Summertime in Chicago–so much different than summertime in Nashville. Less humidity and lower temperatures make it a fantastic time to enjoy the outdoors. When we arrived we took the El into the city. Then hoofed it to the Doubletree Hotel in Streeterville. We selected this hotel for its location and its rooftop pool!
Getting to packet pickup was the most challenging of the races yet this year. I’d read that we could take an electric train to McCormick Center from Millennium Park. So, we walked to Millennium Park and started looking for the train stop, which was indicated on the map. We couldn’t find it. We asked a cop; he couldn’t help us. Finally, we found a park ranger who told us the Metra stop was across Michigan Ave. I was wondering how the map be so wrong. Upon entering the Metra station, we had to walk to the ticket counter underground for a while and towards Millennium Park. AHA! The station was UNDER the park. Upon the train, it was an easy ride to McCormick and the train lets you off right at the convention center. Note, the expo was the smallest yet. Mostly the same vendors from other races.
After packet pickup, it was time for an early dinner. And yes, we joined the older generation for a meal at Shaw’s Crab House. The three, older couples at tables around us were celebrating anniversaries. My favorite part of the email was the ice flavored with vinegar and shallots. It was fantastic on the raw oysters we had. And yep, I indulged and had a lobster roll. Fantastic!
The next morning we were up early to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Chicago 5K. We walked to Grant Park where the race started and enjoyed a 3.1-mile run along the riverfront of Lake Michigan. Then we took a selfie at Buckingham Fountain.
Starving from the run, we walked south to Roosevelt Boulevard to The Bongo Room. My friend, Erika, has raved about their breakfast for years and I had to check it out. The Bongo Room did not disappoint. I convinced Steve to share so we could try two dishes. We have two of the seasonal specials, a lobster roll Benedict and banana brûlée French toast. (I should’ve taken photos!) Travel tip: We arrived at The Bongo Room right at 9:00 and we were able to be seated right away on a Saturday morning. By the time we left, the place was packed. Get there when they open to be seated right away.
After some pool time, we went to Eataly for a late lunch before taking the Wendella architecture boat tour. I recommend both. At Eataly, we were able to sit at on of the food stations on the second floor and order wine, oysters, a salad and risotto balls. Travel tip: The servers can and will bring you a wine in the store that’s not on the wine list. We’d spotted a rosé that we wanted to try. Our server was quick to say that we could have that wine if we wanted. And, it was cheaper than any of the bottles on the wine list as we got the store price, not the restaurant price.
The Wendella boat tour was a lovely experience, partly because the weather was absolutely perfect as you can see from the photos below. It was interesting to hear about the changes the skyline has undergone and the changes still to come. After the boat tour, it was time to get ready for 13.1 miles tomorrow.