Chicago. Day2. (Architectural river cruise)

Looks delicious right? Meli Cafe & Juice Bar is a short 5-10 minutes from the hotel.
I forgot to take pictures of the store front. The cafe looks upscale, not the usual breakfast place you’d imagine. The interior is well done, with plenty of windows so there are a lot of natural sunlight shining in. A bright and chirpy way to start one’s day.
However, the food paled in comparison. It wasn’t WOW. The presentation was certainly good but the taste was.. well, so-so.
LY had the savoury eggs benedict with beef brisket while I had the sweet strawberry stuffed french toast! My dish was slightly lukewarm (I like my dishes to be served hot, like it’s freshly out of pan.) and the strawberries weren’t sweet!
Anyway, do you prefer a savoury or sweet flavoured breakfast/brunch? I think I prefer the savoury type, but I don’t know why I always ended up ordering a pancakes/waffles/french toast! Then I regretted.
Anyway the portions are huge! So be prepared that you are in for a hearty breakfast then you probably wouldn’t need lunch! I heard that their juices are good, but I ordered a coffee instead. I can’t stay sane without a good coffee in the morning. They serve Illy’s, just like what I always have at home, so I liked it.

Some pictures taken during the walk..

Moving on.. we headed towards to The Palmer House Hilton Hotel to collect our Go Chicago card. It’s named as the Gray Line Chicago on the webpage, address is 17 E. Monroe Street shop level Chicago IL. The counter is actually inside the hotel, and inside this gift shop on ground level. There are no directions, so you’ll have to ask your way in. It opens at 9am and by 0915 there was a long waiting line already.

I have always heard about the Go _(Boston, LA, NYC, Miami, San Fran, and etc)_ card but have never bothered to find out more. Pei Shan mentioned it yesterday night, saying that it might be worth checking it out if we plan to do the touristy things in Chicago. Basically, you pay for the one card that will give you free admissions to many of the attractions, discounts to partner outlets and priority queue. We did a little math and decided to go with the card! We bought them online here.
(i) If you order in advance, they are able to ship to you. [US ground service at $4.25 7-10 business days.]
(ii) If you are like us, the last minute travelers, fret not! you can always print your order voucher and redeem at the different collection counters. [Pick up at Ticketing centers $4.00. Find coupon code to waive that off.]
(iii) And, IF IF you are like us, who have no printer and the hotel business centre charges an exorbitant rate to print 1 voucher, you can always call the customer service for help. Tell them where you are going to collect your card, they will print it out and fax them to the collection counter.
Why the hassle? Must I really print the voucher in order to collect? Unfortunately the answer is Yes. I tried to google and find out if it’s a must to print prior to calling the customer service, but to no avail, so I decided to blog this. Hopefully, it helps to solve the problems of similar tourists like us!
(iv) Only to find out that.. it costs the same to buy over the counters!! when we collected our cards, with no surcharge! Argh! Just remember they only accept cash/travelers’cheques.

We hopped on to their trolley bus..

and headed to our 1st destination – the Pier for the Architectural Cruise.

It’s an hour cruise touring Chicago river (which runs in and out of city) and the architectural landmarks by the river banks. It showcases buildings by world famous architects and most importantly, the modern American architecture.

The below pie-looking building fascinated me. You live above, park your car in this spiral-looking, almost fenceless, super life-threatening-looking carpark, and dock your boat below. HOW COOL.

That’s the Old Post Office.

I like how the subway/metro runs above the ground, closely to the densely-packed buildings, in and out of the city.

If I have more days in this city, I’d love to take a kayak tour down the river.

The cruise was definitely informative about the architectures in Chicago, although it didn’t register inside me for long. The duration was very enjoyable, we went in awe as the guide elaborated extensively and patiently about each unique building. Not matter if you are a fan of architectures or not, it is still a great way to see the city!

I’ll be back with more updates of the city’s highlights! Observatory pictures coming up next!


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