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A British Invasion: Day 2 of Three Days in Chicago

30 July 2008 No Comment

Day 2: The second day of our tour of Chicago started with breakfast/brunch at a good Chicago staple: Ann Sather. A stop at Ann Sather’s was a request from our friends since they remembered and craved the enormous cinnamon rolls. Of course, I was not going to disappoint them. We all indulged in two cinnamon rolls…each.

We hopped on the El to head downtown and do some touring. We took the brown line- which is the best tourist option. It is not as fast as the redline subway, but it has the greatest views into the city. We road the full loop of the brown line and got off at State/Lake. State and Lake is the perfect place to start a tour of the city with proximity to Michigan Ave, the River, and views of the Chicago Theater.

With our visitors traveling from Europe, we were well aware that we had a tough audience to entertain. Here is a bit of advice if you are showing Europeans around your city: The same way that Americans are really impressed by “old” buildings in Europe, Europeans are quite impressed by really tall, new buildings in America.

We chose the Wendella boat ride to view the Chicago skyline. There was a 60 minute architectural tour or a full 90 minute tour of the Chicago River and the Lake front. We opted for the full tour since we were fortunate enough to have an absolute perfect summer day so sitting on a boat seemed to be the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The full tour takes you west on the Chicago River, all the way to the Sears Tower. It then turns back towards the Lake, passed Navy Pier, north to Lake Point Tower. Quick tip: If you go on a crowded day, be sure to get in line as soon as you get your ticket. There is a mad rush for seats on the outside of the boat and lots of aggressive tourists.
After the tour, we were in prime position to walk and shop the Magnificent Mile. After about a mile walk, a perfect stopping point is at RL’s (the restaurant at Ralph Lauren’s) for a snack and cocktail.

Exhausted and in need of a way to wind down, we pulled a classic trick. We avoided the expensive observatory of the John Hancock Tower and took the other elevator to the Signature Room). The Signature Room restaurant has the same amazing views as the observatory but with cocktails and free admission. Order your cocktail and enjoy the view. You still save money versus the boring observatory deck.
We ended our long day with a late dinner at one of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, Sepia. It has been written up in Food & Wine, the Wall Street Journal and Food Art. But, I just went for the amazing Pork Chops. Sounds ordinary but it is completely worth the decadence.

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