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Cubs, Comedy and Calories: The Chicago Experience

August 30, 2012

Much like my day in Seoul, the two days I spent in Chicago were a post work holiday and I wanted to get the most out of this quick city break as I could.

I was holidaying with some of the other crew who’d also wanted to stay a few extra days after work and we agreed to do all the classic things a visit to Chicago should include: a trip up Sears Tower or Willis Tower as it is now known (third tallest building in the world), a night at The Second City Comedy Club and an evening watching a Cubs baseball game at their home ground – the Wrigley Stadium.

Sears Tower was, for me, just another big building save for a glass box that extends 4.3 meters out from the building and leaves you hovering 1,353 feet above the ground. Looking down to see the busy city rushing past beneath your feet is a quite a dizzying experience.

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The Second City Comedy Club was a great place to go in the evening for a bit of a laugh. The improvisation night we went to was all about the audience interaction and a ‘from your seat’ bar service helped everyone to get involved. That said, my friend had spent half the night mustering up the courage to shout out her own contribution to a scene when finally she decided to go for it, screaming out ‘shake it like a polaroid picture!!!’  I would have applauded her bravery but she’d totally mistimed her shout out and the scene had already changed. It was a little bit awkward but mostly hilarious, for me anyway.

The baseball game was brilliant. I’ll admit I found the game itself a little bit boring but the overall experience was exactly like what you see in films. Hot dogs being passed along the lines of seats, families all kitted out in Cubs gear and baseballs being hurled into the crowds and fought over by the fans. This was a true ‘American’ experience and I felt like a hardcore fan with my spongy finger and a beer.

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We did do things that weren’t quite so stereotypical too…

We went to Lincoln Park Zoo because although I tend to find zoos very depressing I couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing a real polar bear. He was amazing but the depression did follow shortly after which was partly remedied with an ice cream.

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While we were in there The Art Institute Of Chicago was housing a special Roy Lichtenstein exhibit – Lichtenstein is the man responsible for what we know today as Pop Art. I hadn’t been a huge fan of Pop Art but it was interesting to see how the art form had evolved and to get a look at some of Lichtenstein’s more iconic pieces up close.

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We also explored the rest of the Art Institute and found a few more well known pieces, such as Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ pictured below.

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It was July and one of the hottest summers in decades while we were there but we still managed to walk to most places. As we made our way to the iconic ‘Bean’  sculpture, we stumbled across an open air music rehearsal being held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  We sat out doors and listened to an hour of classical music played by a live orchestra and felt very smug and sophisticated.

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Then we went back to being complete tourists taking pictures of ourselves at  ‘The Bean’, which was just a short walk away.

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The other thing we did in Chicago was eat. Lots. I can 100% recommend a Chicago Deep Pan Pizza, except if you’re on a diet. They’re more like a pie than a pizza and are full of stodgy, gooey goodness that leaves you stuffed yet satisfied.

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However despite having just gorged ourselves on pizza, we took a quick trip to a Hershey’s store for a milk shake and ended up watching an in store musical demonstration on how to ice a cup cake.

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This ended with my friend Ben dancing his heart out to win the said cup cake, which he did, in spectacular style. But he only managed to eat half of it.

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So I can safely say that there’s much more to see and do in Chicago than the typical tourist offerings and these things will stay with you long after you’ve arrived home, unfortunately in my case that includes the calories!

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From → 2012 Travels

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