Flashback Trip: Chicago 2005, $400

I don't think I've written about Kevin and my trip to Chicago (Nov. 19-22nd), so I'll take the time to do that now. First, we did a lot of planning to see when the most exciting time to go would be. We didn't want a summer thing, or a winter thing, so we ended up going in November, about 10 days before Thanksgiving- PERFECT TIMING.

Mid-November is a perfect time to visit any big city for 3 reasons.
1) Shopping! With the holidays around the corner, there are massive sales and beautiful displays. You can purchase all kinds of things and ship them back to your home! And let me tell you, a fun idea would be to buy a bag of marshmallows, some graham crackers, a few bars of hersheys and make yourself some s'mores while you wrap presents and sip hot chocolate in your warm little hotel room, blaring 'It's a Wonderful Life,' while the snow piles up outside. Mmmmmmm cozy!

2) Decorations! By this time, the city will have put up their holiday décor and you can just wander around, taking pictures of the beautiful wreathes, light displays, and towering Christmas Trees- talk about your photo opps! Nearly everybody looks cute in winter-wear (I know I do!)

3) Semi-Cold! It's not freezing, but it's still crisp and you definitely need to break out the hats and scarves. Semi-cold weather opens the doors for all kinds of simple and inexpensive things to do like sit in a café and sip hot cocoa, find a local group of carolers to join, or go see a holiday movie! Tons of movies premiere about a week before Thanksgiving.

Flight Information: Payment amount $135.80 USD, for two tickets, one way (the way back cost $102 to NY, which is where I went for Thanksgiving).

Friday, 18 Nov 05 Flight DH 635
Depart: Orlando, FL (MCO) 6:15 pm
Arrive: Washington-Dulles, VA (IAD) 8:24 pm

Friday, 18 Nov 05 Flight DH 66
Depart: Washington-Dulles, VA (IAD) 9:15 pm
Arrive: Chicago-OHare, IL (ORD) 10:13 pm
FYI- We flew Independence Air, and we got this email that the airline was shutting down, just before our trip. That's why you haven't heard of Independence Air. :)

Ok great, so here we are, going to Chicago. We were very sure to make an itinerary of things we wanted to do: see a Jerry Springer taping, go to the Art Museum, go to MOSI, go to Navy Pier, etc. After we picked all the places we wanted to see, we assigned them days, and composed a schedule so that we could fit in the right amount of activities with the right part of the city. It was fun and amazing, probably the most packed trip I've been on, to be honest!

The fun started right away, on the flight- Kevin was trying very hard to find Chicago on the map...on the West Coast. After learning that was 'mid-west' and that 'all the water in the Chicago pictures' was really Lake Michigan, we were able to stop laughing and enjoy the rest of the flight... ohhh good times!

We arrived at night and took the train (yeah, a subway!) straight to our hotel, Hotel Cass, on Wabash Ave, which is in the Church District, and 2 blocks from the Magnificent Mile ( Total - $318.50 for 4 nights). Below is a picture of Kevin in front of our hotel, but it has since been bought by Holiday Inn, so you won't get the sweet $67/night deal we got!

It was relatively late, with nearly everything near close, so we looked at the local paper to see if any goings on were...well, going on. There was an OKGO! show ($$), Brian Setzer was playing ($$$$), and it was the premier of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ($), so guess what we did!!!! Yep, midnight showing of Harry Potter- which we awesome. We bought a game called '20Q,' a modern electronic 20 Questions hand-held game to pass the time and that thing could guess all kinds of things like, a christmas tree, a skateboard, a key, etc. After the movie, we went back to our hotel room and laughed at the crazy local car dealer commercials.

The next day, we got our itinerary out and headed for the first stop, the art museum! I don't remember which it was...but I remember it was a free day. Many museums do a free day, or offer discounts to students, so bring your ID! This museum was amazing and right across the street from a Bennigan's, which is where we had lunch and where I got to stare at pretty sailors. Ahh, the Navy.

Here are a couple Chicago museum musts: Museum of Contemporary Art (I believe the one we went to), Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago Children's Museum, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Surgical Science, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. Whew! Kevin and I didn't 'get' a lot of the contemporary stuff...but they had wonderful European sculptures and paintings. We took many, many pictures, and spent like 4 hours in there, wandering around.

After that, we went to Millennium Park, walked down the Magnificent Mile, and had authentic deep dish Chicago pizza at Giordano's- one pie, $12, lasts you 3 meals. And, guess who wandered in and sat next to me but BRIAN SETZER!

We did a lot of walking, wandering into malls- one of them had these crazy Lego sculptures everywhere! Big spiders, Darth Vader, Lego-people, like this one lady that has a sagging face, or as I like to call it, the 'Maggie Gyllenhaal effect.'

The next day, we went to MOSI and got on the Jerry Springer show!! The Museum of Science and Industry was very cool and had an amazing robot collection/exhibit going on. And when we went to Jerry Springer, we got to sit in the FRONT ROW, between the security guards!

Yes, that IS Jerry Springer, we ran into him in the hallway, after the taping, but the security guard taking the picture SUCKED at picture-taking, but just know that Mr. Springer is A) Really TALL and B) his nose is full of little holes, weird! It was an amazing trip and I suggest everybody visit Chicago, on our 4-day trip, Kevin and I only spent around $400 each. Yay!
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