Crash Course in Chicago

In about a month the Kisa and I will be heading for Chicago…my first time. Like a virgin I am trying to school myself on all things Chi-town before the big event. I’ve looked at this adventure from every angle. Here’s what I know – we only have a week so I have to plan carefully. I am strategizing like a general, coordinating my offense and planning my attack. I want to be a tourist. Completely and utterly without shame. Food, running, culture and music. Not necessarily in that order.

Food: I am big on breakfast. Love, love, love all things brunch. I’m an adventurous eater and crave all things spicy. I already know I want a scone from the Lovely Bakery, anything at all from Salted Caramel, the craziest burger I can find and. And! And of course, a pizza from anywhere (preferably wood fired). Even though beer is not technically something you eat, finding a craft beer brewery is also a must (preferably one that makes a mean smoked porter). My plan is to get a street map of Chicago, determine where we will be each day and find the best? places to eat within walking distance of that address. So, that means 1) the hotel on S. Michigan, 2) Wrigley field, and 3) Soldier Field.

Running: I already know I want to run on the indoor track at my hotel, just to say I did it. It’s a given I will find a way to run along the waterfront even if it’s a mere mile. But, other than that I’m really not sure. According to my training schedule I will only need to find somewhere to run twice: three miles Thursday and six miles Sunday. Piece of cake. Of course I’ll have PT, yoga and strength training to figure out as well but I’m not really worried about that. The gym is supposed to be killer.

Culture: Chicago is known for art. That much I know. I’ve been told I need to find “the bean” and there’s a paperweight exhibit I just have to check out. The millies are supposed to be incredible. We’re going to a baseball game Friday night (Sox vs Marlins). I’d like to see some historical architecture. A rose garden. A wall of graffiti. Maybe take in the aquarium since fish have always been my thing. Other than that, je ne sais pas.

I think music is the only thing we are definite on. The Dead, Moe, more Dead, a little Sunday jazz, and more Dead. In addition I’m hoping we’ll catch a few street performers (like how we stumbled on Pressing Strings in Baltimore). There won’t be time for much else.

In the meantime this student of Chicago is going to watch movies filmed in the city. Maybe one or two of them will spark some ideas. First up: Drinking Buddies, High Fidelity, and the Lake House. Will I learn anything? I am really beyond skeptical… Stay tuned.

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