Well, last weekend my daughter and I planned a last-minute trip to Chicago when we heard there was an event at the Randolph Street Market – the Midwest DIY Bloggers Roundup. We spent some of our time at the event (with demos and networking) and some of our time exploring the city, since it was Raya’s first big trip!
We took the Amtrak down, which is THE way to go with a 4-year old, as far as I’m concerned. I was able to get a little work done on the train, she was able to put her feet up (and visit the bathroom every hour, because that’s what tiny bladders have to do). She doodled and looked out the window and our 4-hour trip went really smoothly.
The blogger event was really nice! It was a FREE event, as long as bloggers pre-registered (check) and it was sponsored by my friends at Blitsy Crafts, as well as by Randolph Street Market, Hometalk, and the Chicago Athletic Association. I got a change to chat with people I knew and with brand new faces, as well. Poor Raya was very patient through the “work stuff”, though, and we shopped the market before hitting up the city and some of the sights!
Raya’s favorite stop was the Shedd Aquarium, and I really enjoyed it as well! They’ve got an amazing aquatic show and the Amphibian exhibit is on display right now. After the Beluga whales, Raya loved the stingrays, and my favorite were the seahorses!
We also saw more of the city on the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. tour bus. We weren’t too late to check out the night tour (night tours run for another 3 weeks, until September 26) and it was very cool to see the city lights at night from the double-decker bus. Raya loved the tour so much, she’s been telling everyone at home about it!
The tour is my favorite way to see the whole city (even in the rain – as you can probably see we had). What’s awesome about the tour is that it’s not just a bus driving around, but you get a guided tour. Every tour guide is different, too – they’re essentially performers, which means that even if you see the city with one guide, you can get more out of it by hearing another guide! It’s a hop-on, hop-off setup, which means you can stop for a break anytime you like, and pick the tour back up when you’re ready.
You may also have caught my post on Wednesday showing you how to make a souvenir shirt into a simple pillow – Chicago Trolley gave us a free t-shirt with our tickets (and Garrett’s popcorn, too, among other freebies and discounts!) but it was too big for Raya. So we made it into a souvenir that she could still enjoy!
We also visited Millennium Park, Chicago 360 at the John Hancock Tower, the Rainforest Cafe, and a few other great family-friendly places in the city. I tried to be in the moment more than behind the camera as much as I could, and Raya was really digging the quick videos – that girl is excited to become a YouTuber someday! Haha. So I combined some of our fun and goofy video clips with some of my favorite still photos in this quick 2 1/2 minute video that I wanted to share with you guys!
We had a GREAT weekend to wrap up the summer. I love Chicago so much – and now Raya is a fan, too! I can’t wait to head back down again soon – little brother should be old enough next year to come along with us. But this summer, we had an awesome girls’ trip that we’ll both remember for years!
Thanks for joining me today, and have a great weekend!