Turning 30 feels like an event that should be celebrated in special way, with the joy of familiarity and the allure of something new. Chicago, a city I’d previously visited very briefly six years ago, offered both of those things. I could spend time with my sister who had moved there earlier this year while commemorating entering a new decade in a new(ish) place with a lot to discover.
As I arrived at O’Hare Airport and made my way from the terminals to the train station, the sweet melodies of a jazz trumpeter filled the walkway leading me in right direction and welcoming me to Chicago. My sister met me at the station, and over the next few days, she and her crew of Chicago friends helped make sure that my 30th birthday long weekend was a festive and memorable one:
After a gathering on the evening I arrived, one of our first stops the following morning was Millennium Park where we saw the Bean, and I learned that it’s officially called the Cloud Gate.
A few steps away at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, we caught a rehearsal for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This structure was clearly designed by Frank Gehry. I can’t say I like the look of this, but the sound was awesome.
I had to get one last picture of the Bean with the tall buildings in the background.
After Millennium Park, we dropped into the nearby Art Institute of Chicago which houses quite a few famous paintings and some unique permanent exhibits such as a collection of dollhouse-size recreations of European and American rooms from the late 13th century to mid-1900s. Pictured above is Still Life with a Basket of Fruit and a Bunch of Asparagus by Louise Moillon, 1630.
We took a scenic ride down the Chicago River via water taxi to Chinatown.
There’s not a whole lot to Chicago’s Chinatown, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride over.
While waiting for the train after leaving Chinatown, I liked the way the station and the train tracks framed the skyline.
On my birthday, I woke up to a beautiful day and my sister and I took advantage of this by going for a walk along Lake Michigan.
Later in the evening, one of my sister’s friends graciously hosted us on the rooftop of his building and we had a delicious potluck with amazing views.
Raising a glass to 30!
It’s good to be related to people who can cook and bake. My sister made this awesome Funfetti-inspired cake from scratch!
Better than the box kind, for sure. After dinner, we went out for some Chicago nightlife and it rained on us unexpectedly. I decided to take those couple hours of rain as a good birthday sign.
My sister and I had brunch the next morning and then visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory which was full of interesting plants such as this one.
Enjoying perfect weather at Lincoln Park.