So, for the third time in my career I was off to Chicago for work. This time however, I was determined to see more than just the hotel!
I arranged to come in a day early and tacked a day on at the end of the program as well. This gave me a few options of being a tourist – something I, a traveler, do love doing in a new city.
Before I left, I had booked myself on the famous river boat Chicago Architecture Tour. Everyone I have ever spoken to about going to Chicago had told me I HAVE to do this. As I had about 2 hours to kill before the tour, I did a bit of walking. I walked down Michigan Ave and visited Millennium Park. I walked over to the Bean at Cloud Gate and just stood in awe for a little bit. This piece of art is immense and fascinating. The mirror ability, the reflections – it’s great to finally see in person!
I was also able to cross off two more MLB stadiums from the great stadium tour. The first night in town I went to the US Cellular Field to see the White Sox vs. Indians. Coming from NY, I was surprised what my $20 got me – I was sitting field level near the left field foul pole. Since the stadium was mostly empty I moved over a few more sections to be just a bit closer to the infield.
Everyone was very friendly. The stadium as nice. Nothing special to write about, but a rather nice stadium.
On my last day in Chicago, I went down to Wrigley Field. Probably the place I was most excited to visit during this trip. As I had most of the day free, I opted for the Wrigley Field Stadium Tour. Learned a little of the history of the Cubs and of Wrigley Field (by far, one of the top 5 most iconic stadiums in the MLB). I picked a great summer to visit – Wrigley is celebrating it’s centennial this year.
One of the things I loved most about Wrigley was the old time feel of the stadium. I got the feeling that I was stepping in to baseball as it was viewed back in the mid-1900s. Nothing is very high tech. There was only one screen in the outfield and along the seating areas. The scoreboard is still updated manually.
Also – they are going through a major renovation of the stadium. I was highly impressed by that. They are updating Wrigley, while trying to hold on to the feel and history of it. Unlike Yankee Stadium, where the update involved rebuilding a new stadium. Yankee Stadium looks the same as the old one, however, it’s new – in my own opinion, this means it lost some of its history.
After the tour, I had also stayed for the game. It worked out quite well – the Cubs were playing the Mets! Something I enjoyed that the Cubs and Wrigley do for it’s visitors – they offer a First Time Visitor Certificate. So yes, of course I got myself one!
All in all – Chicago was enjoyable! It’s a nice, comfortable, walkable city. The public transportation system is simple to use. The only time I took a taxi was to and from the airport, and when it involved work travel (going to and from the McCormick Convention Center). The only thing I wasn’t happy about – learning just why it’s nicknamed the Windy City….BRRR!