We spent a long weekend in Chicago in April 2018. It’s one of my favorite cities.
The kids have never been to Chicago. Aaron grew up about an hour south of there and Liz and I have been twice. We took Liz to the Museum of Science and Industry and saw Navy Pier years ago. Somehow, we never seem to be able to fit in the Field Museum on our trips!
The Weber Grill is super fun, but we didn’t manage it this trip. We’ve eaten at the original Giordano’s. There are so many great restaurants!
We found an apartment in a townhouse (with a hot tub!) near Guaranteed Rate Field. It is no longer available as a rental but that’s a nice area if you don’t want to drive downtown. We got to park inside the garage so that was nice.
We were close to the train station, just a few blocks walk. There was a huge Mariano’s store, a Kroger affiliate just down the street and plenty of nearby restaurants.
We ate breakfast in our townhouse, then set off to explore each day.
We wound down in our hot tub each evening.
Day 1: Chinatown
We did drive a couple train stations away to Chinatown and parked near the Nine Dragons Gate.
We walked around and bought some special tea to take home and looked in the shop windows.
Fun zodiac animals in a central square
We had the most amazing Mandarin Chinese food I’ve ever eaten at Potsticker House.
Day 2: Cubs Game
We took the train to Wrigley Field.
We got there early to get some cool Cubs gear.
The kids got certificates for their first Cubs game!
The kids watched the warm-up. It was nice in the sun.
It was free blanket day and I am sure glad because it was freezing! I always underestimate the cold wind.
We ate local Chicago pizza for dinner near our apartment at Ricobene’s. It was great and easy for families. They had delicious arancini!
Day 3: Art Institute
We took the train downtown and viewed the street art down to the Art Institute.
I love, love, love the street art in Chicago.
This vermilion steel 50-ton, 53-feet tall flamingo by Alexander Calder:
The Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall is 70 feet long, 14 feet high, 10 feet wide.
The Picasso is 50 feet tall and weighs 162 short tons.
We Will by Richard Hunt is a welded stainless steel sculpture – 35’H x 8’W x 8’D
Bronze Cow Statue – 57 inches high, 92 inches long.
Depicted as reflections in the eyes of the cow are two famous Chicago landmarks, the “Chicago Picasso” sculpture and the Historic Water Tower.
The plaque reads ….
In 1999 a herd of fiberglass cows united citizens, visitors, artists and businesses through a unique community-based public art event. This bronze cow is a gift to all Chicagoans in gratitude for the support of the cows and other art in public places.
A gift to the city of Chicago from the Hanig family and anonymous donors.
Bronze Cow cast at Wagner Foundry, Inc., Chicago, IL.
The Cloud Gate sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weighs 110 short tons.
At the Art Institute, the North Lion is “On the Prowl” by Edward Kemeys. The South Lion is “stands in an attitude of defiance.”
We ate a lovely lunch at Terzo Piano. I think it’s only for private events now.
The Art Institute is open daily 10:30–5:00 and Thursdays until 8:00. Adults $25. Illinois residents on Thursdays, military members, Chicago children under 18, all children under 13 are FREE.
We saw so many favorites we have studied in our homeschool!
Then we walked to look at some other fun sites.
Lucent is a shining 13-foot sculpture created by English artist Wolfgang Buttress, with the help of astrophysicist, Dr. Daniel Bayliss, made of 3,115 lights, the number of visible stars in the Northern Hemisphere. It is amplified even more against a mirrored ceiling above and a reflecting pool below. It hangs in the lobby of the John Hancock Building.
We trekked down to the American Girl store at Water Tower Place.
We had dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch. It’s super fun and has a little museum inside.
Day 4: Shedd Aquarium
We saw more lovely street art on the way to the Shedd Aquarium.
Reproduced from the original historic Metro entrances of Paris, designed by Hector Guimard:
Bird Boy Mural
Agora is designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, on the southwest side of Grant Park, and is made up of 106 9-foot headless and armless torsos fabricated from cast iron.
Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with permanent saltwater exhibits as well as freshwater habitats. It opened on May 30, 1930.
Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Extended summer hours (June 15-Aug. 18, 2019)
All days: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of July 27
General admission: Adult $39.95*, child (3-11) $29.95*
Chicago residents: Adult $19.95*, child (3-11) $14.95*
Active-duty U.S. military personnel receive FREE general admission with proper ID.
Blue Star Families Program
Memorial Day through Labor Day, active-duty U.S. military and up to five family members receive free general admission to Shedd. Proper ID is required.
We love aquariums and try to visit them in every city we travel. Shedd is exceptional.
We loved the Belugas, Aquatic Presentation, and all 8 around the world exhibits. We’re so pleased with how much conservation they support.
Shedd is a full day of fun!
We had dinner at Santorini. It is now permanently closed and I am so sad.
We stopped by one last monument before heading home the next morning, the old stockyard gate:
There’s never enough time to see everything, but I think we used our time well and saw so much!