In the last year and a half or so, I've made more trips to Chicago than I have my entire life before that (even though I've lived in the burbs for my entire life). Several of those trips have included the kids and several have included over nights stays...for me. But the kids hadn't even stayed downtown overnight. But thanks to Adler Planetarium, Swissotel, Shoreline Sightseeing and Landshark Beer Garden we were about to change that.
So early one Saturday morning, we hopped on a train headed downtown. My littlest man was SUPER excited, can you tell? (So were the other two...really it was just early and mom was at it with the photos...again)
Did I mention we left EARLY? Yeah we wanted to maximize our time downtown and we arrived well before the hotel had a room for us. But they were super helpful in pointing us to a place where we could hang out while we waited. And of course they gladly took our luggage.
This super cute park (with splashpad and a sand area, not pictured) was just behind the hotel. It was really pretty and the weather was perfect.
While the kids played, I headed across the street to sneak in a quick meeting. And happened to notice the great view of the Swissotel across the river. (Its the pointy one right in the middle.) Isn't it beautiful?
After a couple hours, we got a call that the hotel was ready for us!!
But I have to say...we were NOT ready for the hotel. At least we weren't ready for how amazing it would be. We had a corner suite that was literally breath taking.
Timmy was instantly in love with the telescope. Though I don't think he was able to succesfully view and stars, he did a lot of people watching during the day.
And Bryan got cozy with the adorable friends the fab folks from Adler Planetarium sent over for him in our comfy 'king' bed. (He is still telling people how he got to have a sleepover in a king bed in a hotel in Chicago.)
And Johnny enjoyed the space books from Adler Planetarium.
This is the view from one of our windows.
But THIS was the view the boys will most likely talk about for the longest. The TV IN the bathroom mirror. Well at least their digestive systems were fully cleaned out during our stay since they wouldn't get out of the dang bathroom!
This is the view into the office area from the living area. So much room, it didn't feel like staying in a cramped hotel room AT ALL!!
My kids are weird....give them an empty spot and they feel the need to fill it!
Kicking back in the bedroom.
Some pics of the office area.
And just as we were settling in there was a knock at the door with a little treat for us!
I'm pretty sure my kids are going to expect to be spoiled like this everywhere we go now!
I think Big Bird and Elmo may have over indulged in the cheese and fruit. (I swear it wasn't me!)
Boys in front of another view from the room.
And Bryan taking care of business...
After our snack and thoroughly exploring the room we headed out to Millenium park. Despite my many trips downtown, I had never been.
I thought the boys would LOVE Crown Fountain.
And they DID but it was a little cool to play in the water. But Bryan was totally into it until he ran (despite my constant reminders not to) and fell and was quickly over the water.
And of course we couldn't miss 'the bean,' which is actually called Cloud Gate if you want to be proper.
It was very crowded but with just a little patience we were able to get around and get some fun shots without much trouble at all.
This is under 'the bean' looking up.
It really is pretty cool and I'm thrilled we were finally able to make it there!
And since we were out and about we decided to keep on a walkin to Buckingham fountain. If you're a child of the 80s you may commence singing..."Love and Marriage...Love and Marriage" (theme song from Married with Kids, who's opening featured the fountain)
Tried to get tricky with shots that looked like the boys were spitting out the fountain but it was super sunny and hard to see the screen. Still thought they were funny pics.
From the fountain we decided to go back to the hotel to get cleaned up before heading to dinner. We decided to check out Landshark Beer Garden which is at the far end of Navy Pier. Here's a shot of Navy Pier from the window by the elevator of the hotel. It could be walkable distance but we decided we deserved a little break and took a cab.
Landshark Beer Garden is only open May-September and features a smallish sit down area but also has walk up service as well. I thought the food was reasonably priced and was really good.
Timmy got a burger. Johnny had chicken tenders.
Bryan had pizza.
Tom tried the brat. Which in case you can't tell from the photo, was HUGE!!
And I had a chicken ceasar salad which was delicious, but also made me feel less guilty about indulging...
amazing key lime pie and cheesecake. YUM!!
As the sunset it got a little cold on the pier. So after purchasing some Navy Pier sweatshirts everyone was happy....
no really...he WAS happy.
And I ordered a Landshark recommended Miami Vice (strawberry daiquiri and pina colado mixed) and I was happy. And ready to wait for the fireworks.
Just so happens that Landshark Beer Garden is actually the perfect place to watch the fireworks from.
Fire works are on Wednesday at 9:30 and Saturday at 10:15pm all summer long!
After the fireworks we grabbed a can and headed back to the room. (Cab tip, walk up the street away from the cab line (in the direction the cars are coming from so they will get to you BEFORE the rest of the crowd to get a cab quickly at the end of the night.)
After a full day, someone was ready to hit the hay!
But I had to take in a little of our view at night. It was gorgeous!!!
But he didn't wait for me. He was out cold with his new buddies.
Check out my post tomorrow to see all our fun at Adler Planeterium.