A Travellerspoint blog

"Chicago, Chicago.... on State Street, that great street"

A great city

sunny 27 °C

Tuesday, 20th May, Room 23265, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL

We pick up where we left off in Seattle waiting for our 3¾ hr flight to Chicago.

Once boarded, we watched bags being loaded by this young man and his buddy, ours not amongst them. Did this bode badly for our arrival at O'Hare? We have experienced before our bags being loaded on an earlier flight, then just sitting around in the baggage hall.


Oddly, it was cloudy virtually all the way, given we had such a clear flight into Seattle. But we had a great flight attendant, Laurie, and John & her became quite a double act! We agreed that John should wear an airline blanket with a hole cut in it for the head, whenever he eats. All those clothes being ruined.

BEEP BEEP BEEP, Severe storm warning just came on the TV. Not sure what we are supposed to do??

Managed to eat these, though, without too much mess, thanks to the clever device of a buttonhole in the American Airlines napkins which you can use to fit to your top shirt button:-

Bob's Teriyaki Beef


John's "Chicken Hot Pot Pie" Crepe with pureed sweet potato.


We could just glimpse downtown as we approached O'Hare airport.


We waited, and waited for our bags. John went and checked at the baggage desk and they confirmed that our bags were on our flight. As he walked away, Bob was waving to say they had arrived, last but one bags off. Phew!

We bought 3-day transit passes, assisted by a pleasant young man, then caught the Blue Train to the nearest station to the hotel with elevators to street level. A couple of cops on the train offered reassurance that was not really necessary.


We had requested a room with a view but this is difficult in the 1920s city centre hotel. But we got a nice, huge room, with two bathrooms, with this view..


We are on the top (23rd) floor and we can also glimpse the "El" - elevated railway or "Loop". We can use the "Executive Floor" express elevators which can only be called with your room card. And much of the floor consists of the "Executive Lounge" with free drinks and breakfast and, if you so fancy, "canapes" and "cocktails" at happy hour. All thanks to Bob's Hilton Gold card. We also get free Internet, otherwise charged at $14.99. So we have done well out of that card.

Bob in one of the "executive" elevators


For the next couple of days, we joined all the other tourists enjoying this wonderful city. Not much commentary necessary, really.

Under the "El" by our hotel


Bob in the Palmer House lounge


First morning, we "skip" the free breakfast in favour of one in the diner next door. "Beef & Brandy Diner"



We took a great tour of the fabulous Chicago Theatre, photos of chandeliers especially for Paul


We then had a mosey round the "Selfridges" of Chicago. Still known as "Marshall Field" by Chicagoans who refuse to accept that is now a Macy's. We went to the luggage dept. to confirm we had made a good buy in Las Vegas (we had!) and had a long chat with the assistant who asked us to describe the Las Vegas Macy's. Think he had always wanted to visit it, but in his 50 or so years, has not gone to Las Vegas.


We took a water taxi from near there to Union station and spotted this guide dog being chatted up...


We had dinner in an incredibly busy bar, Millers, which had been there since 1950. It felt like "Cheers".


John had delicious roast lamb with spinach (& ricotta) pie and oven browned potatoes (unusual to find lamb on a menu)


and Bob had griddled veal liver and bacon with mashed potatoes and carrots


This morning, we spotted a couple of nice hats...



We paid $7 each for 24 hours bike usage. Each trip has to be limited to 30 minutes, so we used these to get from Milennium Park to Navy Pier. A nice quiet bike lane turned into a busy road bridge over the river, but we got there safe and sound.


Navy Pier was inundated by school kids and others slightly older doing Zumba


and, spookily, see that guy again with the fez


and then again when we are queuing to get on our boat for a lake trip. We had a long chat with him. His parents were from Morocco though he was born in USA. He was fascinated to hear about our Moroccan neighbours in Spain!


We then caught a bus to the Hyatt Regency where there is a Hertz agency to collect our car for the next leg of our trip.

We had taken TomTom to guide us back to the Palmer House but could not get it to boot up. So, head down, and out into the swirling lunchtime Chicago traffic. Bob map read and we made it without incident (phew) back to the hotel. Then the valet said valet parking was "full" and we would have to self park. We did not want to go through all the aggro of getting our car back then suitcases in. A couple of dollars magically found us a space in the valet parking.


Suddenly, we have a new view! They are repairing the stonework. This guy outside our window on 23rd floor.


Shortly, we are going back to "Marshall Field" for early dinner in their wonderfully dated dining room.

More soon from the Mississippi.

PS Dancing with the Stars (US Strictly Come Dancing, made by BBC World Enterprises) final is on at the moment and has been for the last 2 hours, and the finalists haven't danced yet.... And you think SCD has too much padding!


Posted by Johnash 18:47 Archived in USA

Table of contents


All that sumptuous food- incredible. If you are dedicated carnivores there's a restaurant in Chicago "Fogo du Joao" that is carnivores paradise. Chicago looks good from a distance, glad you're still having fun.
Are you taking the Mississippi paddle boat cruise?

by MC

You sure are making the most'n'best of your time with a great mix of experiences! Would love to do the Chicago Theatre tour - and hear that mighty Wurlitzer play (memories of Blackpool's Tower Ballroom come to mind). Safe onward travels ....

by IanT

.....My kind of town too. Beautiful theatre and yes, glitzy chandeliers to die for! One trusts Arthur didn't scrawl graffiti all over the place when your backs were turned unlike naughty Francis. Now it appears to me that the fez wearing gentleman is in fact a leading member of the MRTSS (Mazarron red tomato security service) who's been sent out to keep a very low key watch on you all, alas his disguise has now been blown! Have to say "oven browned" potatoes look very delicious. R does a very similar dish know as "oven blacked" ;) Finally don't be fooled by the stone cleaning peeping Tom, he's clearly in cahoots with mr Fez he just has a slightly higher position. Eat your heart out Roxy....x

by Paul

What a place and you certainly made the most of your time there. We are wondering just how you are going to cope with the very poor menu del dias after the sumptuous food you've been having!
Love the picture of you both at the bottom of the grand staircase.....very butch ! x

by Cherry and Chris

You certainly looked like you where having fun in Chicago and I'm impressed that you hired some bikes to get around on. Is this going to be a new hobby for you to take up when you get back?
Great pics, keep having fun xx

by Antonia

Not only Elvis but Tommy Cooper in disguise.

by Brien

Did I read correctly bikes? Now me thinks you should get 2 when you get back home what good exercise. But I did not see John on the bike xx

by vivienne

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.