Birthday Chicago Road Trip

As we continue updating our black log of travel, we have arrived in September and Ryan’s Birthday Road Trip to Chicago.


We left Raleigh and headed to Noblesville to see Ryan’s sister and family. We drove through the remnants of hurricane Harvey which made for quite a drive. However, we made it safely. While we were in Noblesville, we visited the historic downtown. After coffee for the adults and a cupcake for Will, we went for a tour of the historic jail. The Sherrif used to live in part of the house and the jail was in the back of the house. The ladies jail was separated from the men and the children’s cells were on the top floor. It was quite interesting. We even watched an old movie of a stunt driver who used to live in the town. Will got shut in a cell and learned a lot about privacy, or lack thereof, in jail.

Since the weather was so nice, we went to have dinner on the lake at Wolfies. It was a lovely afternoon to watch the birds and have drinks on the water. When we finished eating, we headed over to the park to walk off our dinner. We walked to the top of the dam and saw a wedding and a large cultural gathering.


The next day we headed up to Chicago to meet my sister, brother in law, and cousin for brunch. We had breakfast at a great spot called Hutch. I had some great chicken and waffles and we all shared a pitcher of mimosas. We also had some amazing totchos- tater tots covered in cheese, egg, chorizo, and avocado. After breakfast, we headed to check into our hotel in Lincoln Park: Hotel Lincoln. It was beautiful and had a lovely view of the zoo, the park, and the lake.

Once we dropped off the car and our bags, we caught the bus up to Wrigleyville for a baseball game.

The Cubs!

We were able to modify Erin’s reservation to get two more tickets to Wrigley View Rooftop bleachers. I’m not sure how much of the game we watched but we made lots of friends stealing people’s sunscreen from the rooftop next door- everyone was burning and was super excited when we got someone to throw us theirs from the next roof over. We had a great time enjoying ballpark food. Ryan got to try his first Italian Beef. They even had some gluten free naan for him instead of a bun. We can’t tell you who won but we had a great time.

After the game, we caught the bus back to the hotel. They had a happy hour up on the rooftop and we joined the party for a little while. It was pretty busy and service wasn’t very good. So we made our way to back to our room to enjoy the lovely afternoon with quieter views for a bit before getting ready for dinner.

Birthday Extravaganza

Later that evening we met back up with Ted and Will. We took the elevator up to the bar at the Hancock Building. We had some fancy cocktails and watched the sunset over Chicago. Thanks to Will and Ted, we were fortunate to get a front row table right against the window.

Then was the moment we had all been waiting for. Ryan had asked for only one thing for his birthday while we were in Chicago: deep dish pizza. We took a poll of our family and ended up going to Lou Malnati’s. Thankfully they have a great system. The wait is long and it takes almost an hour to cook a deep dish pizza. So when they take your name, they also take your order and start it about 30 minutes before you’re seated. It’s a great idea. So we put our names in and went next door to Velvet Taco for margaritas and more tater tots, this time with an egg. It was a weekend of feasting.

We finally got called for our table and were seated. We didn’t have to wait long for our pizza. However, I’m not sure anyone was super impressed with it. Next time we’ll have to try the other big name deep dish place. However, they did bring Ryan a deep dish cookie skillet for his birthday.

The next morning we got up and decided to walk to a brunch spot. After walking several blocks to the location, we found out that the restaurant had gone out of business. Thank goodness for google. We were able to identify another place about a mile away. It was a wonderful decision. It was a greasy spoon and the perfect way to end our Chicago weekend. After breakfast, we went and walked through the nature park across the street from our hotel. They are trying to add more green space and habitat to the city. We thought it was lovely.

Finally, it was time to head out. So we stopped by to say goodbye to Ryan’s family before we headed back to Indiana to see my parents.


We headed out to the lake to spend the weekend on the water. On the way, we stopped so Ryan could have his first cheese curds from Culver’s. You’d think all we did was eat but that’s the way my family has always operated- making plans around meals. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate for a good lake weekend. It got chilly and wet. However, we were able to take the boat out for a bit and Ryan got to drive.

The next day we headed to Shipshewana for Ryan to experience Amish Country. He had a bit of work to do so we parked him with some WiFi and my mom and I checked out the flea market and auction. We didn’t buy anything even though they had some lovely banjos.

We headed into town to check out the little shops. It’s a cute tourist town and the big draw is Amish Acres. We had at least one field trip there as a kid. We decided to have the Amish Buffet at the Blue Gate so my mom could have chicken and noodles. It was quite good.

That night we went to check out a new brewery called Hoplore. They had a nice selection and I tried a flight of options. They also had a really cool painting of an octopus wrapped around a guitar. Ryan and I looked into buying it as it really reflects us, but it was way too much.

We ended the trip with dinner at the house. My mom had saved us some morel mushrooms she had found in the spring. It was another first for Ryan. They are quite amazing if you’ve never had any. So we had a dinner of duck with heirloom tomatoes and other veggies. They raise the ducks nearby for the restaurant industry.

It was another great adventure, although we’ll have to go back to the lake when it’s warmer and we can sunbathe all weekend. I know it’s a big debate. Which is your favorite deep dish in Chicago? Lou’s or Giordano’s?

1 thought on “Birthday Chicago Road Trip

  1. Pingback:Summer Road Trip Part 1: Indiana - Another Pin on the Map

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