August 9, 2005

Holiday in Chicago

I just got back from a whirlwind of a week in Chicago and I must say, I miss that damned city already. Chicago is one of the first places I’ve ever visited that I would ever really consider moving to. It combines many of the things I love from New York and Philadelphia (and many of the things I always wished Philly could be); great arts and culture, bottomless music scene, decent public transport, a beach, and breathtaking gritty city. My kind of town, Chicago is.

Liz was busy the bulk of the time at a dance conference in Skokie, so Rob and I shacked up with our kind hosts Lauren and John; journalists who are like walking Chicago encyclopedias. Most days Rob and I would just set out to cover as much of the city as we possibly could. Needless to say, our days were packed.

We did a few touristy things: Art Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and Industry (for the beautiful and macabre Body Worlds), and architectural tour by boat (so many amazing buildings), Lincoln Park Zoo, and Millennium Park where you will find a giant metal bean by Anish Kapoor and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain.

Of course, we had to eat: Great deep dish pizza, Hot Doug’s—home of the best veggie hot dog I’ve ever had (we have also dubbed veggie hot dogs as “not dogs” or “hot frauds”), and lots of beer (sometimes too much, even in good company).

Other Randomness: Rotofugi, Quimby’s (a great indie comic store where I grabbed the latest issue of Burn Collector by Al Burian, who also happened keeping shop behind the counter. Weird.), and the Blue Man Group (not exclusive to Chicago, but a damn good time).

I was very sad to leave Chicago. Don’t get me wrong, Philly is home and I love it here, but let’s just say it won’t be too hard to convince me to go back for a visit. Ok, Chicago? For the sake of posterity and embarrassment I have placed a bunch of photos from the trip on Flickr.

On a side note, I’d like to thank my esteemed guest photographers for holding down the ship last week… even if some of the results were a bit unnerving.

Commentary (19):

1. Dan Mall says… aug 9, 2005 | 11:00 pm

Just for reference, what other contenders were there for the “best veggie hot dog”?

2. Jason Santa Maria says… aug 9, 2005 | 11:03 pm

Ones I cook myself at home (which I consider very good actually) :D

3. justin says… aug 10, 2005 | 12:19 am

Two things:

#1 Your wife is hot
#2 I have the same urban outfitter baseball shirt you do in the same color

That’s all for now.

4. Jason Santa Maria says… aug 10, 2005 | 12:22 am

#1 future wife (gimme 2 months) ;)
#2 Yeah, I have a few too many of those myself. They are so damn comfy.

5. Greg says… aug 10, 2005 | 12:31 am

I can’t believe you went to Chicago and didn’t eat at Portillos, what a cry’n shame.

6. Christopher J says… aug 10, 2005 | 12:46 am

Edit: you probably visited the Museum of Science and Industry. Let us Chicagoan’s know ahead of time before you head over and we’ll have a get-together…

7. Jason Santa Maria says… aug 10, 2005 | 12:49 am

Yup, I did indeed mean that… I’m falling apart at the seams… haha.

8. bearskinrug says… aug 10, 2005 | 6:40 am

Did you visit the grave of Herman Chicago, Founder of Chicago, like I asked? What did you do with the flowers I gave you?

9. Chris K says… aug 10, 2005 | 9:01 am

Glad you enjoyed your trip. I’ve been to Chicago three times and still haven’t donae and seen everything I wanted to. Like you, its one of the cities I would consider moving to, until you see the tax rates for residents.

10. Ian says… aug 10, 2005 | 9:35 am

My favorite part of Chicago was in this bathroom, see. I was on my honeymoon and my wife and I…

Well, I recon that’s a story for another time. Jes spent her college years at the University of Chicago (I know, right?!) so the best part about Chicago is the way she turns into a child when she’s there.
I look forward to seeing her like that again. Great post, glad to have you back in town.

11. Jason K. says… aug 10, 2005 | 10:14 am

Looks like you were in Myopic Books. It’s a bookstore a friend of mine manages. Incredible place to “escape” in.

I have to agree with you Jason, it’s very hard to come home from visiting Chicago. Everytime I go (I live in Detroit, so I try to visit frequently) I have a hard time driving home. I was just there in June (for the HOW conference) and had a great time. I plan on going back sometime next month too.

Good to hear you had a great time on vacation.

12. Jared says… aug 10, 2005 | 10:58 am

Ah, Burn Collector is indeed refreshing stuff. I spent New Years up there the year before (it was near 50 degrees one day!) and I need to go back very soon.

13. Dean says… aug 10, 2005 | 2:23 pm

When traveling in Chicago, I used to always get lost because the numbered streets run from lowest in the North to highest in the South. For some reason this always messed with my sense of direction. Great town though - I hope to get back there someday.

14. matches says… aug 10, 2005 | 9:27 pm

We were in Chi-town at the beginning of July, and despite living about 45 minutes from there when I was very young and having a lot of family in the Northern IL area, it was the first time I’d really walked around and seen the city. The downtown is gorgeous and we too saw the aforementioned bean. It’s really a neat area, and I don’t know why I was so surprised by that.

15. seeks says… aug 12, 2005 | 9:36 am

ian is right; i’m hella fond of that beautiful city. next time you go, you should check out the block museum. my friend, will, heads up the block cinema, and both he and his work are always worth seeing.
but seriously, let me know when you plan on going next; i look for any excuse to go back there. honest to goodness-any excuse.

16. Jason Santa Maria says… aug 12, 2005 | 9:51 am

Oooo, that looks cool, seeks. Liz was up at Northwestern dancing most of the week, but we were down in the heart of the city so we never made it up there. Next time :D

I don’t need much of a reason to go back…

17. Jared says… aug 18, 2005 | 3:14 pm

Did you happen to get any Dang! rootbeer? They don’t have it on the east coast.

18. nickd says… aug 23, 2005 | 12:05 pm

How could somebody recommend Portillo’s after he went to Hot Doug’s, probably the best dog stand - and by far the most heinously underrated secret - in the entire city? Hot Doug’s is the one place I fervently recommend to all visitors, and then they never go because it isn’t near very much else. Then they see shots on Flickr and feel great pangs of remorse.

That said, for your next time: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (get there early), Reckless Records (near Quimby’s), The Spice House if you’re a foodie, and (as stated above) Block Cinema.

19. Brad Chmielewski says… aug 24, 2005 | 3:20 pm

Greg, Portillos is good but Maxwell street hooks it up.