I had the pleasure of spending three days in Chicago last week for the American Bar Association TechShow. It was a geek-tastic time. I met a lot of wonderful people and learned a lot about ways law firms can use technology to be more efficient. Our keynote speaker was the awesome Ben Stein. It was weird to hear him speak with inflection in his voice. I also got to present on flash mob law during the Ignite-style kick-off event LexThink.1. The audience really seemed to enjoy it.
This was also my first real trip to Chicago. The conference didn’t give me much free time. I only had one evening and one afternoon to get in all my sightseeing. Chicago is known for having wonderful museums and an aquarium, but I skipped those. I am someone who can appreciate art, but I need a guide to tell me why things are significant or else it will be lost on me. Without a guide, I can walk through a museum in 10 minutes and wonder why I spent $20 for the experience. When I’m traveling alone, I prefer to use Roadside America to find a city’s quirky gems.
On the second night of the conference I decided I wanted to experience some Chicago flavor. I asked the doorman where I should go for real Chicago pizza. Without hesitation he said, “Lou Malnati’s.” It was a delightful little pizza place with wonderful deep dish Chicago-style pizza. I grew up on the west coast, so this was the first time I had to eat pizza with a fork and knife. If you want Chicago pizza, try this place.
After the conference was over, I had a few hours to take in the city with my cousin who lives in Chicago. He’s in a medical residency, so he doesn’t have time to see the city. He said there’s a wonderful architectural boat tour and a gangster bus tour in the city that he’d love to go on. Unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow for that so we took our own walking tour near the lake.
Our first stop was Millennium Park. I had to see Cloud Gate – aka “The Bean.” Despite it being a freezing cold day, there were a lot of people out to see the giant sculpture. Being an ex-gymnast, I had to do a handstand in front of it.
Our walk around Chicago also featured the Chicago Cultural Center, the Navy Pier, and the beginning of Route 66. I was tickled when I randomly encountered the statue of Bob Newhart and his couch. After I explained to my cousin who Bob Newhart was, I posed for a picture. It was odd to sit on a couch that was rock hard and ice cold. There was also a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe in her signature pose from The Seven Year Itch. We giggled when we walked around it and saw that the sculpture included an accurate depiction of her backside and panties. We also walked around Tribune Tower which has pieces of other buildings embedded in the outside like the Parthenon, the Taj Majal, the World Trade Center, The Alamo, and the Great Wall of China. I was little bummed when I didn’t find a piece of Stonehenge but I was happy to see that it had a piece from Antarctica.
It would have been nice to visit Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower). They have a glass observation deck that sticks out over the street on the 103rd floor. It would have been fun to do a handstand on that, but it was cloudy day and kind of expensive. Instead, my last adventure in Chicago was a ride back to the airport on the L.