9 Hours in Chicago: Birthday Shenanigans Edition

It’s my birthday! I’m 23! Hooray hooray! My parents always made a huge deal about our birthdays when we were growing up–for my sixteenth birthday, my mother lined my school commute with balloons and posters proclaiming my age to the world. For my eighteenth birthday, my parents ordered eight inches of snow and a three day weekend, and Mother Nature complied. For my nineteenth birthday, my first birthday away from home, my mom sent me a giant box filled with nineteen sets of nineteen things. For my 21st birthday, I got Ash Wednesday. And for my sixth birthday, I got a feather duster, and that was pretty awesome. So birthdays–even when they’re not mine–are big with me. But for my birthday, I tend to go insane. So my best friend, Ophelia Fedora, came to visit me for the weekend in Milwaukee, and today, we took a day trip to Chicago. Here’s what happened.

Things We Did:


  • Rode the Hiawatha backwards to Chicago. Hannah may or may not have fallen asleep on the train while Ophelia read about Typhoid Mary.
  • Met Barb and “Mitch”, a lovely older couple from Pennsylvania, who had just taken the Spirit of New Orleans to the city, and asked us for directions. They walked with us for a little bit to find the subway and were super entertaining.
  • Got confused by the subway map on the way to American Girl Place.


  • Wandered around American Girl Place wide-eyed, reliving our childhoods and mourning the retirement of Kirsten, Samantha and Felicity.
  • Had an American Girl Magazine birthday photo shoot with dolls. Our experience at AG Place was only slightly like this:
  • Found a miniature Crumbs Cupcake shop and shared an Irish Cream cupcake. 
  • Visited the Lego Store, and met Daniel, a British Lego worker who gave each of us a “Happy Brickday” sticker and gave us the idea for making a birthday crown from Lego bricks.

Lego Crown

  • Were ambushed by a cosmetic salesperson who buffed one of Ophelia’s nails, making it weirdly shiny.
  • Walked down Michigan Avenue, visiting H&M, the Hancock Building, and some other stores.
  • Stopped into Crate & Barrel, where we sat on every couch we could find, resulting in a three-way tie for the comfiest.
  • Hung out in the Disney Store, where Hannah scored a birthday crown and personalized birthday button from a skeptical employee.
Ophelia wants to adopt ALL THE BEARS!

Ophelia wants to adopt ALL THE BEARS!

  • Watched street performers near Millennium Park
  • Hung out at the Bean in Millennium Park


  • Took an impromptu trip to the Art Institute, where we visited Chagall’s America Windows, the Picasso exhibit, American Gothic, Nighthawks, A Sunday  Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and various works by Georgia O’Keefe, Van Gogh and Monet.
  • Stopped in for coffee at a Starbucks where Hannah had trouble remembering her name and before Ophelia could remind her, was called “Sharon” by Robert the barista.
  • Found our way back to the train station thanks to Ophelia’s expert navigation and Hannah’s paranoia that they would be late.
  • Enjoyed Thai food, SNL, cookie cake and “Despicable Me” when back in MKE. 

Things We Thought About Doing But Did Not Do

We thought about, but did not…

  • Spend the day with Barb and Mitch
  • Take the Ferris Bueller stance when admiring A Sunday Afternoon 

  • Ask the employees of Crate & Barrel for birthday swag
  • Buy and wear Disney Princess Dresses for most of the day
  • Eat at the Artists Cafe
  • Join a merry band of street performers
  • Crash a wedding
  • Buy a Lego set

Things We Did Not Do

We did not…

  • Jump on a moving train
  • Ride the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel
  • Get run over by a bus

5 thoughts on “9 Hours in Chicago: Birthday Shenanigans Edition

  1. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get
    my own, personal blog now 😉

  2. I do not even know how I stopped up right here, but I assumed this put up
    was good. I do not recognize who you might be however definitely you are going
    to a famous blogger in the event you are not already.


  3. Pingback: Hannah Fest 2014 | Letters from Hannah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s