Finally, a day off work comes around and I think to myself, “How can I make the most of this day, one of my last few ‘free’ days before the rigorous work of optometry school starts?”
Honestly, you’d think it’d be easy to fill the hours with activities living so close to Chicago, a multicultural mecca of nightlife, concerts and upscale dining. Well, that’s just it: There are too many choices. However, I would rather have too many options than too few–the same way I feel about picking out a new pair of glasses (which I just did, by the way). In any case, me and my new crisp prescription glasses decided to hit the Shedd Aquarium and Crêpe Bistro & Martini Bar with a few of my best friends.
In natural Midwestern fashion, the day started in a whirlwind, literally, mixed with rain as I boarded the Metra and headed into Union Station. Suddenly, it was as if the clouds were feeling generous, parting to uncover the beaming sun. We were thankful for that as we took a short 20-minute walk to Shedd. Feeling like a true city girl-to-be with a latté in hand, I found myself actually trying to remember street names and directions, which I would have NEVER thought to do before… but hey, only 38 more days until ICO move-in day so I thought I might as well try to make my life a little bit easier. The city streets were like a trendy amusement park filled with all types of important-looking people rushing in every which way. Getting closer to the aquarium, we found ourselves traipsing behind a tour group on Segways. I’ve actually been on one of these tours, and although I know it seems super tourist-y, it was actually a great way to explore the city in a fast-paced way.
Luckily, many museums in Chicago offer a number of discount days for Illinois residents, and we happened to go to Shedd on one of them, so our admission was a steal at only $8. I found myself gazing at everything from a 15-foot green anaconda to the most playful beluga whales you’ll ever see. Seeing jellyfish, king crabs, and giant sea turtles was a wonder in itself, but what I found most wonderful was having lunch on the aquarium’s terrace, which offers a spectacular view of Chicago’s skyline. Nothing could have made the day better.
Until, that is, we hit one of Chicago’s hidden gem restaurants, Crêpe Bistro & Martini Bar, where I had the most delectable Nutella and banana crêpe topped with French vanilla ice cream (definitely wasn’t counting calories for this indulgence), paired with a French Bistro Strawberry Martini. The vibe was trendy, with sleek couches and bistro tables, and I was beginning to feel right at home. I sat there dreamily thinking about moving to this city and going to these wondrous places frequently in just a few week’s time.
With our hearts happy and our tummies content, we meandered back to the train station after what I would deem quite a successful day. Before entering Union Station I paused briefly and stood gazing up and into the city I love. I’ll be back soon, Chicago–but next time, to stay.