August 3, 2013 Chicago – Day 2
Our second day in Chicago started with a hunt for a place for breakfast. Our hotel, the Tremont Chicago Hotel at Magnificent Mile, offered a $10 continental breakfast in the adjoining restaurant, but the selection looked limited. So we asked the girl at the front desk for recommendations and she suggested the Tempo Cafe a few blocks away. It was probably the most disappointing meal I’ve had in a while. Jin and I both ordered omelets, but what we got were humongous, thick, tasteless patties of rubbery egg.
The “omelet” (I can’t call that a real omelet, because I love real omelets) wasn’t seasoned at all and the potatoes that it was weirdly served on top of had this strange oily taste to it. I don’t think either of us finished even half of our dishes.
After the very unappetizing meal, we walked over to the Chicago River for our architecture boat tour. There were 3 different companies that offered such tours, and we picked Wendella, which seemed to offer a good balance of everything (cost, length of tour, amount of information offered).
It was a really good experience and we saw a lot of interesting buildings. My neck was getting sore at the end from staring up at all the skyscrapers. These 2 were of the coolest buildings we saw – Marina City, aka the corn cobs of Chicago. There are apartments in there with pie slice-shaped floor plans!
Great view of Willis Tower:
And the Chicago skyline from the mouth of the river:
Aside from being really informative and fun, I’m glad that we did the tour early on in our trip because our tour guide actually gave us a lot of great recommendations for other stuff to do in Chicago. For example, she told us that the best view of Chicago from up high is from the women’s bathroom in the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. We were going to get a CityPass and the observatory in the John Hancock Center was one of the attractions that we could choose from. But we decided to just go up for a drink at the Signature Lounge and use the pass for something else. It was a wise choice! The view from up there was fantastic, and although the drink prices were a little on the high side, you’re really paying for the view.
After that, we headed to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the attractions on the CityPass.
We were quite rushed since we got there about 1.5 hours before closing, so we didn’t get to see a lot of the museum. We did take the time to walk through the special exhibit Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. It was pretty fascinating (no photos were allowed though).
Then we ran around the museum trying to see all of the most famous pieces there, like American Gothic and Chagall’s America Windows.
We forgot to see The Great Wave off Kanagawa in our rush though. Oh well. We really should have budgeted more time for this. Anyway, after we left the Art Institute, we walked over to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.
It was right next to Lake Michigan, which was looking so picturesque on this gorgeous sunny day.
For dinner that night we decided to try out deep dish pizza. I had never had it before so I was pretty excited! We went to Lou Malnati’s.
We started with a spinach and pear salad (need veggies!).
And we shared an 9″ Chicago Classic pizza, which had lean sausage, extra cheese and vine-ripened tomato sauce on Buttercrust. We also added mushrooms to it.
It was really good and probably the cheesiest pizza I’ve ever had. It had a legit full LAYER of cheese. We also each got a glass of Goose Island 312, a Chicago craft beer recommended by our Wendella tour guide.
After our delicious and filling dinner, we decided to go back to the Signature Lounge to see the city at night. Except this time we only went to the bathroom haha. You don’t even need to pay to see this stunning view!