Chicago, Sears Tower and the best view from a 96th floor toilet
After a seven hour journey from Prince Edward Island, we arrived in Chicago at around midday, only to be told at our hostel we couldn't check in until 3pm.
We quickly changed into something cooler before heading out for a wander around the city. I instantly fell in love with Chicago, and it is definitely my favourite city in America so far...
Although, I have a sneaking suspicion that New York might just top it!
We had a walk to the waterfront, which is really beautiful, and also visited Sears Tower, which is the tallest building in the world, and is on the centre of the city.
While we were on Prince Edward Island, we met a girl called Erica who had lived in Chicago for a couple of years. She told us it wasn't worth paying the money to go to the top of Sears Tower, and instead we should go to the Signature Lounge for a cocktail, which is situated on the top level of the John Hancock Center, on the 96th floor. You don't need to ask which best appealed to our tastes...of course, we were going for the cocktail!
We settled on getting a picture of the Sears Tower from the outside...
We soon realised that after walking for hours we had picked a hostel not too close from the main attractions, and as we refused to spend the little money we have left on subways, we often found ourselves walking for hours just to get to one destination.
I did feel that was our best option though. Not only for the exercise, but also it gave us the chance to see the whole city.
Later on that afternoon, we were both famished and ready for a drink so we stopped for lunch/dinner at a lovely restaurant called The Green, near the waterfront and opposite Millenium Park.
As it was a hot day, we sat outside sipping white wine sangria and ate a selection of mini dishes including a cheese and fruit plate, and hummous and pitta.
We then headed back to the hostel to check in where we crashed for the night. We had been up since 4am and were absolutely shattered.
As the weather wasn't too great, we decided to finish off the sight-seeing we didn't get to do the day before.
We visited The Bean, which gives a magnificent reflection of the city. I did take a picture, but not sure it really came out the way i intended. Anyway, here it is...
We also visited Grant Park and Millenium Park, which is where all the summer activities and music festivals take place. We walked along the Magnificent Mile which is Chicago's main shopping area.
After dinner we headed back towards Grant Park to go for a few drinks. Our original plan was to go to a free salsa dancing class in the park, but we found ourselves sipping cocktails at this great bar where one of the local bands was performing a free gig. I can't remember what they were called but they were actually pretty good. We then went over to Millenium Park to watch a free jazz concert. We ordered a couple of drinks and sat down to watch the orchestra, only to find they weren't all that good and it didn't sound like jazz at all. It soon started raining and as the concert was outside, we took that as our cue to leave. We took refuge in a nearby bar, before starting the hour long walk back to our hotel.
The following day, having done all our sight-seeing, and both feeling the sore heads from the night before, we went to Ohio Beach for the day. We hadn't anticipated it would take an hour and a half to walk there, but it was worth it when we finally arrived. It was so nice to relax, and our feet were definitely in need of a good rest! The beach is overlooked by high rise offices. It must be torture for the employees to look out on to that everyday!
Saturday August 1st:
We are officially in our final month or travelling. Only 23 days left. I know i keep saying it, but I cannot get over how quickly almost three quarters of a year have gone.
Anyway, our plan was to have another beach day, but the weather made sure that that couldn't happen, so instead we did a bit of shopping and went to the cinema. I know I said I was going to save my shopping until New York, but I found myself stumbling across Abercrombie & Fitch again, and my weakness overcame me. I bought a pair of shorts and sandals, which were more necessity buys than anything else. My other flip flops were falling apart and I reasoned I needed a good pair of sturdy flats for NYC! I also bought a bikini from French Connection, which had such a good reduction, it would've been rude to turn down.
That evening, we went to the John Hancock Centre to Signature Lounge, on the 96th floor. It took over an hour to get there and when we arrived there was a huge queue for the bar. We should've anticipated it was Saturday night and it would be packed. Anyway, we finally got into the bar at around 10ish, and headed straight for the ladies restrooms as Erica had told us that is where the best views are. And she wasn't wrong.
It was absolutely magnificent. The view allows you to see the entire city of Chicago, along with three other neighbouring cities. It was phenomenal. We took a few pictures and sat down at the bar for a drink. I had a pear Margarita and it set me back $16! Definitely worth it for the view, although we could only afford the one!
We had originally planned to then go to Navy Pier for the firework show, but with us not arriving at Signature Lounge until 10pm we realised we didn't have time. It actually worked out pretty perfectly though as we could see the firework display from the bar.
After our very tasty but expensive cocktail, we walked back to the hostel and climbed straight into bed as we had to be up at 4am to catch our flight to Washington DC.
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