a late night visit to the south end of Chicago

Chicago Travel Blog

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Chicago canal

The next morning was the same as the previous and we made more great contacts at the show.  Dick, Rich, and Sarah all left early for their flights while George and I stayed at McCormick Place until the tradeshow closed.  We got together with one of his friends who was in town for dinner at Webber Grill Restaurant where they cooked your dinner over actual charcoal on Webber grills.  Following another massive meal, we took a 20-minute cab ride to Martyrs’ Pub to see Gan Bua (traditional Irish music).  The band was very good and the crowd was only locals, so it was an enjoyable, laidback kind of night.


From the bar, the three of us caught the last train back downtown where George’s friend grabbed a cab to his hotel while George and I took another train toward our part of town.

Gan Bua at Martyrs’ Pub
  As soon as the doors closed and the train started rolling, I realized we were on the green line and we should have been on orange.  Examining the route map displayed above the door, we decided to ride the train to the end of the line because it would be the closest stop to our hotel and there was no time to catch another orange train.


Toward the end of the ride, George pointed out that there were few cars on the roads we were passing, much less any taxis.  It then turned out that we were on a train heading for Cottage Grove and East 63rd rather than Ashland, which would have been closer to our hotel got off at the King Drive station.

late-night view from Roosevelt train station
  I had called two cab companies from my cell phone before we stopped, but it would still take them half an hour to send one to the CTA station.


We found ourselves deep in the south end of Chicago, which is not a pretty part of town.  I sat on a bench next a couple of middle-aged black guys while George checked out the bus schedules on a post.  He thought a bus might be quicker than a cab, so we walked down to the corner of Ashland and 63rd.  There did not appear to be an identified bus stop, so George went back to check the maps again while I stood on the corner.


As George was passing by the two men with whom I had earlier shared the bench, one asked “Hey, where’s your partner,” to which George replied, “He’s on the corner down there.”  The man then warned, “He don’t want to be hanging around on that corner.”  George promptly called me over just as a cab dropped someone off and we were able to get our ride.


Shocked to find two guy of fair complexion in the south end and at such a late hour, the driver inquired, “What are you doing in this part of town,” almost before asking “Where to?”  Along the ride back to the hotel, he filled us in on how unsafe the area is and expressed surprise that nothing had happened to us.

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Chicago canal
Chicago canal
Gan Bua at Martyrs’ Pub
Gan Bua at Martyrs’ Pub
late-night view from Roosevelt tra…
late-night view from Roosevelt tr…
photo by: mahoney