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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's in the Windy City!

Most people are shocked when I tell them I have never been to Chicago…especially when I have lived 4 hours away my entire life! I can now say, I will never get that shocked and disappointed look again, because I got to spend my New Year’s in the Windy City!
I must say, it is a lot easier to visit a big city when you are also visiting good friends who can show you the sights, and make the trip much more fun and enjoyable. It also made the trip a bit more affordable when our friend’s invited us to park our car on the free street parking in front of their apartment building in the charming Rogers Park. A 3-day CTA pass made travelling around the city easy, and sometimes entertaining. We found a great deal on our hotel in the Loop, and we were very pleased with the hospitality, friendliness, and cleanliness. In fact, Ken and I were both pleasantly surprised by the general friendliness of the city as a whole!

Our first evening we had dinner at Dick’s Last Resort. That was truly a unique experience! I highly recommend going at least once in your lifetime, but find it would be amazing for large celebrations such as birthday’s, bachelor/bachelorette dinner parties, etc.
After dinner the men went back to the apartment with the baby, and us ladies were able to shop the Magnificent Mile, all lit up for the holidays, at our leisure. We ended the evening with a stop at a Cupcake ATM! It was one of the best cupcakes I have ever eaten!
New Year’s Eve was spent exploring the Field Museum.
Six hours, and two very sore feet later we left the museum, and headed back uptown to the Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant was crowded, and we waited an hour to get a table, but the food was well worth the wait and the service was outstanding! We took our cheesecake desserts to go (I got the pineapple upside down cheesecake!), and headed back to our hosts apartment for an evening of cocktails, and Euchre. It was great day, and an amazingly fun evening. I can’t think of a better way to end one year and start a new one than with the sound of laughter with great friends!

Ken and I got on the L to head back to our hotel at about 1:30 am. To our delight the train was mostly empty, and a nice warm reprieve from the bitterly cold wind outside. However, slowly the trains started to fill up and before we knew it there were people jammed packed on to the train! People (mostly 18-20 year olds!) were sitting on top of one another, standing on the back of the chairs and on the dividers…smoking, passing bottles and flasks of beer and liquor, singing drunkenly, yelling, and then….someone puked! Our nice serene train ride back to the hotel had quickly turned into a frat house party nightmare! Each time the train stopped at a platform packed with wall to wall people, our train would get a little crazier! When our stop FINALLY arrived I allowed Ken to aggressively plow his way through the aisle to get me off that insane train! It was very stressful at the time, but it makes quite an amusing story to tell. Oh the adventures of travel! What was even more insane was all the women walking the street of Chicago in sub-zero temps (with the wind chill) with no coats, no stocking, and wearing short, strapless cocktail dresses! Here I was trying to walk the 3 blocks to my hotel wearing jeans, thick socks, a full length wool coat and a scarf wrapped around my head and still trying to manage not to get frost bite or hypothermia, and hundreds of women are walking around in little more than what they would wear to the beach!

Overall, I would describe our trip as fun, frigidly cold, entertaining, exhausting, educational, and nothing short of an amazing time! Happy New Year!!!

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago? What is the best way you like to spend New Year's Eve? 

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