Visiting Chicago for a few of days earlier this month, when the rain finally stopped – I wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine!
A number of times we have stayed in different cities, we have rented bikes locally. I was thrilled to find out when we checked in at the Hotel Palomar, they loan you bikes complimentary! The Palomar in Chicago was just downright luxurious! They were super at the front desk and rooms were define! I wish every hotel I stayed in was that nice!
I borrowed a bike and a helmet from the front desk and off I rode! These weren’t just any old bikes either! The Palomar had Public Bikes. They ride smooth as silk and were perfect for the city! I loved the little brass bell!
I rode through the city from downtown to the lakefront. It appears to be a fairly friend bike town, but I made sure to stop at lights and keep an eye out for other bikers, walkers, and drivers. The ride down to Lincoln Park should have taken 10-15 minutes, but it took almost an hour because I stopped so many times!
Lake Michigan honestly looked like the water in the tropics that afternoon! It was so green and beautiful. The wind was on my face going out, which meant it would be perfect coming back.
Riding along the lakefront was just what the doctor ordered to get over the rainy-day blues of the past two days. There were many people out running, biking, walking, and sightseeing.
Oak Street Beach was empty! It seemed odd for the beach to empty in May, but I guess that’s Chicago weather for you ! It’s a city where you want to always pack in layers. One day it might be 85 and sunny and the next, 50 and raining. “It’s our Springtime,” they say!
I love lighthouses! I don’t know if I have ever seen it before and I was born in Chicago!
I pedaled on. I had to take a picture of the building below! Oprah made Lake Point Towers famous when she bought a place there. It was also known as the first place Kim Gordon Margarite worked when she left Normal! I have known Kim since kindergarten and we were college roommates at ISU so I made sure I took a good picture for her! I wonder what the rent was when she worked there and what it is now!
I took a few selfies of the Chicago landscape. Notice I have a coat and scarf on. I was also wearing a cashmere sweater under my coat! It was really chilly riding along the lake front! I loved this little lighthouse of sorts.
After riding down to Lincoln Park, I turned around and headed back to downtown.
I rode by the Art Institute of Chicago and decided to go in and see the Van Gogh exhibit. I felt so blessed to have this opportunity!
Walking around an art museum alone has long been a secret pleasure. When I lived in D.C., I loved going to the Smithsonian and seeing all the Monet and Degas paintings. I stop and read about or look at the paintings when I want and not when it’s “cool”. Don’t judge me please.
The Van Gogh bedrooms exhibit was amazing! It was well worth the additional $5. At times the museum had lines down the steps to get in. On that afternoon, I walked right in. I enjoyed reading about the three different paintings he did of the bedroom in Arles. Read more about them here.
After I finished with the Van Gogh exhibit, I walked around the art museum for more than an hour, enjoying the different paintings and pieces!
One of my long-time favorites was by Georges Seurat – A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884). My Dad recently told me I should write more about history in my blogs. I explained to him that this was a lifestyle blog! But here goes, click on this link to find out 15 things people don’t know (or maybe remember) about this painting.
Does it look familiar? It was made famous in the movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Watch a link of the clip the parade scene here. Who didn’t love Ferris Bueller??
Chicago is known for its amazing restaurants! Shauna Smith recommended RPM Chicago and we were able to get an Open Table reservation! If you eat out, I highly recommend subscribing to Open Table! It’s good for looking up restaurant reviews and menus; and even better for making the reservation! I am a VIP with Open Table, whatever that means!
Funny thing though, we both ordered fish at the steak restaurant. It was delish! We split our meals so I have some of his dish on the left and some of mine on the right! We have been together 4.5 years and from the beginning, because we were foodies, we always split half our meals with each other. It’s the best way to eat two dishes for the price of one!
Walking back to the hotel, my husband insisted I take his picture in front of the Harry Caray sign. Whatever Cubs. I was born in Chicago, but grew up near St. Louis so it’s Cardinals or bust for me. He was sweet after I took it and gave me a kiss for doing it!
After walking around the city for awhile, we went back to our hotel and up to the 17th floor. We wanted one last look of the city from the balcony at the Hotel Palomar. Perfect ending to a perfect day in the Windy City!
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.