Next Stop: Chicago round 2 & Europe 2014

Hey everyone!

I just got back from Chicago again, and it was amazing, for the third time haha.

Chicago shore

Chicago shore

Every time I go I discover new things, see new places, and try different foods! It is a city that alway amazes and has so many layers to it, I recommend to each one of my readers to go, go see Chicago whether you’re in the US or abroad, put Chicago at the top of your list, it will change the way you see cities forever.  One of the places I ate at was Wao Bao, a local fast casual food concept, they serve steamed asian buns filled with different meats, bao, plus other fast dishes like rice bowls and desserts. It was so good! Wish we had that chain locally in South Florida, I also ate a great set of restaurants; Yolk! Corner Bakery, UNO’s, Giordanno’s, Which Wich, the Art Institute, and an appetizer at the Second City. The food was absolutely delectable as it always is in Chicago, I recommend each one of the places above 100%.

photo 7I experienced a new side to the City this time, as a person there for both business and leisure, in the past I have experienced the city as a family destination, solo & with group, and now for business as I was in town for the AIA convention. Each and every time the city changes, it is so perfectly designed that no matter what you go there for, you feel as if it was built just for that purpose. We got the opportunity to visit the sky deck this time, twice in an extremely foggy day, and the experience was so different than when it is a clear day. The second time it was so foggy that all you could see out was light grey, nothing else, and what an experience it was! We felt as if we were just standing inside a cloud, the noise of the city faded away into an eerie silence and calm from 103 floors up. We got a 1 on 1 experience with the employees since the tower was practically empty and they are some of the nicest, funniest people I’ve encountered. We also headed out to Oak Park to go see the home & studio of the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright, what an photo45 3experience as well! I highly recommend this to anyone who has more than 2 days in the city, it is a quick ride on the green line to the oak park/harlem stop (end of the line). Perhaps part of the experience itself was the ride there, the green line departs from the loop and heads out to the west side of Chicago, an area that has seen much better days. Lined with abandoned warehouses, condemned buildings, and a struggling yet flourishing society, it gives you a better look at the reality of Chicago and its neighborhoods on the train itself. Past the dodgy areas you reach Oak Park, the quintessential movie like American suburb, streets lined with oak trees that tower over the multi story victorian, prairie, and american style homes, quaint main streets with old school movie theaters and shops, mixed with a few popular restaurants and towering steeples, it makes for a sight that is a must see. The studio and home tour I would definitely recommend to everyone in the area, it is very insightful and really shows you the way this visionary lived and everyone in the area.

photo 4Once we were done, we simply took the green line back and continued along the city, seeing the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and its money museum, which is totally free and is an awesome experience, you get to see notes and coins from the colonies, the $10,000 bill, counterfeit bills, 1 million dollars in singles, 20’s, and 100’s, get a bag of shredded cash for free and a complimentary picture with a case of 1mil! We later had the honor of listening to the Grant Park Orchestra, part of the cities summer activities, in the one and only Pritzker pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, wow doesn’t even begin to describe it. The next day we headed to the convention, transportation was easy on the #3 bus which dropped us off as well as multiple other convention goers at the center of McCormick place. I knew it was the nations largest convention center, but I never expected it to be so massive, our hall alone was over 4 stories tall, featuring fountains that played with the design of the seating areas and the main atrium of the center. Honestly it felt like the place where all conventions should be held, we took the shuttle busses back and discovered the city has access roads we can’t see just to get shuttles from downtown to the center faster than any other mode of transportation really. McCormick place did an outstanding job hosting over 20,000 architects under just one of its 5 roofs, there were another 2 conventions there alone, and around 2 more in the downtown loop area.

On our final night we headed to the Art Institute for a photo 4private night time event at the modern wing, featuring music, drinks, and art! It was such an awesome time, I loved the Art Institute before I even got to see the modern wing (having been to the original building on a previous visit to the city), but now I can 100% agree with trip advisor that it is the best museum in the nation, more Picasso’s, Dali’s, and Miro’s in a single exhibit than you can count, then add Warhol and plenty of other artist to the already impressive line up of the original building, and it makes for an art experience that is second to none. The food at the museum was absolutely on point, and consistently good throughout the night. After we finished at the museum we took the brown line around 10pm to old photo 5town to go see the Second City’s Apes of Wrath show. It was hilarious, solid laughter for all 2 hours of it, the cast is hilarious, quick on their feet and witty. Absolutely worth the admission, the food wasn’t too bad either. We later left the show and took the brown line again around 1:30am to the loop and walked across downtown to our apartment, I never felt like I wasn’t safe for one moment. Chicago is a very safe city, unless you go looking for trouble in the bad areas of the city. Next morning I took the train to O’hare at 4:30am and again at some points it was dodgy, including the stop I got on, but I never really felt like I was in danger at all. Once again Chicago outshines all the other places I’ve been to and reminds me why I love going there so much.

Secondly, I wanted to officially announce my Europe 2014 trip. I will be crossing the pond again in August, from the 4-19, to Central Europe. I will be visiting Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Frankfurt, any recommendations would be very welcome for these cities! I’m still activity planning so I can add things here and there. I will be flying Air Canada, again… To Toronto connecting to Munich then Lufthansa to Berlin and on the way home via Frankfurt for a day. I will be keeping you guys posted on everything planning wise and cool tips on where to book and when.

Thank you so much guys for reading and keeping up with the blog, please please tell all your friends and family about this page, and comment any ideas to improve and grow the blog. Thank you so much again guys!

-Ian

I leave you guys with a little Chicago gallery of this trip!

photo 764Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset photo 6 photo 41 photo 7654


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photo54 1photo 653

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