Torsten and I had originally planned a very ambitious road trip, giving ourselves only a few days and a limited budget to really explore Chicago with. In other words, we walked around, looked at pretty things and basically only spent the occasional buck for grub. But just because we chose the cheap way to experience the city, doesn't mean we were any less fulfilled than the people who actually have money. Yup, Money you suck and I'll stretch the heck out of you if I have to and will still be awesome.
This trip was a prime example of doing just that. I have been posting about our gallivanting around Chicago for the past couple weeks now (you can see them by clicking here) and as I wrap-up retelling of those few days, I want to emphasize what a great time we had without spending more than a few hundred dollars between the two of us. And really most of that was the private room we opted for at our hostel. We enjoy the little luxuries in life.
Our last evening here was probably the most gorgeous. After we had visited Millennium Park, we immersed ourselves into the city, starting with the Chicago Riverwalk. Along the appropriately titled Chicago River is a pedestrian walkway lined with amazing architecture and cozy cafes. If you are up for splashing some cash, there are a slew of informal, guided tour options that go along the historic river.
From the Riverwalk, going east-bound, leads you through a couple smaller, interesting parks before arriving at at Navy Pier. Comparable to Coney Island and Santa Monica Pier, it is a quintessential attraction that all breeds of tourists flock to. Along with the overpriced attractions and kitschy restaurants is a really prime view of the city, lake and some good ole people watching. While it seemed more family oriented, we still enjoyed walking around the pier before heading back to the city streets.
After much debate over the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) or the John Hancock Center to get our ultimate Chicago view, we did the savvy option of going to the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock Center. We spent around the same money, had the amazing view over the city during sunset and had some drinks and dessert to enjoy it over. It was more intimate and lavish experience that actually ended up saving us a couple bucks.
Out of the entire trip, the Signature Lounge ended up making the biggest impression on us. We arrived about an hour before sunset, securing us a spot with a great view where we dawdled with our drinks and dessert a bit as we experienced the sunset and lights of the city turn on, from 95 floors up. We still reminisce over this experience the most and could easily see reliving it every time we visit Chicago.
After the Hancock, we wandered back to the Hostel and packed-up our bags in anticipation for the next leg of our trip. The highlight of our next destination ended up, oddly enough, being our hotel. Yes, we actually stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool, sleep number beds and(!) our very own bathroom. That hotel was cheaper than many hostels I've booked and you can find it in the next city we visited. Stay tuned!
Check out the places mentioned in this post