Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicago, IL vs. Moline, IL

Which would you pick? You might be surprised by my answer but first let me give you some background information.

The Husband is spectacular at planning for birthdays, etc.  I really am quite jealous of his planning skills and wish I could be as good as him.  Shhhh...don't tell him I said that.

This year for my birthday, he decided he was going to get me tickets to see Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean in concert.  The closest he could find, that worked best with when my birthday is was tickets in Moline, IL for January 19th.  So being the great guy that he is he decided to purchase the tickets and then book a room at the Radisson, which is located right next door to the venue, this way we could walk over and not worry about parking, especially since it is the middle of January.  He then decided when it got closer to time I could choose where I wanted to go the night before, like Chicago or something.  Blech, doesn't he make you sick?  He really is that good at planning things.


Of course, I decided that I wanted to go downtown Chicago, lately I have been focused on wanting to go to the Shedd Aquarium.  Not to show my age or anything but it has probably been 15-18 yrs. since I last visited the Shedd.  So we booked a room using Priceline.  Criteria 4 star hotel on/around Michigan Ave.  Come on Conrad...fail we were booked at the Sofitel.  No problem though I figured it would be a great hotel as well.  Wrong, it sucked.  Yeah, I said it the Sofitel SUCKED.  How the H E Double Hockey Stick did it get 4 stars?

Oh wait, I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.  Let's start from take off.  I wanted to actually leave earlier then we did but we finally were able to leave around 10:00 a.m. or so.  We dropped off in Lafayette to get some lunch and by the time we got back on it was snowing so hard and the roads were not that great but we soldiered on.  We decided to stop in Merrillville, IN at Albanese.  It is the candy factory and the Husband loves their gummy bears.  Yeah, it is my birthday but we need to make him happy as well.  So we were off again, driving in the terrible weather and paying ALL of the tolls, because they like to F you hard with the tolls.

We finally arrived downtown, with lots of traffic but I started to relax a bit.  I love to see the city as we drive in, every aspect about it excites me.  I just love downtown and looking around.  We pull in to the Sofitel valet parking (because of all of the snow and slush who wants to walk from a parking garage with their luggage.)  Look who just got F*ed even harder?  $63 for valet parking????  Are you kidding me?  I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit.  So they unload are bags (this is where they start to not impress me at all), they have maybe two people running valet and once they have unloaded our bags on a cart they are not even monitoring them, are you freaking kidding me?  We walk in to the hotel and I can tell it is not really to my taste but as long as they have hot water and it is clean I will be a happy girl.  We get checked in and things seem to be getting better, the valet shows us to our room, puts away our bags and hangs up our stuff.  Before leaving he shows us around our room.  After he leaves, we decided to find somewhere that is within walking distance to eat.  Since I just paid $63 to valet the car, I am thinking I do not want to eat anywhere super expensive.  Since the Husband has never had real Chicago style pizza before I decided that he needed to experience this.  Luckily Gino's East was not that far of a walk away, plus they actually had a Groupon as well.  We waited outside for about 20 - 25 min. and then about 10 min. inside, but it was worth the wait!  The Husband was impressed as well.  We then walked around some of the stores on Michigan Ave. (the ones that had not closed yet) and we had a good time.  The problem occurred when we got back to the hotel.  I had stripped down, because I was cold and my feet were soaked.  All I wanted to do was take a hot shower.  The Husband turned down the bed and guess what there were some stains on the sheets and hair on them too.  GROSS!  We called downstairs and asked them to have someone come up to change the sheets and explained the issue.  There were no apologies but someone finally came up to change the sheets.  See why I said this hotel sucks?  Again, how does it have four stars????

Sunday arrives and it is time to check out.  We get everything ready and head over to the Shedd Aquarium.  I am so excited and I can not wait.  We pay our fee, almost $70.00 for the two of us but I don't care, I know that it will be worth it.  I was wrong.  We did have a good time and it was neat, I really enjoyed seeing the belugas but it was just not worth the money and not as cool as the aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.  It really just does not compare.  However, we did enjoy ourselves, so that is all that really matters.

The time had come to drive to Moline, IL to see the concert.  I was so excited but of course first we had to make a quick stop at Portillos to get some lunch.  You can not drive through the Chicago land area and not eat at Portillos.  That would be a crime.  I love their Italian Beef sandwiches, nothing compares to theirs.


We arrive in Moline a couple of hours before the concert starts.  This time the hotel is clean and honestly it is a lot nicer then the Sofitel.  We decide to order room service for TGI Friday's, since the wait in the restaurant would take to long.  We eat in our room while relaxing and watching TV.  The time for the concert arrives, I am so excited.  The facility is a hop, skip and a jump from the hotel.  We walk right over there and it takes no time at all.  Literally the venue is right next door to the hotel.

The concert was awesome.  Both Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean were great!  I am so glad we went.

The next day we decided to try out Johnny's Italian Steakhouse for lunch.  The atmosphere was great, the food was good and our waiter was entertaining.  Next we walked over to the John Deere Pavilion to look at the museum.  It had a lot of neat and interesting information plus all of the big tractors that you could climb on.  Seriously, the Husband and I are like little kids.

It was time to head out...There is actually quite a bit to do in the Quad Cities so I wish we could stay longer but unfortunately it was a bit of a drive back home, so it was time to head out.

It really was a great, early birthday weekend!  So which place did I choose as my favorite?  I chose Moline, IL.  Although I still love downtown Chicago, everything is so expensive and I just did not have as good as a time as I did in Moline.  Maybe it is my age showing...I mean I am almost 31.  :-)

Which would you choose?  Until next time...keep on adventuring...

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