There’s far too much of Chicago to condense in a short travel entry, and I haven’t been to the city enough to feel confident in giving it a thorough review. But Chicago is great; the muscular, midwestern attitude begets a friendly atmosphere, and the public transportation system rivals NYC’s in terms of expedience and character. However, if you get by the Second City, the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, a visit during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade will surely give you a good taste of the city. You might spend your time taking in comedy the night before at Second City, or roaming around the lobby of the Palmer House, but the better part of your next day will be spent shlepping in the rain during the city’s boisterous festivities. Be sure to wear your green, just so you blend in, and admire the breadth of Chicago’s police force, which are out on foot, on horse, by car and by boat (just like in the Blues Brothers movie!). Get to the Chicago River early, ducking into the local coffee shops and hotel bars to keep warm and use the loos; the dyeing of the river is quick, but the energy of the crowd is wonderful; if they had a song to go with it, I’d be permanently hooked. Try to get on the east side of the Colombus Bridge, and do *not* try to cross it during the dyeing. After seeing the river turn green, immediately head south toward Millenium Park, where you can watch wee girls in curls dancing under ponchos tap down the street, and earnest Irish families with home-made floats waving their way down South Colombus Street. You can pub it up afterward, if you’re not drenched to the bone, and you’ll see remnants of the parade as you roam around the city the next day, checking out the Art Institute and the Picasso in Daly plaza. Grab a beer and a deep dish (who cares if it’s touristy – it’s unique! Try Giordano’s!) with the new friends you’ve met in Chicago, and don’t forget to take a deep pull of your green beer and offer a Céad Míle Fáilte to your new friends – or a simple sláinte will do; enjoy the deep-rooted Irish heritage in Chicago – even if some of the locals roll their eyes, they’re still happy to have you in sweet home Chicago.
Filed under: North America | Tagged: Art Institute, beer, Blues Brothers, Chicago, Colombus Street, Daly Plaza, dancers, deep-dish pizza, friendly folk, Giordano's, green, green beer, Illinois, music, Palmer House Hilton, parade, Picasso, police, ponchos, rain, Second City, St. Patrick's Day | Leave a Comment »