We made it to Chicago! Our trip to Chicago was about a year in planning all because of my spouse and his love for running. Last year, he committed to take his running serious again and two of his goals were to run the Chicago marathon and the New York City marathon. We started to plan our trip/vacation from looking at hotels, what to visit and where to eat. When we go away we do our research– as you saw our Walt Disney World posts where we had everything detailed. We started contacting hotels in about March for our stay October 6th through the 10th and the prices during those times were super high because of the marathon. We got the crazy idea to AirBnb it. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s basically renting out a stranger’s home with everything in it. Yeah, I agreed to that!
AIRBNB Place and Review
Some people might be a bit iffy about laying down in the home of others and so was I — at first. It actually was a really great experience! Air BNB offers tons of places which have been approved, you can see every inch of the home and read reviews.
I didn’t do the looking for a place to stay it was the boyfriend– he looked at about 10 other places before narrowing down his pick. Once he was interested we both looked over the amenities it offered, location, space and price. The apartment had three bedrooms which was a plus; but do ask what size the bed are, ours were different sizes which thankfully worked out for us, but it might not be for you. The place has amazing natural lighting — a plus for me because I’m always recording and taking photos so it’s a must! Wifi availability, breakfast included– which we had no idea what that meant, but our host Julie stocked us up with cereal, oatmeal, bagels, milk, OJ, bananas and freezer meals too. Heating and conditioner was another plus. More of what is included on her AirBnb Listing.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff! We did a lot of sight-seeing as soon as we landed at O’hare airport. How was the flight with a 7 month-old baby? Thankfully he slept for 40 minutes ado it was about another 40 minutes in which we had to entertain him. The day we arrived it was rainy so we decided to eat a Chicago pizza, which I’ll leave for next week’s post where I’ll write about all the food places we visited. A few things I do want to mention about Chicago is all the beautiful architecture– they all compliment each other. There’s no obnoxious building that doesn’t go with the flow of the other building like New York. The streets are clean– the officers actually help in picking garbage up when they see it. Many buildings had beautiful murals. Trains and mass-transit were clean, on time, informative and easy to use/commute. A city that cares about how it’s maintained!
LINCOLN PARK ZOO
We ended up going to the Lincoln Park Zoo since Z was on a rant about animals for some reason. This zoo is the best zoo to have ever been! You know me and discounts or even better, free, visiting the zoo is absolutely free the only thing you need to pay for is the parking which varies depending on the amount of time you stay there. There were some exhibits that were down, but the animals that were there seemed to always give a show. Ziana literally played with the hippo and monkey as you can see in the vlog. The exhibits and facility were gorgeous and clean. The staff was helpful with questions- as I had many after seeing a monkey-on-monkey encounter. The views were breath-taking, unlike New York zoos. The Lincoln Park Zoo was a huge open space, everywhere you looked there was gorgeous landscape, architecture, water views, views of the city– and say the Bronx zoo or Central Park zoo they’re all enclosed with not much to see except for what’s in the next exhibit.
Another spot we decided to visit was the Navy Pier. It’s a gorgeous place that is still being built, but so far they’ve done a wonderful job at making it a place where locals and out-of-towners can visit to enjoy a relaxing walk on the board walk, gorgeous water-front and city views, ice-skate, ride the ferris wheel among other rides. Not to mention they have over 15 places to grab a bite if you get hungry. We were on a time crunch so the only thing we were able to do was ride the ferris wheel or as they call it the Centennial Wheel. Unlike other ferris wheels where they take forever to load and unload people, they’re out in the cold and have views that aren’t that great– the Centennial went beyond expectations with their enclosed structure, roomy seats, huge and clean windows, whole city views and it went around continuously about 4 times. Yay for us!
THE BEAN: CLOUD GATE SCULPTURE
The only thing I knew about Chicago before I actually went was this huge mirrored object that was placed in the middle of a park– looked fun why not go? The bean as everyone calls it is actually called Cloud Gate Sculpture. Couldn’t find if there was a real purpose behind building this steel plated sculpture other than the incredible pictures you can take of your and/or the Chicago skyline. We met some of our amigos from our Youtube channel there so that was pretty cool!
Imagine going 1,353 feet up on the 103rd floor of the eighth-tallest building in the world and the 2nd tallest building in the Western Hemisphere– The Skydeck. If you’re scared of heights get over it, seriously! It was pretty cool going up the elevator from the ground up at a fast speed and then over looking Chicago from up above on just about every corner. Then if you’re daring enough stand on the glass floor overhang where you’ll stand over looking Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. Would I recommend seeing this attraction? Yes and no. If you go you must get the fast pass which is pricey at $49 compared to the general admission of $22, but it’s time-saving and there’s literally NO LINE. When we were done and I walked out someone who had just got off the line was told it was about a 3-hour wait time. I’ll leave that decision up to you! (This could have been because of the 50,000+ people and their families in town for the marathon.)
Now, let’s get to the reason we visited Chicago– the Chicago marathon, it’s one of eight races that make up the world marathoning championships. “The course is known for fast times, with the only inclines on bridges over the Chicago River— racers cross it five times—and on the approach to the finish. The route runs along Lake Michigan and through 29 unique neighborhoods—the Loop, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, West Side, Pilsen and Chinatown to name a few–” (Womens Running) I’m not a runner, don’t think I’ll ever be one, but I’m one hell of a supporter! As the runners raced by us we yelled at the top of our lungs giving them a boost of encouragement as we waited for my boyfriend to run past us– which he never did! The moment I looked away was the moment he passed us and my dad was the only one who saw him. I was upset with myself and upset at him for running where he wasn’t suppose to run! Yes, I can’t be the only one to blame! It was an emotional race for him and even for me– for him it was all the hard work he put into it and it was the first time he took it serious again since high-school. I teared up a bit because I know he worked super hard for it even after all my nagging of him running every other day and when someone achieves what they’ve wanted to achieve it’s a happy cry. I’ll never get this obsession for running, but I’ll be as supportive as possible with my nagging tendencies, of course. Time achieved: 3:29:21