Chicago: The Windy City

Note: I’m blogging about our 4-day Chicago vacation. Currently, we’re here at New Jersey.

Work is finally over! Being a seasonal employee slash intern at THE Grand Hotel forged unbreakable bonds and unforgettable memories. I won’t be dwelling much about that though. It’s what’s afterwards that I’ll be blogging about. I may blog about my Grand Hotel Internship in the near future.

As I was saying, work is over. Naturally, what comes next is… (insert drum roll here) a VACATION! First stop: CHICAGO, IL.

Chicago is known for being windy, branded with the title of Windy City. It lives up to its name. Of the four days we stayed here, not a single day was spared. Every day was windy. We had complaints here and there, but there was really not much we can do. We were powerless against the forces of nature.

We stayed at Marriott’s Springhill Suites Downtown/River North. Obviously, we were at the downtown area which was really convenient. Our room was on the 22nd floor.

We didn’t have an organized itinerary. We figured we’d just try to visit as many of the famous attractions as we can. Then we stumbled upon the CityPASS. Basically, a CityPASS is a booklet bundled with five admission tickets. It’s a one-time payment (costs less than all five attractions paid separately) that gives you a faster access to the attractions of Chicago. Do note that there are actually seven attractions, the last four split into two choices only. We didn’t follow the list, though. We did it randomly.

The Field Museum

First stop on our tour is The Field Museum.

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This museum houses over 24 million specimens, only a few of which are ever on display. Upon entering, the first thing anyone would notice is a giant T-Rex dinosaur skeleton. Later on, we learned its name – Sue. Sue is a rare dino, its bones almost complete when it was found.

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We saw Sue 3D, a documentary slash animation of how Sue supposedly lived. According to the movie, Sue lived a good long life. Sue’s kind was the king of the dino era, the highest of the hierarchy. This was pretty much the highlight of the museum.

The Shedd Aquarium

Second stop. VIP Entry courtesy of our CityPASS

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The Aquarium contains tons of different kinds of aquatic creatures. The first few we saw were some manta rays and a huge turtle being fed. I kinda like that job, swimming with the fishes and feeding them.

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Before leaving, they had a show, as expected. I forgot the name of the show, but it featured three dolphins as the main attraction. A couple of beluga whales and a sea lion joined the show as well. The show reflected how well taken care of the sea creatures are.

The Adler Planetarium

This was one of the places where we had to choose. The other choice was The Art Institute of Chicago. The Planetarium was decided by majority.

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This was the best place, in my opinion. I like aquatic creatures, but space is just awesome! If I had an entire day in Chicago, I’d spend it here, learning as much as I can about the ever-expanding universe.

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As with all the museums, there was a complimentary 3D show. We chose the Space Junk 3D movie. The other one was Sun 3D. It was a tough choice.

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The movie was all about the bits and pieces and trash that we launch into space and leave it there.

The junk cloud keeps increasing exponentially.

At the rate we’re going, we’re only making Earth and space more and more hazardous. There have been reports of satellites crashing into one another. Luckily, scientists are trying to develop a breakthrough innovation which will help clean our space little by little.

Upstairs, there was a huge exhibit about the solar system. Each planet had its own island booth. Coupled with descriptions, images, and interactive iPads, anyone was sure to learn more about each planet.

John Hancock Observatory

This was also one of two possible choices, the other one being the Museum of Science and Industry. We’ve had our fair shares of museums, so we decided to do an observatory.

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The observatory is where you can find Chicago’s only open air SkyWalk. We came here at night time. With a 360-degree view of Chicago, we were mesmerized at how the lights illuminated the city. Dazzling strokes of light formed in the streets. If I was a better photographer, I’d have utilized the lights and take bokeh shots. Yes, that’s right. I know a few terms.

Incidentally, we saw a family with a very cute family costume: a mayo dad, a mustard mom, and a sandwich kid. It was seriously the cutest thing.

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SkyDeck at Willis Tower

Our fifth and final CityPASS stop. This has been delayed for almost three days due to bad weather (mostly fog). The weather did clear up and we had the chance to try it out.

At 103 floors, SkyDeck was easily my most feared attraction. But I told myself that no trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to the Ledge – glass floor balconies overlooking the city. Being afraid of heights, it wasn’t exactly easy. Fear is a formidable foe. And I was able to conquer my fear.

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Don’t I look cool? Sitting on that glass ledge, just casually smiling for a picture.

Cloud Gate

Also known as “The Bean,” the Cloud Gate is a public sculpture located at Millennium Park. Almost anyone would be able to recognize it from hundreds of movies it was fearured in, notably: The Source Code. Well, the closing scene, that is.

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The bean there, done that caption is too cliché, so I had to stick with a simpler caption.

And this concludes my short-lived vacation in CHICAGO with JJ, Kaicy, Ara, and Mico. I had to jam all these in one slightly summarized post. Their company is what I’ll miss the most.

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©Chiara R

Next stop: New Jersey and New York.

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