Saturday, August 24, 2013

What's In a Staycation?

A friend of mine recently stated on her Facebook page that she was off work for the next 3 days.  Of course, I got excited and asked “Where Are You Going?” and to that she responded “No where.  It’s a Staycation.”  OHHHHHHH….a Staycation?!  I got REALLY EXCITED.  Why?  Cause Staycations can be fun too!

Staycations give you a chance to do things in your own city that you never get to do or never think about doing.  A Staycation allows you to see your city the way others do.  It gives you an opportunity to slow down and smell the streets of unknown neighborhoods, walk around an empty shopping center, or have a leisurely lunch at a restaurant that usually has a 30 minute wait just to be seated.  It gives you a chance to fall in love with your city - all over again.

Recently, I’ve been on a self imposed “no travel” restriction.  Unable to leave town, I have been exploring Chicago in ways that I haven’t in a long time.  And while I will be the first to admit, I love hopping on planes and heading to new places; it's been fun to explore my own streets.

Here are just a few things I have been doing on my weekends while playing tourist in my own home town.
  • I spent some time at Navy Pier where I sat by the water and watched the boats while eating Funnel Cake. I found a deal on Jetsetter.com for a downtown hotel I wanted to experience. 
  • I booked a room for July 3rd (yes, I was surprised that date wasn’t blacked out), sent the deal to some friends and we spent the night hanging out enjoying the start of summer.
  •  I walked up and down Michigan Ave., not shopping (that’s new), but taking in the sites, listening to all of the different languages being spoken and snapping pictures of “Planter Heads” that were installed by Plant Green Ideas in an effort to promote sustainability.
  • I got up early one Saturday morning, headed to the closest beach and spent the day laying around, catching up on some reading and watching people on the bike path.
  • Some friends and I snagged a Groupon deal and hopped on an architectural boat tour where I learned that the natural flow of the Chicago River has been reversed.  WOW – that’s interesting!  I actually did some research when I got home about how they did that.
  • I’ve been to Millennium Park at least twice.  On one trip, I simply sat by Crown Fountain eating ice cream and watching children play freely in the water. On my most recent trip to Millennium Park, I discovered a series of sculptures in an outdoor gallery.  Turns out, this gallery is named Boing Gallery and the collection is titled Dangos by Jun Kaneko, who is known for his work in the field of monumental ceramic sculpture.  I found these sculptures uninteresting, yet interesting.  It was odd.  I read the information card and learned that the pieces were “representative of his past and present artistic practices” and that the ceramic steels are “covered in a variety of vibrant shapes and patterns which allow viewers to examine their environment and focus in a sense of scale and place.”  *Blank Stare*

I will say that my self imposed travel restriction has been frustrating, but rewarding.  Yesterday, I spent some time at a beach close to my house watching boats sail by.  I whispered to my friend, "Chicago is a beautiful city" and he whispered back "Yes, it certainly is".  

31st Street Beach. Chicago, IL



For more photos of my weekends out, click here.