Wednesday, April 26, 2006

24 Hours in Chicago

So I was set to attend training in Chicago. Since I had never been there before, I really wanted to see as much of the city in the 24 hours I had before the training started. I am glad I did that because once the training started, I was pretty much stuck in the hotel.

My adventure started Saturday night. While checking into my hotel (which was the Hyatt Regency, awesome hotel) the guy at the front desk answered all my questions about where to go and where to eat. So, I got all checked in and headed down to an area of town called Wrigleyville.

Wrigleyville was really cool. I got out of the cab right in front of Wrigley Field. Now, I am not a baseball fan, but I still found this pretty neat. Wrigleyville is like a district of sports bars and dance clubs. I hopped in a few bars and ate dinner at a place called the Ivy. It was a pretty cool Irish pub. Food was great. The people were also really friendly. Both men and women were very outgoing and talkative. I didn’t feel like I was by myself at all. I hung out with a really cool group of folks and watch the Bulls lose in the playoffs.

I got up the next morning and decided to go for a run. I did some searching on the web and found a great route. I ran a 13 mile route that started at the Navy Pier and headed up to Lincoln Park. Looped through Lincoln Park and headed back. I have never seen that many runners out. It was amazing. (route 2 & 3 in the pic)

I got back to the hotel for a shower and a quick rest. Starting to get hungry so I headed down to Michigan Ave, also called the “Magnificent Mile.” You name it it had a store. It even had a North Face store. I had to stop in to see their running gear.

Eventually, I worked my way down to a restaurant called Big Bowl. It was great. I had some spicy Crispy Thai Fish. Looking at my watch, I new I had better get moving. I had seen a Ghost Tours bus the night before. I thought it would have been neat to to go on that. I headed back to the hotel to hop the net to see if I could book a tour. No dice, they only did them on Fridays and Saturday nights. Oh well.

On my way back to the hotel, I began to see a lot of women wearing red hats and purple dresses. Started of 5 then 10 then 30 then…there was honestly an army of them gathered. One word of advice: don’t even think you are going to get through a crowd of them without getting heckled! It was brutal. One of the grabbed even me to be in a picture. Pretty funny.

I left the hotel and headed to the Chicago Institute of Art. Along the way, I walked though Grant Park. I was awesome! It had all kinds of statues and people out walking around. Chicago is a pretty busy town, even on a Sunday afternoon.

The Art Institute was great. I spent about 3 hours walking around. I got to see many of my favorite impressionists and artists like Gauguin, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Monet. They also had some great works from Kandinsky and Pollock. But no Worhol that I saw…bummer.

The Institue closed at 5. I could have spent another couple of hours there. I headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit and grab a shower before dinner. I got all ready and grabbed a quick cocktail in the down stairs bar which was much quieter that the night before. I met some cool people also in from out of town.

Dinner time. So I decided to head to Wicker Park. Wicker Park is a very cool, trendy part of town. The bars and restaurants down there are pretty cool. I had some very good sushi. My waiter was very nice. However, he didn’t speak a word of English. But I could tell he was being very nice. At least, I think he was. Now, I wonder what he was saying!

Stopped in a few of the local places there. More Pubs, more cool people, had a great time. I headed back to hotel. Feeling pretty satisfied that I had seen a good deal of Chicago. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time.

From Chicago I hopped a plane to Las Vegas. So that is where I am now. In my hotel room and Treasure Island (yeah, I know, pirates. Did you expect anything less from me) watching the sun come up on the mountains over looking the desert. Pretty neat. More to come….