Perhaps the test of a truly great city is if you can enjoy yourself even when it's raining ice! I’ve been to Chicago four or five times now. My visits have never been for very long and they have always been slammed with meetings. This time, though, I brought my wife and daughter. I am quite sure that in just three days, they’ve been able to see more than I ever have.
But I don't mind, honestly!
I have said it before and I'll say it again, Chicago is a place where just to be there is to be imbued with an energy which lifts the spirits and ignites the imagination.
That said, we did manage to do a few things together as a family. We went up the Hancock tower which offers a magnificent 365 degree view of the downtown, lakefront and expanding vistas into four other states. We were also thrilled by the TILT. To stand, full body, in front of the glass as it tilts 30 degrees out and over the incredible skyline, 1000 ft above Chicago, was an amazing adventure!
From what I have been able to ’take in’ during my time in the Windy City, is that it's clean, affordable (at least more so than NYC), has a speculator skyline from any angle, and a wonderful array of iconic sights and experiences. With its buzzing corporate culture, gigantic buildings, historic architecture, and world class museums, it's like New York with a Midwest heart. In fact I almost liken it to Toronto with its approachable ‘big city' feel.
If New York is the center of the world then, in my mind, Chicago is perhaps the heart of North America.
This trip, contained within week two of a six week US tour, was a great little escape with my family. A time for us to touch base, create home for each other for that precious three days, and gather another shared experience.
However, with so much pizza pie left to eat, with jazz clubs and piano bars beckoning, with looming skyscrapers awaiting upraised eyes, with much more to explore and discover…. I did not want to leave. I will make it a point to be back…but maybe next time, I’ll try and avoid the ice rain!