Our final day in Chicago was Saturday, October 15th – my actual birthday!
We were up early and on the train headed north to Lincoln Park.
Our first stop was the famed Chicago Bagel Authority. The bagels were amazing. They lightly steam them with your toppings inside already. Yummy!
After breakfast we walked about a mile due east through the Lincoln Park neighborhood to get to the Zoo and the Conservatory. It was the perfect Fall morning: crisp, cool, brilliantly sunny.
Pretty view of downtown Chicago:
We got to the Lincoln Park Zoo at around 9:45AM. There was hardly anyone there! It was really nice and there were way more animals out than I expected. This is such a cool location for a zoo, totally accessible, and did I mention it’s free?!
Adjacent to the Zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. A gorgeous greenhouse full of plants, trees, flowers, and all sorts of greenery. It was as hot as a sauna in here but beautiful, peaceful, and also free!
A few more pretty views of the skyline from the lawns of the Conservatory:
By the time we were done with the Zoo and the Conservatory it was about time for our Chicago Pizza Tour! We were really excited to experience some traditional Chicago deep dish and learn all about Chicago’s pizza history. It ended up that our tour guide was awful and the tour subsequently sucked but we made the best of it and enjoyed the different kinds of pie.
The first stop on the tour was Giordano’s:
The pizza was super cheesy and saucey, the crust was really crunchy and delicious, I think this one was my favorite:
Our second stop was at Osteria Via Stato for thin crust pizza. I didn’t really want or understand why we were having thin crust in Chicago but ah well. They did a few specialty flavors (squash, grape/bleu cheese) and a traditional margherita.
Our third stop was at Gino’s East for more deep dish. It was pretty similar to Giordano’s except they make their pizza from a cornmeal crust here.
Our final stop was at State Street Pizza. It was totally average.
After the pizza tour we only had a few more hours left in Chicago before we had to catch our flight home. We decided to walk to Navy Pier and take in the boardwalk there.
The views out on to Lake Michigan were really pretty:
As we were walking back to our hotel to get our bags John asked if there was anything left I wanted for my birthday. I said I really wanted an ice cream sundae. About two blocks later we walked by Grahamwich and it lured us in. Turns out they had the perfect birthday dessert: a banana, fluff, and nutella vanilla soft serve sundae!
One of the other last things we did was stop into Garrett’s Popcorn Shop for some of their famed Chicago mix (a mix of cheese and caramel popcorn). I was skeptical at first but it was ridiculously good. So good in fact that we demolished the bag we brought home and I surprised John at work with a bucket of Chicago Mix from their mail order catalog this week.
We took the train back to O’Hare and flew home to Boston.
We loved Chicago. The whole trip was awesome and a birthday adventure I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to go back!
What was your favorite birthday to date? Did you travel? What made it so special?