Price and I love to celebrate our birthdays. We make a bigger deal about them than Christmas. We go big for parties, outings, or gifts. And since this past September was Price’s 30th Birthday I went ALL OUT!! I planned a very big surprise trip to Chicago.
The trip took a few months to plan so is seems fitting that this post took at few months (oy!) to write and edit.
So leading up to the trip I only hinted to Price that we would be going away. As it got closer I teased Price about packing a bag for similar weather (his guess of the Bahamas was wrong) and that we would have to go to bed early Thursday night for a Friday morning adventure via a plane. He promised not to look at his ticket while in the security line but I was still nervous since I didn’t want someone asking him where he was going or to say ‘enjoy Chicago’ but we made it through without that. So we grabbed some Sbucks and then made our way to the gate. Once we stopped he realized where we were going!!! So excited to pull off the big surprise.
Once we made it to Chicago we caught the shuttle from O’Hare to our hotel and dropped off our bags since it was prior to check in and we had reservations for the Architectural River Boat Tour for 12pm.
The tour was a blast! This was a gift from Price’s mom. She had been before so she knew we would love everything we saw and learned on the boat ride on the river.
It was after the lunch rush when the tour ended so it was perfect timing to head down to check out The Billy Goat Tavern for some cheeseburgers.
It was fun to experience a Chicago staple but I didn’t think the burgers were very good. I enjoyed the atmosphere and character more than the food, but it was still great to check it out.
We then headed back to our hotel, Acme Hotel Company, to check in. Once we were settled took naps since we were so warn out from getting up so early. Well, first we took some pictures of the hotel and room as it had such great character. Loved how it did not look like a typical hotel room but had some nice features and unique design elements, such as the red lipstick night light incorporated into the mirror in the bathroom. We loved the room and the hotel.
Once we were refreshed from our naps we headed out for dinner at Frontera Grill. I was looking forward to going to a Rick Bayless restaurant and I am so glad that we braved the rain and wait for an amazing dinner.
We waited at the bar and grabbed some drinks as we waited for something to open up. Two seats at the ‘chefs table’ opened up so we sat right by the kitchen getting to take in the energy from the kitchen and servers. Everything was fantastic from the drinks to the food. I really wish that Bayless had a restaurant in Boston. Total dream come true!
On Saturday- Price’s Birthday!!!
We started the day with some breakfast from Acme’s continental breakfast bar. We were both really impressed with the selection they offered which include quiches, muffins, stuffed croissants, waffles, bagels, yogurt, juices, and tea & coffee.
We started out by walking from the hotel over to Michigan Ave and then heading south down to Millennium Park.
You can’t visit Chicago and not see Cloud Gate, aka The Bean.
We took so many fun photos there and really enjoyed all of the different angles of the city we saw from the curves.
We continued on down to the Crown Fountain.
And then through the Lurie Garden and wandered our way down to the Buckingham Memorial Fountain.
Did you ever watch Married with Children? Yep, it’s that fountain.
We continued walking all the way down to The Field Musuem and Solider Field before heading back north to the Shedd.
We intended to check out the Shedd Aquarium but the line to get into it was a few hundred people out the door. Umm, so not happening this trip. So we skipped it and just took the ferry between the aquarium and Navy Pier.
It was so much fun and gave us some great views of the city.
My co-worker Laurel, who is originally from Chicago, suggested Pizano’s Pizza for some great deep dish pizza so we walked over to Pizano’s from Navy Pier. It was a long walk but allowed us to build up our appetites for lunch. We ordered salad and soup (to warm up) and a mushroom and sausage deep dish pizza. We had been debating the medium pizza since we were so hungry but the woman next to us told us the small was more than enough. Although we doubted her we decided to listen to the local. Thankfully we did listen as the small was soooo filling. The pizza’s crust was thick and crunchy while the thick filling/topping was loaded with cheese, mushrooms, and sausage. I think I need my own deep dish pizza pan!
Stuffed, we headed back towards the hotel to be able to relax for a bit before getting ready for dinner out. Of course on our way we stopped into some really cute stores. I wanted to do some serious shopping but was just too tired to carry it back. ha!
Some naps, showers and some make up for me and we were ready to go out to celebrate the BIG 3-0. We walked up to John Hancock Tower to have some drinks and to enjoy the view and sunset. The line to get on the elevators to get up to the Signature Lounge was very long but we stuck it out as it did move pretty quickly.
It was worth it as the view from the 96th floor was incredible.
We ended up with a table at the window to enjoy our drinks and chips with guac (not very good). When we were ready to go we went to the other side of the Hancock to check out the view towards the river and Navy Pier.
The view from the women’s room is incredible as it abuts the windows. Sorry guys!
We needed something sweet for Price’s birthday so we went Ghirardelli’s shop on Magnificent Mile. We split a super-rich banana split.
I just wish we had some candles to stick and pretend blow out! It was such a great way to end his birthday.
On Sunday morning we got ready quickly, had some breakfast at Acme, and checked out so we could head up to Wrigley on the L for our tour of the park, a gift from Price’s brother.
It was great to see the old stadium and hear about the history of the team and ball park as we walked all around the different areas.
We had taken a tour of Fenway previously in the summer and could compare between the tours. They were similar in price so the biggest thing that made the tour of Wrigley stand out to us was the size of the group and how length of time we got to spend on field. Both tours are great to go on but for us Wrigley wins. Esp since we got to go on the field!
After the tour we walked to Ann Sather’s to get a cinnamon roll. Well that was our intent, but we stayed to split a Denver omelet for lunch and get a sticky bun to go.
Continuing our walk, we headed down to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I love zoo’s so this was a great ways to spend a few hours.
We strolled around the different exhibits enjoying our cinnamon roll checking out the different animals, including some adorable seals and a baby zebra. Baby zebra!!!!
Once we wrapped up our visit to the zoo we walked back to Magnificent Mile for the last time for some window shopping and then on to our hotel to call for the shuttle. While we waited for the shuttle we had a drink at the Webber Grill Restaurant.
And that is how we blitzed through Chicago for Price’s Surprise 30th Birthday trip!!
After our trip I figured out we walked over 16 miles while we were visiting Chicago. Not too shabby!! I can’t wait to go again since we love Chicago so much!
This is just perfect….so fun for you. Great photos! I’m sharing!
Athena (@SuperAthens) says
Awesome post and pics. I love Chicago- Its a blast! This post makes me want to go back there!
Carrie @ poet in the pantry says
What an amazing trip! So cool that you were able to keep it a secret almost to boarding! 🙂 I’ve never been to Chicago, but now I want to go. 🙂 That pizza…yum!
Happy (belated) birthday to your partner. Looks like an awesome trip 🙂
Your hoetsny is like a beacon
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It’s about time someone wrote about this.
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I’m impressed you should think of something like that