Chicago in 7.5 Hours

That’s a bunch of BS, really. There’s no way to experience this skyscraper wonderland in less than eight hours.

What we commonly call Chicago comes from the Native American Chicagoua, a word often debated as meaning either garlic or onion. (And, you thought you’d never learn anything on this blog. Shame on you.)

Either way, it’s the stinky veggie we all tend to love.

Normally, I’m the non-tourist type. Mr H. and I blend in with the locals, keep a low profile, and leave the fanny packs at home. Kidding, kidding. We do not own fanny packs.

So, last Saturday I gave Chicago in a day the old college try.

My super awesome sister was visiting from North Carolina, and it was her first adventure in the mid-West. We braved the back and forth trip to the city via Amtrak from Milwaukee.

sisters on chicago river

And, we got down with our tourista selves.

In fact, we may have gone a bit overboard with our tourista selves…

Tourist Trap #1 – Navy Pier (The Unapologetic Bastard)

navy pierThe Navy Pier is one of those places you’ve got to go to once…and, probably only once. This picture was taken first thing in the morning just before the salivating mobs invaded. There may be other things to see there, but I couldn’t tell you. My sister grabbed some goofy souvenirs and we freaking ran.

Tourist Trap #2 – Chicago River Cruise (The Hopeless Romantic)

chicago skyline

chicago state street

chicago skyline with el trainAh, the Chicago River cruise. That fleeting adventure I could never embark upon during my previous trips, because the damn river was either frozen or green. You’ll drop a handful of bucks to take an architecture tour, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s lovely. Absolutely lovely.

Tourist Trap #3 – Chicago History Museum (The Kooky Nerd)

chicago history museum jazz

chicago history museum operaThe Chicago History Museum is pretty low on the totem pole as far as museum popularity is concerned in the Windy City. I’m more of a history gal, so this was my kind of place. The coolest thing was the L train from 1893, where you can actually go inside, have a seat, and hang out. I took the interactive option a little bit too far throughout the joint as you can see.

Tourist Trap #4 – Millennium Park (The Shiny Exhibitionist)

millenium park

millenium park cloud gateMillennium Park is Chicago’s very own Central Park. As this was our last stop on our tourist assault, it was refreshing to see both natives and rubberneckers alike kicking back, enjoying the space, and playing with the Cloud Gate sculpture. (I called it the shiny turd. But, that’s just me.)

britt on the el chicagoBritt’s Chicago Summer Tips

  • Don’t even think about driving. Walk it, cab it, or ride the “L”. All three will likely give you monster bruises, but you’ll keep your sanity.
  • Don’t assume the crosswalk is a safe haven. That part about not driving in the city also applies to who’s driving…the natives. They will mow your tourist butt down, so move it along.
  • Don’t look up while you’re walking. Yes, the buildings are incredible and they soar right into the heavens. Just don’t become a permanent member up there when you wander off the curb with a silly grin on your upturned face.
  • Don’t wear anything that chafes. Midwest summers are humid as hell! Wear something loose that you won’t regret later, if you know what I mean (wink, wink).

How about you guys? Have you ever tried squeezing every damn thing you can think of in one day of travel?

16 thoughts on “Chicago in 7.5 Hours

  1. Letizia says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago (which I will henceforth be pronouncing Chicagoua in my head). If I go I will return to this post for your great tips. Love the photos!

    I was once in Lima, Peru for 2 days: one day was for work so I had one day of tourism (i.e. fit in entire Inca civilization and modern Peru in a few hours… needless to say, I missed some key sites!).

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Great whistle-stop tour Britt and you really blended into the background there 🙂 I’m not sure It’s my kinda town though having got too used to comparative tranquility. I do like Americans that spend a day in London and another in Stratford and conclude that’s what England consists of.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Ha! Whistle-stop tour indeed. I was definitely relieved to come home to Milwaukee, its dainty little sister. : )

      I’m a HUGE fan (she says with extreme sarcasm) of my fellow Americans who rush through Europe and do London/Paris/Rome, including every tourist option, in 7-10 days.

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