Tuesday, May 16, 2006

OFF TO CHICAGO!




Hi, I’m Tim, but most people just call me Smitty. My girlfriend Jessica and I went to Chicago to visit her parents towards the end of April. We left Nashville a day early though to give us a chance to run around and play in Chi-town. Below is a few things we checked out:

We rode the South Shore Line in to town to avoid the hassle of driving a car and it worked out wonderfully. I totally recommend mass transportation when riding in and out of Chicago because it makes the day a lot less stressful.

We got off at Randolph Street and instantly were surprised – tulips in bloom everywhere! If tulips were currency in this town we’d be rich, but alas they’re not, so instead we just marveled at how great they all looked and took a bunch of pictures. As we wandered the city the rest of the day, we found the tulips were everywhere.

We walked across the street to check out Chicago’s brand new Millennium Park. It’s a massive open area that borders Lake Michigan on one side and Chicago’s towering skyscrapers on the other. It was built to unite the city and its people through the tradition and architecture of Chicago along with the celebration of the arts. I’m not really sure what that means, but this Big Mirrored Millennium Bean was really cool!

After the Millennium Park, we did a few of the normal Chicago things (Sears Tower, Michigan Ave., etc.), but then we realized something…we were super hungry! Jess, being the wonderful girlfriend that she is, knows how strong my passion is for sports and made the great suggestion of eating at the ESPN Sports Zone.

With close to 3,000 TVs on the walls, sports memorabilia at every turn and awesome sports-related games in the arena, the ESPN Sports Zone is a sports lovers dream. We got a great booth facing the 12’ by 16’ main screen (that’s feet, not inches) that came with a mini-TV of its own. The restaurant was running 12 different feeds of sports content and just by touching the screen at our table we were able to select the one we wanted to watch. All this, plus the food was the best I’ve ever had at a themed-restaurant! Jess and I ordered a Warm-Cookie Ice Sundae dessert that came out in a frying pan with you guessed – a big ole Chocolate-Chip cookie with ice cream and a bunch of other stuff on top. The ESPN Zone was reasonably priced and rocked our faces off!

After the great meal, our travels took us to the Tribune Tower, where the Chicago Tribune newspaper is headquartered. In 1922, the Chicago Tribune hosted an international design competition for its new headquarters and offered a $50,000 prize for "the most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world". It’s pretty close. Not only does this building look great, but the outer wall at the base of the building has rocks and bricks from places all around the world. We saw rocks from the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon, the Great Pyramid, the Berlin Wall…they even have a rock from the Moon!

We headed back toward the shore at this point because I wanted to check out Buckingham Fountain. WARNING! The Buckingham Fountain is only turned on from May 1st to October 1st. I didn’t get to see any water, which is kind of the point of a fountain, but maybe I will someday.

Jessica and I had a full day in Chicago. We caught the 5 o’clock train leaving town, rested on the hour ride back and arrived at her parents’ house in time for supper and a night of playing cards.

I hope some of these new and not-so-popular places in Chicago make your trip fun and exciting like ours!

Smitty for Tuesdaystraveler.com

7 Comments:

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Smitty,

Great review! Sounds like your day in Chicago was fun and busy. Great tips on city transportation. Sometimes in new places people are afraid of public transport but the big cities seem to have it down to a science. It is, by far, the cheapest and easiest way to get around.

Your description of the dessert from the ESPN Sportszone has my mouth watering! I guess the only thing this review is missing is some Chicago Style Pizza!

Thanks for the review on the Windy City!

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Traveling Tom said...

Smitty,

Too bad you couldn't see the Buckingham Fountain. At night they do a light show in the water that is really awesome!

Thanks for the tip on the Tribune Tower. I'm surprised they were able to get a piece of so many famous landmarks from around the world! The pictures of the building in the link look great, too.

Thanks again!

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Megan said...

Hello Smitty and all other travelers out there!

I've been to Chicago a lot of times, but I haven't seen the Millenium Park yet. It looks great on the website link. I suppose Chicago might be trying to go for something similar to NYC's Central Park?

The tulips look really pretty, too!

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Tim M said...

Did you take that tulip picture? That is a great photo.

I love Chicago. It is my favorite town. You left me itching to go back up there soon. You need to go back later this summer for Taste of Chicago when all the restauranteurs set up shop in Grant Park... oh such good eatin.

 
At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

I want to go to Chicago! There's so much to do in the city, plus it's super easy to get around.

I'm always wary of themed-restaurants as well, so I'm happy to hear that the ESPN Zone is above average. My husband would love a place like that!

Thanks Smitty and thanks Tuesday for putting up this site!

 
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