Warm weather brings the best out of anywhere, but there’s something that’s especially magical about Chicago in the summertime. The city just sparkles. We enjoyed one wonderful weekend that captured everything I enjoy most about the city. Come with me.
1 — the sights.
After a raging night barhopping, the morning after needed to be laid back, tourist style. We strolled past Millenium Park and The Bean, through the city to Navy Pier, where we stopped to enjoy lunch and pretty decent live music while waiting for our next adventure — a tour of Lake Michigan on the Tall Ship Windy. This bella tends to get sick on boats, so believe me when I tell you — this was a smooth and scenic ride. What a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.
2 — the eats.
After Navy Pier, we stopped by the elegant C-Bar, a rooftop lounge that’s part of the C-House restaurant. It was a fleeting visit — had a delicious pineapple mojito, then headed for an extravagant and amazing dinner at the historic Drake Hotel. We’d been to this moody, delightfully antiquated spot before to enjoy cocktails and admire Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe’s initials engraved in the wooden bar, but this time we splurged on dinner in honor of my mother in law’s birthday! If you’ve been looking for a luxe, old fashioned culinary experience, or a place to celebrate a truly special occasion, go go go. The lobster thermidor is the best I’ve ever had.
3 — the entertainment.
We saw the gamut — from a raunchy late night booze fueled loogie-fest almost-brawl at the Wiener’s Circle, a landmark hot dog dive that has to be experienced to be understood. Actually — This American Life gives you a taste in case you don’t like a side of abuse with your kraut dog. Rude, crude, disgusting, ridiculous, offensive, a little scary, and verrrrry Chicago. When it’s 4:30 a.m. and you’re unsteady on your feet, those cheese fries will taste like they were prepared by the hand of God. But if you’ve got delicate sensibilities (like me), the experience might leave you slightly horrified at the behavior of your fellow men. The Wiener’s Circle was Chicago at it’s gritty, gross, fascinating, OMG-did-you-hear-what-he-said worst behavior. But we ended our visit downtown at Venetian Night, a boat parade and fireworks show on Lake Michigan that gave us a taste of Chicago at it’s family-friendly best behavior.
After the illuminated, decorated boats had floated past, a soundtrack accompanied the truly amazing fireworks display. And that was the one thing that frustrated me about Venetian Night — the music. Lots of rock music and patriotic anthems… but the most obvious choice didn’t make it. C’mon — how are you gonna have fireworks at Lake Michigan and NOT play Homecoming by Kanye West? Seriously! Even just the chorus!
That’s just wrong. Hopefully they’ll correct that glaring oversight next year. In the meantime, Chicago’s Kanyeezy fans can comfort themselves with a sweet manicure from the Ford City Mall where we killed time before going to the airport — yes indeed, you can get Kanye on your fingernails there.
That’s Chicago, my kinda town. I hope it’s not too long before my next visit!
* lots of love to my in laws, and thanks for making every trip to Chicago memorable and fun!