Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weekend in Chicago- Day 1

We got to the city about 10:00 AM and our hotel room was not ready yet so we started sightseeing right away.  We headed over to Millennium Park to walk around and see The Bean!

At 11:00 we had seats on a boat for the 90 minute Architecture Tour.  If you are going to Chicago I highly recommend this tour.  About 10 people told us to do it and we did, so now I am telling you to do it.  It is so worth it.  Great way to see the city and learn a lot of history and facts.  We took the tour that goes thru the Chicago River then out onto Lake Michigan.  If you want some great views of the city make sure to take the one that goes out onto the lake!

By the time the tour was over we were starving!  We headed to the famous Gino's East for some Chicago deep dish pizza.  So delicious!  Pretty sure each slice that I had was like 50 WW points though.  Ooops!

After lunch we headed over to The Sears Tower ( now called Willis Tower ).  We waited in a pretty long line just so we could go up to the 103rd floor Sky Deck....it was worth it!! Amazing views of the city from 1353 feet in the air!  On one side of the sky deck they had built these clear balcony extensions off the side so you could walk out and basically see the city beneath your feet.  My heart was beating so fast and I was so nervous but it was so cool! I did imagine the bottom dropping out from beneath me a few times...talk about panic attack!

By now we were stuffed, hot and exhausted so we headed back to the hotel to check in and rest up before dinner. 
We stayed at The Wit hotel at the corner of State & Lake. It was about 5 feet from one of the L train stops and walking distance to Millennium Park and the Chicago River.  Seriously, a perfect location!  The hotel is part of the Hilton chain also.  Thanks to all of our traveling we both have some free nights earned we were able to stay in a king room overlooking the Chicago River for free!  Whohoo! Gotta love Hilton Honors points =)

The hotel has a couple restaurants and one of the best rooftop bars/clubs in the city. 
After a nap and shower we headed out for the night.  First stop- Trump Tower for cocktails!  Holy cow...this place is AAAMAZING!! If money is not an issue- STAY HERE.  A lot of athletes and celebrities live here and Bill Rancic actually oversaw the construction and design.  It is beautiful!  We stopped at ReBar for a drink first.
Great Olympic themed cocktails and a nice view of the Chicago River.  Be prepared though...drinks are EXPENSIVE.  $18 for this baby-
Peach Russian

Next we headed up to the 16th floor to have a drink on the Terrace.  We had a 30 minute wait to get a table outside but I promise you, no matter how long the wait, you will not regret it.  This place is beautiful and had one of the best margaritas I have ever had.

As we were leaving Trump we ran into Dave Chappelle!!! We talked to him for about 15 minutes and I got a picture with him (but it is really blurry!). He was so nice and talked to us about how much he loves Houston. I went to see his show 5 or 6 times when I lived in Florida...he is hilarious!
Next stop...the part I was looking forward to the most...dinner @ Bill & Guiliana Rancic's restaurant, RPM Italian.  If you watch their show you know what I am talking about.  This place did not disappoint.  It is sleek and modern on the inside and much bigger than it looks on the show.  But, if you want any chance of eating there, book a reservation a few weeks in advance.  Being the tourist that I am, I ordered all of Bill & Guiliana's signature dishes that they created for the menu....Guliana's Italian Salad, Mama Depandi's Pasta, Bill's Chocolate Dessert and to drink I had Guiliana's G-Rizz.  My husband ordered the Maine Lobster Ravioli.  We loved everything we had.  I wanted to go back and eat there again but we just had too many other places we wanted to try.  They serve a lot of "small plates" so order a few to share!
By the way...if any of you have been there or have some connections there- I need the recipe for the G-Rizz!!  I want it so bad it is not even funny.  It was the most yummy drink I have ever had.  I know it had vodka and some ginger in it but I don't know what else.  I will PAY someone to find the recipe for me!! (Kidding....kind of...)

Finally, we ended our night at Paris Club.  My friend, Adam, from high school is head of security there so he was able to get us in without much trouble.  This is one of the top and biggest clubs in Chicago.  Apparently it is where all the celebrities go when they are in town. 
Well, we got into the downstairs which is known as Paris Club...but that is actually just the French restaurant.  Upstairs is the actual club, Studio Paris.  It was Lollapallooza weekend so Studio Paris was insanely packed and they were only taking people in who had table reservations.  Long story short- we made friends with some Canadians who wanted to go in with us to get a table.  We had a group of about 10 to split the table. But turns out only 4 of us made it in and the others never showed up.  Imagine thinking that 10 people are going to split a very large bill for table service at the biggest club in one of the biggest cities in the US but then only 4 people show up.  You get where this is headed, right?  A VERY, VERY expensive, unplanned, grumpy wife end to the night. 
Moving on to happier thoughts...it was a really trendy, cool place to be but good luck getting in and be prepared to spend a large chunk of $$ if you do get it.  Don't say I didn't warn you. :)

All this plus a bottle of champagne for 4 people. Awesome...not.

Whoa....that was A LOT of pictures and a loooong post.  :)
Day 2 tomorrow so check back in!


Lins said...

That looked like such a fun time!!! Even living that close to Chicago we always said we were going to go there for the weekend but never did. Now I wish we would have!!!

Meg {henninglove} said...

i need to go see the bean myself! looks like a great trip to chicago my husband and i need to take a visit to that chicago, deep dish pizza, chicago style dogs, yum!

Brandi said...

Love all your pics and the food and drinks look amazing! Now, I really want to go to Chicago. oh, u guys are crazy for going on that ledge, scary!!

Lindsey said...

I'm so jealous you got to eat at RPM, it isn't even funny! That all sounds and looks amazing. I seriously will go to Chicago just to eat there. Now, who is paying for my trip??? Bill? Guil? Gosh, I love them.

JKT said...

Looks like a fun trip so far!! Seems like you guys had a fun time! That hotel looks super fun too.

Love that dress by the way :)

Lindsay said...

Your vacation looks like it was amazing!!! I've been wanting to go to Chicago so badly recently...mainly to eat at RPM! So jealous!

Lacey said...

Your trip to Chicago looks AMAZING!!! I loved looking at all of your photos!! How much fun!! And you look so gorgeous in all of your cute dresses! :)