Michelle and I had the good fortune to visit Chicago a couple of weeks ago (27 Sept. 08). We took Marta to the airport and flew out Saturday morning. We arrived in Chicago within 2 hours of taking off, at which point we sought out the L train into town. They were doing construction on a portion of the track so we had to get off the train, board some buses, ride through traffic, and get back on the train. The ride consumed a lot more time than we had planned, but it didn't dampen our spirits and we still arrived at The Loop well before noon.
We immediately started navigating the streets and looking around and up at the buildings that flank the streets in every direction. We made our way toward the lake and soon found ourselves in Millennium Park, where they have the giant bean that looks a lot like the little ones Elsa Peretti designs.
We were lucky to catch opening weekend of the Wired Nextfest, where we got a free copy of Wired magazine and saw some cutting edge technology (new Toyota personal vehicles, solid, wax-like printer ink, and a game controlled by brain waves). The tent was hot and we left after a 15 minutes.
After that we wandered toward the shore and took in parts of the bay. Our bags were getting heavy so we walked back into town to find our hotel. It was too early to check in but we were able to leave our bags at the front desk. We headed back towards the bay to see Navy Pier. On the way there I began to realize that a lot of the scenes in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were filmed in Chicago. For some reason I found this compelling. The area in the photo below was where the chase scene was filmed.
We rode the ferris wheel to get a nice view of Chicago from the pier. After that we walked up and down the pier, stopping towards the end to get some caramel popcorn from Popcorn Palace. The small bag is actually a great size and it's only $4. I half expected movie theater prices and sizes, so this was a welcome surprise. We sat on a bench by the water and ate half the bag.
I think we slowly made our way back to the room after this and rested our feet. I brought the MacBook and iPod Touch so we both had internet access. Out of curiosity we mapped our walking path and discovered that we had walked something like 9 or 10 miles.
For dinner we went out again and found Giordanos pizza. I think most tourists probably go here. There might be a better deep dish pizza off the beaten path but this was really good.
The area we were staying was in the business district so many of the stores around us were closed. We walked toward one of the colleges and found a Barnes and Noble where we ordered a coffee and a brownie.
We woke up Sunday and did some more walking. We walked along Lake Michigan for awhile and had plenty of company in the form of joggers and bicyclists. We walked south of Navy Pier, toward the Museum of Science and Industry. We didn't go in but the area is really cool. Plus it was the only public restroom we came across for a couple miles. The museums are placed near each other on a pier that juts out into the water.
We intended to go to the top of the Sears Tower, which was way back inland, near our hotel. The visibility was at zero so we hung around below for an hour. It was at 5% when we tried again. We eventually gave up after lingering around the neighboring 4 block radius for a couple hours.
We took a walk along The Magnificent Mile and looked for a place to eat. Shortly after that we headed for the Metra station to take a ride up to Waukegan, north of Chicago.