The Weekend We Smashed My Old Record To Bits

As you no doubt recall from the last two posts, my endless tweeting, and possibly my Facebook statuses, Momofali and her lovely, funny, and super-cute daughter visited me this weekend. I issued a challenge to you, to take a stab at guessing how many attractions I could show the two of them in the course of 2 1/2 days. I even made a little contest out of it, and decided to do a random drawing from all of the comments for a mini Chicago souvenir prize pack. But more about that at the end of this post. (See how I did that? Now you have to look at my vacation pictures!)

The weekend started off on Thursday night, when D and I drove to the city to meet Momo and Ali at Buckingham Fountain. This was going to be a triple-win: not only would their friends, who they hitched a ride with, only have to get off of Lake Shore Drive for five minutes to throw them out of the car so they could scoot on up to their final destination on the north side, but the light show would be going on, and we’d also have one tourist attraction down before they even got into my car.

Momo had just sent an exciting tweet that made me squee a little bit:


D and I arrived at Buckingham Fountain a few minutes later, parallel parked in a PRIME PARKING SPOT, literally front and center.

Then my phone rang. It was Momo.

I answered, “Hellooooo? Are you here???”

“Um, noooo…” she said. “Our axle broke.”


Yeah, so as it turned out, Momo’s friends’ car went “thunk” just as they passed through the Chicago Skyway Toll Plaza on the south side of the city, and when they pulled over, it was discovered that the rear axle broke. They were calling AAA. Buckingham Fountain would have to wait.

D and I zoomed down there to pick them up, and in a crazy visual combination of high end comedy (the sight of Momo and Ali waiting for us with their bags on the opposite side of the median from the car, because they hopped over it) and bitter sadness (having to drive away from their friends, whose in-town hosts weren’t there yet), our weekend got started.

It took forever to get home (because, believe it or not, there can be massive traffic delays in Chicago at 10:30 p.m.), and we went straight to bed because we had an early start the next morning.

On Friday morning we took the express train to the city, and then walked down the street to visit (1) Skydeck Chicago. Ali was really excited to get on The Ledge, as was I (since, now that I’ve done it once, I’m all over it). Momo was not. HOWEVER, Momo DID, with little-to-no hesitation, get on The Ledge! And liked it! We had a great time. I have lots of pictures from my own camera but asked Momo if I could use the one she took, because it’s so perfect. Check it!

Chicago 2011 024

Then I asked Momo to take my picture from one Ledge to another.


After Skydeck, we walked to (2) Marshall Field on State Street (now officially known as Macy’s, but you all know how I feel about that), so I could show them the Tiffany ceiling, one of my favorite things in the world.


From there we walked up State Street to Wacker, where I told them about (and showed them) (3) Marina City, my dream residence. We took pictures and walked up the (4) Riverwalk and checked out the (5) Vietnam Memorial, the largest one in existence outside of the one in Washington D.C. We walked to the stairs at the Michigan Avenue (now the DuSable) Bridge.


At the top of the stairs is not only the (6) best street corner in the entire world (Michigan/Wacker), but also the brass plaques that are embedded in the sidewalk, marking the (7) original site of Fort Dearborn.

We crossed the bridge and I showed them the (8) Tribune Tower in all its gothic glory, with the architectural artifacts from all over the world embedded in its outside walls and its extravagant lobby just inside.

We walked the length of the (9) Magnificent Mile, even though we didn’t do any shopping, and I showed them the (10) original Water Tower, which is one of the few buildings that survived the Chicago Fire of 1871. Then we ate lunch at the (11) Signature Room, on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building, where we were able to spot our next destination.


We took a cab to (12) Navy Pier, where we got on a (13) 60-minute Architecture River Cruise (so fun!). This was my third such cruise, and I still learned so much. I highly recommend you take one if you come to Chicago! (and especially if you live here!)



Did I mention that Momo hates heights? That’s why, of course, I decided to take them to Skydeck Chicago, the Signature Room, AND the (14) Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, which I have never ridden, by the way, because I’m afraid of heights too.


But you know what? It wasn’t so bad, once I stopped thinking about the whole Ferris Wheel coming off of its axis and rolling into Lake Michigan, crushing everything in its path. (It happens in movies!)

Momo wasn’t a fan. Here’s a picture of her, right after I said “Smile like you love the Ferris Wheel!”


While we were at Navy Pier we also checked out the (15) Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and bought (16) Garrett’s Popcorn, which is HEAVENLY. I wish I had my camera ready when Momo tried it for the first time. Pure Joy.

We then cabbed it over to Millennium Park where we saw the (16) Bean and the (17) Crown Fountain.



We had time before our train (ahem, and we were ahead of schedule according to the typed itinerary I carried in my pocket all day), so we walked past the Art Institute of Chicago so Momo and Ali could see the famous (18) lions up close and personal-like.


Took the train home and got (19) Portillo’s hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches for dinner.

So THAT was Friday.

Saturday was much less ambitious, but still full of fun. We went to the (20) Museum of Science and Industry where Momo had a run-in with a Baby Wipe-flavored jelly bean (as a part of a live science experiment about taste buds). We spent a couple of hours there and then ate lunch at (21) Ed Debevic’s, where the staff is intentionally rude. It’s hilarious. Our server introduced himself as “Benny ‘the Jet’ Rodriguez”. Every now and then the staff dances on the tables and the bar for the guests.


He then accused Momo of staring at his butt, and called Ali “Dirtball”.

By mid-afternoon we were back in my town and rested for a couple of hours, then went to my downtown area and walked the (22) Riverwalk, checking out our Carillon and beach at the same time.


We met Michelle and Weaselmomma at (23) Lou Malnati’s for deep dish pizza, where Ali disappeared into a glass of lemonade and Momo coined my new favorite exclamation, “Woo Hop!” (thanks, auto correct!)


We found an alleyway that was really cool, with an in-progress mural. It was great for pictures.


And just a little creepy. But I still love this picture!


On Sunday morning, it was time to take Momo and Ali back to the city, to catch their ride (in a rental car!) home. We decided to try the (24) Buckingham Fountain thing again. It was a beautiful day for it.



It was such a great weekend. I adore Momo (but you probably know that), and Ali’s awesomeness is beyond description. I told her she is welcome to come and visit me any time (even if her mom can’t come along. SORRY MOMO! I prefer for you to come, but I’m just sayin’ that she’s welcome here anyway!).

You can read Momo’s summary (and see some great pictures!) by clicking here. It was a little sad to say goodbye to Momo and Ali, but I’ll be rooming with Momo in San Diego in three weeks so it wasn’t as painful as the goodbye normally would be!

And now for the business of my giveaway. There were ten comments (I took out Momo’s and Megryansmom’s first tweet comment–the one w/out the url). The winner will be receiving the following:

~Mints from the Museum of Science and Industry
~”Mapkins” of Chicago (yes, they are napkins with a Chicago map on them)
~A Chicago pencil
~A Skydeck Chicago magnet

Prize pack is valued at approximately 1205 Japanese Yen.

And the winner, via Number 9, Jennifer W!! Yay you! DM me your mailing address and I’ll send your stuff!


  • Sami

    Thanks for coming up with the perfect itinerary for me to use when entertaining out-of-towners. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the Yen!

  • Heather

    You? Are an awesome friend. And the ONLY person I would want to take me around Chicago, even though I am familiar with the city. You are seriously awesome. I loved the recap- It looks like everyone had a blast and an awesome weekend 🙂

  • Jennifer W

    Awwwwww! Thank you! I’ve been feeling kind of homesick, and this will be the perfect pick me up every time I want to move back. DM on its way!

    Also, until now I thought my sister was the queen of walking Chicago tourist attractions but O M G, I bow to you as the uber-queen! I’m exhausted and I didn’t get up off my couch! I love that you guys are afraid of heights and still did all those fear-inducing things.

  • Michelle

    Ok, so when we were arguing about how full Ali’s lemonade was and how much she’d drunk, why didn’t you just pull out that picture? Holy COW did she drink a lot! 🙂 How was her tummy that night? so glad to be able to meet up with you. So now that you’re done hosting people, have you started putting together our itinerary for San Diego? 😛

  • DaddysFishBowl

    DUDE!!!! I would so like to hire you as my tour guide when I finally take a trip to Chicago. I’ll be sure to give plenty of notice so you can clear your schedule. What’s the going rate for a tour guide these days?

  • Tara R.

    Wow! That was an amazing city tour. I want you as my guide next time I visit Chicago. You got some wonderful photos too.

    My daughter was in town several weeks ago for a school conference and took a architecture cruise. She loved it.