It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write anything at all; two jobs and school keeps this girl pretty busy. I’ve been wanting to write this entry about our trip to Chicago for a long time…so here goes!
My fiance and I visited Chicago the weekend before Valentine’s day, to have a bit of a getaway for ourselves. His sister lives up there, and I had never been! While in Chicago, I was able to capture a ton of beautiful pictures. I’ll include some in this post, but you can see the rest at facebook.com/hwphotos!
One of the biggest things we wanted to do while there was see the Shedd Aquarium. I’m a marine bio nut, so I love all things ocean (all things outside, really). Additionally, we saw some great landscapes, restaurants, shops, and a whole lot of taxis!
Below is a list of things we did, and my review of them! I hope this helps out anyone who is planning on going to Chicago in deciding what to do while up there!
THE SHEDD AQUARIUM
Anyone who has ever heard anything about Chicago recognizes this name. I had been told countless times that I needed to go to the Shedd. Everyone raved about it, telling me I would absolutely love it and it’s just about the coolest thing in Chicago.
Naturally, I was sooooo excited to go once we planned our trip up there. We bought our tickets beforehand, and had everything set up. Once we got to Chicago, my future sis-in-law mentioned that we should definitely go to the Shedd, especially since it was free that weekend. Immediately we both were a bit angry, wondering why we had spent so much money on tickets if it were going to be free?? We decided that once we got there, we’d complain to someone and surely get a refund.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, when we hitched a ride in a taxi and were off to the aquarium. Once we arrived, we were in awe of the gorgeous view of the Chicago skyline that could be seen from outside the Shedd. Because it is located on Lake Michigan, any way you look, the view is amazing. As we walked to the large entrance, we noticed a huuuuuge crowd. Hundreds of people stood in line to get a hold of the free-pass day. It wasn’t even 10am yet, and the line was probably an hour wait. Luckily, we overheard someone ask where the entrance was for people who had already bought their tickets. PHEW! Needless to say, our anger of preordering the tickets went away immediately. I would much rather spend $60 dollars on a ticket than spend 2 hours waiting outside in the freezing cold. After waiting in line for probably less than 10 minutes, we were inside the Shedd! Finally!
I was so excited to be there. After so many people telling me how amazing it was, I couldn’t wait to see for myself. The first thing we saw were the Beluga whales. Oh boy, how I love marine mammals!! We spent some time there, and unfortunately a couple small surrounding exhibits were under construction. We moved on to discover the beautiful dolphin exhibit. Dolphins are my absolute favorite animals, my spirit animal if you will. I’ve been obsessed with them for as long as I can remember. And don’t get me wrong- I hate seeing them confined to small tanks (like all the other animals there in captivity). But, I can appreciate the draw to have them there. It’s a great way to educate others about these beautiful creatures.
After we moved on from those two exhibits, the visit sort of went down hill. I didn’t find any of the small aquariums very impressive. The crowd was far too much, and I wish we hadn’t gone on a “free” weekend. To be honest, I don’t feel the need to ever go back to the aquarium. It certainly would be fun to take younger children, but other than that, it didn’t do much for me. I have also been to the New England Aquarium in Boston, and also to the aquarium in Wilmington, NC. The Shedd didn’t compare to those two in my opinion.
If you have never gone, go for the sake of saying you’ve been. They have a cute little photobooth where you can take pictures to keep as a souvenir. I’m glad that I went, but I don’t plan on visiting again anytime soon.
THE DISNEY STORE
Oh, what can I say about The Disney Store?? As soon as you walk in, it feels like you’re at a gift shop in Disney World (or Land, for you West-Coasters). I am absolutely in love with all things Disney, so of course I loved this store. It’s impeccably decorated, the staff all wear costume-esque attire, and they have every stuffed animal imaginable. Going to this store made you feel like you just took a trip to the Disney Parks. It’s that simple; if you’re in Chicago, go to the Disney store!! Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll have some great pictures to look back on!
Eating in Chicago ruined me for regular food. In fact, since going my fiance and I have changed our diet and grocery shopping habits entirely. Every single dish that I had in Chicago tasted soooo fresh, real, and healthy. I honestly didn’t know food could taste so good until we went up there. It’s like I’ve been missing out on this everyday incredible experience for my entire life…here’s a list of the restaurants we visited, and I would recommend ALL of them!!
Portillo’s (duh, it’s iconic…even if you can only grab a picture…stop by!)
True Food Kitchen
There is obviously SO much to do in Chicago- and we did so much more during our trip! Check out The Bean, The Field Museum, theatrical shows, bars, and a ton more.
I’ll include some pictures from the trip below! This is my first travel blog post, and I’m writing it a month after the trip! I’ll surely try and write the next sooner (that way I remember what I did a little more clearly). In April, I will be going to the Smoky Mountains, and in May I will be in Belize! Stay tuned for those blog posts! Check out more pictures on Instagram @hanxjo and on Facebook.com/HWPhotos