Playing Hotel

Since last Wednesday, my apartment has played hotel to two different friends from college who had to be in Chicago for interviews. While I’m 100% sure nearly any bed in any hotel in Chicago is infinitely more comfortable than my futon, I’m also 100% every hotel in Chicago costs more than $0, so I was happy to help my friends out.

My first friend was only in town Wednesday and Thursday, so I didn’t see much of her due to my work schedule. The other friend, however, was in town over the weekend, which gave me the perfect excuse to play tourist on Saturday and Sunday.

After drying out and warming up from the Jingle Bell 5K, my weekend friend, another college friend and I all headed downtown to catch a showing of Life of Pi. I actually had little interest in seeing the movie ahead of time, but with nothing else to do that day I was happy to go to a movie for the first time since I moved to Chicago six months ago. All three of us were impressed with the movie and found it to be visually stunning. I’m no movie critic, but I definitely thought Life of Pi was worth two hours of my Saturday.

After the movie, the three of us trekked up to Lincoln Park and met up with my roommate at Pars Cove, a Persian and Mediterranean restaurant. The vibe was a little more date night than girls night, but the four of us had a great time anyway. The food was full of flavor and the price was perfectly reasonable, especially considering that the menu made it sound like the price we paid only covered our entree, but we ended up getting a sampler platter, soup, and dessert in addition to our entree for just the entree price. To top it off, the owner brought over roses for all four of us after the meal, which was definitely a first for me.

We spent a long time at dinner and called it a night as soon as we paid the bill. Because of that, our original Saturday night post-dinner plan became our Sunday post-dinner plan: Zoo Lights!

zoolights

I love Christmas lights, so I felt like a kid in a candy store at Zoo Lights. It didn’t quite beat Garden d’Lights in Bellevue for Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen, but it was definitely a close second. I couldn’t stop raving about how pretty everything looked as we wandered around. Zoo Lights even rivaled my Friday evening homeward journey, where the greatest thing of my life happened:

holidaytrain

I caught the Holiday Train!

I had looked at the schedule and thought there might be a chance the train would be where I needed it to be after packet pickup, but a slow running bus all but dashed my hopes of some serious CTA holiday cheer. As it turned out, the train was running off schedule anyway, so I was able to catch the train and experience all of its seasonal glory.

Have you done any fun or seasonal things for the holidays yet?
Have you seen the Life of Pi?

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14 thoughts on “Playing Hotel

  1. I haven’t seen Life of Pi but I do want to read the book before I see it and as I haven’t had much time for reading lately, I’m most likely going to have to rent/Netflix the movie.

    This is my third Christmas as a Chicago resident and I have yet to ride the holiday train!

    • Oh no! I hope you catch the holiday train someday. Seriously: happiest commute EVER.

      I’m not normally much of a see-the-movie-before-reading-the-book kind of person, but I’m really interested in reading Life of Pi now that I’ve seen the movie. It’s so visually intricate that I’d like to see how that’s done in print rather than on screen.

  2. That is pretty amazing! The train! Too bad I’m not in chicago these days, otherwise I would have stalked it. Long, lingering dinner with friends is always a great evening. I love really long dinners.

    I have not seen or read Life of Pi, but I’ve heard great things. And, I’ve also been an infrequent movie goer since moving to Chi. I think I’ve gone 2ce in the year and 2 months I’ve been there. I don’t think I paid for either time hehehe!

    • It’s expensive to see movies in Chicago! I’m not going to drop $11 every weekend to see a movie, you know?

      I had every intention of stalking the train on Saturday, so I was pretty excited that I magically encountered it on Friday instead of being totally creepy and sitting on the platform forever waiting for the train to get there haha. It’s totally worth stalking if you’re ever in the city while it’s running, though!

    • YES! They have people dressed up as elves that stand at the door and hand everyone mini candy canes! Then of course the train is all decked out in holiday cheer, including the “ads” near the ceiling — they’re all holiday jokes and such. And then they play Christmas music the whole time! Seriously: best commute OF MY LIFE. Everyone deserves a commute on the holiday train.

  3. it is my absolute dream to ride on the holiday el but i don’t think it’ll happen because i’m pretty sure (sadly) i won’t ever move back to chicago. also i love zoo lights! the dc zoo does it but it doesn’t hold a candle to lincoln park. when i went to the LP zoo lights a few years ago they handed out these 3d esque glasses that made all the lights look like little snowmen. i thought it was the coolest thing ever.

    • Oh no! You should come back to Chicago for a weekend for the exclusive purpose of stalking and riding the holiday train haha. And those glasses sound so cool! Bummer that they didn’t have any while I was there (although let’s be real: my happiness-meter was pretty much at full capacity, so that might’ve pushed me over the edge and made me explode from happiness haha).

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