Ahh, the long awaited spring break. This semester has lasted ten years, and I was SO excited when school finally let out and Shane and I were able to travel to Chicago to visit Chey and her boyfriend, Levi!
We left at 4:30am Saturday, March 16 and made the 8.5 hour drive through Missouri and Illinois.
I even drove Shane’s car- which is a manual/stick shift- on the highway for a couple hours! I had a minor anxiety attack in the beginning and almost started crying but Shane needed sleep so I did it for him.
Once we made it to our AirBnb and dropped our stuff off, Shane and I got an Uber into the city! First we headed to the Chicago Public Library, which is 9 stories tall and has the most beautiful room at the top.
Next, we walked about 20 minutes to an all vegan restaurant called Veggie Grill. They had so many options that looked delicious, and I wanted to try everything! Shane and I both got burritos and shared a fry, and a drink as well! Everything was amazing.
We walked around a little more, taking in the beautiful buildings and lake. It was funny seeing so many people out celebrating St. Patrick’s day, I didn’t realize so many people celebrated it!
It was so cold outside we ended up getting an Uber back to our Airbnb to relax for a couple hours. We were exhausted from the drive and really needed a nap.
After resting for a little bit, we headed back into the city to Willis Tower, home of the SkyDeck! Tickets are $25 each, which is kind of pricey, but we were on vacation and didn’t really care. When you first start the attraction, there’s a ton of facts about how tall Willis Tower is compared to other things. Even though we didn’t have to wait in line, we stopped and read some interesting information! I learned it would take about 313 of me stacked on top of one another to reach the top of the tower.
They advertise a 30 minute wait to get to the top, but because it was night time, there was no wait at all! We got on the first elevator to the 103rd floor and stepped out to see the most amazing view.
I definitely want to see the view during the day at some point, but man, at night it was incredible. The lights were sparkling and I wish I could have gotten a picture to do it justice, but I couldn’t (I tried).
There are glass windows all around the 103rd floor, which provided breathtaking views. However, the main reason everyone pays money for this attraction is the actual Skydeck. We waited in line about 10 minutes (once again, it was a small crowd compared to normal) and then got to go out in a glass box. I could see 1,353 feet down below, right under my feet, and of course there was the view in front of me. Shane and I only had 60 seconds to take it in (and take pictures), so it was a little rushed, but still beautiful.
We took the elevator back down to the first floor and ordered an Uber back to our Airbnb! Our first day in Chicago was fun, but we had to get to bed to be ready for our second day!
Sunday, March 17
Shane and I woke up early Sunday morning, got ready, and took an Uber to the train station to meet up with Chey and Levi! We got there right as they did, and had our happy hugging reunion.
Then we headed towards the restaurant we chose for brunch: Kanela. We got there right on time, because as soon as we were seated in the last available table, a large crowd came in. The restaurant was really cute and looked super “hipster” and we liked it before we even got our food!
The main reason we chose this location to eat is because they had a couple vegan options (while a ton of brunch places in Chicago have literally nothing- what the heck?). I decided to get an Impossible burger because I was feeling lunch more than breakfast. I’ve had multiple Impossible burgers in the past, and I think this was the best one I’ve ever had.
Next, our group walked five minutes to the Navy Pier! All I knew about this place was that The Track in Branson has what used to be the Ferris wheel at the Pier. I was super excited to explore the area, and it did not disappoint!
First thing’s first, we had to have a little photo shoot, of course. Up by the Ferris wheel, there’s a beautiful view of the lake with the city skyline in the background, which made it the perfect place to take some pictures.
Then we decided to ride the Ferris Wheel! Tickets were $18 each, but we got to go around 3 times and had plenty of time to take in the amazing views of the city and lake! I think it was 100% worth it!
After our ride, we spent some time walking up and down the pier!
There was a building along the pier, and we didn’t know what it was, but I had to go to the bathroom so we ended up going inside. Turns out, they have a ton of restaurants and shops inside! It was a ton of fun exploring that area, and we even got Ben and Jerry’s- who had a vegan flavor!
Next it was time for the Disney Store! Chey had told me about how amazing the store is, so we had to go and see it together! It was so beautiful and made me really miss working at the Disney Store in Branson.
Another 15 minute walk took us through the heart of the city. We even got to see the green water, which was dyed for St Patrick’s day.
Then, we reached our next destination: Cloud Gate, AKA, the BEAN.
Shane and I have seen the Bean before, when we drove through Chicago after a concert in Milwaukee last summer. Honestly, it was busier the day we went in March than it was over the summer, which was crazy to me!
There were people everywhere, but we still managed to take some pictures, both solo and together!
We did a 360 around the Bean and even went under it before sitting on the steps nearby to rest our legs. After walking around so much, we were exhausted.
Even though it felt nice to sit down, we were still pretty cold outside. So next, we ventured to the Chicago Cultural Center, which is free to enter! They had seats on the first floor when we first came in, so we sat down for a good 30 minutes in the warm building, which was much needed. I spent this time searching for a restaurant that had a vegan pizza option, because we really wanted pizza.
Once we found one, we decided to explore the building before heading to dinner. There were a ton of art exhibits, which were fun to look at, and some beautiful rooms with gorgeous ceilings and walls.
The restaurant we chose was farther away, so we got an Uber to Paulie Gee’s Logan Square! It was at a very different part of town- no skyscrapers, tons of graffiti, and also a little sketchy. But the restaurant was warm, welcoming, and very nice!
They had a whole vegan menu, which means I actually had to look at my options and make a decision! I don’t remember the name of what I got, but it was really yummy!
We stayed at the restaurant over an hour, just talking and catching up, spilling the tea. When it was finally time to go, we walked about ten minutes to a “Chicago” mural to take our last set of pictures for the trip!
We all took an Uber back to the Airbnb, because it was getting too cold to walk around and explore anymore. The boys played Super Smash Bros on Shane’s switch, and Chey and I shared pictures and talked about life. Eventually, they had to head back to the train station to head home to Indiana. The next day, Shane and I got up early and drove the entire 8.5 hours back to Missouri! I drove stick a little again, but I wasn’t as nervous as I was the first time. It was a pretty easy drive, and we even made it home in time for Shane to make it to work at 3:00pm!
Our short trip to Chicago was amazing, and I loved hanging out with Chey and meeting Levi! I ate lots of yummy vegan food, experienced super cool tourist attractions, and had so much fun with great friends.