About 7 months ago, R found out that he had credits with Porter Airline that were going to expire that evening. We had to either book a trip or let them go. Not ones to make quick decisions, we were both caught off guard with having to decide if and where to travel.
We took a look at Porter's flight locations and narrowed the list down to Boston, Burlington (Vermont), Myrtle Beach or Chicago. We decided to go with Chicago because we had both been to Boston (albeit not recently for me and only for work for R), Myrtle Beach was further and far more expensive than our credit and Burlington seems like a place we could drive to from Ottawa with stops in various small towns along the way.
So, Chicago it was! We picked spring hoping that we'd have nice weather and in consideration of other summer plan. Turns out, April is a bit hit and miss for nice weather. But, it was an enjoyable trip none-the-less.
We got a good rate through Hotwire for the Kinzie Hotel. We were both quite pleased with the place -- they have a large continental breakfast set up on each floor and evening happy hour, with a small but fresh buffet of appetizers.
On the first day, we went for deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's and walked down the Magnificent Mile. E was quite happy to play in the Disney Store and Lego Store.
Don't be fooled by this innocent expression. This is the face of someone who is about to start throwing overpriced little pieces of lego all over the place.
The next day, we got out early to walk to the Navy Pier.
The pier itself is under construction, so it wasn't much of a draw at that time. But, our main reason for visiting was to go to the Children' Museum.
The busload of school kids arriving around the same time was a bit scary. The museum was definitely packed. But, it is probably the nicest children's museum I have seen. They have several distinct theme areas that are really nicely developed. E's favourite was the bubble area. It reminded me of something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
After grabbing bubbles for a long time, E had tonnes of fun "painting" a mirror with soapy water. This would be an easy craft to replicate at home.
After the museum and a nap, we spent some time walking around downtown and visiting the famous Cloud Gate.
The next day was a Saturday and we were warned that the lineups for Willis Tower might be long, so we got there early.
Even still there was an hour long line up. But, it was much shorter than the line up when we left.
The place was packed. But it was a nice clear day with good views.
E perfectly timed her nap and passed out from the time we walked out of Willis Tower, through our walk around downtown and train ride to Wrigley Field.
It was colder than we expected (note to self: get seats in the sun early on in the season). R was thrilled to be able to include a ball game in our itinerary.
On our last full day in Chicago, we had great weather. So, we decided to walk along the waterfront to the aquarium. When we got there, the line deterred us, so we opted for the Field Museum instead.
The building itself is very impressive. The quality of the exhibits varies, in my opinion.
After a full morning of walking, I was ready to be transported back to the hotel for a break.
Of course, E had other plans in mind about how quickly we should get back to the hotel. Ever try to walk what is normally a 45 minute walk with a toddler? Here she is below pointing out what direction she thought we should go in (i.e., the direction we had just come from).
Overall, a great trip! If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change much. Maybe just move the date of our trip back by a month (we went early April) to catch warmer weather.