Saturday, May 15, 2010

A more conventional tour

So Dave's parents are in town this weekend, and I bought tickets to some fun events: a land and sea tour of some Chicago neighborhoods, and theater tickets in the evening.
The tour was more conventional than the one I was on yesterday - through some of Chicago's most depressed neighborhoods. I got the tickets through my DePaul alumni association, and they were a very good price for a long bus and boat tour around Chicago's near-south neighborhoods and river.

We drove around the area just south of the Loop and learned about the history of Chicago's rich families - and the mob - and then moved south to Chinatown, Bridgeport, IIT campus, and then Hyde Park and Kenwood. Of course, we had to stop and see Barack Obama's house, but unfortunately, security has tightened up lately.
That's the property just behind the barricade; they have lots of trees to shade their property from the road. When we were next to the house, we could see its red brick facade and side. The bus driver seemed like a Barack admirer, because we visited a few stops related to the Obamas.
Then to the Museum Campus to stop and eat our sandwiches, and then onto the boat. It was rather chilly, but Deb and I had our Musser men to hold us and keep us warm. Besides, it's all worth it for this beautiful view of our city.

Ugh, I get chills just thinking about it. So awesome. I'm really getting familiar with the architecture of the Chicago Loop at this point! The tour guide said that Chicago is one of the world's best architecture cities, partly due to the variety.
After the tour was over, we grabbed our coats and walked to Millennium Park. (Of course, we did some shopping on Michigan Avenue along the way.) The Mussers got to see the Bean, Pritzker Pavilion, and the pretty birds and flowers that populate this park.

After that, we caught a cab up to the John Hancock building for drinks in the Signature Lounge. The lounge sits on the 96th floor and affords beautiful views of the lake, Lincoln Park, and the Loop. And, of course, it provides tasty beverages.

Dave's dad had some Goose Island Honker's Ale, I got a clementine passion fruit martini, Deb got a pina colada, and Dave got a Long Island iced tea. Needless to say, we were feeling no pain.

After our happy hour, we caught a cab back down to the restaurant where I had reservations: Mercat a la Planxa. The Mussers greatly enjoy tapas, but as you can guess, there are none too many tapas restaurants in Charleston, WV, so we like to take them to new places when they visit Chicago. This restaurant was very good and had really inventive dishes, but my favorite were the chocolate croquettes. Fried chocolate balls dipped in banana marshmallow, caramel, and olive oil. AHHH!
To top off our evening, we headed to the Oriental Theater for Billy Elliot, which was a cute show. The songs were catchy and the dancing was really fantastic. The plot was somewhat lacking, although it was interesting to learn about the plight and destruction of the British mining industry. All in all, a busy day and lovely time!

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