america, Illinois

CA to NJ: Day 6 — The Windy City

Pop Pop and I had a busy day planned for Chicago. I almost forgot to even mention the first stop in our plans because it was definitely not the experience we had hoped for. I of course told Pop Pop we just had to visit the Sky Deck, which features a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of the famous Willis Tower (formerly named Sears Tower). More famously, a ticket to this attraction allows visitors to pose in glass boxes that hang over the city from 1,353 feet in the air. Apparently, on a clear day, you can even see four different states. We definitely did not receive the weather we ordered, because once we got to the Skydeck, it was clear that the sky was not clear. In fact, it was so overcast that we were in the clouds and surrounded by walls of white upon entering the glass boxes. Well, I guess that just means we will have to come again! Honestly, the most annoying part of the experience was the Karen we encountered who wore her mask below her nose and complained that she wanted her money back to every single person she saw. At least there was some entertainment to be remembered from that attraction. 

In the clouds!

Pop Pop and I had some time to kill before our next activity in The Windy City, so we enjoyed a leisurely stroll to Millennium Park, where the famous Bean is on display. I never thought we would be barred from The Bean, but there were barriers enclosing the whole sculpture to prevent people from gathering around it. That didn’t stop me from getting in a selfie though!

The Bean at Millennium Park

We then embarked on a confusing walk to our next activity, a Segway tour, which ended in us jumping a fence out of Millennium Park because they blocked all entrances and exits besides the main one through which we originally entered. As soon as we met our guide, I knew we were in for a treat. She was super enthusiastic and was beaming with pride for Chicago. The tour lasted about two hours and covered seven to eight miles. We rolled through Grant Park, where we learned about the Great Chicago Fire that basically ruined the entire city, to Buckingham Fountain, which is a copy of the Latona Fountain at Versailles. We then steered along the waterline of Lake Michigan to view the Museum Campus, Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, and Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. I loved learning so much about the city, and the only thing that would have made it better was a bit more sunshine. 

After the tour, we ate some famous deep dish pizza from Gino’s East, which was one of the spots recommend by our tour guide. People in Chicago are very touchy about their deep dish pizza, maybe comparable to how Philadelphians feel about their cheesesteaks. Some other recommendations for deep dish included Giordano’s and Pequod’s Pizza. We of course couldn’t get to them all, but maybe I can have a pizza tasting journey the next time I am in Chicago. 

Deep dish from Gino’s East

We ended our time in Chicago with an architecture tour by boat of the building’s along the Chicago River. It was actually so intriguing to learn about the different styles of architecture used to build different structures, why they were built, and the history behind them. I also just appreciated getting to see another city my boat with my Pop Pop, which in my opinion, has become one of our trademark things to do when traveling together. 

It was a busy day, but in my opinion, that’s the best day to have! After the boat tour, we picked up our suitcases from the hotel and were on our way to Cleveland. 

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