Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Chicago skyline viewed from the south.

Okay, this is a long post. But, Chicago is just so cool. This was my 3rd trip to Chicago in the last year and a half. And Tonja's second. Every time we visit, I like the city more and more. Granted, we've been pretty lucky with the weather. Although, this time I did get caught in a thunder shower without a jacket and at the tail end of this trip we did experience some very hot and muggy weather. I could see how that could be rough to deal with all summer. But, it's still a great city.

The main reason for the trip was Tonja was attending a conference for work. Rather than hang out in San Jose by myself, I decided to cash in some frequent flyer miles and go with her on the trip. So, I spent Thursday and Friday hanging out in the city, while Tonja attended her conference and then we had the weekend to spend together.

Thursday. I opted to take it easy and take in the White Sox game at U.S. Cellular field. I'd of loved to have seen the Cubs at Wrigley, but they were out of town. Oh well, I'd never ventured down to the South side of Chicago, so it was an adventure. I caught the red line train down to the stadium and arrived early for the 1:00 PM game.

Not the most exciting game I've ever been to. As the White Sox lost to the LA Angels 9 to 5. But, it was a great day for baseball. I think there was literally one beer or hot dog vendor for every 10 fans. No waiting.

Friday. I headed to the popular Chicago Field Museum. Which is a huge Natural History Museum. I spent about 5 hours here walking around in awe.

Field Museum Entrance. No, it had not been seized by Somali pirates. There was just a pirate exhibit going on.

Don't worry those elephants are stuffed. I'll refrain from any Republican jokes.

This thing was huge. The photo doesn't really do it justice.

An example of a dinosaur walking his pet dinosaur. I'm kidding. I think.

Don't worry if you're not into fossilized remains, they have plenty of stuffed animals, too.
In fact, pretty much any animal or bird you can imagine they have a stuffed version of.
Many of them are 75 to 100 years old.

Saturday. Tonja and I gave up on trying to blend in with the Chicago locals and went into full tourist mode. A decision we would regret. After all, it was a Saturday in August. It was hot and muggy, so rather than walking every place, we took two bus tours of the city.

And then waited in line for approximately 3 days to get to the observation level on the top of the Sears Tower (I know they just changed the towers name, but I refuse to call it Big Willy or what ever it's called now). The term "tourist trap" has new meaning for me now. Once you got into line, you couldn't leave. And once you were in line, you had no idea how long the wait was. It was an awesome view...but in hindsight I think we might of opted for another way of spending a Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

Peering down through "The Ledge" , which is basically a glass cubicle hanging off the edge of the 103 floor of the Sears Tower. You can look straight down through the floor to the street below. Cool, but 2 hours of waiting cool? I'm not sure.

Tonja and I on "The Ledge" and yes we look a little tired after standing in line for 2 hours to get up the tower.

A view of downtown Chicago from the Sears Tower. If you're ever in Chicago and have the urge to go to the top of a skyscraper, I'd recommend The John Hancock Tower over the Sears Tower. Why? There is a bar at the John Hancock Tower. You'll need a drink after waiting in line with the tourist masses. Did I mention it took us a while? Okay, enough complaining from me. It was still fun.

In addition to site seeing, we also took in an Improv Comedy Show at Second City. And enjoyed a good meal at the well known Harry Caray Steak and Chop House.

It was a good trip. It's such an energetic city with lots to see and do. And dare I say, the people are pretty friendly. Good Times.

A few more random photos:

Hotel Room View: Night

Hotel Room View: Day

We went to this cool bar and had drinks outside in an ally. That sounds bad.

Maybe it was late, but I thought this looked cool.

Tonja looking good. This bar had cool brick walls to pose in front of.

And finally, the obligatory shot of me drinking a beer. Apparently, shocked by the camera flash.


  1. The field museum looks thee same as it did when I was a kid, back when dirt was still shiney.

    Before eyou pass final judgement on Chicago, you need to spend a few months there in the winter...

  2. LOL, yeah I've heard winters are brutal. Not sure I want to see that.

  3. Matt, your hair makes you look like a highschool kid. Great pictures of the trip. Your hotel room view is especially cool. I agree with Bob: winters in the midwest suck and lake effect snow with wind is brutal.


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