My kind of town, Chicago is

I heard a lot about Chicago, mostly about the jazz & blues scene and the cold winters. I had the chance to visit very briefly while in college. I really wanted to go to a piano jazz bar. However, as fate will have it, I was a day or two shy of my 21st birthday. In Europe, this wouldn’t have been an issue but here we can drive at 16, be in a war at 18 but are not responsible enough to drink until we are 21… Anyway, the funny thing is that I didn’t even drink back then (it’s all over now 😉 ). I went to Chicago just for a day. I remember walking along the river and having the distinct feeling that I was in one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping

(0:44) Walking Along The River / They Are Walking Between N. Michigan Avenue and N. Columbus Drive Bridges, Chicago (Note: They Are On The North Side Of The Chicago River Walking Toward Columbus Drive)

 

I was mesmerized by the tall buildings (there aren’t many skyscrapers in Berea, Kentucky). We really wanted to find the Sears Tower, so we walked towards the tallest building we could see. Of course, the closer we walked, the tougher it was to know which one was the tallest… We made it but only to be turned down for a ride to the top with ten minutes left to closing time. What a bummer.

Two years ago (in June of 2014), I returned to The Windy City for a professional conference. I had very little time to explore but I had the chance to walk along the water, through the park, and on to the famous Bubble (Cloud Gate in Millennium Park). I enjoyed the wide sidewalks and taking in the refreshing 70 F degree air – a welcomed coolness after Knoxville’s 80s-90s F degree weather.

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I tried one of the hot dog places that was supposed to be the best in downtown (Portillo’s) but I wasn’t impressed. Maybe I just chose the wrong type of dog? The other thing that just had to be tasted right at the source was the Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Now, that was good! I met a friend who was also in town for a conference and we had a great time at Gino’s East pizzeria. Ginos with AmyDeep Dish Pizza

This time I did make it to the top of the Sears Tower – now called Willis Tower. The views are spectacular and for some reason the jazz theme song from  Moonlighting TV series popped into my head (Al Jarreau). I too stepped into the glass box dangling 103 stories above the ground and had my picture taken for the world to see how brave I am! But most of all I just took in the panorama and enjoyed smart cocktails with strangers. There is just something so romantic about the sunset over the lake and the city lights, high above the ground…

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The Navy Pier is a must when visiting Chicago. We concluded our Chicago trip with a wonderful boat ride into the sunset…

 

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So for now, so long, Chicago. I will return in search for that perfect piano jazz/blues club. Any recommendations are welcomed.

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