My last trip of the month was a VA conference in Chicago for one of the studies I coordinate. Lucky me! I HEART Chicago! The only problem is I've only visited while attending meetings for work. This gives little time to do all the exploring and activities this amazing city has to offer. For the short amount of time I've had there, I really try to maximize my free time.
This year my hotel was right downtown (no more 45 minute blue train rides for me). I was close to Michigan Ave (the ever so Magnificent Mile!!!!), Navy Pier, Grant Park, etc, etc. I swear downtown Chicago is close to everything!
I love shopping and Michigan Ave is where it's at! Blocks and blocks of my favorite shops and best of all, stores we don't have in Utah, namely my beloved, Crate & Barrel. I also made sure to hit up H&M, Lucy (best workout wear!), Fileene's Basement, The Limited, Room & Board, and Trader Joes just to name a few.
I was so happy when my friend Ralph, a native of Chicago, suggested I check out the Taste of Chicago, an annual festival in Grant Park. I had no idea the extent of this event. Over 50 food vendors from local Chicago eateries and live music from bands I've payed to listen to in Salt Lake.
Friday night, Gary (the doctor I work with), and I walked down to check out the festival. We were blown away. I think every Chicago resident was in attendance. It was packed. We bought food/beverage tickets and made our way through the crowds. Gary thought it would be a good idea to check out every booth before making our food choice. Big Mistake! Too many choices! I finally decided on Chicago style pizza, hush puppies, and a samosa, oh yeah, and a lemon ice for dessert (you can purchase small, taster size portions at every booth, hence my variety of choices). Gary ended up with a prime rib quesadilla, samosa, Irish eggroll (corned beef & cabbage in a wonton) and half my hush puppies. That night the Gap Band was playing. I was a little bummed because Counting Crows were playing the following night (for FREE!) and they are one of my favorite bands. Other nights included Barenaked Ladies, The Wallflowers, Ne-Yo, Guster, and Buddy Guy. Pretty amazing line up for free concerts. Needless to say, I left full & happy.
Oh yeah, the conference was nice too - blah, blah, blah (I'm sure you don't want to hear about joint counts, data safety monitoring boards and biostatistics of Veterans with RA).
(this is the only photo I have of me in Chicago )