Been home from Chicago over a week now and just getting a chance to write about it. The trip was fabulous. Being in a “real” city was very welcomed. Reminded me quite a bit of Philadelphia. Same balance of urban, green, and water. Similar to the first time I went to Toronto, I immediately felt at home in Chicago.
As if I didn’t know, being in Chicago reinforced that I am indeed a city boy. I loved having interesting places to walk. Loved being able to take public transportation. Our hotel was a block away from an El stop. Loved the architecture. Loved being able to walk through the city and end up in Millennium Park and then by the lake. Loved being able to sit at a sidewalk cafe and people watch. Loved the restaurants and the art. And, since I was there for a conference, I loved seeing many of my librarian friends. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of them as I would have liked, but I should see many of those people again in October.
Chicago is huge, and I’m sure I didn’t see even a fraction of what it has to offer, but I’m glad I was able to get away from the hotel area (as nice as it was) on a couple occasions. When I went to Denver back in January, I was pretty much stuck around the hotel and convention center area because of the weather and how busy I was. In Chicago, I got a chance to go to Loyola University, which was about a 40 minute chartered bus ride from the hotel. And then one day after the conference, my wife and I took the El to an area near Superior and Wells where they have a large number of art galleries. That area wasn’t too far from the hotel, but a bit more than walking distance. While there, we also had dinner and saw a show at The Second City.
I really appreciated the art galleries, all the public art, and the day we spent at The Art Institute of Chicago. Las Vegas is seriously deficient in art, so I really soaked it all in. The Art Institute is the only other art museum I have been in that rivals the one in Philadelphia.
One of the other big highlights was the architectural boat tour we went on. It began on the Chicago River and then went out onto Lake Michigan. Las Vegas is pretty deficient in architecture as well, at least architecture that goes back prior to the 1940’s. So, I really appreciated the tour as well as being on the water.
Just a fantastic week. We arrived on Thursday night and flew out the following Thursday. A friend of ours who we knew in Vegas who then moved to Detroit came and stayed with us Thursday through Sunday morning. I had the pre-conference at Loyola on Friday. The conference proper was Saturday throught Monday. I took Tuesday and Wednesday off so that we could sightsee. We were lucky with the weather. It was very humid a couple of days but never very hot.
All of my Chicago pictures are here.