I just returned from my trip to Chicago and I have to say that I loved it. It was like NYC but clean and friendly. Two things NYC not known for. I would live in Chicago in a heartbeat. Maybe one day the opportunity will present itself.
My first day required a nap even before I met up with my Chicago greeter, Peter. By the time I met with him at 1pm it had already been a long day for me. My flight was uneventful and on-time. I took the blue line from the airport to my hotel. The mass transit in Chicago as I noticed that day and throughout the rest of my trip was easy to navigate. I got an architectural tour and history lesson of the various buildings in the downtown area and the cloud gate aka the bean. We walked for a good two and a half hours before my feet begged for mercy. He left me on the corner of my hotel that was two buildings away from the Willis tower. I napped and elevated my feet before heading out to watch a great two people play at the Auditorium theater called, “An evening with the Roosevelt’s“. It is there I met with a nice lady that hung out with me throughout the showing and guided me toward a safer walking path to my hotel. She also suggested a couple of places where I could eat a good deep dish pizza. Wherever you are, many thanks, Patty.
On Saturday I was suppose to meet my SanFran friend for the architectural boat tour at 10 am, however when by 9:30 I had not heard a peep and then was later informed their alarm had not gone off and they weren’t nearly ready. I was not happy about that. I said what I thought to mean, if that by 12pm they had not showed up I would get on the tour at 12. They understood that I would wait until 12 before buying a ticket, which would have meant that I would have gotten on the 1pm tour. We argued briefly about it as they were peeved I was already in line at 12 and they had left at 11:30amish from Rosemont in a cab and were stuck in traffic. I was peeved that it was understood that I should wait around for them until they graced me with their presence. I had a schedule of things I had paid and wanted to see. I wanted to make the most of my first full day in Chicago. The part that bothered most after that being the last time I heard from them for the remainder of the trip. It was meeting up with them after a long time that was the initial genesis of the trip. I had no other reason to visit besides that and get to see a city I had never been to. I felt abandoned really.
The boat tour was great and I got some of my best pictures of the trip from there. After the tour I took a bus to the pizza place Patty from the night before had suggested. I was concerned at first because I was not sure what the neighborhood would look like but it was for naught. It was along the gold coast. The place was nice but the pizza? I am not a fan of deep dish. Sorry I guess I am a New York pizza purist. The deep dish pizza tasted to me a little undercooked. After that I walked over to the red line around Division and took it back downtown to my hotel. I napped and then headed out to the Laugh Factory for a show. The show was great. The vibe of the people at the show was great. The only meh moment was that the headliner of the night was the least funny comedian of the night. I then headed back to my hotel via bus. It was a long commute but I got to see the nightlife of Chicago.
On Sunday I had signed up for the House of Blues gospel brunch. It was a great performance. I met a nice lady there, Tanya who was there with her son. She was so nice and friendly despite the fact that I accidentally caused her drink to spill all over her. Oops. She suggested a few places to eat and in general was very warm and friendly. I went back to the hotel and napped again before heading out to the Latin Film Festival. I played some bowling while I waited. After the movie I walked back from Illinois street to Adams St. I took my time walking and sat and rested my feet. It took about an hour to make the walk. I was in physical pain and I also wanted to take in all sights and sounds, and sometimes unfortunately the smells of Chicago.
All in all it was a great first time visit. When I go back I have list of things I want to see outside of the downtown area. I want to see the neighborhoods, the “beaches”, and the museums nestled outside of the touristy parts. I had the hot dog, the pizza and an Italian meat dish. I was not impressed with the food but loved interacting with the people.