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Trip Report Chicago trip report - Birthday Extravaganza

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Romantic and fun 40th birthday trip to Chicago with my husband! Just returned from my trip and had a fabulous time. Weather was to die for as 76 and sunny every day during the day and 60s in the evening unusually great for Chicago this time of year. Stay at Sofitel was great due to niceness of hotel and great location near shopping, restaurants, Water Tower area mag mile and Chicago avenue red line stop.

First day arrived at 2pm to hotel after taking orange line from Midway and then redline from downtown and walked some on mag mile. We did casual dinner that evening at Geno's East and then went over to the State Street shopping district went to the old Marshall Field's/Macy's looked around some souvenir Frango Chicago chocolates in the basement to bring back as gifts and early to bed that evening.

Thursday, early start for nice sit down breakfast at Tempo Cafe on Chestnut by hotel then off to the Shedd Aquarium before it got super busy. We did the Shedd pass so we didn't get into the shows or the Jellyfish special expo but were able to see everything else. After Shedd we took redline to Lakeview area and had a late lunch at Penny's Noodle Shop, just as good as I remembered! then went an took photos at Wrigley as my husband had never been there and stopped into to Cubby Bear and Sluggers for a few drinks and the famous batting cages. Redline back to hotel to rest a bit and change. That evening we went to Wildfire for dinner. I was NOT impressed. We wanted steak but wanted to keep the price reasonable and didn't have reservations so chose not to go to David Burke's Prime. This was a mistake on our part as Wildfire while more reasonably priced (our dinner for 2 was $100) was terrible experience with overcooked steaks and undercooked potatoes - I would not recommend it. After dinner however we had a wonderful time stopping first at Signature Room at Hancock for drinks and amazing views and then on to Vertigo Lounge for a different but very funky and fun rooftop experience.

Friday after sleeping a bit later and some Starbucks to recover and then a doughnut from Glazed as we got off the EL (WOW is all I can say!), we headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the outdoor nature walk to soak in some of the gorgeous weather. That afternoon we headed to Jeweler's Row as my hubby let me pick out a gorgeous sapphire (my birthstone) bracelet for my birthday : ) Dinner on Friday night was at Rose Angelis in Lincoln Park and the Italian food and atmosphere was to die for with huge portions and really good wine. After dinner we did ENO wine bar at Intercontinental, a bit overpriced and pretentious so we moved across the street to somewhere called Wine and Swine to the like which had a more fun atmosphere.

Saturday weather was to die for so we wanted to spend most of our time outside. That morning we did Millennium Park although some of it was closed as they were setting up for the Gourmet Festival that afternoon/evening which we did not make it back for and I would have like to. Then we did Buckingham Fountain and Grant Park next. Back downtown with Heaven on Seven for lunch (this was a little more touristy than I remember but food was good and I used to go to the Lakeview location which is now closed, maybe the Mich Ave one was always touristy?) After lunch we did boat tour with Shoreline Sightseeing and last stop on boat was Navy Pier wo we got off and walked around for a short while. Let me start with , I am NOT a Navy Pier fan and this day was particularly crazy because it was Saturday and weather was so good but hubby had never been and we did get some gifts for our son at the Children's museum gift shop. Saturday night was the big birthday dinner at Geja's and yes it was absolutely wonderful. Great atmosphere and special occasion food. For those of you who don't know this sis a fondue restaurant (however nothing like the Melting Pot) and has been around for 50 years in Chicago and voted Most Romantic restaurant in the city numerous times. Dinner for 2 was about $250 including a medium price bottle of wine but worth every penny and because it was my 40th birthday and hubby called them ahead of time at least twice, they gave us one of their private booths and extra special attention : ) After dinner we went to Webster's Wine Bar which was recommended by the concierge at the hotel and as being a great local spot in the western area of Lincoln Park. They had comfy couches and good wine. IT was a short cab ride.

Sunday we did breakfast at a dive called Johnny's Diner around the corner from the hotel to avoid the Sunday brunch lines at some of the other restaurants. IT was cheap and good but definitely a dive. After a hearty breakfast we hit the shopping trail and walked all the way down Michigan avenue from Chestnut to the river and back and bought lots of items at many stores in between. Also stopped and got some famous Garrett's popcorn. Alas, we had to take off for rhte airport at 3pm on Sunday as we had an early evening flight and were using the EL to get there so knew it would take a while.

Overall the trip was great. Definitely recommend to anyone going to get the unlimited ride visitor pass for CTA El and buses. Worth every penny as we each got a 7 day pass for $28 even though we were only there for 5 days (they come in 3 day or 7 day passes). We purchased the passes at Midway and just using them to get to and from the hotel and airport as opposed to cabbing it we got our money’s worth. WE did however use them every day as public transit in Chicago is clean, fast and easy to use. We only to cabs when going out to dinner at night as I wasn’t about to clomp along to the EL in 5 in high heels and a skirt LOL. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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