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The Windy City

29 Aug

One day as I was bored at work, I stumbled across the fact that Aerosmith was touring.  Perhaps most people would not think twice about this tidbit; however, I LOVE Aerosmith.  As a child, when my family would take road trips or go camping for the weekend, I would hop into the backseat of my dad’s F250, walkman in tow, excited for the drive and the chance to listen to my favorite cassette – Pump by Aerosmith.

In high school, Aerosmith came to Minnesota.  I was super excited until my mom informed me that concerts were dangerous so I couldn’t go.  My dad, and usually my partner in crime, did not have my back on this one – waste of money he said.  Not cool.  Senior year of high school, we had to write a biography for our final English paper.  My paper was entitled “Dream On” and was about, who else, Steven Tyler.  So, I would not let this opportunity pass me by.

Naturally, I wanted my sister to come with me.  I scanned through the venues and chose Chicago – close and cheap to get to from Minnesota, cheap and easy from DC and neither of us had been there despite growing up only an 8 hour drive away.  To the windy city we would go!

The concert was AWESOME!  We rented a car at Midway and drove out to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre.  My sister and I love car rides and were treated to satellite radio, which meant 90s on 9 and some great sing-alongs to classics such as MJ’s Black and White, a little Alanis and Savage Garden.  I know, I know – I should have recorded a sound byte to share with you all.  Instead, here is a photo:

The concert was incredible and Steven Tyler can still hit those notes like a shrieking eel that for some reason you just love.  I was also stoked that they played, What it Takes – one of my favorites!  Don’t doubt for one second that I was doing my very best to channel Steven Tyler.  There also may or may not have been some rock star kicks for emphasis and demonstration of badassness.

Wish we were closer, but it was still awesome!!!

While we were in Chicago, we decided that we may as well check another stadium off of Jess’s (my sister) list – she wants to go to a game at every stadium in the country.  So, to Wrigley.

©2010 Heather Freitag

Ah, Wrigley field.  Bud light in hand, we found our seats over in the corner and were pleased that our internet scouting was correct and we were not in fact behind a pillar.  For those of you that are planning a trip to Wrigley, here is a helpful blog post that lists the locations of the pillars: http://chiblogo.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/bad-seats-in-the-house/

Cubs v. Braves – a game I could really not care less about – was fun and my sister could check off yet another stadium.  We both got Chicago dogs, which were good, but not the best hotdogs we have ever had.

Millennium Park

The first image that many people associate with Millennium Park is of the giant, mirrored bean sculpture, entitled “Cloud Gate.”  When I was telling my sister about it before our trip to Chicago, I would refer to it as the big bubble.  The bubble, bean, blob or whatever you want to call it is actually a 110 ton sculpture made from highly polished stainless steel plates.  It looks like the little mercury bubbles from the hand-held maze games that used to be around in the eighties/early nineties.  The effect is spectacular.  The sculpture, created by Anish Kapoor, reflects the skyline and clouds beautifully and with incredible clarity.  It’s also just fun.

©2010 Heather Freitag

Here’s us having fun with the reflection:

©2010 Heather Freitag

My sister loves dinosaurs, so here she is with the Windy City Dinosaur by Chinese artist Sui Jianguo.

©2010 Heather Freitag

Batcolumn

Being from Minnesota, and being big baseball fans, we had to see Batcolumn by Claes Oldenburg.  Oldenburg is responsible for the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center.  Originally from Chicago, Oldenburg created a 101 foot tall baseball bat made of steel and arranged into an open latticework structure.

When I first heard that there was a sculpture entitled, Batcolumn, I thought it would be the animal soaring vertically perhaps to fit in between cave walls or something.  My boyfriend went straight to Batman and my sister thought it would be a bat standing up with its wings wrapped around itself.  Once we knew it was an Oldenburg, who likes to use ordinary objects as his subjects, we should have known that it would be of a baseball bat.  Located a bit out of the way, Batcolumn is outside of the Harold Washington Social Security Administration Building at 600 West Madison Street.  Worth the short sidestep to go see it.

©2010 Heather Freitag

Navy Pier

©2010 Heather Freitag

Navy Pier is a fantastic place to go, especially on a warm day.  The breeze off of Lake Michigan is refreshing, boats are everywhere, colors are vivid and the place is bustling.  Unfortunately for my sister and me, we were a bunch of dummies and did not plan our time out.  The sad result was that we did not get to go on one of the boat tours.  They have different touring options, but we wanted to go on the architecture tour.  If you go, check the boat schedules and plan accordingly.

We did, however, go on the giant Ferris Wheel.  The very bored looking photographer who takes a picture of your group before you get on is horrible, so don’t rely on him for anything beyond “yeah, this picture proves I was there I guess.”  I’m not afraid of heights, but this thing is tall and it is a little sketchy feeling when you are up so high in this little gondola.  Fun though, and very good views of Chicago.

©2010 Heather Freitag

One thing I will say – Sunday in Chicago pissed me off.  We had the hardest time finding anywhere to eat lunch that wasn’t either a fast food chain or an Irish pub.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Irish pubs and in fact, have spent so much money at one of my neighborhood pubs in DC (The Irish Channel – if you haven’t been, you should go) that I could likely have gone to Ireland and back a solid handful of times.  Still, we wanted to eat somewhere other than a pub.

At long last we did find a Mexican restaurant to eat at.  Usually wandering around the city would be enjoyable but this was incredibly irksome because we needed to pick up the rental car and get to the concert!  I’m fairly certain this closed on Sunday nonsense has some historical background connected to the church which was making me even more frustrated – perhaps more on this in another post.  Anyways, the point is just note that you should check if places are open on Sunday and stay away from downtown which is empty.

Overall, Jess and I both really liked Chicago.  We were only there for 2 days and wish we had much more time to explore the jazz, blues, food, art and bars of Chicago.  I’m sure we will be back!



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Posted by on August 29, 2010 in Travel

 

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