The impetus for a trip to Chicago was the National Organization of Veterans Advocates semi-annual conference, but really I wanted to bring my family to see one of my favorite cities and to return to where my bride and I went more than ten years ago to my friend Jesse’s wedding (just before we got married). Thanks to my friend Jim, we had a 2/2 to stay in just a few blocks from my conference–right on the water and just 5 floors below Jim! That way, I knew where to go if we ran out of butter. The den had large windows overlooking Lake Michigan; it made for nice morning views.
After class on Friday, we met Jesse’s wife at the Billy Goat Tavern and saw the playground by Millennium Park (which I’d never seen before). The children and I agree that it’s the best playground we’ve ever visited. I’m sure the local children enjoyed a 40-year-old dude’s running and climbing with them.
That evening, we took a “ghost tour” down the Chicago River. It was interesting to hear the city’s scarier stories and to see it from the river at night.
On Saturday, I attended half a day of classes and then went to the Museum of Science and Industry; it was excellent. Several folks had told me it was an excellent museum, and they were right. Did I just use “excellent” twice? Good.
Plus, there was a mirrors maze!
Dinner was at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, because when I checked into Gino’s a few days before, some folks on Facebook said to try Lou’s place. I liked the toppings we chose better at Gino’s but may have liked the pizza itself slightly better at Lou’s. It’s hard to say for sure. More research is needed.
I watched the Alabama game at an appropriately named sports bar called Houndstooth with my friend from undergrad, Kenny.
Sunday, before we flew home, we visited the North Avenue beach and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Even though we go to the zoo a fair amount in Atlanta, Chicago’s has very different animals, and they had fall decorations and events out, like a corn maze and a vat of corn that we could play in like a sand box (but less sandy!). And a ferris wheel!
When we were riding MARTA from the Atlanta airport Sunday evening, my boy asked, “Can we move to Chicago? Or at least visit again, and stay in that same place?” I think that’s an indicator it was a good trip.