Lots of exciting stuff! October has been spent just trying to catch up.

Mat’s absolute favorite city is Chicago, and it doesn’t hurt that the Cubs have been his team since he was a little boy watching them on TV. It only made sense that we would spend Labor Day weekend celebrating his birthday in Chicago and attend a game at Wrigley Field. We chose to go over Labor Day so we wouldn’t really have to take any time off work, since we were lucky enough to get a three-day weekend. With as often as we like to leave town, we have to be picky with when and how we use our time off.

We took a direct flight to O’Hare later on Friday and were in town early enough to have a delicious burger at Rock Bottom Brewery. Saturday we spent leisurely walking around the city and ended up down at Oak Street Beach. We accidentally stumbled upon a professional beach volleyball tournament, which I of course loved. The weather the entire weekend was gorgeous- a nice change from the smoke-filled air that Idaho was unfortunately experiencing at the time. Mat and I were pleasantly surprised by the lake; it was huge and a gorgeous blue color. I don’t know why, but I was expecting it to be brownish, you know, like most bodies of water in big cities (looking at you Houston). The lake also had waves reminiscent of an ocean; crazy!

The tournament had brought a few other attractions to the beach, including a huge air-filled-jump-thing. I’m not really sure what to call it. In any case, Mat got a wild hair and decided to jump off the top! He said it was basically a straight shot of adrenaline to the heart. That had worked up an appetite, so then we made our way to our favorite Chicago-style pizza joint, Gino’s East. We also wrote about Gino’s East here. This time, our waitress actually brought us a marker so we could mark our spot for a future trip to the famous restaurant. There is hardly an inch left open anywhere, so finding a spot to write was difficult. I already can’t wait to go back and find what we wrote!

We had tickets to the day game on Sunday, and Mat wanted to spend as much time possible at Wrigley Field, so we got there a little before the gates opened. Wrigley Field is one of the oldest (if not, the oldest) original fields in baseball, and it is gorgeous. I loved all of the ivy growing along the walls. Their layout for concessions left much to be desired, however, as it took about 40 minutes to get my beloved soft serve ice cream in a baseball hat. Still worth it. 🙂

Our last night in town, Mat took me to his favorite part of the city for dinner. We aren’t sure which neighborhood it is technically considered, but it’s between Wrigleyville/Lakeview and DePaul University. It is the most adorable area with my favorite shops, restaurants and cute walk-up, brick town homes! The cherry on top is that we found a place that makes and serves my latest addiction, Chicago-style popcorn. He sold me, I’m ready to move!

We are looking forward to a time when we can spend more than a weekend in this pretty city!

Travel

Our Weekend in Chicago

July 14, 2016

Chicago is quickly climbing up the ranks on our most favorite cities in the world list. The last 2 times we have visited, it seemed like the city, people, and weather have been teaming up to sweep us off our feet. Our most recent visit was no different. Again, with beautiful weather and friendly people, here’s how Lacey and I spent an early summer weekend in Chicago.

First off, I’m a big believer in managing expectations. If you’re expecting too much out of city, event, vacation, or anything else, odds are you’ll end up disappointed if it doesn’t live up to the hype. On the flip side, if you go into something with an open mind you have a greater chance of being pleasantly surprised. This was exactly the case with us and Chicago.  We had no expectations.  We just wanted to hang out and eat some pizza.

We stopped in Chicago this May on our way home from our 15 day Euro-Trip. The weather was absolutely beautiful at 65 degrees and sunny. We visited a few touristy locations such as the Skydeck at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) as well as “The Bean” (Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park. Once again, we felt safe on public transportation and found everyone we were surrounded by on the streets and in restaurants to be welcoming and friendly.

We were lucky enough to stay at the historic Palmer House hotel during our weekend in Chicago. We had some Hilton Honors rewards to burn so we decided to use them in style. A funny thing I’ve noticed when we stay at fancy hotels for free is that the employees of the hotel react to us being there the same way Clark Griswold reacts when Cousin Eddy shows up for Christmas. All that aside, we enjoyed our stay and got back at the hotel a bit by “accidentally” sneaking into an executive lounge continental breakfast. Thanks for the free waffles Palmer House!

After breakfast, we walked over to Millennium Park to check out “the Bean“. While this has become a must see for travelers and instagrammers, we had actually never been there before. As with most pieces of art we’ve been lucky enough to visit recently, Cloud Gate (the bean) was much cooler in person than we expected it to be. We ended up hanging around it for about an hour. I snapped some funny pics of Lace rockin’ cheerleader moves in front of it that you can see below.

We left Millennium Park and hopped on a metro over to the Willis Tower where we had pre-purchased “Fast Pass” tickets to go up to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor. While pre-purchasing these tickets cost us about $20 more, it saved us at least 2 hrs of standing in lines. Totally worth it. The views of Chicago and Lake Michigan from the SkyDeck Lounge are crazy beautiful. While up there, we stepped out onto the “Skydeck Ledge” which is basically a glass cube that extends out from the building and over the city. It’s a pretty overwhelming experience.  As an added bonus, the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is this year, so there is a roped off area where you can stand next to Sloane Peterson and Cameron Frye mannequins and put your head on the glass in the exact spot Matthew Broderick (Ferris) did.  Getting to do this was super cool for me as I grew up with that movie.

After our nervous stomachs calmed down from being in the Skydeck, we decided it was pizza time. Eating at Gino’s East has become a “must-do” each time we visit this city. Their super deep dish, sauce on top of the cheese, traditional Chicago style pizza is amazing. Gino’s has been around for 50 years and has multiple locations but we always go back to the original restaurant on Superior Ave. This graffiti tagged, celebrity memorabilia filled pizza joint makes for a fun and authentic experience while waiting the standard 1 hour of required baking time for the deep dish crust. If you haven’t been, you need to stop by on your next visit to Chicago. If you’re with a group of 2-3 people, believe us, a medium pizza will be plenty.

Our weekend in Chicago was once again awesome. The only thing missing was a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately they were out of town 🙁 Next time Cubbies!

We’re becoming so fond of this city that we’ve already booked our next trip!

See you in January Chicago!

 

Let us know if you have any questions!

Click here to see our video edit from this trip.

Click here to see how we used rewards points to book this trip for free!

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend In Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Travel

Off on our Big Trip!

May 18, 2016

Lacey and I are currently off on our biggest vacation adventure of 2016!  So far we’ve made stops in New York, Florence, and Rome.  We are currently on the beautiful island of Malta.  Tomorrow we head back to Rome for a full day before jumping on a flight headed for Chicago where we’ll spend the weekend.  While we’d love to give you all the details of our trip right now, we’re either out having too much fun or we’re too tired from having too much fun.  Believe us, we’ll give you more than enough of the details when we return next week. This may be forever known as our For now, you can keep up with what we’re getting mixed up in by checking in on our social media profiles. Links to our profiles are at the top of this page.

For those that don’t know, this is the biggest trip Lacey and I have ever booked with credit card rewards points.  We saved over $10,000 on this trip!  It’s super easy for anyone to do the same.  To see the full story on how we made this trip happen (for free-ish) check the link here.

We can’t wait to tell you about what we’ve experienced!

Azure Window Our Big Trip