For vacation this year, we chose to go to Chicago with our good friends Katey and Joey. Katey and I decided about two years ago that we were going to go to Chicago to go to the Shedd Aquarium while we at the Omaha Zoo (Which we went to so we could see elephants that happened to be relocated to Chicago…). We planned most of our trip using Skype and texts because Josh and I live in Wisconsin and Joe and Katey are in Iowa.
The boys had one job – find a hotel. We gave them three rules: we couldn’t die, it had to be clean (NO BUGS!), and it had to be affordable. The boys reserved a room in the Best Western in Grant Park. It worked out pretty well! From the outside, it looks old and not as nice as the rest of the hotels in the area. But on the inside, it is very nice! It served its purpose as a place for a hotel and it met our three requirements! It was right across from the bridge in Grant Park in the Museum District, so it was close to a lot of the main attractions that were in our CityPass. It also had the cheapest parking in the area. Our room was a mini suite, which was a surprise to us! It had a nice little living room area and our beds were on the other side of a partial wall. It was great because Josh could stay up and watch TV without keeping everyone up. I defiantly recommend it if you will be visiting Chicago and need a place to stay.
We also bought the Chicago CityPass. With this, we were able to see 5 main attractions in Chicago. It includes tickets to the Shedd Aquarium, Sky Deck Chicago (The Ledge in Wilis Tower), and The Feild Museum. You then get to pick either the Museum of Science and Industry or Chicago 360 and then either Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago. You can order it online and print of a voucher or order the booklet. We printed the voucher and gave it to the Will Call desk at one of the attractions and received the same booklet that Katey and Joe ordered. With the CityPass, you get a fast pass (Skip the lines!!!) and all access passes (See videos and extra exhibits you would normally have to pay extra for). There are also coupons for attractions if you chose to use the “choice tickets” for one attraction but still want to see the other, and discounts for the cafes, stores and shows in the city. It cost $94.00 for one pass rather than the $187.95 that you would otherwise pay without the pass. Also keep in mind that the pass includes special access to exhibits not included in normal admission fees, so that would be an extra charge on top of the $187.95. The pass is good for 9 days after it is first activated at the first attraction you visit! We somehow managed to cram 5 attractions, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier into three days! We had a budget that we were trying to stick to because we are all college kids and this really helped us out! We got 4 passes for the price of what it would have cost us for 2 people without it! It was well worth our money. Plus we got to skip lines and see extra attractions, which made it a great deal for us! If you are going to Chicago to see any of these, get the pass! If you have children, the child pass price is $79.00.
On Day One, we went to the Shedd Aquarium, Sky Deck Chicago, and Ed Debevic’s. Oh and Josh and I got engaged!!! He lasted all of one hour in the city before he asked me. And he gives me a hard time for not being able to wait to give gifts! The aquarium was amazing! There was so much to see and do. It was hands on, which was perfect for Katey and I (We like to stay busy.). Plus we got to go into the Jellies exhibit and see a 4D movie. Our hotel let us park before we checked in so we went back to the hotel after the aquarium and checked in. Then we headed off to the Willis Tower to go to the Sky Deck. We went around 7pm and it wasn’t too busy. Because we had the fast pass, we were able to skip the lines and go strait up to the top. In total we probably spent only 10 minutes waiting the whole time we were there. For dinner we went to Ed Debevic’s. It was a reallllllllly long walk but worth it. If you haven’t heard of Ed’s before, the servers are super sassy and try to mess with you. But don’t worry, Katey and I served that sass right back. We were pretty good at it!
On Day Two, we did the Magnificent Mile, Gino’s East Pizza, and Navy Pier. Since our hotel was on the opposite end of the Magnificent Mile, we had to walk all the way up Michigan Avenue. This way we were able to see everything and get in some good exercise! We went into a lot of different stores. As the boys’ reward for going into Crate and Barrel with us, we went to the Lego store. We built cars and played with all the different Legos! We also went to the Cupcake ATM. I was really excited for this and I’m not really sure why. It was worth the $4.00 for the cupcake! For Lunch, went to Gino’s East Pizza. It was really good and of course we wrote our names on a bench! When we got to Navy Pier, we discovered it was under construction. We went into a few shops and spent most of our time outside watching boats. We were hoping to go to the beer garden, but it didn’t open until the next weekend. We ended the night by sitting in Grant Park, watching the fountain. We lucked out weather wise! It was really nice the entire time we were there. By the time we made it back to the hotel, we were all ready to crash.
On Day Three, we packed the car, went to Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and The Museum of Science and Industry. We got up early, packed the car and had it reparked until we got back from Adler and the Field Museum. We walked to those two because they were so close. The Field Museum had a lot of different exhibits that would be great for kids. It was also very hands on! It was so big, so we skipped a few exhibits that we didn’t think we would enjoy as much. Adler was interesting, but not what I expected. The live video presentations that we watched were the best part. They were kind of like IMAX movies with presenters in the room with us. We decided to drive to the Museum of Science and Industry because it was farther away. I wish we would have had more time there because there is sooo much to do there. We only had about two hours there, so we had to skip several exhibits. Someday, I will have to go back so I can see everything!
I really enjoyed this trip. It was so fun to be with Katey and Joe again! Josh and I miss being able to hang out with them. It was also great to get away from school for a few days. I wonder what kind of animal attraction Katey and I can come up to visit next!