I’m going to break this down into days so that it’s not so much to read at once, and also so I don’t feel the need to leave out anything.
I’ll be honest, going into this trip to Chicago I was really excited. I was excited to be getting away from everything. I could have been excited no matter where I was going. I was getting away from home, work, everything for a few days and it was going to be just me and my boyfriend. I was really excited.
Sevenish hours in the car and Chicago traffic, no Chicago tolls, totally killed that excitement.
Here’s the thing, my first trip to Chicago without my family is what awoken this need to travel and these adventure seeking bones, so I expected going back to be a revival of that. With more days to explore the city and seeing The Used two nights in a row, I thought it would be epic. Eventually it was, but the first day was rough.
When I had booked our hotel online it looked like we were close enough to the Blue Line to walk. I know that it said it was close somewhere, but I’ve yet to been able to find wherever it was that I read that. So our plan was to drop our stuff at the hotel, grab dinner at The Rainforest Cafe in the mall near where we were staying and then grab the train into downtown to get to House of Blues.
Somehow we managed to get to the hotel way too early for check in and they didn’t have any rooms available early. No big deal. The mall was fifteen minutes away and I knew from having been there multiple times in the past that there was plenty to do to kill time. Plus I’d finished a giant bottle of water and Red Bull so I didn’t care where we went so long as it had a bathroom.
We get to the mall, find a restroom and wander in and out of shops for a while and head back to the hotel so we can hopefully get things out of the car and freshen up a bit before heading to dinner. This time our room is ready. While getting checked in we ask where the nearest stop for the Blue Line is. Twenty minute car drive away. That is definitely not what I read. So we head up to our room and start brainstorming. Uber prices are way too unpredictable from where we’re staying, and not knowing the area we’re not completely comfortable leaving the car at the train stop all night.
That’s when I was double checking our concert tickets to figure out when doors opened and then the show itself, and I found the app that pretty much saved our entire trip: ParkWhiz. I’m far from being cool enough to be sponsored by them, but trust me – you guys this app is a lifesaver. It’s free to download, free to join. You put in where you want to go and it shows you all the parking that’s around. Everything that we used was valet, but I’m not sure if that’s all they offer. Even if it is, the most we paid was about $20 for 5 or 6 hours and it saved us the hassle of driving around an unfamiliar city trying to find the safest, cheapest, closest parking. We ended up parking on site at the venue which was probably the easiest part of that night, but I’ll get there.
Once we had that all figured out, and a huge weight lifted off of us, it was time to head to dinner. Now the reason I specifically wanted to go the one that was in the mall was because growing up when we would go out to Chicago to visit my dad’s best friend we would always go to The Rainforest Cafe, so rarely being nostalgic for my childhood I decided why not? Last year I went to the one in Anaheim and it was amazing. This time I ordered a drink for the souvenir light up glass and my boyfriend and I both got burgers. I’m not food critic but there wasn’t much special about my burger, especially since it wasn’t even cooked the way I’d asked. It was good, sure but nothing that we ate was as amazing as the check would lead you to believe. But it was food and we were satisfied.
We headed back to the hotel and on the way I had to call my bank to release my card. I travel all the time at this time of year and this year they decided to freeze it, but better safe than sorry. It worked out and we decided to nap before heading downtown.
I could write an entire book on how terrible House of Blues Chicago is, but apparently this is common knowledge. My friends in LA were even like ‘how did you not know that?’
We got there a little late but at our HOB that doesn’t usually mean you’re not going to be able to see the stage. HOB Chicago it apparently does. We circled the venue at least five times before ending up behind the sound booth. We could see the stage but just barely and they packed people in like sardines as most indoor venues will. The Used was incredible as they usually are and once it got going it was a really fun show.
Again, being honest I wasn’t in the best of moods that night. Chicago is my boyfriend’s favorite city and this trip was my Christmas present to him. I knew I was complaining a lot and that I was kind of killing his vibe. I promised to make the next day better and be less of a drag. I have to admit, everything about day 2 was better than day 1.