The Wild Onion

Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Jun 10, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chicago is definitely underrated, even I wondered why Gav was so insistent on coming here when there were so many other places we could visit in the US. After five days here I was converted, it is a very cool city. 

Named after wild onion (yes that's right), Chicago welcomes more than 40 million tourists annually and is home to some of the world's great museums. We had a fantastic time exploring the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. I had so much fun at the Science and Industry Museum, it was just like Scitech but for big kids! We loved the Science Storms exhibit where we learnt the science behind some the world's natural phenomena including tornadoes, tsunamis, lightning and fire. I loved the simulated tornado in the middle of the exhibit!  Shedd Aquarium was the most impressive we have seen on our trip. It is situated next to Lake Michigan and is the largest indoor aquarium in the world. The highlight of our visit would have to be the aquatic show where we saw beluga whales for the first time

While in Chicago we stayed in the heart of downtown known as 'The Loop' which is a reference to the city's elevated loop train system. We frequented the Millennium Park, visiting the famous Cloud Gate sculpture and we also watched a free local music concert on Memorial Day. We also shared one of Chicago's famous deep dish pizzas. It was delicious, ridiculously unhealthy and we could easily have had one slice each rather than a half a pizza.  

Well known for its blues scene, we got out of the CBD one night and made our way to the Chicago's number one blues bar, Kingston Mines. We arrived at 9.30pm and it was reasonably quiet but it filled up within the hour. The venue was split into two. Each area had its own seating and stage and throughout the night we moved from one room to the other to see different bands. Drinks were cheap and the bar staff were relentless with the free pour. We had an absolute ball and spent the night tearing up the dance floor (yes, Gav too)!

Gav's always hard at work trying to help me conquer my fear of heights and our time in Chicago was no different. So up to the top of Willis Tower we went. Willis (formerly the Sears Tower) is Chicago's tallest building and was the tallest in the Western Hemisphere before the One World Trade Centre overtook it. The Skydeck is 412m high and I reluctantly stood in a glass box that extended 4 feet from the ledge. I couldn't bring myself to look down!

We saw our first Major League Baseball game in Chicago, well at least three innings of one. It was the White Sox versus Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field. It was a beautiful day, a few clouds about but nothing ominous. Not long into the game dark clouds covered the stadium and unleashed a torrential downpour. A thunder storm followed so we decided to move inside to the upper concourse for safety. It is hard to describe but as we looked out from the upper concourse we saw the most incredible lightening show. We also witnessed lightning strike the handrail meters in front of us. It was a blinding white light followed by a flame and steam or smoke. The lightning was striking so close to the stadium that very few dared to leave, so the beer continued to flow as we all watched the weather unfold over the next hour. 

Chicago has a really good feel about it and for such a large city it doesn't feel too fast paced. The streets are clean and from what we experienced there is some great nightlife about. I look forward to going back to Chicago one day and working my way down the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's well known shopping district, but now we are off to New York!

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