JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Chicago! Day Two!

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Since our plans for going out our first night in Chicago were thwarted by exhaustion, we actually woke up quite rested on our second day after a very full night’s sleep.  And we were ready to explore some more of the city!  (That still doesn’t mean we were up early… remember me saying on many an occasion that neither of us are morning people?  yeah….)

Here we both are showing off the view from our hotel window….

Miloš and our view

Miloš and our view

Jen and the view

Jen and the view

Pretty soon we were out and about and hitting the street to see what Chicago had to offer.  First, we walked all the way over to the Lake.  Honestly, I thought we’d see it again, so I didn’t snap any pics.  My bad.  ‘Cause we didn’t go back.  So just imagine seeing Lake Michigan…. oooooh!  aaaaah!  😉

We walked back towards the Magnificent Mile, snapping pics along the way.  Here’s a look at some….

Miloš in Chicago

Miloš in Chicago

Chicago!

Chicago!

Miloš in Chicago

Miloš in Chicago

Jen in Chicago

Jen in Chicago

Miloš in Chicago

Miloš in Chicago

We found the Disney Store!

We found the Disney Store!

I resisted buying this super cute tee!

I resisted buying this super cute tee!

The debate wages on: Rajah or Shere Khan?

The debate wages on: Rajah or Shere Khan?

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago!

Chicago Bloomingdale's

Chicago Bloomingdale’s

At this point, the sight-seeing turned into food seeking.  We started walking around the area not far from our hotel, since it was in such a good location.  We actually ended up at a place called Rock Bottom Brewery.  (RB’s)  It had a nice atmosphere and the prices weren’t bad at all.  Milos wasn’t thrilled with his steak (it was a bit over-cooked), but my food was great.  And I really liked the beer!

Lunch!

Lunch!

My chicken was excellent, along with the zucchini and fries.  I also got Miloš' onion straws on my plate...

My chicken was excellent, along with the zucchini and fries. I also got Miloš’ onion straws on my plate…

Beer flight for dessert! They had some really yummy ones!

Beer flight for dessert! They had some really yummy ones!

After our late lunch, we headed back to the hotel to get some stuff out of the car and take care of a few other things.

We eventually headed out after it started getting dark.  We walked around for quite a bit.  I wanted to head down the few blocks to the river and check out the skyline from that vantage point.  Plus, we wanted to start looking out for possible places to have dinner.

Chicago at night!

Chicago at night!

Chicago at night!

Chicago at night!

Chicago at night!

Chicago at night!

Chicago skyline from the river

Chicago skyline from the river

Chicago at night

Chicago at night

Chicago River Walk

Chicago River Walk

Jen & Milošš in Chicago

Jen & Miloš in Chicago

During our walking around, we stopped in at a bar for a quick drink.  We went into a place called Chuck’s Manufacturing.  It had a great layout: front area with bar style seating, along with a bar that wrapped around to the other side.  On that other side was a larger seating area – with lots of cool tables and some private table rooms as well, with curtains pulled back that could be lowered for more privacy.  The place had a good vibe and I really liked the decor – it was really chic with an excellent use of lighting to add to the mood of the place.  We found a spot at the end of the bar on the other side and ordered a drink to share that was supposed to be of a Cherry Coke nature.  The drink was STRONG.  Big time.  I could only take small sips. It was served in a funky slanted glass though, which was kinda fun.

Our funky glass at the bar

Our funky glass at the bar

While we were there, Miloš took a quick restroom break, unintentionally leaving me to the circling sharks around the bar.  That side was quite crowded because of some going-away party for two friends headed back overseas.  (So I learned from the first guy who tried hitting on me… followed by a few others who followed suit.)  I just became “that girl” who played on her phone the whole time, ignoring all around me, until Miloš came back to the bar.  What can I say, the constant-face-in-iPhone is an effective technique!  I have no need for random guys hitting on me, I’m quite happy with the man I have, thank you!  We finished the drink while consulting my Yelp app to look for some options for dinner and other bars.

Although, after walking around for quite awhile and looking at the different options, we eventually went back to the Cheesecake Factory.  Why?  Miloš really liked his steak that he had gotten there the day before (and I also was really pleased with the food), so it was an easy choice.  Plus, the prices were a better option for our budget.  Of course they had a bit of a wait, so we checked in, then walked across the street to Water Tower Place to walk around a bit.  Our next destination was clear: The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store! (photobomber version)

The Lego Store! (photobomber version)

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

The Lego Store!

Eventually it was time for dinner, and it was once again excellent!  And if I recall correctly, Miloš was very pleased with the calamari at The Cheesecake Factory.  He’s quite the expert in this regard as you can probably guess, so there were several let-downs on the calamari front so far on the trip.  But this particular instance was a home run success!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel again.  (Yay for having a central location!)  See, I wanted to wear one of my sexy pretty dresses for our night on the town, but it was too dressy for dinner.  So I slipped into my black lace dress and super high heels, kicked my make-up up a notch, and we were out the door.  My cousin Micah had told me about the lounge at the top of the John Hancock Building and how it was a great place to grab a drink.  The building had an observatory, but I’m pretty sure that cost money.  But going up to the lounge only required buying drinks, which we were going to be doing anyway!  It was cold out and we had a several block walk.  I did have my coat on, but my dress was short and my heels were not built for speed walking.  Needless to say, I was happy to get inside once we got to the building entrance!

When you enter the building, you take the elevator all the way up to the 96th floor.  Upon arriving at the top, they check your ID’s before directing you to get in line to wait for a seat in the lounge area.  From the moment you stand still, you’re suddenly keenly aware that the building is moving.  Since it’s so high, you can actually feel the swaying in the floor under your feet – kind of like being on a very gently moving boat.  It does mess with your head and balance for a bit, but it only took a couple minutes to feel adjusted.

When we were seated, we had a spot almost by the window.  Within about two minutes though, we saw people getting up from their window-side table.  We promptly asked our waitress if we could move.  She allowed us to take the new spot, and we had a front row seat to an amazing view of Chicago!

Menu for the lounge...

Menu for the lounge…

All of Chicago below me!

All of Chicago below me!

Chicago below us

Chicago below us

Jen & Miloš above Chicago

Jen & Miloš above Chicago

We had a lovely time enjoying our drinks and the view.  Although we both agreed that our experience at Top of the Hub at the Prudential building in Boston was better.  We had a much better server there.  (The server we got when we switched tables here was not very friendly.)  Plus, Top of the Hub had live music, and this lounge did not.  And this lounge felt a bit drafty.  (I don’t get cold easily, so if I feel chilly, you can bet it’s on the very cool side.)  Don’t get me wrong, it was still really nice, but came in second to Boston.

We were there for awhile before heading out to find another bar.  We didn’t want to drink too much, as there was a long drive ahead of us the next day, and I did NOT want to be driving with a hangover like on the way home from Boston.  Before taking the elevator down though, I snapped one more pic of Chicago from above….

Chicago!

Chicago!

After leaving, we came upon a pub called Pippin’s Tavern.  It was crowded and was playing some good classic rock, so we headed in.  We found a place to squeeze into the bar at the opposite side of the room.  I immediately got a great compliment on my dress from one of the waitresses, telling me how hot it was.  (Nice!  I do love compliments… I mean, who doesn’t?  The more, the better!  I had too many years of low self-confidence issues – now I gladly accept compliments and let myself feel good about them.  Of course Miloš had already told me how good I looked earlier, but again, one can’t have too many compliments!)

I have to say there was a nice mix of music playing.  And I was a bit surprised when the CLASSIC song “The Gambler” came on, and Miloš had never heard it before!  I mean, I know not everything gets over to Europe, but come on!  It’s The Gambler!  You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em!….  I’m pretty sure I sang along quite loudly – what else can one do when The Gambler comes on?  🙂

We stayed out until it was almost closing time, then headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we passed a fabulous window display of super fancy amazing cars…

I choose this one....

I choose this one….

The day and night were both a success – great sight seeing, good food, great views, and some good drinking without going over the edge.  There would be no hangovers for the drive home!  But for now, the day was almost over, and we were headed back to enjoy our awesome giant hotel room!

Up next: our last day in Chicago means heading out to get some pics with the Michael Jordan statue before leaving the city!  (Miloš is an MJ super fan!)

Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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