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Chicago: Big Nachos, Big Pizza, Navy Pier, and the Blackhawks!

 

Having only visited cities like Chicago and New York, living directly downtown for the past couple of weeks has been impressive and overwhelming. It's easy to lump big cities together for simplicity, but looking at the numbers, Philadelphia (5th biggest) has 1.5 million people, Chicago (3rd) has 2.7 million and NY (1st) has 8.3 million. That's quite a big difference!

We've spent a lot of time taking walks, scoping out nearby options, and visiting many of the typical tourist sites like the Cloud Gate, Chicago River, Water Tower, and Buckingham Fountain. Here is some of what we've been able to do the last couple weeks.



Navy Pier: This wasn't high on our list of places to visit, it kind of just happened. We were walking back from seeing World War Z and decided to stop for gelato and a quick Ferris Wheel ride. $6 for a rotation, totally worth it.


Wrigleyville/Boystown: In case it isn't obvious enough, Boystown is Chicago's version of a gayborhood. Located right by Wrigleyville and home of the Cubs. A nice day trip for fun shopping and
food at the Chicago Diner.


 
Chicago Diner: Despite its inconspicuous name, this is one of Chicago's oldest and best known vegetarian restaurants. The sign on one of their locations says "meat free since 83". I had the Pierogi Quesadilla which was as good as it sounds. 

 
Swamp Heat at Taste of Randolph

 
 A Craft Beer Fest Patron and his Nachos

Festivals Abound!: Chicago is known for its summer festival and appropriately so. From what we've seen, some of these festival have reached critical mass and are more crowded than enjoyable, but that doesn't mean there aren't fringe festivals that are worth checking out. Instead of planning too far ahead, we're keeping links (like this one) that list all the events and if we feel like going out on the weekend, we can.

View from Pfc Milton L Olive Park


Bailey at the Ohio Street Dog Park

Parks/Dog Parks: We've made a point of walking to the two dog parks and other people parks nearby, but have yet to find anything great. We're still looking though. Though small, Erie Park (first picture of post) offers some nice views of kayakers on the river. Milton Olive Park has great views of the city and wasn't as crowded as you'd expect from the masses of people on neaby Navy Pier and the beach.


Chicago-Style Pizza:
Our first night in Dallas we were still without furniture or cookware so we ordered pizza using a random google search. Little did we know that we were ordering some of the best and well known pizza in Chicago -- Giordano's! When I took the box from the delivery guy, my first thought after, "wow that's a lot for a pizza," ($50 +tip) was,"this this incredibly heavy!". It was like two pizza's combined with all types of goodness between. 


Lakefront Trail: What better way to work off the pizza than nearby Lakefront Trail? A quick jog from our place, the trail runs 18 miles along the east side of the city. All types of characters and people are on the trail creating exercising entertainment that can't be recreated on a treadmill.

 

Blackhawks: It was a lot of fun being in Chicago during the Stanley Cup games. Even before the win, the whole city was abuzz with anticipation. On games nights I could look out the window and see dozens of other windows lit by the game. When the blackhawks scored I could hear people yelling through the walls. On the night of the victory, the whole downtown was full of cheers and crazy honking well past midnight. I've never heard anything like it. Here is a video from our balcony:

video