Chicago!

So now that you’ve heard all about the race – the main reason I found myself in Chicago last weekend – I need to tell you about all the other fun things we did on this trip!

I arrived very late on Thursday evening, about 9:30 pm Chicago time, and met up with Anais at the airport so we could take the train into the city together. We then grabbed a cab from the train station to our hotel where Lisa was waiting for us. Anais and I were starving (and I was still on BC time) so we went out to one of the only places we could find that was still serving food at 10:30 pm – Timothy O’ Tooles pub. There was a sporting event that night so it was really busy but we managed to get a table and Anais and I had burgers and beer while Lisa had some fries and we got all caught up with each other! It was midnight by the time we got back to the hotel and crawled into bed.

Friday

Because of the late night on Thursday night we all had no problem sleeping in until 8 on Friday. We then got up, showered and got ready to head to the race expo. One of the things that I thought was so cool about the Chicago Marathon was they offered free shuttles to the race expo all day long on Friday and Saturday. The shuttles came to locations around the city ever 30 minutes. I just think that is a really amazing service to offer when your race expo is a little out of the way. We went to Niketown in downtown Chicago to catch our shuttle and took a few pictures while we were waiting for it.

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Once on the shuttle it was a quick ride to the race expo which was the biggest race expo I have ever seen! It was incredible, and a little overwhelming. We all picked up our packages and then met up with Lauren and her husband Pete to continue perusing the expo. I almost never buy official race merchandise at the expo’s but since this was such a big race I decided to treat myself to a couple of things. I got a shirt that has all the neighbourhoods we ran through during the marathon on the back and also a new running hat. I also splurged on a brand new pair of shoes (which you’ll see me wearing in pictures below) because they are so much cheaper to buy in the States than they are in Canada.

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After a couple of hours at the race expo we had to head out so we could grab lunch before going on our Architecture Boat Tour. These are a popular tourist attraction in Chicago and I really enjoyed the tour. It was 90 minutes long and I honestly thought I might get a little bored but I found it super interesting. Chicago has so many different and interesting buildings and it really made me look at how different each and every building is, like these three buildings right next to each other:

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Once the boat tour was over we had a chance to go back to the hotel and freshen up and then Lauren, Anais, Lisa and I went to a tea place to grab some tea and just chit chat. After that we jumped on the train to head to a different neighbourhood for dinner and ended up eating at a really delicious thai restaurant.

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Lisa, Anais and I had purchased tickets to see The Blue Man Group that night so after dinner we said goodbye to Lauren and headed to the theatre. Honestly I really did not know what to expect from this show as the reviews of it, while great, didn’t really give away anything. It was a really entertaining, funny and quirky show though. I really enjoyed it!

And that pretty much sums up Friday!

Saturday 

Saturday morning we were up around 7:30 to get ready and head to Wishbone for a large blogger brunch! When we found out that Nora and her husband were going to be in town shortly on the same weekend we decided to plan a brunch! In the end there were 8 of us there; Nora and her husband, Lisa, Anais, myself, Katherine, Ashley and Pham. It was so so fun! I loved meeting people I have followed through blogs and twitter for years and also chatting about the race (it was Ashley’s first marathon and Pham had ran it twice before). It was also a big treat for me to finally get to meet Nora as we have been blog friends for many many years now. As usual, the brunch did not last long enough but it was a really fun morning.

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After brunch we took a train back downtown to Magnolia Bakery! I could not decide what cupcake I wanted so I ended up getting one large cupcake (the Chicago one) and then two mini red velvet cupcakes and two mini pumpkin cupcakes. They were all absolutely amazing. The buttercream on the Chicago cupcake was a little too sweet for me though.

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We then headed to Millennium Park to see the infamous bean (can’t visit Chicago without seeing this of course!) after wandering around the park and checking out the bean we decided to take advantage of the bike share program in Chicago and bike along the beautiful lakefront paths.

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I really really enjoyed this part of the trip because the Chicago lakefront is stunning. I could not believe how beautiful the beaches are there and the beautiful, clear blue water of Lake Michigan. I really enjoyed our little biking adventure. We probably biked for about an 1.5 hours with some stopping for photos scattered in between the biking and it was so so fun!

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After biking we did a little bit of shopping on the Magnificent Mile before meeting up with Lauren and heading over to Nilsa’s for dinner. Nilsa was kind enough to invite us over to her home for a pre-race dinner since she knew that restaurants in the city would be crazy busy that night. She made us a wonderful and delicious lasagna dinner and it was so fun to hang out at her house with the girls and have a more laidback night before the marathon. It was also super fun to meet her little guy Gavin who I’ve seen many many pictures of after reading her blog for years!

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Sunday

Sunday there was the marathon of course and then we did not get up to a whole lot after the marathon other than getting Garretts Popcorn (which was right across the street from our hotel) and going out for famous Chicago deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. We had to wait over an hour for a table but it was well worth the wait!

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And that concludes the trip to Chicago. It was so much fun and such a great weekend that went by much too quickly. We are already discussing our destination race for the fall of 2014 though 🙂

Have you ever visited Chicago? 

21 Responses

  1. Becky says:

    I love Chicago – glad you had such a great time! (And I LOVE that pic of you and Lisa and Nora!)

  2. Lindsey says:

    Never have but want to. Your post makes me want to go even more now. Looks like a beautiful city!

  3. Nora says:

    That pizza looks good (and I’m not usually a huge deep dish fan) and cupcakes? Well duh, of course everyone needs one of those.

    We met! In person. I hugged you and talked to not through a computer screen! I can’t wait until we do it again. I’m hoping to get to Seattle next year to visit my brother so maybe we can meet in Vancouver or something like that? Maybe? I’d love to meet Eric, too!

    Big hugs!

  4. Ris says:

    The architectural boat tour was one of my favorite things to do with people when they came to visit me in Chicago, and I’ve been on it three times and never gotten bored! Also, Lou Malnati’s is the best deep dish in town if you ask me, although everyone has their favorite 🙂 Man, can you believe I used to get to run on that lakefront path every single day? I was so spoiled and didn’t even know it! I’m glad you had so much fun in Chicago!

  5. Leigh says:

    Ah it looks like you had such a great weekend! Chicago is definitely on my list of places to go

  6. phampants says:

    I’m so glad you had a great time in Chicago. It’s pretty precious. And I’m so glad we finally got to meet!

  7. Alli says:

    Argh, this post kills me because it makes me want to be in Chicago so badly! Chicago is my second favorite city in the US (after NYC of course) and I wish I had the time and money to get there once a year. Plus I’m extra jealous at all of your blogger meet ups!

    I’m so glad that you had a great weekend and congratulations on completing another marathon!

    Also! I’m clearly! having a day! where I’m obsessed! with exclamation points!

  8. eemusings says:

    That rounded parking building caught my eye too!

    After having deep dish pizza I can safely say I never want to eat it again in my life. Once was enough.

  9. I’ve never been to Chicago, but it looks like a great place to visit!

  10. LG says:

    Great recap!!! I feel like I just went to Chicago vicariously through you. :0)

    Neil and I did a road trip a few years ago…flew to New Orleans, rented a car and went to Alabama and then up up up, ending in Chicago. It was and AMAZING road trip – the landscape, the people, the food, the weather! In Chicago we did a “running tour” one morning and it was a great way to see the city.

    One weird experience we had there was that we had wanted to go to a mega church called Willow Creek on the Sunday. We pegged it on Neil’s iphone but when we finally got to the location…it was a TRADER JOES!!! I had been playing around and pegging different places I wanted to go the day before, so we went to the wrong place at the wrong time! Ugh. But we found a church nearby and ended up going there. It was a small one so we were able to meet a lot of people. Great conversations! The (super young) pastor even got our address and mailed us a thank-you card once we got home! So strange, but it all worked out. :0)

  11. Stephany says:

    Looks like a great trip with the girls! 🙂 I have never visited Chicago, but I think it’s the next big city I want to visit after NYC.

    And I vote the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon, so then I can come up and visit with y’all. 🙂 Just a selfish wish there. Ha.

  12. Jill says:

    I’m sorry I never caught up with you guys! Your pics are terrific and congrats on your marathon finish. It was a great weekend.

  13. Emilie says:

    I visited Chicago in May and LOVED it. I cannot wait to go back but I have so many other cities on my list of places to travel to. I loved biking the lakefront – I thought it was awesome how you could see the gorgeous beaches on one side and the massive skyscrapers on the other. I didn’t have time to do the boat tour but I was mesmerized by all the cool buildings in the city. The only other major cities I’ve spent time in are NYC and Boston and they are fun but nothing compared to Chicago in my opinion. Glad you had such a fun trip!

  14. I love Chicago! It is a place I’d love to do a girls weekend because most of the things I’d be interested in my husband would not be! Last time I went with the husband we ate a lot of deep dish pizza, walked a lot and found a lot of random bars ha.

  15. Congratulations on another marathon! You are such an inspiration! Chicago looks totally amazing and now I really want to go!

  16. I am going to do part I of my Chicago trip recap post tomorrow actually. It was fun to read through your recap. We really did have an amazing time, didn’t we? I feel like the whole weekend just went so smoothly! It was so great to spend so much time with you – but of course it’s never enough!!

  17. Shoshanah says:

    It looks like you guys had so much fun together! I got jealous seeing all the tweets and facebook photos in person. And I’m getting jealous again reading this post. But I’d love to be able to meet you and everyone else someday! Any ideas where your thinking of having your destination race next year???

  18. Travel Spot says:

    Looks like another fun trip! It seems like you guys really packed a lot in for such a short time! I have been to Chicago a few times and have always had a great time! Its such a fun city and is so easy to walk around and/or use the train. One of my favorite neighborhoods is over by Wrigley Field; there is a really fun bar there with board games, which is so much fun!

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  20. lesli says:

    I am catching up on your blog! I have fallen way beind but I love reading your posts especially this one about Chicago!

  21. […] I ran the Chicago Marathon and had an amazing three days visiting Chicago! […]