I’ve just returned from a great weekend trip in Chicago. The reason for the trip was to celebrate a good friend’s bachelor party, and while I am bound by the bro-code to not share any details of the trip, I thought I should share my thoughts on this classic American city that is definitely well worth a visit! And for any girlfriends, fiancées or wives who may read this, everyone was well behaved, and had a fantastic time!
One the main reasons Chicago was chosen as the location of this bachelor party is the fact that is such a big sports town. Over the weekend we attended a baseball game at historic Wrigley Field (100 years old this year), and a football game at the recently renovated but still iconic Soldier Field.
Being the sports fan that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed both events. From the sights in and around Wrigley field and the classic ballpark hot dog to the extremely loyal and passionate Bears fans who created an incredible atmosphere at Soldier Field, it was all awesome. Although the home team unfortunately lost both games (both in overtime ironically enough), it was still a very memorable experience that I would recommend to anyone who calls themselves a sports fan.
Chicago is world renowned for its architecture and famous buildings (think Willis & Hancock Towers) as well as the Chicago River and its iconic bridges – here again the city does not disappoint. One morning we did a 90 minute boat tour that highlighted many of the beautiful and extremely tall Chicago buildings (There are over 100 that are over 500 feet tall!), as well as the many classic buildings from the past century and a half since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Another “must do” is to take a ride to the top of one of the tall towers and enjoy the spectacular and seemingly endless views. We went up to the 95th floor of the Hancock Building one night and were treated to great views of the whole downtown to the south and the city stretching for miles into the distance. A tip for this one is to go to the Signature Lounge and have a drink instead of paying to go up the tower, essentially free admission as the drinks are only about $1 more up there than on ground level!
Food & Drink
Everybody has heard of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, one night a few of us ate at a pizza joint called “Giordano’s”, and boy was it tasty. This is the kind of pizza you have to eat with a knife and fork, and make sure it is cooled off a bit so you don’t burn your mouth! I did not have a bad meal in Chicago, there is food available to suit any taste and you usually don’t have to go far, but definitely try the pizza!
Chicago and the surrounding area has definitely kept pace with the recent popularity of craft and micro-breweries. Over the course of four nights I tried at least a dozen local beers along with a few American Classics. From American Lagers to IPAs, Kolsch to Dark Beers, there was a flavor for the beer drinker in all of us. Even at the sports stadiums if you were willing to walk a few sections over and pay a dollar or two more, there was ample selection, not just the standard Bud and Bud Light!
There are many great museums in Chicago, and although we saw many from the outside, I only went inside one, the Field Museum, which is essentially a natural history museum. We were a bit short on time that morning, so only had about two hours which was not enough, but still saw some great exhibits on Ancient Egypt complete with real mummies, Bio Mechanics and Evolution with some great skeleton specimens!
Chicago has definitely earned a spot in my top 3 American cities, and with direct flights from Calgary, it is a place I plan on returning to in the future. Whether you are looking for sports, food, shopping, music or entertainment, Chicago has something to interest anyone!