I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to my aunt’s 95th birthday party to be held in her condo complex in Chicago, where I sort of came from. Both of my parents and both of my siblings were all born in Chicago. I happen to be the only one in my family who was not born in Chicago. By the time my sister came along my parents needed a bigger home. They decided on a new development in Carpentersville, west of Chicago, and that’s where I spent my first 9 years.
My father had three sisters, two of them and most of their extended families still live in the Chicago area. I have been back many times and always have a great time there. This time was no different and was filled with non-stop, mostly fun, activities. We had the hiccup that was my bag getting lost. It decided it wanted to see Detroit instead of Chicago but was returned to Chicago the following morning. And since I flew a budget airline, you guessed it, I had to go get my bag. No matter, we kept our spirits up for the most part even though it cut into our sight seeing time. But, what do you do? Get crabby and ruin everyone’s time? I think not! I was pretty disappointed since this was my first time flying with this airlines but it all worked out in the end. I got my bag, was able to finally change my clothes and we headed downtown for our one day of sightseeing. On the way we all decided we wanted to go up Willis Tower. It was a gorgeous day so would be perfect for viewing from the 103rd floor.
But first, lunch:
brother in law and excellent chauffeur
Outside Willis Tower:
that’s a long way up
As one might imagine, there was quite the line to ascend an elevator to the top of Willis Tower on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon. Here’s a “time lapse” set of photos of the wait that spanned just over an hour. And yes, it was worth it.
do you see the 103? art?
a little bit closer, maybe 20 minutes into it
I can see the prices!
There are things to keep you busy while you wait, several monitors with quizzes and factoids along the walls like this one:
Finally, we got to the top! Rather, the 103rd floor.
I can see Wisconsin! And the John Hancock building.
My sister and I decided to sit out the skydeck. A newer addition to the building, there are four glass boxes that jut off of the building where you can look down to see the street below. This is a photo my daughter took of my nephew’s and her feet looking down at the street:
And one more of the three brave ones in the skydeck:
We spent that evening with the family of my other aunt and had a wonderful time catching up with all of them. The next day was my other aunt’s party and believe it or not, I took no photos? I was too busy chatting I suppose but I did copy some that my brother-in-law took. Here are a couple of the birthday girl:
It was a very nice party and I hope that when I’m 95 I will look as good as my aunt!
We had a little time to kill before being dropped off at the airport so we decided to take a ride down Lake Shore Drive and end up in Millennium Park. But first my brother took us on a little tour of a few places from his childhood (before they moved to Carpentersville). One of those was the apartment building that my grandparents and parents lived in when my parents were first married. He pointed out our grandparents’ apartment which was easy to spot as it faced the street and then showed us the door that led up to where our parents lived. I was amazed that he could remember where the apartment building was after so many years! It was great to finally see that piece of history from long ago.
We decided there wasn’t enough time to park and walk through Millennium Park so we were content to just drive by. I did get to see “the bean” just not up close and personal. Perhaps next time.
I have just one more photo to share that I hope my blog friend sees. I couldn’t help but think of Lady of the Cakes when I saw this shop in the airport:
It was a quick but fabulous weekend and I can’t wait to go back. I love Chicago! What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?