It was a very cloudy morning. We started it off by doing a quick workout in the hotel’s fitness facility. Our first full day in Chicago and my itinerary was jammpacked. First stop was to Bowtruss (406 Wells St) to grab some coffee beans. When I travel, I like to pick up a bag of beans for my father from places that have unique approaches in either roasting their own beans to sourcing directly from smaller partners where the purchase of beans gives back to the farmers and whatnot. I picked up a bag of Canopy ($14USD), Foundation ($14USD) & Huehuetenango ($19USD) which also gave got me a free large chai which was very delicious.
Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. I ordered the Cheddar Bacon Turkey Flatbread ($3.39USD) but stayed for the free WIFI.
Chicago has this nice gritty city setting that was the perfect place to film the Dark Knight as the city of Gotham. We walked to Randolph & Wells St – Standard Parking – a location that was used in the film Dark Knight. We went up to the top of the parking structure for that nice spiral but security was quick to come to us and kick us out.
We hopped on the brown line 1 stop and made our way to the Skydeck. Prior to arriving, I booked the Skydeck & Art Institute combo ($135USD+tax). We got to the Skydeck at Jackson but were told at that time if we were to go up, the visibility is 0% due to the clouds. We decided to come back another time as our ticket combo can be used up to 7 days of the intended date purchased. You can also split it up on different days. We started to head towards the Art Institute with some stops along the way. I tried to take us on our own architecture tour but alas I failed. We passed by the Rookery (under construction) and missed the Chicago Board of Trade & Federal Plaza. Next time I will actually go on an architecture tour so someone else can lead us through the buildings no problem.
We finally arrived at the Art Institute and walked through the main building (Blue building) which housed the Asian, Indian & African art as well as miniatures, paper weights and photography. My favourite section was the Japanese and Southeast Asian art. We felt our stomachs rumbling so we left and walked over to the Chicago Athletic Association Building which now holds a few restaurants including Shake Shack on the main floor – 12 S. Michigan Avenue. It is such a beautiful building with gold and marble detailing but I wish we joined the tour to learn more about the building and the ability to explore the building which otherwise had security guards. Back to Shake Shack – I got the Shackburger and my ultimate GO-TO Peanut Butter Shake ($5.29USD + $529USD).
After our late lunch, we returned to the Art Institute and finished off the blue wing and moved towards the Green wing which houses the modern art. I have to say I don’t understand art or at least I can’t appreciate it as well as others. I know some of the notable artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock and whatnot but there were some pieces of art that I can’t comprehend how it actually made it into the collection. Let’s just say it was a interesting day taking in art but the ancient artifacts were more appealing to me. The Art Institute is very large and we didn’t make it far into the other 2 wings as well as the added exhibit of Van Gogh’s Bedrooms (extra $5USD).
We ventured over to Millennium Park like every other tourist to see Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate also known as The Bean. It reflections the city’s skyline but my favourite part of it was of course walking under it into the middle. The mirrored sculpture is distorted on its underbelly making for beautiful photos. By this time, we saw the skies had cleared and decided to make our way back to the Skydeck.
We weren’t the only ones to think of visiting the Skydeck as there was a good amount of tourists there as well – go figure. The Skydeck still referred to as the Willis Tower – Sears Tower features 3 glass box ledges that let you overhang from the top of the skyscraper 108 storeys above ground. It allows the visitors to experience the views Chicago has to offer. In my experience, the CN Tower has more appeal as well of the Top of the Rock – Rockerfellar in New York.
We lined up in a line to take our photo in one of the boxes and stayed up there to watch the sunset. It doesn’t get really hot up there with direct sunlight just so you know.
We made our way to Bottlefork (441 N. Clark Street) for dinner. We ordered Korean BBQ wings ($10USD), Brussel Sprouts with chorizo ($10USD), Octopus ($21USD) and Curry Lemongrass Mussels ($12USD). The mussels were overall my favourite. The Korean BBQ wings had a nice zing to it but a little too saucy for me. The Brusselsprouts with chorizo was flavourful but also very vinegary and the octopus was a little too salty. Nonetheless, all the food was tasty. The ambiance in the restaurant was also nice especially for a place to go to grab a drink and tapas styled food after work.
After dinner, we wanted to make our way to Suite Lounge however the weather did not agree with us as we saw long and distinct lines of lightning in the skies so we headed back to the hotel with a bottle of wine to end the night.