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Skyscrapers and Sunshine

This is part two of my Chicago trip recap and it’s all about part of our beautiful Saturday. We slept until 10 a.m. (11 a.m. Eastern time!!!). I guess we were exhausted from a long work week and a late Friday night. We didn’t even feel guilty about our late slumber, instead we high-fived and congratulated our type-A personalities for giving ourselves a break!

We were thrilled to wake up and discover an absolutely gorgeous day outside. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the 60s. We got dressed and hit the streets for a walk to meet our friend Maddie for brunch. We walked about three miles down Michigan Avenue (to humor me!) and through the Gold Coast neighborhood to make it to our brunch destination.

Elly’s Pancake House!

The menu was totally overwhelming and I kind of wanted one of everything. I finally narrowed it down to the vegetarian benedict. English muffin, artichokes, mushrooms, spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise with hash browns and fruit on the side.

After brunch we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and spend it outdoors. We walked a couple of miles back over towards Michigan Avenue to the Trump Tower.

We purchased tickets for a water architectural tour and staked out seats on the top level of the river boat.

The tour was so interesting! We cruised through three branches of the Chicago River while our tour guide gave us history on the different buildings and skyscrapers.

Our tour guide gave us tons of history on the city and its buildings both past and present. We talked about the Great Fire back in the 1870s, the rebuilding of the city, how Chicago got the nickname “The Windy City” (hint, it wasn’t due to the weather!) and he told us all about the current day status of the buildings.

Of course we took in the Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower). Fun trivia…it was architecturally designed to sway up to 18 inches in either direction at the top of the tower. Can you imagine working in that building and feeling it sway!?


Speaking of can you imagine…I got to talking with someone about skyscrapers and they shared this photo “Lunch atop a skyscraper” that was taken by Charles C. Ebbets during construction of the GE Building at Rockefeller Center in 1932. CRAZY. This made me do some research about construction of skyscrapers in the early days and I learned that deaths were really common. Like 2 out of 5 men in some projects and they made four dollars a day for their work. Again, CRAZY.

Can you even imagine the stomach it would take to sit up there like that???

Heights…love them or hate them? 

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Caryln May 6, 2013, 11:11 pm

    When I was in high school my Dad had to work in Chicago for a year and actually worked in the Sears Tower and said it was really weird when it swayed! The weather there looked beautiful….lucky you got away from NC for the weekend because it was YUCKY here!

    • Jen May 7, 2013, 11:49 am

      i bet it does feel so crazy! i was happy to be in chicago and not in NC. funny that the weather was better in chicago!

  • Courtney May 6, 2013, 11:29 pm

    Have always been terrified of heights. It even kept me from flying for most of my life after a few bad flights as a kid and a terrible fear if flying. But fears were meant to be conquered and so I try to push myself to face them and that means dealing with heights. I was able to conquer that fear to move to England for grad school and now I love flying. I have always wanted to go to Chicago. Your posts have made me more excited to get there someday soon!

    • Jen May 7, 2013, 11:47 am

      that’s awesome that you’ve been able to get over your fear of flying!

  • Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 6, 2013, 11:39 pm

    Your trip to Chicago sounds like so much fun!

    I hate heights. Hatehatehatehatehatehatehate them! I can deal with airplanes and rollercoasters and even tall buildings, but the second I look down, I basically pass out.

  • Erin May 7, 2013, 6:22 am

    Chicago looks beautiful! The only american city I’ve ever been to is Anchorage, Alaska, but I’d love to visit some of the cities that have a long history and interesting architecture.

    I’m ok with heights. I don’t mind BEING up high. I very much mind the getting DOWN part. Also, ladders. I can’t handle ladders.

    • Jen May 7, 2013, 11:47 am

      oh, i’ve never been to anchorage but i would love to visit. i agree that sometimes coming down is more terrifying than going up!

  • Julie May 7, 2013, 7:05 am

    Looks like a great getaway! Quick questions…are you wearing Toms? I’ve been wondering if they are comfortable enough to walk miles around a city in.

    • Jen May 7, 2013, 11:44 am

      yes, i am wearing toms. they are crazy comfortable and were totally fine to walk all day in. we probably covered 6 or 7 miles on foot over the course of the day and my feet never hurt!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit May 7, 2013, 8:18 am

    I hate hate hate heights, just looking at that picture actually makes me a little sick and nervous! Love seeing your Chicago pics. We took a boat tour when we went as well and I found it really interesting…although in October it got a bit chilly after a while 🙂 Go you for sleeping in!!! I have a hard time doing that as well…good to give yourself a break 🙂

  • Teri [a foodie stays fit] May 7, 2013, 8:34 am

    Looks like such a fun trip! It’s been 6 or 7 years since I’ve been to Chicago and I wish I’d known about the water architecture your when I was there. I remember thinking the city was so clean! 🙂

  • d May 7, 2013, 10:16 am

    I’m planning a trip to Chicago in 2 weeks and I’m wondering if it is necessary to get a car rental. What do you think?

    • Jen May 7, 2013, 11:42 am

      Definitely not! I can’t even imagine trying to deal with a car if you’re staying in the city. Everything is walkable or you can use cabs, public transportation, etc.

  • Blaire @ Just Been Running May 7, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Oh my gosh I hate heights!! My cousin works in the building next to the Sears Tower 🙂

  • Erica May 7, 2013, 5:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing your fun weekend! I love a girls only get-a-way!

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