Gelato at 1,000 feet - John Hancock Observatory

Last weekend, we decided to take advantage of the lovely weather (60 degrees in November????? Sounds good to me!!) and head downtown. My oldest son was off work that day, so we figured we should take the opportunity to have a fun day when all 7 of us could participate. 

My husband had been interested in attending the Magnificent Mile Festival of Lights parade the night before. But, he's not one for big crowds and I've heard that the Mag Mile is pretty much wall to wall people that evening, so I think it's a good thing we went the following day.

After going back and forth on whether to take the train or drive, we decided to drive. With 7 tickets to buy for the train, there really wasn't a savings and it would shave off a good 1 - 2 hours from our day to drive. My husband recalled the days of heading downtown as a child (when you could still park on Lake Shore Drive!) and checking out the elaborate window displays with animatronic figures and the latest toys. He was a bit saddened to see how it's changed, but we did have a great day together. 

He mentioned wanting to stop in the information center at the Original Water Tower, so I suggested a stop at the John Hancock Center, which is just across the street. I'd been there before to dine at the Signature Room on the 95th (a must for anyone visiting Chicago), but I'd never visited the observatory on floor 94. So, we planned our day around that. Here we are outside the observatory entrance.

Once we got up, the boys were awed by the view. Luckily, it was a pretty clear day and we were able to see quite a bit of the city.

I thought the shadow of the Hancock and surrounding buildings looked pretty awesome from above. Don't you think?

Santa also happened to be there for the Santa in the Sky event. There was free face painting and balloon art done by elves and we stopped over to see Mr. Claus and all squeeze in for a pic. Santa even gave up his seat on the sleigh for me! After giving their requests, the boys turned to leave and Santa gave them some awesome advice: "Remember to treat your parents with the respect you'd like to be given." Way, to go, Mr. C.! Thanks for having my back!

Our lunch plans were unsure, but the kids were antsy for a snack, so we pulled up some seats at the Lavazza Espression Cafe, which was right there on the 94th floor. They did offer up some salads and sandwiches, including kids meals. However, when they set their sites on the gelato, I wanted some, too. How often do you get to enjoy a scoop of Hazelnut gelato at 1,000 feet overlooking the Windy City? 

Lunch turned out to be nothing special. We grabbed pizza while shopping at Water Tower Place. I wish we'd planned better, but an hour later everyone in the family was turning into a diva because they were hungry. My oldest son was begging to head over to Ditka's, which we'd passed while searching for a parking garage we'd fit into (our conversion van was too tall for the Hancock's parking garage.) However, I knew that by the time we walked over and waited for a seat, everyone would be having meltdowns. Just gives me a reason to plan another day downtown with my biggest boy. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!