Visit to Chi-Town

We are back from a weekend of fun and relaxation in the big city. A yearly trip to Chicago always makes me inspired. I come home ready to take on new projects and think of things in a whole new light. Perhaps you could use a weekend away as well? Here’s my tips on having a great experience in the Windy City!

We stayed in a hotel next to the famous Chicago Merchandise Mart. It is a giant building, taking up an entire city block.
The Mart brings back memories of my days when I went there on business. It was a million years ago.
Tip: traveling on a weekend will save you about 50% or more on your hotel expenses.

Because we were visiting on a weekend the majority of the Mart was closed, but there are a number of shops and restaurants on the main floor. Most of them are wholesale showrooms, which generally make up the Mart. This mannequin is dressed in a ceramic tile shirt. Isn’t it awesome?
Tip: Plan ahead for meals. Eating out in downtown Chicago is very expensive. There are very few grocery stores around.

This beautiful gown is also made of ceramic tile. WOW!
Staying near the Mart has it’s advantages and disadvantages. On a weekend, the place is practically deserted. The Chicago River makes for beautiful views.
There is something about city architecture that I love. It just has an urban feel we don’t see out here in the country.

I could just take this bridge home with me. I love it!
The views from our hotel were awesome. We were on the 23rd floor. Does the City of Chicago own a fire truck with a ladder that big?
Don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to know.
We were just a short walk from the Miracle Mile shopping area.

Our boys weren’t quite sure about walking in the snow. Apparently a few of them forgot to dress for the weather. This is the WINDY City after all.
Tip: Bring boots, hats and gloves.

I absolutely love row houses!

We were fortunate to have a beautiful light snow while we were there. So Christmassy!

Macy’s is now in the old Lord and Taylor building on Michigan Avenue. I was pretty impressed with this particular store. Great selection of merchandise and good prices. The sales people were also very helpful.

Shopping gives you an appetite, so we headed for lunch at this little place just down the street from Water Tower Place. It’s called Flacos Tacos.
Home of the biggest plate of nachos you have ever seen for $7.95. Best deal in town!

I was completely taken with their display of mosaics in these old windows. Brilliant!

We liked this place so much, we even came back again the second day.
Tip: Try their burritos, they are enormous! We loved their rice water drinks as well! Just delicious!

Day two found us at the Shedd Aquarium. The last time we were here our oldest boy was in Kindergarden. The Shedd was our first home school field trip!
Definitely a million years ago!
My boys grabbed my phone and took pictures of every fish in the place.
The sea horses are my favorite. So beautiful!
Tip: On the Shedd Aquarium website, they advertise their general admission tickets for $8.00 each. General admission is all you need to see the basics. It does not include the dolphin show or special exhibits, but for our purposes it was great. You must ask for these tickets at the door, they are not advertised. It is sad that everyone thinks you have to pay $37.00 per person at the door, when you can get in for only $8.00 if you ask for the general admission.
Of course, along with more sight seeing, comes more hunger. This little place called BRUNCH was great!
I love their chic urban style.
Great food, especially the french toast with creme fraiche! Yummy!
I also loved their burlap light fixtures and beautiful beams on the ceiling.
Tip: If you like them on Facebook, you can save 10 percent on your meal. I had issues logging in and by the time we ate, I still couldn’t figure it out. Oh, well. Next time.

One of our last stops was Crate and Barrel on Michigan Ave. They have such beautiful furniture. I loved these industrial shelves. 
Honey, will you build these for me for Christmas?
We loved visiting down town Chicago. Our trip ended with an epic shopping and eating frenzy at Ikea, but that will have to be a separate post!
Time to wrap and all those things!
Only one week til Christmas! Are you ready?

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