Monday, November 17, 2008


We got to take a mini-vacation to Chicago last week, and got home last night. My husband had work to do Tuesday - Friday, and was gracious enough to not only take our daughter and me, but also invited my mom to join us! We all had a wonderful time exploring the city (my 3rd time in Chicago), and eating our way around the city. I hope to be able to do a few posts about the great things for kids to do in Chicago, but tonight I wanted to share some general thoughts.

  1. Traffic - I'm from Georgia, and while I grew up south of Atlanta, I did spend 5 years living in the city, and another year commuting. Atlanta traffic is rough. When I was commuting, on a bad day I was in my car for up to four hours. As much as I loved my job, the traffic in Atlanta (and the cost of living near my office) had me looking for a new job within a year. All that said, I've learned that I'm very glad I don't live and drive in Chicago on a daily basis. In Atlanta, rush hour ends around 9am and starts up again around 3:30-4pm. On the interstate, there is likely to be a few miles of bumper to bumper gridlock during those times. Unless there's a wreck or construction, you're pretty much ok to get through the city at other times of the day (I've been away 9 years, but on my visits home, this still seems to hold true). In Chicago, I didn't really notice a rush hour. At 8pm, the bumper to bumper wasn't that bad. We only sat in traffic about 20 minutes then. Any other time of day I tried to get anywhere, I had to count on it taking me about an hour and a half to get anywhere, regardless of how far away it was.
  2. GPS - I am so thankful for GPS devices!! I think I would still be looking for Navy Pier if I hadn't had a GPS, and that's including the many times it lost signal due to the skyscrapers surrounding my car. I am confident in my map reading skills, but not so confident in the engineers who designed interstates that weave and criss-cross without much warning.
  3. Street names - While I can understand the reason that one would want a street name to stay the same for the entire length of the street, I found it confusing that the same street name could be found for miles. Give me Peachtree Street-Peachtree Road-Peachtree Industrial Blvd anyday. At least you know what part of town you're in based on the street name! Fellow Georgians, don't feel insecure about this "flaw" in our city design anymore!
  4. Food - I love food in Chicago. Specifially Italian Beef sandwiches. My father-in-law is from Chicago, and my mother-in-law learned (and taught my husband) to make a mean Italian beef. I'm so lucky to have learned about this delicacy years before going to Chicago. Now I know to tour the city trying and rating different sandwiches. My favorite this trip was Aurelio's. The meat is sliced so thin, and I think it's on a french loaf (which sounds weird for an Italian sandwich, I know, but trust me it's much better). We also ate pizza every day we were there, but I'm a thin crust girl, so there wasn't a lot of Chicago-style pizza in our experience.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed having a car and going and doing whatever I got it into my head to do. It was really like being at home, only we were in a hotel and had a strange car and had to let the GPS guide us everywhere. It was great looking for new and exciting experiences that would delight a toddler, and I hope to share them all here over the next few days.

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