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 been 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.

Which is why right after my 21’st birthday (which was April 22nd) everyone went to bed early, so we could be out the door by at least 9:00 am, to fit everything into our time slot.

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Getting ready for the epic road trip!

Which surprisingly, we did. Me, my two sisters, my two brothers and my mom left right on time, and begin our wonderful road trip to the windy city!

We drove for a good two and half hours until we rested some, and eat and drunk our pre-packed hoagies 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!

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

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Once I saw the marvelous 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 a little after our picture fest, we had some great GPS to navigate us directly to the heart of the city — and to our Airbnb.

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Outside of our Airbnb

When we arrived to the Airbnb, it was a bit old and creepy, haha! But, at least it was close to where we wanted to go next, which was the Lincoln Park Zoo!

All we had to do was just walk about thirteen to fifteen minutes from the Airbnb, and there it was! And since the Lincoln Park Zoo is always free, 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.

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Lincoln Park zoo sign
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Some guy looking directly at a monkey through a glass screen
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A zebra eating its lunch
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Me looking at camels
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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!

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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 6:00 am, 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. We also had already packed up our stuff 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.

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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.

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Me sitting in the SkyDeck
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Me again
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An up-close shot of my Adidas Superstars on the SkyDeck floor
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A picture of Chicago buildings and Lake Michigan from the Willis Tower window
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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 right around the corner, 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 Field 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!

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

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

Then once we all met back up, it was around 2:30 pm, 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!

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, while my mom and other brother ate hamburgers.

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The bbq po’boy
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The Chicago style hot dog
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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 drastically! 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 the ferris wheel and its surroundings, which made me pretty happy!

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The Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel
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Stairs that lead down to a walking area near the lake
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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, we set the GPS back to our apartment address.

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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.

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The evening sky as we left Chicago

But anyway, the trip had finally ended, and we finally arrived back to Michigan around 12:00 am.

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!


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? Because if you did, I would love to know about it!

xoxo – Arianna♥

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