Tuesday, September 11, 2012


After arriving in Chicago late Monday night, we took an airport shuttle to our hotel.  Along the way, the driver told us random things about the city, and made recommendations for restaurants, shopping, etc.  We took some mental notes and I added those mental notes to my Pinterest board via my phone when I had the chance! :)

Here's our room at the Allerton:

We chose the executive king suite because watching TV from a hotel bed is only fun for so long until your neck starts to hurt, so I wanted to have a separate sitting area.

We were on the 13th floor, which was cool because usually hotels skip 13.  Our view of Heaven, beyond the fire escape:

The first recommendation made by the shuttle driver was to visit M Burger for the best burger in the city, if he does say so himself.  Lucky for us, one M Burger location was directly across the street from our hotel, so this was our very first meal in the city when we woke up bright and early mid-Tuesday morning!  But first we stopped into the Apple Store, also directly across the street from our hotel:

I could only visit the first floor because ain'tnowayinhell I was walking up that staircase!  I have a thing with stairways with nothing under them.  

The M Burgers were fantastic!  We didn't try any other burgers for comparison's sake, so for us, the shuttle driver was right in saying they were the best in town :)

After lunch we explored Michigan Avenue a little on the way to pick up our bus fare cards.

I didn't want to go crazy shopping since it was our first day, but the AllSaints window display caught my eye! It was filled with vintage sewing machines - and inside the lobby the entire wall was full as well!

Then we hopped on the bus and headed up to Lincoln Park to the zoo!  It was about a 20 minute ride, and the bus stopped right at the gate of the zoo.  We found this was the case for most of places we visited - the public transit system is not solely focused on residents, but making sure visitors can get around without using cabs or renting cars.

The zoo is in the middle of the city, but once you're inside, you couldn't tell.  At some parts of the park you can hear traffic from Lake Shore Drive, but it was very faint.   The best part:  it's FREE! I'm not going to narrate a trip to the zoo, because it was pretty standard.  So enjoy these pics:

There's only one path around, kind of like IKEA, so you have no choice but to end up where you came in. So lean! <-process nerd!

It took us a few hours to get through the whole thing - not because it was huge, but because we took our sweet-ass time and enjoyed the non-humid mid-80's with a constant breeze from Lake Michigan.

When we left the zoo we headed back downtown for dinner at Giordano's:

We got their Chicago-style stuffed pizza, with spinach, green peppers, and pepperoni.  The cheese is baked with the toppings in a deep dish crust, and the sauce is layered on top - so tasty!

The waiter cautioned us against getting a pizza that was too large, since it is stuffed full of goodness.  He was right - these 4 pieces were more than enough to fill us up.

After dinner we walked a few blocks up to the John Hancock Observatory so we Dave could enjoy 360 degree views of the city from 94 stories up!  While he did that, I cowered in the center of the building nowhere near the windows, grabbing the wall just a little tighter when the building would slightly sway or the A/C turned on.  :)

It wasn't good enough just to go up there, see me cry, and then take the WARP SPEED, SHAKY elevator back to the ground - no.  Dave wanted to stay till sunset.  We got there around 5:30 and sunset wasn't until 7:41.  Longest 2 hours of my life.

They even have an open-air catwalk for the full experience.  Oh goody.  The only thing between you and certain death is some screen door mesh.

But I have to admit, I warmed up a little bit out of curiosity when I saw this on the north side of the building:

...and Navy Pier to the south:

Dave made me get close to the window so I wouldn't regret it.  Watch how fast I got the eff away from it!

After I earned my treat by cheating death, I parked myself at the coffee shop in the center of the floor while Dave took 795 pictures of the sunset.  I have to admit it was worth the wait:

Once Dave was finished torturing me, we took the WARP SPEED, SHAKY elevator back down, walked the 3 blocks back to the hotel, and crashed!

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