Thanksgiving in Chicago

This sculpture seems to be holding court at the Art Institute of Chicago

Just got back from Chicago and all I can say is:


Talk about windy.  Sure, I know Chicago is known as the windy city. But I figured that was just a figure of speech. Much in the way New York City is known as the Big Apple.

I mean, everyone knows that NYC really isn’t an apple, right? There’s nothing about it that tastes like a Granny Smith or a Red Delicious, is there? So, I just assumed Chicago really wasn’t windy. At least, no more than any other city.

But, no. Turns out Chicago is 100 percent, honest-to-goodness windy. Wizard of Oz tornado-in-Kansas windy, though I didn’t see Miss Gulch flying by on a bike.

In fact, those Chicago gusts nearly knocked the wind right out of my sails, and any determination I had to face the crowds on Black Friday were immediately dashed.

Ready for the holidays at the Art Institute of Chicago

So, maybe skipping Black Friday was for the best. After all, I find that for every gift I purchase, I usually end up buying a second for myself.

Besides, there’s Cyber Monday!

So what did we do instead? For starters, we stayed in and puttered. We ate leftover turkey and all the fixings, caught up on our magazine reading, and chatted and laughed to our hearts’ content.

We watched TV and lamented that one of our favorite new series, 666 Park Avenue, has been cancelled. We had a moment of silence for Larry Hagman, an actor who could channel evil like few others, and who was pure perfection in his role of J.R. Ewing on the Dallas TV series.

We did venture out on occasion. Once to see the film, Lincoln, which was then followed by a lively debate on the complexities of the man and what it took to get the U.S. Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment–the one outlawing slavery–passed.

We also spent an afternoon at the Art Institute of Chicago, saw the Chicago Symphony concert perform music from the Disney film, Fantasia, and dined at a very nice restaurant.

And, did I tell you it was freezing?

Of course, when the temps warmed a little, I got to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes, taking walks around a nearby lake.  Herewith, some photos from my trip:

A walk along the lake.

Signs of Christmas

And one more…

At the airport, a chance encounter with the The Blues Brothers.

So, what did you do last week?

48 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in Chicago

  1. I had a flying visit in Chicago a few years back – it was October, but it was blissfully warm-ish, and NOT terribly windy, for the day and a half I spent there. Great city, can’t wait to go back and catch some of the sights you did (though I did get in a Second City gig.)

    • Second City gig? Sounds marvelous. A lot of great talent has come out of Second City. You’re lucky you didn’t suffer the wind there. Only once do I remember such strong winds growing up in New York. My brother was in a school performance and we headed out to see it one particularly cold and windy night. It was so windy, that when we were walking against the wind, it felt like we were sitting down in place and that the wind was carrying us to our destination.

  2. Those pictures definately convey a brisk November coolness Monica…love the lake shot…and I think you made the right call skipping Black Friday. If it’s any consolation we’re down to -8C here in Canada 😉

    • I’m tickled pink that you like the photo I took of the lake. Means a lot to me, coming from you. -8C sounds bitingly cold. Glad I’m down here in So Cal, where the temp is a very nice 75 degrees Farenheit.

  3. I love your pictures, but I’ve always wondered how they keep those ornaments on the trees in high winds. I can’t keep the cushions in my chairs if the winds kick up. Geez. I must be doing something wrong. Glad you made it back safely and even got a chance encounter with the Blues Brothers.

    • You know, Renee, I was wondering the same thing. Such pretty ornaments. They look breakable, but are probably made from some hard plastic. Don’t the Blues Brothers look so cool there?

  4. Love the photos and I tell you what, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the *cold* that they have up there. I would just curl up in a ball and die. Smart of you to skip the shopping mayhem. I can’t imagine dragging a bunch of bags around in the freezing wind!

  5. Monica, those photos are fantastic! I love, love the one by the lake! Ah…the tranquility and peace! No one would dare say that it’s cold given this serene depiction. I’m also mourning the cancelling of 666 Park Avenue. I don’t know what the American public thinks makes for a good show! I have never been to Chicago but have driven by and fortunately, have not experienced it’s windy galls. I do, however, have a good friend who lives there and he feels the same way you do. I’m so glad you enjoyed your holiday! It sounds like you both a productive and fun time. Win win! 🙂

    • Thanks, Bella! I was very pleased with how the photos turned out. And, regarding the cold, you should remember that I now live in a warm climate. So anything less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, is COLD! 😉 Still, I have a feeling I’m going to be spending more and more time in Chicago.

    • I’m so glad you liked my photos, Kim. They’re not your typical photos of what you’d expect from a visit to Chicago. But I just found that area where I was walking, so peaceful and lovely, I wanted to share it with you. So it means much to me, that you enjoyed looking at them. Thanks!

  6. Chicago is a nice city .. . and what left a bigger (ha ha) impression on me than the wind was the size of Lake Michigan. My Thanksgiving was really nice — a perfect mix of family and friends. Not that I get into a wonderful cooking groove when I do it at my house. There’s an art to roasting turkey . . . And then there’s the spirit of the holiday, which has nothing to do with gifts, etc., or even religion. What’s there not to love about it?

    • Yes, and with Lake Michigan comes what they call, lake-effect snow. Colder than cold. I don’t know how people survive living there, year after year. I agree Deborah, about Thanksgiving. Best holiday for everyone, for bringing family together, no matter what you believe in.

  7. Glad to hear you had a great trip to Chicago, Monica! While the Windy City blew you around with your daughter, I’m glad that same wind blew my Chicago daughter to San Diego for the holiday weekend! Life is grand when we are with our families!

  8. Gorgeous pictures. I love Chicago and it’s on my “to-see” list with my kids. We Canadians celebrated our Thanksgiving last month, though I was in Miami Beach celebrating some sun and sand. I did, however, make a point of wishing all those who were working and served me in some capacity at that conference, a Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Ha ha! They probably wondered why you were jumping the gun. You, Canadians. You always have to do things differently, eh? I mean, Thanksgiving in October? Sounds funny. What next, Halloween in July?

  9. The pictures of the park are great! I have always liked Chicago but can’t take the cold, just to hard with my Texas thin blood.

    Me? After the shock of my boys telling me I was cooking for Thanksgiving I hosted dinner and hung out with the family. Stayed in on Black Friday, but finished my shopping on-line. Then did some hunting for who the family would do our Christmas donation to this year.

  10. I love Chicago. Not that I’d want to live there. The first time my son came home to Texas from Northwestern, he said, “I don’t understand why people spend their lives in that climate.”

    Did you see the miniature rooms at the Art Institute?

    • Your son went to Northwestern? That’s where my daughter is! Will graduate this year. Talk about beautiful campus. Especially in the snow.

      And, yes! I absolutely fell in love with the miniature rooms!! So exquisite. Such detail. I could have lingered there all day. Perfection! There’s an amazing doll house at the Smithsonian. All my life whenever I’ve visited the Smithsonian, I’ve had to stop to see the doll house, which is a rather large one, the biggest I’ve ever seen. But the miniature room takes the cake. So much to see!

  11. Glad to see you had a great time in my hometown. I love the pictures from your trip. They are treasures. 🙂 Let’s see um, I avoided the wind…tried to stay out of the cold. I visited relatives, feasted on red wine, oh and did some fundraising for my son’s Tampa trip. He was selected for the Chicagoland AllStar football team. I think I am really jealous of your camera. Thanks for sharing.

    • Congratulations to your son for being chosen for the AllStar team. Well deserved, I’m sure. Julene, in many ways, sounds like you had a similar holiday. We did stay in most of the time. Only ventured out for a short while on Thanksgiving Day (walk #1), saw the film Friday nite, went into the city on Saturday, and left Sunday nite. I’ve spent many a holiday in Chicago.

  12. What a fun trip you had, especially getting to visit with your daughter! Lovely photos, by the way. I really like that park bench (so inviting!). Haven’t seen “Lincoln” yet, but I want to. TV showed them decorating the lions at the Art Institute — your pic was way better!

    • Debbie, how funny that you got to see them decorating the lions and as luck would have it, I took a photo of said lions. They look quite regal, if you ask me. There were just a couple of others walking/jogging by the lake the day I went. Which made it a peaceful and relaxing walk. I loved the solitude.

  13. Chicago is truly beautiful at Christmas time. I remember being there before my eldest was born, my husband and I walked down Michigan Ave. with hot chocolates, then the wind blew, the cold seeped into my bones, with two pairs of wool socks on, my toes felt numb. I called the romantic stroll off immediately. I was four months pregnant. That was it. 🙂
    The photos are beautiful, Monica. I have one similar to that of the lake, it was taken in Rome with my daughter sitting on top of the bridge overlooking the Tiber, sure brought back memories. I love what you did on your holiday, I too caught up on my magazines, read incessantly, drank hot chocolate and played board games with my girls. The whole week went by and it was just wonderful.
    How was dear Sir Henry? was he pampered, catered to and happy to see his beloved cook return?

    • I do like the decorations. Makes everything look more enchanting. Your visit to the Windy City sounds magical. I’m so glad you like my photos, MM. I ended up taking 300 photos, and glad I got a few good ones out of it. Took one of my daughter by the lake and you looks beautiful in it, if I say so myself. 😉

  14. Love the pictures!!! Sounds like fun- and nice to see a real winter once in a while… at least you got to come home to sunny San Diego 🙂

  15. We were in Iowa for Thanksgiving and had a couple of lovely days before it turned cold. Then we flew home through Chicago and got stuck because of fog in San Diego. There’s nothing quite like dashing a mile in the cold wind from the airport hotel to the drugstore to buy overnight stuff that I stupidly packed in my checked luggage. I’m from Illinois, so you’d think I’d be used to it, but I adjusted to California weather very quickly! Love Chicago, though, and love, love, love the Art Institute. Lucky you!

    • Ugh, fog. Shary, many a travel plan has been destroyed because of fog. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stranded, delayed, spent if in airport motels because of fog. Ugh. A traveler’s worst nightmare. Or, at least, one of them. Wish I could have spent more time at the Art Institute. Beautiful architecture, and amazing exhibits. Really enjoyed it.

  16. Chicago is my favorite city at Christmas time. We even flew there when are kids were young to give them the experience of it. I loved your pictures! Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure. I envy this one since its been 27 years since my husband and I lived there for a year. We thought of making it our permenant home but Washington state won out…thanks so much for sharing this!

  17. Loved the lake photographs Monica. The art institute looks interesting as well, you can’t beat live music.

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday have made their way over this side of the pond. Had a chap on the phone trying to sell me Black Friday deals in Software, he failed when he could not tell me why it’s called Black Friday.

  18. You are a girl on the go!!! Where in the world or US will Monica be next? Loved your photos filled with spirit and sparkle. Just a short time ago–ahem–you were under the weather. Looks like you have made a full recovery.
    My college campus in the center of MI was windy sitting between two Great Lakes and next to Chicago.

    • Georgette, I know. This month I traveled to two places. But for now, I’ll be staying put. Plan to return to Chicago in June for my daughter’s graduation. Glad for the reprieve from traveling. After all, there’s no place like home. 😉

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