Recently I have told you about my first trip to Chicago on Air Choice One . A group of North Iowa Bloggers climbed aboard on an early Monday morning to head to Chicago to see just what we could find to do in just 24 hours.  We found a LOT to do in that time and also found it isn’t enough time to do all that you wanted to.

After our wonderful scenic flight, we took the Holiday Inn Express’s shuttle to drop our bags at our hotel.  We were early so they kindly stored them for our return-much later. We hopped back on the shuttle and took a trip back to the airport, where we knew we could get a train to downtown Chicago to start our exploring. I had only been on a commuter train once before, so this was a new and interesting experience!

Walking to the trains.

When we got downtown we enjoyed a beautiful walk on our way to lunch.  There is so much to see in downtown Chicago.  I loved the old architecture mixed in with the new!

We all agreed we needed to have lunch at the famous Billy Goat Tavern! If you have no idea what that is, you might recall this:


First thing to know before you get in line, is bring cash, as that is all they take! If you forget, don’t worry, there is an ATM! No worries, if you haven’t been here before, they make ordering easy.  It was suggested we get a double and we did. They are small patties so it ended up being a good suggestion. Not only is the place a fun place to see and be, but the burgers did not disappoint! You can learn all about the history of the Billy Goat by reading their walls. A lot of famous people have been there, too!  I would definitely return in the future!

We had an unplanned afternoon free to explore and wander anywhere.  It was a warm Chicago day and we did plenty of walking and checking it out.  One of the first places we went to was Cloud Gate aka the Bean because of it’s bean shape. It is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, that is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park. From what I observed, it is a very popular tourist spot! I snapped pictures along the way and of course, did so anywhere we went. Chicago is a beautiful city!

We grabbed some much needed refreshments and couldn’t pass by The Art Institute of Chicago without stopping outside. We enjoyed the beautiful greenery and saw some students painting outside.  We took a much needed rest before moving on! It was so amazing there, I could have sat a long time!

Our destination later in the night was a pirate cruise down on the Navy Pier. We still had plenty of time to explore before then, so we kept venturing closer and stopping along the way. One of the places we stopped was at the Charles F Buckingham Memorial Fountain. What an amazing and impressive fountain this is! It is no wonder it is a Chicago Landmark! If you take a trip to Chicago, make sure you check it out!

The rest of the evening would be spent along Lake Michigan and on Navy Pier. Fair warning if you are sitting down by the water-the geese are ‘friendly’ and might just walk up to you looking for something to eat!

We had time to eat dinner before our date with the pirates! We chose a must when in Chicago-deep dish pizza from Giordanos. There was a 45 minute wait, which worked out great, considering that is how long it takes for their pizza to cook.

We put our name down, ordered our pizzas and waited for our table. I was very curious about this pizza, but normally, I like my pizza with thinner crusts and if it is wood-fired too, even better. Our waiter was fun and entertaining. We ordered some delicious appetizers as we waited for our pizza.   IMG_4577

Shortly, the pizza was at our table and let me tell you, it was one of the most delicious pizzas I have ever had.  I was sure I wouldn’t like such a deep dish pizza, but I was proved wrong! I would definitely go back any time and I learned you can even order them and have them delivered to your house! Mental note made!

Hungry yet?! I know I am now!

We got done in time to just make it to our destination for the night. Tall Ship Windy. It was time for our Pirate Cruise. It was a beautiful boat and again, it was something new for me, as I had never been on a boat like this one. The Windy is a 148 foot four-masted gaff topsail schooner. (If you know what that all means, you already know way more about this boat than me!) I had been looking forward to this all day!

There was a full boat for this cruise which included a group of young people from Britain-or so their accents made us assume so!  They got to help with sails and when it was time for the pirate stories, they were the main audience and we chose to stay on the bench in the back enjoying the perfect weather and wonderful scenery. I must mention, that if you have a family, this is a perfect outing to pick!  It was definitely a family friendly ‘pirate cruise’ and would be enjoyed by all!

You can check out Tall Ship Windy on their website, on Facebook, on Twitter and check out their Blog!

You would think after that full day that would be it. Some of the group decided to ride the ferris wheel you see in that picture.  The new Centennial Wheel opened recently on May 27th. I imagine the view from the top was spectacular, but I was one of the group that went inside to sit and grab a drink. Maybe next time!

It had been a long day, so we walked back uptown to catch the train back to the airport, to catch the shuttle to the hotel! According to my phone, I had walked around 18,000 steps that day! I felt it too! After an ‘interesting’ ride back it was sleep for me!

We got up in the morning, ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to the airport a little bit early. We knew we could shop a little, eat breakfast and head home.

It was a whirlwind trip and worth every one of those 18,000 steps.  It was great fun and you can definitely see a lot of Chicago in just 24 hours!  What are you waiting for!

Thank you to Tall Ship Windy for hosting myself and six other bloggers on a Pirate Cruise!

I also thank again, the Clear Lake, Iowa Chamber of Commerce for organizing this trip to Chicago and to Air Choice One for providing transportation between North Iowa and Chicago.