A long weekend in Chicago

What do you buy for the woman who has everything? A box to put it all in? This was the dilemma for the current Mrs Adams as she approached her thirty-tenth birthday, and after hours of deliberation she decided that she’d like to go on a trip rather than receive material goods. Of course it did occur to me that a trip to some locations in the world might result in the heavy-duty purchase of material goods, but my attempts to persuade her that the Falkland Islands or Borneo were top-notch short-break locations failed miserably. Chicago (home of the Smashing Pumpkins, the Blues Brothers, Al Capone, and that musical, can’t remember it’s name) topped the wife’s wish-list, and so it came to pass.

I have yet to survey the wreckage of the family fortune, and I fear that I might have to do it under the influence of alcohol. The cases that were fairly light on the way out were ominously heavy for the return journey. Anyway, that aside – hey, it’s only money – Chicago is a great place to visit for a short break. The weather was fantastic (maybe a little too warm for my liking, but better than the miserable crap here) and the sightseeing was interesting and varied:

  • The Sears Tower – the tallest building in the USA, and with the longest queue to match, Lauren and I went up while the wife shopped. At one point during the queuing process there was a sit-down seven minute movie about the Tower’s origin (which was very interesting).
  • The Adler Planetarium – also visited while the wife shopped, Lauren and I watched ‘Cosmic Collisions’ in a 180° theatre, followed by a 3D movie, and then visited the exhibits.
  • The John Hancock Center – the fifth tallest building in the USA, but with the fastest lift reaching an ear-popping 20 mph. As with the Sears Tower, the views were incredible.
  • The John G Shedd Aquarium – dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, loads of different types of fish, and (we just caught it before it departed after Labour Day) a komodo dragon which didn’t move but was impressively huge.
  • Navy Pier – shops, a fair, live music, food, and fifty thousand people.

Some other observations – taxis were relatively inexpensive (compared to a London black cab they were almost free), the bus service was punctual and cheap, people were very friendly, and there was loads of places to eat and lots of choice.


  1. Actually Ed and I didn’t arrange to meet up. I was of the opinion that he wouldn’t have wanted to visit Chicago landmarks that he’d already visited or follow the current Mrs Adams round the malls. With it being a short trip and a 6 hour time lag we were early to bed and rise (and with a 10 year old to keep happy) so we wouldn’t have been good company in the evening.

  2. “no worries, mate” (oh wait you aren’t Aussie). They revoke your Illinois driver’s license if you go to Navy Pier (not strictly true, but) or if you eat Uno’s pizza (which I hope you did not). But do let me know next time – you never know when we’re around the city.

  3. There were so many people at Navy Pier on Saturday evening they couldn’t all have been tourists – I was envious of a city with great weather and a place to go with so much happening. During what we laughingly call Summer here the evenings when I would have wanted to venture outside could be counted on one hand.

    And no, we didn’t eat Uno’s pizza – don’t think I saw it.

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