Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Chicago, IL - Not just for layovers anymore
Chicago for me has always meant a stopover, a place I ended up on my way to somewhere else. Well, no more. We finally planned a trip with Chicago as the destination and I'm really glad that we did.
We were only in town for a weekend and our goals were modest; eat some deep dish pizza, see the submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry and have lunch at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. Mission accomplished. However, I realized while we toured the city by bus that we definitely need to return, and soon.
We missed the culinary experience that is Goat and The Girl and Publican and I didn't make it to the Skydeck of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). But we plan to remedy those oversights on our next trip along with eating a Chicago style beef sandwich and their much lauded hotdogs.
Thanks once again to a Hop On/Hop Off type bus tour we were able to see a great deal of the city for a really reasonable price and at a nice pace. (For my money the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour is a great way to get a feel for a city. It's especially nice to be able to get off at one stop, see the sights, then get back on for the rest of the tour or just to the next stop. Definitely worth the price of admission.)
We stayed in the Old Chicago Water Tower District along the Magnificent Mile at the Hotel Sofitel. We were within walking distance of Frontera Grill and right near one of the tour bus stops. I'd stay in that area again when we return.
Besides lunch at the Frontera Grill (I had a wonderfully seasoned grilled ribeye there, fabulous) we also ate at the Weber Grill Restaurant. What first caught our eye was the huge Weber grill attached to the side of the building. Good steaks, burgers and one of the best grilled meatloafs I have ever tasted. Worth checking out if you enjoy good grilled foods.
We had the requisite deep dish pizza, not from one of the famous, iconic pizza places, but from a small joint near the hotel. The pizza was good and the beer was cold so a winner in my opinion.
The Chicago Museum of Science and industry was a fun way to spend a morning. While we were there to see the submarine, a German WW II U-boat, we spent time enjoying many of the exhibits. I also got the first of what would soon become a Mold-o-Rama collection (or obsession, the jury is still out).
Now that we've gotten out of the airport and actually spent some time in this former layover city I don't know what took us so long. It won't be long until we return.
Are there any cities that you've only experienced as a waypoint that you now want to visit? If so what are they? Please share your thoughts and comment below.