Starting the Christmas Season in Chicago

IMG_9973 (2)For the third year in a row, we’ve spent the week of Thanksgiving in the Midwest, dividing our time between family and the city of Chicago. We never set out to start a tradition here; it’s just the way it’s worked out for us so far. We even tried spending Christmas in Chicago one year, but Thanksgiving seems to work better for us, and with the decorations already in full swing, it’s a great way to usher in the Christmas season.

IMG_9924This year, our first stop was at The Oriental Institute. Someone had tuned LCB into the impressive nature of the museum’s collection of artifacts, so we were able to nerd it up for two full hours.

IMG_9936IMG_9923As a bonus, it’s located on the University of Chicago campus, right next to Rockefeller Chapel. I suspect the kids thought it much ado about broken tablets and pottery, but LCB and I found the museum fascinating, and I love the architecture of the U. of C. campus.

IMG_9984 (2)We also spent the better part of an afternoon at The Field Museum, exploring things like the Ancient Egypt exhibit (lots of mummies), the Underground Adventure (you “shrink” to the size of a bug), and of course the dinosaurs (led by the famous Sue the T.rex).

It’s also important to note that we ate pizza twice during our Windy City stay, much to the kids’ disappointment; they’d been rooting for a third time.

IMG_9961Despite the fact that we did this last year, we spent another afternoon at Millennium Park and the next door Art Institute of Chicago. We ended up with free access to the Art Institute, so LCB and I had originally decided to take a quick trip there ourselves. As we were leaving our hotel, however, two of the three kids changed their minds and wanted to come with us, so we bribed the third (The possibility technically exists that we’ll stop for chocolate!) and off we went.

IMG_9969 (2)Afterward, we ate a late lunch that turned into an early dinner at the Walnut Room (in the former Marshall Field’s now turned Macy’s on State Street). One point of interest: A small princess delegation was there that day (not sure if this is a holiday thing) walking around asking to sprinkle magic dust (very fine glitter, it seemed) on the kids. Baby-Girl, still deep in her belief that expressing an interest in princesses will reflect poorly on her developing adultness, did her best to try to sink into the depths of her winter coat and remain unnoticed. However, one friendly princess persisted, and due to her parents’ insistence on politeness, the princess managed a mini-sprinkle while the boys looked on in horror. It was close there for a second, but the boys themselves were able to escape being sprinkled by doing their best to look suddenly manly. I bring this up for those of you who have smaller children; in years past, Baby-Girl would have loved this. When she was younger, I used to dread the princess lines that seemed to last forever, but this is a way to slip in a princess visit while eating and perhaps while even consuming an adult beverage if you so desire. Just saying.

Other highlights included a visit to Water Tower Place, a jazz service at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue, a steak dinner for LCB and myself, and just walking the streets of the city at night.

On our last day in the city, we hailed a cab to take us to the rental car we would be using to drive to see family. And this is where this recap would probably have concluded…if we had taken any other cab but the one we did.

To be continued…

Leave a Reply