Saturday, August 22, 2009
Most summer vacationers choose something outdoorsy, even nature filled. However, they don't live where we do, which is prime resort country in Michigan. Hiking, boating, tubing, enjoying nature, we can do all this right from our backyard. We just really needed to get away. So, this summer we opted for a city-cation in beautiful Chicago.
We paid cash, of course. We were surprised to see how far our money could go. I used hotwire.com to book a hotel room at the Palmer House Hilton for just $89.00 per night. I also got 3% back by booking through ebates.com. This was the most amazing four star hotel. Check out the snuggliest bed ever...
We visited Shedd's Aquarium (which gave me free admission because I am a member of the MEA teacher's union and my husband a discount because he has a student ID as he is in seminary pursuing his doctorate.) I love the dolphin show and seeing the beluga whales.
We brought a bag of food from home to save on breakfasts and snacks in the city. The Art Institute of Chicago was very close to our hotel. We got discounts on admission again like we had at Shedd's. We ate dinner at the Corner Bakery Cafe which has great food and good prices for being in the most expensive part of town.
Our biggest splurge was on tickets to see a show called Cavalia (check it out at here) from one of the creators of Cirque du Soleil. I can't say enough good things about this show. If you are going to be in Chicago this summer, it is a must see! Our concierge at the hotel (I know we had a concierge isn't that crazy?) got us tickets to the sold out show. When we arrived, my husband's seat had a broken chair back. The head usher was wonderful and said, "Follow me." She upgraded us to the most expensive seats in the house, 4th row center stage. What a blessing!
Then, of course, we had to visit the Magnificent Mile. That place is the most budget busting temptation. We did well though. There was a stop at the Lego Store just to take pictures of all the cool things made with Legos, the Hershey's store which had super tasty cupcakes for only $1.75, and Borders bookstore. Wow, that bookstore was huge with lots of titles to browse. Hubby found a Tolkien book, but nothing for me.
We headed home via a stop at the Brookfield Zoo. No discounts, but enjoyed a great day in the sun with all the animals.
Our vacation was relaxing, fun, and a refreshing change of pace. We set a budget, used discounts, and did a little research to get the most bang for our buck. I heart Chicago! (Although hubby is glad to be away from the traffic.)