Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicagoing: Tourist in Your Own City

There's so much we take for granted living in the city. I remember  when I first moved here how magical everything seemed: from riding the El (elevated train), to seeing all the people, and taking advantage of all the city had to offer. But after working downtown, and living here for several years, I have become a bit jaded: I dread riding the trains, I get frustrated forcing my way through the crowds, and I'd rather be hibernating than going outside in this cold weather. Yet, we realize that there are a lot of people who spend a lot of money to come visit Chicago. So this winter break, as we were discussing our travel options, we decided we would be able to vacation with the dogs as we stayed right here and become 'Tourists in our own City'.
It was fun seeing the city through new eyes. While we've been to the Lincoln Park Zoo several times, I've never come at night. This year's Zoolights had every inch of every tree bedecked in lights. Plus, it was fun seeing the animals at night. The gorillas were sprawled out in every position sleeping, as if they collapsed mid-play.
We made like tourists heading downtown to stroll along the Chicago River
And head to Millennium Park to take our picture in The Bean. Can you tell which ones we are?
We stopped by Marshall Fields to see their holiday storefront windows; they didn't seem too interactive or over-the-top:
We went to visit some of our infamous museums, seeing the famous lions at The Art Institute of Chicago decked out for the holidays:
And actually went into the Chicago Cultural center for the first time ever, which I never knew was home to the World's largest Tiffany stained glass dome:
And we even stayed downtown for dinner to enjoy the lights along Michigan Avenue and try a new place to eat:
But unlike when we normally travel, we were able to come home to this:
Normally when we travel we end up paying a lot of money for boarding, worrying about how they're doing, and thinking about how much fun they'd be having if they came with us. So overall, it was a successful "trip". Did anyone else have fun staycations or learn something new about your city?


Anonymous said...

What a nice thing to come home to! Glad you enjoyed your staycation and even learned some things about your city!

Anonymous said...

We relocated to San Antonio in 2004, but will be moving (destination unknown) in June. This past year we've rediscovered some of the city's gems and have had so much fun!

Anonymous said...

what a great reminder-- DC is such a popular tourist destination, but we rarely venture downtown. maybe next weekend we'll take the dogs for a nice stroll around the national mall and monuments!

follow our foster:

Anonymous said...

What a lovely idea! One of the things I miss about my former city is the zoo. They also put on Zoo Lights every year and it was so much fun to get all bundled up to check it out.

Chicago has always seemed like a great city to me. I'm glad to know I was right.

Elaine Pritchard said...

You are lucky to live in such a beautiful city.

I am also pleased I found your blog because you are doing a great job of showing that pitties are lovely dogs.

Love and licks, Winnie

Kari in Alaska said...

we love playing tourist in LA. There is always so much new stuff to check out


houndstooth said...

I love visiting so many places that are well within driving distance for us, especially if we can take the dogs. We are blessed to still have free state parks in our state and visiting them has been amazing! We made it back to Starved Rock yesterday and it is incredible at any time of year. We also got to enjoy some of our own city sights decked out for Christmas, and I guess some things you just never get tired of!

We usually travel up to Chicago once during the Christmas season for shopping, but we didn't this year. I am sorry that we didn't get to go after seeing all your pictures!

brooke said...

We just passed through your city last week! It was just a half day stop over before an early morning flight but fun nontheless! I've only spent a handful of hours in Chicago... last time we went to Millennium Park, this time we went to Navy Pier. I got some Garrett's popcorn, which I heard was the best. We visited some friends up on the red line and then hung out at our hotel for the rest of the night. (if you have to stay at an airport hotel for some reason ever, the aloft was great)

Heather said...

I get the same feelings about Seattle. It's home so it doesn't seem special, although I realize a lot of people come here to visit. When I lived on the East Coast I was exploring every weekend - placed the locals could care less about. It's a good idea to explore and appreciate your city.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks like fun! Specially the bean part. I think that was you guys right in the middle, right?

A coupla years ago, my mom and dad decided to do the same thing since we also lives in a place tourists like to come. One of the things they did was go visit a wolf sanctuary that's just up the road from our town. They learned a lot and they said the neatest part was when the tour group all howled together and got the wolves howling with them.

Wiggles & Wags,

Two French Bulldogs said...

Being tourists in your own city is lots of fun. We see you in the ball.
Benny & Lily

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Living in a resort town, we a) are always glad when the holidays are over, and b) marvel that people spend thousands of dollars to spend a lot of time standing in lines. Don't get me wrong - I spent a number of years teaching skiing, and the holidays were a big boon for me. I just really appreciate what we've got out our front door Every Day. It's pretty cool, and we're really lucky to live where we do. (And it's nice to be able to ski for an hour or two and go home - knowing that it will always be there tomorrow!) And yes, it is nice to not have to worry about boarding the dogs/spending a zillion dollars for hotels/dinner, etc. :-)

-Dr. Liz (the dogs are enjoying the world-famous snow at the moment)

jen said...

That looks like a great staycation!

Happy New Year to you:)

Kate said...

I love staycations! I haven't visited DC in ages though, I should really check it out more often.

Mary said...

Thanks for posting all these beautiful holiday photos of Chicago-I love them! When I lived in DC, I hated the tourists, so I can relate to not wanting to do touristy things.

We have turned into such homebodies, it's kind of pathetic. But, having some time off work and family in town spurred us to do two whole outings around Christmas! We also went to the zoo lights at our zoo, which was really fun. I hate leaving the dogs, so having time off work is nice because you can tire them out during the day and not feel as guilty when you leave for a bit.

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