A Bean To Remember...
Chicago Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
***Am looking forward to a return trip to Chi-Town this spring, and making it to a Cubs game, although Cubs tickets are few and far between....
I received a phone call from my Sake Bomber Brother, Bill (the_bill), that he had received a terrific deal on Priceline.com for a four-star hotel in Chicago. "Who do you know who will be attending?" I asked. Tim from Austin (TYoungTX), was the email reply. That was good enough for me! Ready or not, here we come!
I knew Bill and Tim were all geared up for Chicago. I read the travel forum, and the Meet Up had the potential for 6-8 Chicagoans as well, so I was PUMPED!
Bill and I each took off Friday from work. Early in the morning I jumped into my gold Concorde, nicknamed "Nikita," and met Bill at the Mall of America, got Bill loaded up, and we headed East.
***Sorry to all the Chicagoans who messaged me AFTER we were enjoying ourselves in your town....we shall have to ensure better communication next time BEFORE arriving in Chicago as there was as many people messaging me about not being able to make the meet up, if not more, than the Chicagoans who were present for the meet up....next time we hope to include you all!
The Hyatt Regency was fabulous, and, as we found out, a mere two blocks away from where Tim was staying at the Hotel 71. The first Chicagoan we met, who was actually a graduate from the University of Minnesota, was Ron (jetsetboi), who is very hip on the Chicago night life scene and lives smack dab in the middle of everything downtown! Thanks for all the rides, Ron, your hospitality was amazing!
At Leona's, we met Michael (mmarc2000), who rounded out the male bonding.
After Leona's, we headed down Clark Street, and just had to see Wrigley Field. I was amazed at how much renovated Chicago had experienced since my last time through! I don't recall feeling safe around Wrigley Field my last time in Chicago, but was amazed at all the new condos, renovated store fronts, and cleaned up neighborhoods.
On our trip back, we stopped at John Barleycorn's for a few beers, and sized up the young population inhabiting the Wrigley area. But after a 19 hour day, even Minnesota boys can get tired, so we retreated to our hotel for the evening.
Saturday morning Bill and I got up early, to do some retakes on photos from the previous night.
Tim was meeting Ron for Dim Sum, and they asked if Bill and I would like to join them into Chicago's Chinatown. We dined at The Phoenix. We tasted so many wonderful treats, it was simply amazing! Try bubble tea, if you get the chance. We then wandered around the Chinese garden, and discovered which Chinese Zodiac year each of us is. I was born in the year of the Ram, and so is my daughter, and my son was born in the Year of the Pig, and somebody very dear to me was born under the sign of the Snake.
About 2pm, it was time to head to 10-Pin, a downtown Chicago bowling establishment, for bowling with a twist, and to see how many Chicagoans would be in attendance today. Michael was in attendance, and we spotted Alicia (agarcia) wandering around looking for us TravBuddies. Alicia is a world class bowler and civil engineer, and great ambassador of Chicago! After a couple rounds of bowling, we headed down to Millenium Park to see the outdoor ampitheater. We also got treated to "The Bean", the ice skating rink, and the water fountain blocks. The pictures of "The Bean" simply speak for themself.
Getting hungry, we wandered our way to Berghoff's German Restaurant, an establishment in operation since 1898.
On Sunday, Tim had texted Bill as he was at the airport heading back to Austin. Bill and I still had some more picture-taking to be had, down at Millenium Park and Grant Park, and the much heralded boat tour up and down the Chicago River. Yes, absolutely....don't miss the boat tour!
And just as suddenly, our whirlwind weekend in the Windy City was over.
I learned a few lessons you don't want to soon follow: Internet in the hotels, at least in Chicago, is not free. Try the internet cafes, or coffee shops. A $5 cup of coffee is alot less expensive than the daily fee for hotel wifi. Hotel parking in Chicago is not included in the price of the room, either, and the parking ramps near the hotel are a LOT less expensive in comparison. And, if you want to dine, do so at eating establishments. I am still smarting from my $13 vodka red bull and $14 mini pizza, and I was still hungry thereafter!!!
Outside of the cold wind, I loved the warm Chicago hospitality, and new TravBuddy friends I was able to meet. I look forward to seeing all of you again, whether at a future Chicago Meet Up, or back in Minneapolis at a meet up here in Minnesota next summer. Hats off to you, Chicago...I absolutely loved it!
We hope to see more Chicagoans on our next trip to Chicago, and leave a warm hand extended when we shall be hosting our next meet up in Minneapolis as well.