Celebrating My Golden B-day In Chicago

Day one

Words cannot describe how I felt when it was time to pack up and go to Chicago. I was  nervous, excited, scared but at the same time so ready for it, since me and my family had be wanting to do this trip for months!

Not only had we start pre-buying and pre-packing things for this trip, we were also pre-planning what we were going to see and do there, to really get our money’s worth. We had already discussed what restaurants we were going to try out, the activities that we were going to do, the landmarks we were going to check out, and even printed out a precise schedule of everything we hoped to do at Chicago, so the trip would go perfectly!

Which is why right after my 21’st birthday (which was April 22nd) everyone was pretty excited and went to bed early, just so we could make it to Chicago on time. Because since it’s a 4-5 hour drive from Michigan to Chicago, Illinois, we wanted to be out the door by at least 9:00am to be able to fit everything into the time slot we had planned for.

Getting ready for the epic road trip!

Which suprisely, we did, which kind of shocked me, since I thought we were going to be super late, but we weren’t. Me, my two sisters, my two brothers and my mom left right on time, and begin our wonderful road trip to the windy city around the time we had wanted.

We drove for a good 2 and half hours until we rested some, and eat and drunk our pre-packed hoggies and bottled water, and then got back on the road.

Then finally, we had made it to the city of my dreams, Chicago, and boy, was I excited!

Pictures of Chicago downtown and Lake Michigan from the minivan’s windows.



Once I seen the marvoulus city in the distance, me, my brother and my sister all started taking pictures outside of the car window, trying to capture good shots of the many tall skyscraper buildings, and Lake Michigan that was right along us on the freeway.

And thanks to the rental car being a 2018 Buick minivan, we had some great GPS to navigate us directly to Chicago – which we could see in the distance. We also had it to direct us to the Go Grocer store to pick up our Airbnb keys, as well as to the Airbnb itself, so we could unpack all of our many bags that we piled in the car.

Outside of our Airbnb.

But once we arrived to the Airbnb, it was a bit old, creepy, dark and probably wasn’t the best stay I ever had, but at least it was pretty close to where we wanted to go next, which was the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Because all we had to do was just walk about 13-15 minutes from the Airbnb to the Zoo, and that was it! And since the Lincoln Park Zoo is always free 365 days a year, we didn’t even have to worry about getting a ticket or having a wristband — or nothing! We just walked in and started touring the gigantic park, and seeing the many animals that were there.

Lincoln Park’s zoo main sign.
Some guy looking directly at a monkey through a glass screen.
A zebra eating its lunch.
Me looking at camels.
A male lion with two lionesses.

Then after the zoo, we got pizza at some small local pizza place called Giorgio’s on Division, and then went back to our Airbnb to chow it down. And then a little later we got dressed in our p.j’s and called it a night!

One of the two Giorgio’s on Division pizza’s that we got, that was a bbq chicken and cheese pizza.

Day two

The next morning we woke up around 6:00am, and started our day. We ate breakfast, which consisted of bagels, hash brown patties and orange juice, and then got dressed and returned our Airbnb keys to the Go Grocer store across the street. We also had already packed up our stuff again, back into the rental van, because we no longer had to stay at the Airbnb, since we only planned to stay there for a day and a half.

My older sister packing up all of our stuff into the back of the rental minivan.

However, we still planned to tour Chicago even more than the first day, even though we checked out of the Airbnb. Which is why right after that, we went to the Willis Tower (which is the tallest building in Chicago btw) and went out on the SkyDeck, to view the beautiful skyline of the city (and just about all of Illinois).

Me sitting in the SkyDeck.
Me again.
An up-close shot of my Adidas Superstars on the SkyDeck floor.
A picture of Chicago buildings and Lake Michigan from the Willis Tower window.
A not-so-great-blurry-picture of me and my family standing near a Willis Tower poster, that a tourist took of us.

Then once we left the Willis Tower, we bought some souvenirs at a Walgreens which was about a 5-minute walk from there, and then walked around the Loop. And while we were in the Loop, we hit quite a bit of stores, like Forever 21, Agaci, T.j Maxx, Urban Outfitters, Old Navy and Macy’s, while my two brothers toured the Feild Museum, since they didn’t really want to go clothes shopping with us. But they totally missed out, because it was so much fun shopping and just walking around the city in general!

A restaurant we walked past as we were walking around Chicago.
A picture of Chicago’s tourist bikes down near the Loop area.
A train that rode past as we were walking.
The shopping stores in the Loop.
My sister walking to Forever 21.
Me in Forever 21 picking out a fanny pack.

And then after walking and shopping, me, my sisters and my mom told my brothers to meet back up at the Beam (which we eventually did) which was right along with the Crown Fountain, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion – which was all located in Millennium Park.

A red structure near Miliunum Park.
Me sitting on a bench near the Crown Fountain.
An up-close shot of me with the beam in the back.

Then once we all met back up, it was around 2:30pm, and we were so hungry and tired from walking around the city, that we quickly grabbed a bite from Big ‘n Little’s, which was actually a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives — which was pretty awesome!

My two sisters shared a bbq po’boy that Guy Fieri ate in one of the episodes, while me and my brother both ordered two Chicago style hot dogs, that had mustard, onions, tomatoes, peppers and some seasonings on it, while my mom and other brother ate two big’ole juicy hamburgers.

The bbq po’boy.
The Chicago style hot dog.
The cheeseburger.

And after that, we then made our way to the classic Navy Pier. But by the time we got there, the weather had kind of turned for the worst and felt like it had dropped to the mid 30’s with no sun! And it was already in the 50’s and kind of chilly when we first arrived to Chicago, so by the time we got to the Navy Pier, it was so cold and windy that we ended up leaving as soon as we got there. Luckily though, I was still able to take some good pics of it, which made me pretty happy. (:

The Navy Pier’s Ferris Wheel.
Stairs that lead down to a walking area near the Lake.
A boat near the Navy Pier.

And then finally, we ate one last time at another restaurant for dinner called Mello’s, and then it was time to hit the road back to Michigan again! Once everyone finished their food, used the bathroom and put on their coats, it was time to pile up in the car, and set the GPS back to our apartment address.

Inside Mello’s restaurant.

Of course, it was a bit sad leaving, but at the same time, I was kind of ready to come back home, because my eyes were so heavy and tired, and my feet were starting to feel a little sore from doing so much walking, that the thought of coming home didn’t sound bad at all.

Plus, I guess I wasn’t too sad leaving, since I got to chill back in the minivan, and listen to an audiobook we picked up called Wonder, which made the ride back a little more interesting.

The evening sky as we left Chicago.

But anyway, the trip had finally ended, and my golden birthday treat was done, and we finally arrived back to Michigan around 12:00am. We all unloaded our bags back up to our rooms, and pretty much went right to sleep.

It was such a long day, but also very fulfilling as well! I couldn’t believe all the stuff we had done and seen in a day and half, and how much fun we had! I truly did enjoy myself at Chicago, and I will never ever forget that trip. My golden birthday vacation was truly remarkable, and I’m so grateful I got to spend it with my family and experience so many things with them!

So I hope you guys liked reading about my great adventure in the windy city, as well as getting to see the many pictures we took there too! Please share your thoughts in the comments down below about my trip, as well as any experiences you had in Chicago. Did you ever visit there? Or better yet, did you ever visit there for your birthday or your golden birthday? Because if you did, I would love to know!


xoxo – Arianna♥

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