“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” -Dalai Lama
Windy City is a serious understatement when it comes to Chicago, Illinois. Especially on the Navy Pier! Does that mean you shouldn’t go there? Absolutely NOT! I have many great memories of Chicago, but the best ones would have to be from our trip with our middle child, the youngest mini-he.
As we were all raised to be Cubs fans there was no doubt that a game at Wrigley Field was in the plans for this trip! And boy were we excited for it! However…being two Southerners and a Damn Yankee, who has been in the south for way too long, we were thinking early May would be a good time to visit and catch a game. Ummm…NOT! We were FREEZING!!! No, we weren’t just being wimps! Other fans had BLANKETS! We even saw a few snowsuits. Even through all of the cold, we had a BLAST! I had forgotten how much I missed going to Wrigley Field and watching the Cubs play. While there I introduced Hubs and mini-he to a personal size Chicago style pizza and even got mini-he to eat a Chicago dog (Hubby won’t eat ANYTHING with peppers and onions!), two things that are a must if you are visiting the Windy City.
My mini-he is a trumpet player. He has loved the trumpet since he was first introduced to it in the 6th grade. Since he was planning to continue playing through college, we decided to purchase a new trumpet for him for his 17th birthday. Schilke, the brand trumpet we purchased, is hand-made in Chicago so we were able to tour the “factory”, see where and how their instruments are made, and mini-he was able to meet the first person to play his trumpet to test the sound and the last person to play it before it was shipped out to him. Let me tell you…if you need a horn instrument, these guys are the way to go. Not only do they have beautiful instruments with wonderful sound, everything is done by a small group of people and they are all awesome!
On to the Navy Pier. There wasn’t much going on in early May, on a brisk windy day, but it was still a fun visit. We took some funny photos in front of the multiple iconic Rolling Stones lip statues, ate some amazing tamales from a small stand, and just about blew away at the end of the pier, looking out at Lake Michigan. Opening July 15, 1916, the pier has been through many changes and has had a few jobs. Originally named ‘Municipal Pier’, it was intended as docks for freight and passenger traffic. The pier then became a jail for draft dodgers in 1918. In 1927 the name was changed to Navy Pier, to honor naval vets who had served in World War I and became a training center for the U.S. Navy in 1941. After the mission died down for the Navy, the pier became classrooms for the University of Chicago in 1946, was changed back to commercial shipping in 1959 and became home to events like Chicagofest in 1976. In 1995 the pier got a make-over and was introduced as a venue, shopping, and entertainment location, with a redevelopment plan called The Centennial Vision giving the pier a makeover, beginning in 2014 and completing in 2016. The Centennial Vision mission is to keep the Navy Pier a public space with year-round entertainment. It is definitely a great place to visit. Inside, you will find Chicago Children’s Museum, Riva Crab Shack, Beer Garden and so much more. You will also find a very interesting ice cream shop with some must-try items! You may even see some uniformed soldiers milling around if you happen to make your visit during a Navy boot camp graduation!
Wandering around downtown Chicago, taking pictures, and making memories was a lot of fun. I am ready to go back for a full family trip and maybe just a Hubby and I trip. 😉
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