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My Kind of Town

November 12, 2011

My never-ending search of new ideas and new places recently took me to the grand city of Chicago. For those of you who don’t know me, I was born in a small town, raised in a small town, live in a small town; but I love large cities!

I flew into O’Hare and quickly passed through. It was nice to just exit a plane and walk out of the airport. I walked down to the train station. The dark tunnel was lit with pale blue lights. A small crowd was waiting for the train.

I board, find a seat with room for my luggage and begin the hour-long journey into the city. Someone actually asked me for directions on the train. Luckily, it was an easy question I could answer.

I find my stop, which is only a half block from my hotel. I check in and unpack.

Then I head to the Palmer House to meet some friends for a drink and dinner. We chat about the upcoming STC Summit, technical communications, and what sights I should see while I am in Chicago.

Cloud Gate

We walk through Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate, more commonly known as the Bean. It was amazing the infinite angles it reflected.

We went to The Gage for dinner. We shared escargot for an appetizer, I enjoyed roasted chicken for my entrée, and crème brûlée for dessert, then walked back to the hotel for the night.

Monday morning, MOGOMedia’s InDesign Conference began. The topics were great and I learned a lot of new ideas. I plan to write a separate post about the InDesign conference for my fellow designers and geeks.

At lunch, I grabbed lunch with a few other attendees. Macy’s on State Street has an amazing food court with fresh sushi, grilled sandwiches, and hot entrees. That evening, I grabbed a deep dish pizza for dinner.

Tuesday was full of more learning and new people. I ate a delicious dinner at the Rosebud.

Wednesday was the first night I really took advantage of the city. I jumped on a bus to the Signature Lounge near the top of the John Hancock Center, where the best view is from the women’s restroom. I enjoy a quick sandwich for dinner while enjoying the amazing views of the center. I ride the elevator back down the 96 floors to the ground level. My ears pop every few seconds.

Welcome to the Chicago Theatre District

I jump on the bus just before it left the stop. Turns out, I jumped on the bus going in the wrong direction. I waited a few stops before changing directions and heading back toward the Chicago Theatre District. I came to my bus stop with five minutes before my show was supposed to start.

I rushed the two blocks to the Oriental Theater. I found my seat and was ready to enjoy a great show. The Oriental is beautiful with amazing wall and ceiling details. My seat is only a few rows from the stage and I am seated just a few seats from the center. Rock of Ages is a fun show highlighting the music from the 80s. Similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the play highlights a love story between a “small town girl” and a “city boy, born and raised in south Detroit.”

After my night at the theater, I packed my bags. Before flying home the next day, I visited the Navy Pier. Unfortunately, all was quiet because I had to visit early in the morning or not at all. It was cold, but seeing the city from the pier was a relaxing end to my journey. Then I took my final bus ride, followed by my final train ride in the city.

As I waited for my flight, I saw snow, perhaps the only snow I would see this year. It did delay my flight shortly, but not significantly enough to worry about.

Chicago was beautiful and a city I hope to visit again soon. A city for walking, with good food and great shows.

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